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Online one to one tutoring for school children

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On the BBC news last night, I saw a brief extract of what was supposed to be online tutoring.  It all looked quite slick in terms of the quality of the picture and the tutor seemed empathetic but it seemed to be an example of the constraints of using a tool that provides a webcam of the tutor rather than a Whiteboard as in Adobe Connect.  The tutor held up a piece of paper that had a sentence on and asked the school pupil what mistakes there were (some words that should have been in capitals were in lower case).  She had to check the learner could see and it probably was not very clear.  With Adobe Connect, this can be put on the whiteboard, which would be clearer.  She then asked the learner how to correct it.  Again Adobe Connect might look less slick but would have the affordance of allowing the learner to be able to correct it themselves by using the "draw" tool.

It seems worrying that money is being spent on online tutoring tools that seem superficially "modern" but a less spectacular looking platform like Adobe Connect (or OU Live and Elluminate - previous OU tools) would be better in terms of pedagogy and allowing learners to do more themselves.

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OU Live

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My first experience of OU Live today (an E301 tutorial).  Overall, it seemed quite similar to Elluminate but more people seemed to have problems with sound quality.  However, this might have been chance.

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OU Live demonstration

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I attended the OU Live (replacement for Elluminate) demonstration yesterday.  My impression is that it is quite similar to Elluminate but perhaps more differences will become apparent once I start using it.
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Technical problem with Elluminate

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Sunday, 10 Nov 2013, 11:29

I had my first problem accessing Elluminate for some time yesterday.  I eventually solved it by using internet explorer rather than Firefox but it is strange this should have happened when it worked fine on Wednesday.

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Elluminate and teacher strain

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 20 Jan 2014, 15:51

Due to circumstances, I had two Elluminate sessions on the same day last Saturday (one should have been a face to face tutorial but was changed to Elluminate as the venue was closed and many students would have found it difficult to get to Bristol anyway with the transport chaos).

It was very much more tiring than a similar amount of face to face teaching would be and the intensity of Elluminate teaching was very apparent.

 

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Elluminate

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I did a session on Elluminate for E301 on Sunday.  I had a lot of positive feedback on this.  The session perhaps seemed quite dynamic because it was so well attended.

Again, there was quite a mixture of students who have attended Elluminate before and those for whom it is new.  This provides me with a dilemma in terms of how simple I keep the structure of the session.  I decided not to use breakout rooms because I thought they might intimidate the newcomers if some people seemed so much more at ease.

Would any of the students who attended like to add their perspectives?

 

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Elluminate and committed students

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I offered an Elluminate session last night for students on E852 and I was extremely impressed by how committed students were.  The session took place at 9pm GMT but students attended from Russia (where it was a 1 am start) and Korea (6am).  Even for those in Europe, it was late by the finish (well after 11 pm). Even for the few in Britain, the timing was not necessarily convenient with aspects of family life providing distractions.

So, it seems that many students are willing to devote time for the chance to interact in real time by the best methods we have that are practical.

 

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Elluminate meetings

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I have had a couple of Elluminate meetings recently with new students from my E852 groups.

It has seemed to me that it is difficult to encourage deep thought on Elluminate and the more exploratory talk (Mercer 2000) does not really occur.  One reason for this is that wait time in Elluminate seems very awkward - much more than in face to face student where it is possible to see whether students are thinking or just completely stumped. 

I put these thoughts to one of the groups at the end of the session and there was quite an interesting response with one saying that my view was the result of being a man.  This comment seemed to resonate with the other (all were female) students in the session.   Perhaps this relates to what Rovai (2001: 41) calls “socio-emotional messages” and they feel that the sense of belonging is more important than the content.

This seems reasonable as students can really theorise and reflect on complex issues in the asynchronous forums but Elluminate helps them to feel part of the course.

Mercer, N. (2000) Words and Minds: how we use language to think together. London: Routledge.
Rovai, A.P. (2001) “Building classroom community at a distance: a case study” Education Technology Research and Development, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2001, pp. 33–48

 

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Elluminate meeting on Saturday for L185

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We had an Elluminate meeting on Saturday for L185.

There are now issues relating to level of experience with Elluminate.  A few years ago, all students tended to need an introduction to the technology.  However, many of the students are now familiar with it from other courses.  For these students, introductory activities are perhaps not so useful but there are also students who are new who need a gentle introduction.

I suppose I need to clarify to students the expectations of the first session and also provide more content that is interesting in its own right.

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Elluminate meeting with colleagues

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We had an Elluminate meeting of colleagues teaching on other Language Studies courses like E303 last night.  Most of the colleagues had only limited experience of using Elluminate and I think that they felt better about it having been able to practise in a relaxed way.
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Elluminate

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I have had a busy week on Elluminate this week with sessions on consecutive evenings.  It is quite an intense way of working, especially with small groups.  I think I need to work on giving time to students to think and not be afraid of the silence as they think.

Would any of the participants like to comment?

 

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Elluminate and L185

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A new L185 has recently started.  I did the first Elluminate session with one of the groups a couple of days ago.  It seemed to work reasonably well although there were some problems with loss of sound.

Would any of the participants care to comment on how they felt about it?

 

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Elluminate one to one

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 30 Jan 2012, 10:10
I had an Elluminate session yesterday which only one student attended.  It seemed to be quite a fruitful session as there was not so much time spent on management issues like organising breakout rooms.
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Elluminate again

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Did another Elluminate session yesterday.  I think that one of the grreatest benefits is that students can share skills.  For example, one of the students told the rest of the group how to do screenshots and this seemed to be reassuring and some of the rest of the group seemed to appreciate a spoken explanation in addition to the one on the course website.
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Elluminate session for E852

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It was good being able to talk to students on the course yesterday and I think Elluminate can play an important affective role in bringing students together and giving extra momentum to their studies.  Does anyone have thoughts on this?
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Reflections on yesterday's Elluminate

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 5 Apr 2011, 10:20
The session seemed to go okay and there was some useful content discussed but students seemed to prefer to use the texting option than speaking.  I would like future sessions to be more student centred. 
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Elluminate compared to Adobe Connect

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 5 Apr 2011, 10:20
I had a go with using Adobe Connect a few days ago.  It seems quite simple compared to Elluminate.  This is both good and bad.  From the point of view of students having problems connecting, Adobe Connect seems more successful but it seems to be more limited pedagogically.
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Staff development day Cardiff

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 5 Apr 2011, 10:29

There was a Languages staff development day in Cardiff last Saturday.

It was interesting to meet people teaching different languages.  There was a strong feeling of teachers of Welsh that they were doing something important in terms of maintaining national identity.

It is clear that Elluminate is being widely used and is seen as having great potential but I wonder how long students need to get used to it.

I gave a brief presentation on plagiarism issues in EAP.

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Good Elluminate meeting last night

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 5 Apr 2011, 10:30

We had an Elluminate meeting last night to debrief on the L185 course.  From a technical point of view, it was the first flawless Elluminate I have experienced.  I have further meetings today and on Sunday.

I thought the content of the meeting was useful.  As is often the case, there was quite a variety of views on the usefulness of metalanguage for language teaching.  I tend to be someone who feels that metalanguage should be very limited but some colleagues did not agree.

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Elluminate again

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 19 May 2011, 15:51
It seems to be working more smoothly as a way of teaching as I become more familiar with it and also (perhaps even more importantly) use a better quality computer.  It does seem to require a very good computer and some students do not have that.
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