Posted by & filed under cmalt, digital technology, EFL, mosomelt, Udemy Online Courses, Videos.

The video below explains how my partner, Keiko Sakui, and I have created online English and communication courses using the Udemy platform. These can be shared for free or purchased by anybody who uses Udemy. The specialist skills include making videos, audio, animation and editing.

Our desire to create online courses arose out of research we did on expert language teachers and a desire to emulate them and make something very practical. The following are references to that research:

Cowie, N., & Sakui, K. (2014). Take your pick: Out-of-class, blended language and Web 2.0 projects, and online. The JALT CALL Journal, 10, 3, 273-286.

Cowie, N., & Sakui, K. (2013). It’s never too late: An overview of e-learningELT Journal, 67, 4, 459-467.

Our current focus is on motivating online learners. This is a topic which we were very interested in previously and have now come back to.

February 14th 2019. How do we keep motivating learners?: Using online platforms to teach languageSoTEL Symposium. Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. With Keiko Sakui.

Sakui, K., & Cowie, N. (2012). The dark side of motivation: Teachers’ perspectives on ‘unmotivation’ELT Journal66, 2, 205-213.

Cowie, N., & Sakui, K. (2011). Critical but neglected: EFL teachers’ perspectives on learner motivation. In G. Murray, A. Gao & T. Lamb (Eds.) Identity, Motivation, and Autonomy: Exploring the Links, pp. 212-228 Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Sakui, K., & Cowie, N. (2008). “To speak English is tedious”: Student resistance in Japanese university classrooms. In P. Kalaja, V. Menezes & A. M. Barcelos (Eds.) Narratives of EFL Teaching and Learning, pp. 98-112. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Posted by & filed under EDL 820, mosomelt.

Before beginning this blog, I wanted to peek at my classmate’s blogs to see who/what they have picked as a positive note to end on.  I have a feeling that my positive may be a bit different, but it is a direction that I am headed in for the fall and have already begun moving towards by procuring equipment, etc.

I found Krista’s post extremely well representative of my views regarding the iPad roll in L.A. and how “unplanned” it was.  I found myself shaking my head at the county not thinking that their students could not bypass the security systems they have set out – come on – you are have just handed these out to high school students who are digital natives!  The programs to block all unwanted materials viewed were not developed by digital natives, rather digital immigrants.  A native is going to find their way around the system much, much faster.  I also wondered why YouTube???  But, I can understand why we just use it for so much currently like uploading vlogs, etc… that my students have created during PBL and Innovative Deeper learning.

Going back to my first paragraph, I am a big proponent of Virtual Reality in the classroom.  This could be because of the subject I teach – it really lends itself well to science at all levels.  I found Scott’s and Adam’s blogs to be quite interesting as they showcased all levels of VR that can be used in the classroom.  I will let you pop over to their sites to read about the difference between each as there is no sense in re-writing what has already been done so well.

Instead, I will focus on the benefits of VR in the classroom and explain the experience that led me to bring this into my class.  However, I am only one teacher, and I feel that many teachers could benefit from the use of VR in their classrooms.  Ashley McCann elaborated on how the immersive nature of virtual reality can enhance our students learning.

I believe that there is a place in education for gamification and that VR can help bring together problem-solving, deeper learning and gamification into one package while allowing students to be curious.  Using a game based system can give students who need immediate feedback to keep them on track engaged (such as earning badges, etc…).   It also has the ability to take students places that we would never, as educators are able to take them by opening up the world to digital field trips or investigations that would be too costly to explore or simply unavailable such as layers of the body systems.

I have had the experience of using VR at the University of Saskatoon during Science on Stage Canada, 2018.  I met Dr. Sean Maw who is a professor at the College of Engineering.  He is using VR in one of his first year engineering classes to have his students build a bridge that will be able to handle a truck carrying a force across it (you can increase the weight of your truck the more confident you are – Newtons).  I was so captivated by this experience that I visited Innovation Place in September to discuss the possibility of bringing this technology into my classroom – but to use it in a bit of a different way.  Besides being able to build bridges, etc… I want my students to build the chassis of a car and then have another program (not developed yet) send the design to our 3D printers.  The idea is that the students can build, test and walk around their cars first before during the creative process, then send it to be physically built, tested, and ran against others.  I have begun to collect equipment, we will see how long it takes my dream to become a reality.  I have a number of students who would benefit greatly from this and I feel that it would level the playing field in my room, meaning that inclusivity may be achieved through the use of this tool.  Would this tool entice our poor attendees to come to school more often? Will VR allow for all types of learners?  Kinesthetic, Visual, Spatial, Aural? I feel that my creative leadership style lends itself well towards using VR.  Have a look at the following video and see what you think – are you hooked?

Note – I did get to experience space in VR – it was UNREAL!!!

Take a look at the difference it made in a school in Tennessee.

Let me know what you think!  I would love to hear your feedback as I learn from everyone and there are many of you who have already ventured where I intend to go.

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

It’s 3:00 am, and I can’t sleep.  In fact, I woke up thinking about my major project and how it has begun to stitch itself together like a fine quilt and unravel like a loved blanket all at the same time.  Has this ever happened to you?  Gah!!!  This is how progress is made, small steps I keep reminding myself, even if things do not happen within our allotted semester time, any small step forward is a success.

Things that are going well:

  • All of the grades that are using Google Classroom are LOVING it!  They are asking me to use it more than my school blog now….. Maybe my blog might become obsolete?  I hope not, I like my blog as it allows parents easy access to see what their students are up to daily.  And whatever, it is my blog,,, so I will keep it!
  • I have learned that the current grade 8’s from the elementary school in Lumsden are already connected to Google Classroom and their teacher is using it all the time!  This will make it easier for me once they come to grade 10 (or earlier depending on my course load next year).
  • There is a way to transfer G-Suite from a student email to their personal email before graduation – BUT who is going to teach this to the students?  Whose job is this? Does this mean the school owns the students work and the student doesn’t?  So many more questions!!

Things that are not going well:

  • Because I am not an administrator for our school divisions G-Suite I cannot access the administrator reports for my Classrooms.  This may be because I am using my personal Gmail account.  Big No No – I know!  But everything I don’t consider my personal email account mine, all of my school info is in there.  This is an issue I am now working on.
  • My students have used their personal email accounts as well because they were having issues signing in with their school emails.  I have never, nor will I ever contact a student via Google Classroom and I delete my classroom students immediately after the class is done.  However, this is still an issue.  So – while my intentions are good, I am bending a lot of rules.

AS my project begins to come together, I am left with so many questions, maybe more than when I began?  But this is entirely part of the learning process, and I am okay with that.  I don’t think that Kristen and Stephen are expecting these projects to be entirely finished at the outset of this class, some of our projects will be an ongoing passion project that may take a bit longer than the four months we have together in this course for our leadership styles to percolate within our projects.  Mine will take just a bit longer, I feel that I will need a full school year to collect data (at this point I feel that it will have to be qualitatively done) in order to present it to my division.  I do not want to go to them with a weak case, as they are so pro one other LMS usage.  You know what?  I am okay with that, I will keep on using my Google Classroom – however, I will have students use their own school emails making sure that I am protected.  AND now we are back to the original question that began this whole thing…who is going to tell them and give them (the students) the time to transfer their educational portfolios over to their own accounts????