CALL IS-Electronic Village 2004


Using Webcasts to Train Science Students at Kuwait University to Think Critically and Independently

A Presentation at the 38th annual TESOL Convention, Long Beach, California

at the TESOL 2004 CALL-IS Internet Fair

by Buthaina Al Othman

Kuwait University

Wednesday, March 31, 2004 Internet Fair:
IEP, Higher Ed, Adult Ed
8:30-9:30 am

Target Audience: ESL/EFL teachers interested in implementing IT and project-based approach in their classes

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The purpose of this project was to show that using instructional technology is feasible and effective in a female-class at the university level in an EFL environment characterized by a conservative culture, and to test how e-learning can encourage a student-centered learning environment based on critical thinking and independent learning.

The main activity of the project required students to choose either to present their final term paper projects in-class or on-line before a group of international ESL/EFL teachers from Webheads community of practice, (CoP). For this purpose, an online chat portal, which supported text and voice, plus a facility to project PowerPoint or html files as WebPages, and was provided free of charge to Webheads' CoP, courtesy of Nine students volunteered to do online presentations, at the WEBHEAD'S Webcast Portal

This project required the class teacher to practice learning and teaching approaches and concepts based on constructivist theories of learning and techniques learned through participation in the Webheads CoP. She managed to lead her class as the "guide on the side" rather than as a "sage on the stage", facilitating learning processes inside her face to face classroom and online, using several computer mediated communication (CMC) tools including email, a message board, blogs, websites, and MSN and Yahoo Messenger, to provide the necessary instructions and conditions for scaffolding to the group of students presenting online.

The project resulted in a positive, desirable outcome for both students and the class instructor. It has positively influenced and motivated the class, benefiting them with various language, computer, Internet, and IT skills. This project has created a constructive academic competition between the two groups, those who presented online and in class. The in class presenters reported being motivated to present online if they are given an opportunity in the future. The project also benefited the class teacher testing her ability and IT skills confirming to her that this type of project is a necessity for both students and teachers to cope with the age of information technology

Photo shot, taken by Dustin Stevens
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© 2004 Buthaina Al Othman