Vol. 9, Issue 4, May 2009

Webbing In
Eugenia D. Coutavas

Eugenia D. Coutavas

As I write this, many of my colleagues are attending this year’s TESOL Conference in Denver.  I couldn’t go, but it got me thinking about last year’s conference which took place here in New York City. 

It was a whole year ago, but I can still remember how exciting, frenetic, inspiring, and overwhelming it all was.  It took a few days to detoxify and when the dust settled, I was left thinking about the tension between technology and teaching; specifically the use of technology in a language-learning environment.  The final discussion group I attended added a new word to my lexicon: “technagogy,” which was defined as “pedagogy for using technology in second language learning.”

The session was titled “What’s Your Favorite Technagogy?”  And in my own way, I’ve been trying to explore this theme ever since.  To that end, I posted an informal survey on the NYS TESOL listserve about what types of technology my peers were using in their classrooms.  The response was fabulous and cut across the teaching spectrum - levels and grades.  (Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply!)  I plan on using the results to tailor my future columns, so stay tuned.

In the meantime… I wanted to share a Web site I found out about at the Applied Linguistics Conference in March.

What is it?
Lesson Writer

Why do I recommend it?
It’s a real time saver!  If you often use articles in class and spend a lot of time creating materials to go with the article, you will really appreciate this software. 

The site creates a lesson for you from any content that you cut and paste into it.  This may include warm-up questions or vocabulary, grammar, and word root exercises. 

The Web site is very nicely designed, with useful and straightforward tutorial videos.

The only drawback I see is the limited word count you are restricted to.  The article/content you can paste is limited to 400 words.

How I have used it.
I’ve done a dry run, but have not yet used it for in-class teaching purposes.  Please let me know if you do.

I look forward to sharing my technology/Web/Internet discoveries with you. Feel free to contact me with your your discoveries at Webbing In at: dialogue@nystesol.org.

Eugenia "Debbie" Coutavas received a B.A. in History of Art with a minor in photography from the University of La Verne in Athens, Greece, and an M.A. in TESOL from Hunter College.  In addition to teaching for more than ten years, Debbie was also the Web site coordinator for Hunter College's IELI Web site.