Monday, August 30, 2010

Underwater: The giant sea creatures (Exercise on Hypertext and Hypermedia)

Orcas, or killer whales, are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world's most powerful predators. They feast on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, employing teeth that can be four inches (ten centimeters) long. They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds.
Whales make a wide variety of communicative sounds, and each pod has distinctive noises that its members will recognize even at a distance. They use echolocation to communicate and hunt, making sounds that travel underwater until they encounter objects, then bounce back, revealing their location, size, and shape.

Killer whales are protective of their young, and other adolescent females often assist the mother in caring for them. Mothers give birth every three to ten years, after a 17-month pregnancy.Orcas are immediately recognizable by their distinctive black-and-white coloring and are the intelligent, trainable stars of many aquarium shows. Killer whales have never been extensively hunted by humans

Text adapted from :

pictures taken from:

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Title: Developing linguistic and cultural perspectives of English as a foreign language through email discussion
Journal: JALT CALL SIG Journal, 2008. Vol.4, No.3,pp 3- 14. (this is the link )
Author:The author is Bahman Gorjian, who is an assistant professor at Islamic Azad University,Iran in TEFL Department, Science and Research Centre. He got his Ph.D in TEFL from the same university.

One of the aims of conducting this research is to investigate whether the usage of email discussion can enhance the learners’ knowledge of second language (L2) culture. The discussion was done in the form of writing short essays within 200-300 of words with discussion on various topics about culture and perspectives.  Another aim is to develop writing skills with appropriate and accurate grammar usage. This study is an experimental study where experiment between control and experimental group was done. There were 400 subjects participated in this study. The subjects were non-native intermediate students majoring in English translation from various courses. They were enrolled in the fall semester in 2007. Their average age was 17. 18 non-native instructors also got involved in this study with the average 12 years of teaching in EFL Department. Their average age was 33. In selecting the two targeted groups, 650 candidates sat for a L2 writing proficiency test from TOEFL. From the 650 candidates, 400 of the most successful scorers selected to join the study. The selected 400 participants then sat for pre test. During the pre test, the participants were needed to write a two-paragraph cultural-oriented essay in order to examine their level of L2 cultural awareness. One group was named with control group and another group was experimental group. In an effort of figuring out the role of email and L2 cultural information transfer, the two groups had to write 12 essays on different topic about culture. One essay had to be written by each participant per week. Both groups received the same topic.  The participants from experimental group had to write the essays via email and control group traditionally handed in their work through hard copy submission. The post test of writing about culture was conducted as final exam to determine how much they have progressed. The selected 18 non-native instructors became the raters and feedback providers. The result of this study shows that the usage of email discussion with the assistance of L2 teachers can give impact on L2 learners’ cultural awareness. Besides that, it gives beneficial outcomes for the learners’ linguistic development and writing skills.

 This research interests me by informing way on how cultural information can be exchanged in an attractive way; via email discussion. While interacting with others via computer technology, learners in the same time can improve their linguistic proficiency as well as their writing skills. If this study does not interact with linguistic elements and stand solely on cultural exchange, this study perhaps fails in gaining my interest. This study was successfully conducted with pre-test and post test among the two groups. In addition, the participation of 18 language instructors was also appropriate in rating the participants’ performance whether they could improve from the study or not. However, the study failed to identify the suitable quantifiable of “culture” measurement. In gauging whether cultural awareness is rising or declining, a specific measurement scale should be applied. Even the L2 teacher who became the raters claimed that the learners showed the progress, the statement cannot be generalized to all. In the future, scrutinize instrument with specific rating scale should be used in achieving the validity of the research findings. Within Malaysian context, email discussion in enhancing linguistic and writing skills of L2 learners is already integrated. I used to experience it when I took part in computer class during primary school. When I was in secondary school, the method was still traditional similar to what had been applied to the control group in this study. In Malaysia, cultural exchange among L2 learners and native speakers is still not fully applied. That is because the major concern of L2 instructors or teachers here is more on the language proficiency attainment rather than the cultural exchange and awareness. This research however can give a new strategy for L2 teachers in motivating the L2 learner to engage in interactive L2 learning in different way. Gaining cultural awareness can be considered as additional outcomes of the strategy but the language attainment should be the main target.

As a conclusion, the application of email in improving linguistic and writing skills should be supported

(785 words)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reflection on Hot Potatoes

Write a reflection on the use of Hot Potatoes thus far (no specific format, requirements etc. You're free to write anything).

Assalamualaikum.First of all, I would like to thank Prof. Izaham for making the CALL class  enjoyable and interesting; with one hour lecture and one hour computer-based language exercise. The class never show the dryness as the computer application is applied after being taught. As I relate to myself, I am a tactile and visual learner thus this condition help me to prolong my attention span.

Hot Potatoes was introduced by Prof. Izaham somewhere in August. For the first attempt, I found using the application as difficult. Alhamdulillah, with the help of the classmates, my mind set is changed and i found it as not very difficult as i thought before. It is interesting to use Hot Potatoes in designing exercises for the students. I never knew how to use Hot Potatoes before ( a senior used to download the application to my computer and I almost remove it ) because I didn't know its purpose. When I got into CALL class, now I know the purposes and the features of Hot Potatoes.

Even though I found Hot Potatoes application is enjoyable and motivating, sometimes I face difficulties. Sometimes I have to redo the exercises which I have constructed just to make sure it can be downloaded and lack of imperfections. I admit, I am not as creative as other classmates in developing the tasks through Hot Potatoes. sometimes, I missed important steps in creating and publishing the exercises. In addition, it makes me feel a little bit stress. Alhamdulillah, fellow friends help me a lot in working out with the difficulties. Thanks to them..

I'm still new to the Hot Potatoes and I need to explore further to use other features. 

In applying Hot Potatoes, there are several types of exercises can be designed such as JMatch,JMix,JCloze and so on. Personally, the most capturing task is JMatch. The reason why I like JMatch because I like to match this and that. In my personal life, I am more interested with compare and contrast games as well as match making games.

Overall, I like to use Hot Potatoes in designing the courseware.As like me, I think other people will also like the application.

Thursday, August 12, 2010