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The wonder of Yahoo!

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  • jamesnfarmer
    Vance asked: can you think of ways you might use YahooGroups to facilitate language learning? organize your professional contacts? run classes or workshops?
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 27, 2002
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      Vance asked:
      "can you think of ways you might use
      YahooGroups to

      facilitate language learning?
      organize your professional contacts?
      run classes or workshops?"

      Well, Yes!!! Down here in Melbourne, Australia, we're lucky enough to
      be
      teaching courses to hugely mixed groups of International students,
      over 95%
      of who have e-mail addresses and use them everyday. Thus, Yahoo!
      groups is
      perfect! Over the last year we've started using it extensively with
      classes
      and teachers, I'll just be brief here, but I can upload some lesson
      plans to
      the docs section if anyone wants.

      Uses of Yahoo Groups:
      -Teacher development & discussion groups - the best way to get round
      those
      tricky problems of time & spaces to meet (with the added advantage of
      hyperlinks to articles & resources)
      -Centre administration and organisation (a smaller, partner centre, to
      ourselves doesn't have a staff e-mail system... so we set one up for
      them on
      Yahoo! groups.)
      -Student activities, clubs etc. (I run a student soccer club & an
      inter
      centre group to organise matches)
      -Online journals (although this makes them less personal (the option
      to do
      them individually is there) the audience gives motivation,
      the 'sharing'
      provides for tremendous class dynamics and there are plenty more
      benefits 'n
      all!)
      -Online discussion groups. Students search news sites for articles
      connected
      to topics of interest, post them as hyperlinks and everyone comments &
      discusses
      -Class management (all that information and paper from the first
      week, now
      you don't have to worry about stuff getting lost, it's always there.
      -CLASS DEMOCRACY!!! Everyone has a voice, especially orally quieter
      students
      etc...

      Now, you may have noticed that I haven't talked about instruction,
      although
      to do a kind of 'grammar' discussion could work, I'd favour a
      listserv with
      different channels for that. But, as the oft quotes Jane Willis
      famously
      (didn't) write 'Who the heck needs instruction?' I'd love to hear
      ideas for
      how 'instruction' could effectively take place on Yahoo! groups
      though!!!

      Oh, and in reply to Nigel, I lurrrve Yahoo groups and think it gets a
      pretty
      bad press (hey, it's free! you can do tons with it! it RARELY buggers
      up!
      sounds better than out 6 figure system!) I've looked at a couple of
      others,
      Topica and MSN communities but they just don't come up to scratch. I
      think
      the reply to all function is one of its best points, it adds so much
      to
      group as a whole, without it things could well often get too off the
      list &
      everyone loses out & the 'directly subscribe' people is essential if
      you're
      trying to get things done in a short time or people just don't need
      to use
      anything but the e-mail group function. And check out the polls! Does
      anyone
      think we could set one up???

      Anyway, cheers for reading all of that! Looking forward to others
      ideas.

      James Farmer
      Downunder
      j.farmer@...

      p.s. Check out Yahoo! Courses (http://courses.yahoo.com/)for some
      VERY cool stuff! (although no direct subscription... sob)
    • dafne Chavez
      Hi, James, I really appreciate all the wonders you mention about the uses of yahoo. This evonline2002_Webhead session is my first encounter with yahoo
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 27, 2002
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        Hi, James, I really appreciate all the "wonders" you mention about the uses of yahoo. This evonline2002_Webhead session is my first encounter with yahoo groups, and with all the possibilities Yahoo offers for language learning and teacher development. I can't believe all I have learned in the past week through this community. I am new to CALL, but now I am hooked on it.
        I am designing a unit to be taught on line from Spain to my ESP architecture students in Caracas, and I am using the Blackboard.com platform, but now I am sure that I will include Yahoo groups to complement it. I have just started a yahoo group (as part of this session syllabus) to motivate my colleagues in Caracas to use it. Would you upload one of your lesson plans there? It would be great. I am going to send you an invitation to the group.
        Thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
        Dafne
        jamesnfarmer <j.farmer@...> escribió: Vance asked:
        "can you think of ways you might use
        YahooGroups to

        facilitate language learning?
        organize your professional contacts?
        run classes or workshops?"

        Well, Yes!!! Down here in Melbourne, Australia, we're lucky enough to
        be
        teaching courses to hugely mixed groups of International students,
        over 95%
        of who have e-mail addresses and use them everyday. Thus, Yahoo!
        groups is
        perfect! Over the last year we've started using it extensively with
        classes
        and teachers, I'll just be brief here, but I can upload some lesson
        plans to
        the docs section if anyone wants.

        Uses of Yahoo Groups:
        -Teacher development & discussion groups - the best way to get round
        those
        tricky problems of time & spaces to meet (with the added advantage of
        hyperlinks to articles & resources)
        -Centre administration and organisation (a smaller, partner centre, to
        ourselves doesn't have a staff e-mail system... so we set one up for
        them on
        Yahoo! groups.)
        -Student activities, clubs etc. (I run a student soccer club & an
        inter
        centre group to organise matches)
        -Online journals (although this makes them less personal (the option
        to do
        them individually is there) the audience gives motivation,
        the 'sharing'
        provides for tremendous class dynamics and there are plenty more
        benefits 'n
        all!)
        -Online discussion groups. Students search news sites for articles
        connected
        to topics of interest, post them as hyperlinks and everyone comments &
        discusses
        -Class management (all that information and paper from the first
        week, now
        you don't have to worry about stuff getting lost, it's always there.
        -CLASS DEMOCRACY!!! Everyone has a voice, especially orally quieter
        students
        etc...

        Now, you may have noticed that I haven't talked about instruction,
        although
        to do a kind of 'grammar' discussion could work, I'd favour a
        listserv with
        different channels for that. But, as the oft quotes Jane Willis
        famously
        (didn't) write 'Who the heck needs instruction?' I'd love to hear
        ideas for
        how 'instruction' could effectively take place on Yahoo! groups
        though!!!

        Oh, and in reply to Nigel, I lurrrve Yahoo groups and think it gets a
        pretty
        bad press (hey, it's free! you can do tons with it! it RARELY buggers
        up!
        sounds better than out 6 figure system!) I've looked at a couple of
        others,
        Topica and MSN communities but they just don't come up to scratch. I
        think
        the reply to all function is one of its best points, it adds so much
        to
        group as a whole, without it things could well often get too off the
        list &
        everyone loses out & the 'directly subscribe' people is essential if
        you're
        trying to get things done in a short time or people just don't need
        to use
        anything but the e-mail group function. And check out the polls! Does
        anyone
        think we could set one up???

        Anyway, cheers for reading all of that! Looking forward to others
        ideas.

        James Farmer
        Downunder
        j.farmer@...

        p.s. Check out Yahoo! Courses (http://courses.yahoo.com/)for some
        VERY cool stuff! (although no direct subscription... sob)


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      • jamesnfarmer
        Hiya Daphne, Thanks for the enthusiastic response! I m not at work this week (where the lessons plans are) but will certainly upload them next Monday when I
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 27, 2002
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          Hiya Daphne,

          Thanks for the enthusiastic response! I'm not at work this week
          (where the lessons plans are) but will certainly upload them next
          Monday when I get back.

          They're pretty basic stuff really. WIth your colleagues, I'd try to
          get them involved in some sort of teacher development. Basically, you
          create a group, directly subscribe all of them (in reality to get as
          big an audience & participation as possible - you tell them it's to
          save them time etc.) and start posting and inviting people to post on
          topical issues of the day. For example, we're currently undergoing
          real change in terms of how we assess our students and this has
          brought up some great debates on the group. One thing I would say, is
          thatyou might find it good to 'exclude' hirers/firers from the group
          or it can get a bit messy. Check out
          http://www.hltmag.co.uk/feb99/mart1.htm by Paul Davis (personal hero
          of mine) in Rinvolucri's 'Humanising Language Teaching'
          (http://www,hltmag.co.uk) for thoughts on this.

          I've also run sessions where staff have created picture galleries in
          the 'photos' section, used the group to discuss & then poll on staff
          events and just brainstormed the possibilities this offers. A couple
          of key points I think are

          1. Don't bother doing something online which can just as easily be
          done in a textbook. People put thousands of hours into making
          delightful websites which are exactly the same as a book and a tape
          (and considerably less portable and usable!) Use these tools for the
          uniques benefits they offer i.e. asynchronous discussion, hyperlinks,
          online group formation & dynamics

          2. Don't do PD in which people sign-up to Yahoo! It takes forever and
          has FAR too many complications... the session just collapses. Instead
          get people to sign up before (offer help if needed).

          Hope some of the above is useful. If anyone's looking for a great
          example of effective online groups check out
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dogme/ or indeed, observe what's
          happening here! Good one Vance!

          Cheers,

          James Farmer
          Downunder
        • Vance Stevens
          I appreciate the kudos; observe, indeed! Did you guys know you re writing content for our website? Your comments and Dafne s have been placed at:
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 28, 2002
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            I appreciate the kudos; observe, indeed!

            Did you guys know you're writing content for our website? Your comments and
            Dafne's have been placed at:
            http://www.vancestevens.com/papers/evonline2002/week1.htm
            http://lightning.prohosting.com/~vstevens/papers/evonline2002/week1.htm

            James, send us a pic if you'd like and we'll put it next to your comments.

            I've also got started on week 2 (or you guys have, rather ...)
            http://www.vancestevens.com/papers/evonline2002/week2.htm
            http://lightning.prohosting.com/~vstevens/papers/evonline2002/week2.htm

            Nigel's comments are well taken as well. Our original Webheads group
            completely crashed, near complete loss of data, then partial recovery. We
            have our messages archive back with its usage stats, but we lost our
            calendar. So, yeah, it's a free service and who ya gonna call?? But it's
            true, it's not perfect. Be careful with it ... but we're optimists at
            Webheads. The glass is always half FULL. We try to take advantage of what's
            there.

            Vance


            Keep those cards and letters coming ...
            Vance


            jamesnfarmer wrote:

            > Hope some of the above is useful. If anyone's looking for a great
            > example of effective online groups check out
            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dogme/ or indeed, observe what's
            > happening here! Good one Vance!
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