RWT Timeline

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Read Write Think (RWT) Timeline is an application available for iPads, Androids or as a web application (Flash required). It is a tool that can be used to create timelines. RWT Timeline can support multiple profiles and users.

One great thing about this application is that it doesn’t require registration or email addresses so administrative processes can be avoided. Images can be integrated into the timeline and it doesn’t require dates to create a timeline offering greater flexibility with respect to other timeline tools on the market. Another advantage to the RWT Timeline application is that timeline projects can be saved, re-opened and worked on at a later time. The timelines can also be converted to PDF documents.

I see this application as particularly useful for a variety of in-class activities such as teaching grammar points that require time explanations. Secondly, I could create a timeline to be shown to students to have them recount a story or series of events. In these two respects, the timeline could be a tool the teachers use to create a timeline. On the other hand, it could also be used as a tool students use to create timelines. Perhaps to create a personal timeline of their own lives or to recall the events within a period of time (i.e. a day, a week or a weekend).

Another idea for my future classroom is to create timelines that can be printed and hung on the classroom walls that overview verb tenses and their relation to time. I could use these timelines as written support that are always referred to when students get confused about which verb tense to use. This is an effective strategy identified in Sharon Bassano’s article, Helping ESL Students Remember to Speak English During Group Work, to increase students use of English in the classroom.

The use of timelines as mentioned on Connie Malamed’s blog, The Art of Timelines for Learning, offer positive implications for students’ learning in that they

“provide structure, enable chunking, and provide a good source of interaction”

Timelines are very adaptable. I could use them to carry out  a jigsaw or information gap activity, for example. Even more, I could use timelines as authentic material that the students have created themselves about themselves and block out information on the timelines. The students would then have to complete a cooperative learning, jigsaw task where they would be required to speak to different students to gather the information needed to complete the timelines they each have.

In effect, creating timelines would be considered to be at the Modification level of Ruben R. Puentedura’s SMAR Classification whereby their creation would be enhancing the traditional goings-on of the classroom and transforming the classroom. Timelines are considered a type of visual aid. As stated in Karen and Jack Bradley’s blog article, Scaffolding Academic Learning for Second Language Learners:

“visual aids are identified as being one of the three types of scaffolding strategies effective for second language learners”

Timelines are also an effective way to visually demonstrate grammar tenses where it is crucial to be able to understand the time aspect in relation to verb tenses, especially, for verb tenses that do not exist in French but do in English.

Overall, using an application such as, RWT Timeline offers a variety of options on how to use them and plenty of advantages for students who can use them as a creation tool. As with any application or technological toom, their use in the classroom needs to be planned and justified to ensure positive implications on the students’ learning. In the case of RWT Timeline, I perceive their benefit as outweighing their bad points. Additionally, students’ perceptions and reactions to using them should also be taken into consideration when they are implemented for classroom use.

Videolicious

I discovered a neat iPhone application called Videolicious. It’s simple and easy to use and can be used to create videos. The nice thing about the Videolicious website is they have a Video Recipe section that lays out the steps involved in making various types of videos. They include Creating a Video about a Social Activity, Sensitive Subject Matters, Protest Movement, Breaking News Story, Tattoos and etc. The Videolicious application can be downloaded to any iPhone or iPad in seconds. Once the application is downloaded, an array of videos can be created within a matter of minutes.

I would use Videolicious in the ESL classroom for various projects because of the positive learning implications for students. For lower level students, I would use it to create short videos such as a simple news story. For example, where students would have to use the past tense to present the news story. I could give each group a different news story, have them make a video each (in teams). On the other hand, I could have higher level students make videos on sensitive subject matters as a means of a debate. A subject and side (i.e. legalizing marijuana) could be given to students in small groups and they would have to create a video for the side against legalization of marijuana while another group would do the side supporting the legalization of marijuana. Of course, giving out a variety of topics with sides for and against.

If Videolicious is used as a supplementary resource to complete a project task it means that students will develop skills such as, planning, critical thinking and creativity from project-based learning and remain motivated by the fact that they will end up with a finished product that will be viewed by others (i.e. other students in the class, other students in the school, or the whole world if it is uploaded on social media). As confirmed in an edutopia blog, Why Is Project-Based Learning Important?, project-based learning helps students build the necessary skills to live in a knowledge-based, technological society.

Another idea I envision is inspired by an outdoor scavenger hunt I once did with two Secondary Two Enriched English classes where each class was divided into teams of three. While teams walked around a residential neighbourhood and using a list (scavenger hunt) with various house and yard vocabulary (i.e. a house with a bay window, a house made of stone, a bungalow, a yard with a trellis, etc.), they had to take photos as evidence that they both understood and found an example of each item on the list. It was an exciting and motivating activity for the students. However, I think integrating the use of Videolicious could add more value and more effective learning outcomes for the students if they were asked to make a video showing their photos with commentary linked to each item on their lists. In reference to Ruben R. Puentedura’s SMAR Classification, this type of activity would be considered Redefinition, whereby this type of technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable. Further, as noted on Bow Valley College’s ESL Literacy Network website, using authentic materials can provide many benefits to ESL learners’ including increased confidence using the target language, motivation, help learners transfer their literacy skills from from familiar formats to a variety of other formats, prepare learners for real-world encounters they may have, and support learners’ transition and integration into the world outside the classroom. The video could also be submitted as their assignment and evaluated.  As stated in John Orlando’s (PhD, Teaching with Technology) blog,  Ask Your Students to Create Videos to Demonstrate Learning, while traditional writing assignments are appropriate for many types of assessments, there is no law requiring it for all assessments. Thus, a video can be an innovative alternative to be evaluated.