Effective Use of e-Resources to Develop Students’ English Language Skills

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e-Learning Series: Effective Use of e-Resources to Develop Students’ English Language Skills at the Secondary Level

Dr Timothy Taylor, Senior Lecturer Department of English Language Education

Education University of Hong Kong 29 - 30 June 2020

Effective Use of e-Resources

to Develop Students’ English Language Skills


Today’s Workshop Rundown

Part 1: Introduction and Initial Experience-sharing (http://eteachers.online) Part 2: Principles and Practices of Using e-Resources Effectively in Teaching Language Skills

Short Break (10 minutes)

Part 3: Extended Experience-sharing Part 4: Q&A and Discussion


Part 1 - Introduction

The Role of e-Resources in Developing

Language Skills and Values Education


Our Quote of the Day

“The future has already arrived.

It just isn’t evenly distributed.”

~ William Gibson


Planning Goal: Choosing Core Apps for Developing Students’ Language Skills

Language Skills for English Learners





Language Knowledge for English Learners


Vocabulary Assessment Skills

Study Skills

Test-taking skills



Warm-up Activity

Watch a bit of the Pearl Report “Digital Divide” about a range of approaches to e-learning used in in Hong Kong schools.

1. How would you characterize your school’s use of eResources?

2. What is the status of the hardware/software/wifi resources?

3. What is the receptiveness of admin/teachers/students/parents?

4. What is the preparedness of teachers regarding experience and hands-on training?

Digital Divide: A Pearl Report on eLearning in Hong Kong (2012)



Integrating eResources and English Objectives

With the expansion of technologies and multimodal learning content, teachers must consider how to integrate traditional objectives with the continually

emerging newer elements of the English curriculum:

Multimodal materials: apps, websites, online learning platforms

New literacies: blogging, digital storytell, online multimedia expressions

Effective strategies to enhance students’ proficiency in the language skills

Effective use of technology to enhance teaching and learning approaches


The Role of e-Resources in the English Curriculum Consider the Curriculum

Information Technology for Interactive Learning Effective use of information technology (IT) allows for greater flexibility with respect to when and where to learn and who to learn with. It can support both classroom and

self-access language learning. The use of web-based or computer-assisted interactive learning tools to complement direct face-to-face contact not only provides learners with powerful mechanisms for communication and

collaboration with the teacher and each other, but also promotes better understanding of their learning progress. For example, teachers can:

present the lesson in a motivating and engaging way by making use of multimedia presentation tools;

provide opportunities for learners to take charge of their own learning through selective use of online resources;

encourage learners to become active users of English when they apply their IT skills for presentation, critical thinking, information evaluation and knowledge management, using information on the Internet;

engage learners in interactive and collaborative work through online discussions and sharing of ideas

English Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (2007), p. 97


The Role of e-Resources in the English Curriculum Consider Teachers and Technology

Initial Questions:

1. What technology do you know how to use and prefer to use?

2. What technology must you use, if any?

3. What technology is user-friendly for you and your students?

4. What teaching & learning skills does the technology support / enhance / extend? (Refer to graph for examples.)


Part 2 - Principles and Practice

Using e-Resources to Facilitate the Development

of Students’ English Language Skills


Task-based Teaching and Learning 1

(Recommendation for Compulsory Part)

In the Compulsory Part, teachers are encouraged to adopt the task-based

approach and make use of the concepts of Modules, Units and Tasks in organising learning and teaching. A module is an organising focus, and usually contains a

number of units which are thematically or conceptually related. These themes and concepts are explored through tasks. Using 52 resources and authentic materials, teachers may develop modules of their own to suit the interests, needs and

abilities of their particular group of learners.

English Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (2007), p. 52


Task-based Teaching and Learning 2 (Overview)

Language learning should be experiential and should aim at developing learners’

communicative competence. The task-based approach to language learning

emphasises learning to communicate through purposeful interaction. Through the use of tasks, learners are provided with purposeful contexts and engaged in

processes that require them to exercise critical thinking and creativity, explore issues and solutions, and learn to use the language skills and functions, grammar items and structures, vocabulary, and tone, style and register for meaningful

communication. The use of tasks also provides opportunities for the development of language learning strategies, generic skills, learner independence, and positive values and attitudes conducive to lifelong learning.

English Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (2007), p. 73


Task-based Teaching and Learning 3 (Principles)

When designing tasks, teachers are encouraged to consider and apply what follows:

Learner-centred instruction

Target-oriented English learning

Integrative and creative language use

Learning grammar in context

English Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (2007), p. 74


Task-based Teaching and Learning 4 (Stages)

pre-task stage, when particular language items or structures which learners will need in performing the task are introduced and practised, often through the teacher’s direct instruction;

while-task stage, when practice exercises or activities are provided to address any problems or difficulties that learners may be having with

particular language forms, which are preventing them from carrying out the task successfully; and

post-task stage, when further practice focussing on particular grammar items or aspects of language which learners did not use effectively during the task can be covered.

English Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (2007), p. 74


Recommended Online Training Resource:

Access to see “teacher sharing” across a variety of elearning topics

“Join” to be notified of new posts and sharing by teachers

“Enroll” to login to training videos on the use of 11 apps organized around 5 different teaching topics

View the training anytime and work at your own pace, or take the self-guided course for CPD (5-12 hours)


by The Department of English Language Education, EdUHK


The Role of e-Resources in the English Curriculum Consider the Levels of Student Activity

PICRAT is a useful

framework for planning, as a way to balance the

considerations of learning

objectives and innovation.


The Role of e-Resources in the English Curriculum Consider the Levels of Student Activity

PICRAT is a useful

framework for planning, as a way to balance the

considerations of learning

objectives and innovation.


The Role of e-Resources in the English Curriculum Consider the Balance of Essential Elements

TPACK is also useful for planning, as a way to

balance the considerations

of technology, pedagogy

and content knowledge.


Planning Goal: Choosing Core Apps for Developing Students’ Language Skills

Language Skills for English Learners





Language Knowledge for English Learners


Vocabulary Assessment Skills

Study Skills

Test-taking skills



For student individual, pair or group collaborative sharing, text discussion, response, rating, etc.

For the integration of a variety of organization and presentation tools that interact smoothly.

4 “Core Apps”

Which one of these following apps would you like to know more about?



Slides, sheets, docs, forms, blogger, sites...

For teacher-led synchronized presentations, immediate feedback, collaboration, etc.

Pear deck

For activating classroom communities around speaking

and listening skills




What is it?

A collaborative platform for teachers and students to easily share and interact with each others ideas, answers,

documents, replies and much more.


Feature-rich, with many settings to adjust format of padlet, user permissions, posting

preferences, rating options, design and more.

User- friendly

Reliable for Mainland students.


Limited to three padlet with free version per username.

Unlock all features and unlimited padlets with subscription



Sample Padlet:

In this padlet, I invited a class of BEd students to introduce and share e-Books that they made on Book Creator.

Members of each group would read and comment on the features of their group mates e-Books.


Our Padlet: Nothing gold can stay


For our sharing padlets, please share your

response to the Robert Frost poem

“Nothing Gold Can Stay”.


Learn more…


There are several

introductory videos on Padlet’s website to get you started.

We have also made a short step-by-step guide to getting started.

https://youtu.be/LPQj WSoiCIc



What is it?

A presentation plug-in used with Google Slide or PowerPoint online to allow teachers to direct slides and add interactive questions for checking in, Q&A, comprehension and feedback.


Works with Google Slides.

Reliable feedback for presentation or records.

Share slides with students.


Limited collaborative features.

Access to all features requires subscription.


Free Premium access during COVID-19 crisis. Go to:


Pear Deck Sharing:

Write a question you have about today’s

workshop. Or you may want to write a

comment… or a an IT

integration objective.


There are several introductory videos on the Pear Deck

website to get you started:

We have also made a short step-by-step guide to getting started:

Learn more…



Part 3 - Achieving Coherence:

Integrating I.T. with Skills and



Life Writing

What is Life Writing?

Life Writing is a genre of writing that includes a range of text types, such as diary, memoir and

autobiography. Life writing focuses on both the skills of effective storytelling and the

process of meaningful reflection.

Many of the learning objectives of Short Stories can be

addressed with Life Writing.


Why ‘Life Writing’?

● Life writing is immediately relevant to all students; their experience, choices and character are the content of their writing.

● Life writing is adaptable to all ability levels.

● Life writing engages students’ abilities in reflection, critical thinking, value choices and imagination.

● Like graphic texts, life writing can appeal to the reluctant, disengaged or struggling reader.

● There are abundant age- and language-appropriate texts for inspiring themes and the modelling of life writing language.

● Life writing creates a more authentic learning community when

students share and reflect on lived experience.


Input: Models and Inspiration

● Students can learn about the lives of others from traditional media (books, articles), videos and online resources. These examples can inspire thinking skills, observation skills and effective language

skills appropriate for life writing.


Input: First-Person Narratives

“Humans of New York”

Text, visual and video references

provide students with models of effective storytelling in 1st-person narratives.

“Humans of New York”, for example, provides hundreds of examples of portrait photos with one-paragraph, 1st-person narratives of diverse people’s ideas and experiences. Students can write a

one-paragraph “autobiography” based on this model and share it with classmates.

“I’m doing a review of last year. I’m looking at all the goals I set and whether I managed to achieve them. A big one for me was that I finally managed to get my driver’s license. It’s a little embarrassing because I’m well past that age, but I’ve always been terrified of driving. So I signed up for some lessons. I studied hard. I took extremely meticulous notes. Then I went to the testing center with my driving instructor. They assigned me a real hard faced guy from Eastern Europe. My

instructor told me: ‘This guy fails everyone.’ So I started off pretty nervous. I messed up almost immediately and made a rolling stop. I’m pretty sure I stopped completely, but apparently it was a rolling stop. The test seemed to go on forever. I couldn’t charm the guy. I tried to make conversation but he was silent the entire time. Then after we finished, he made me sit outside his office for an eternity. But finally he came out and told me that I’d passed! It was such a relief! I haven’t driven since.”


Input: Life is a story

“Drawing My Life”

For language modelling and input, students can be introduced to the life stories of famous and interesting people through a variety of multimedia

resources that include visual, listening and reading skills. “Drawing My Life”

is a genre of video-based life stories, with many examples on Youtube.


Output: Writing Real and Imagined Diary Entries

● To practice writing from different perspectives and points-of-view, students will write diary entries for different people in the first-person.

For example, students read selected diary entries from The Diary of Anne Frank

● Students write an entry in Anne’s diary for a later date, in her voice but with imagined historical and personal experiences.

● Record your own diary entry from a recent memorable day.


Output: Ten Turning Points Timeline

1. Teacher defines what a “turning point” is in a person’s life and gives several examples (paradigm shift, critical decision, crisis or success), including some of his or her own.

The common feature is that after each of these events, something in the person’s life has changed forever (though it may be a big or small change).

2. Look at the timelines of some well known heroes, celebrities, or artists. Decide if the events in the biography qualify as turning points or not.

3. Students brainstorm a list of 10 experiences they have had from earliest memory until now that qualify as ‘turning points’.

4. After listing ten turning points, students select and write a short paragraph on 3-4 of them.

5. One of the turning points is developed into an essay through additional steps of process writing.


Fan fiction / fanfiction / fanfic

What is Fan fiction?

Fan Fiction is a genre of

story-writing that is based on characters from popular culture, written by fans. Characters,

settings, and plot elements may be borrowed from popular novels, films, televisions shows, real-life musicians and other celebrities, even video games. Fans then write new scenes, endings or entire stories based on their imagined alternatives. Many of the learning objectives of Popular Culture can be addressed with Fan fiction.


Examples of Fan Fiction Scenarios

1. A familiar fairy tale, such as Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, needs a modern ending. Write a new ending to the fairy tale that would be more interesting to readers in 2018.

2. J.K. Rowling wants to write an eighth book in the Harry Potter series but needs some ideas. Students write a story proposal/outline with ideas for an eighth book.

(Voldemort is dead, so introduce a new villain.)

3. Students choose their favourite television series and write a short description of one of the scenes they enjoyed. They write a replacement dialogue between two of the main characters and perform it in class.

4. Your students’ favourite musician/band is performing in Hong Kong and they and a classmate/friend win

backstage passes to visit him/her/them after the concert. Write a short-short story describing the backstage meeting with the musician/band members.


Why ‘Fan Fiction’?

● Fan Fiction begins with the student’s interest, so it is highly motivating

● Fan Fiction encourages students to become familiar with the source material through careful reading, research and attention to detail

● Like graphic texts and life writing, fan fiction can appeal to the reluctant, disengaged or struggling reader.

● There are abundant age and theme appropriate texts for inspiration and modelling of language.

● Fan Fiction creates a natural audience, a community of readers who

can share, comment, edit or collaborate in creative writing.


Classroom Activity 1: Introducing Fanfiction

● Introduce the idea of fans and fandoms.

● Divide class into groups based on 4-5 types of fanfiction (books, movies, music, television shows, games).

● Provide each group with a corresponding example of fanfiction.

● Ask each group to: 1) summarize the piece; 2) rate the piece after a review of what to look for; 3) make suggestions for

improvement; 4) write a helpful review based on a book review.


Classroom Activity 2: Reimagine the Story

● When reading a class novel or play, encourage critical reading and multimedia literacy by asking students to re-imagine the story in a different media. In other words, if it were not a traditional narrative or play, how could the same story be told in different ways?

● For example, students might choose to tell the story through the Facebook profiles and status updates of multiple characters;

Instagram posts incorporating text, photos, and video; a WhatsApp text dialogue between two characters; or a Youtube vlog that permits authors to speak directly to the audience - and the audience to

respond with comments.


Classroom Activity 3: Create Missing Scenes

● Missing scenes are basically any scene that is not a part of the original story but would make sense in it (Gutierrez, 2012).

● If your students are reading a novel that leaves some area unexplored, having students write missing scenes is a good way to help add more to the story.

● Because of the popularity of missing scenes in other media (such as movie scenes, television, etc.), this will hopefully be a fun and engaging activity for your students.

● Take it a step further by getting your students to turn each other's written missing scene into drama skits or videos to help the original writer

understand how their writing was perceived and understood by others in the classroom.


Classroom Activity 4: Students as Beta Readers

“Beta-reader” is the fanfiction term for a proofreader. Beta-readers are an integral part of the online fanfiction community.

As a classroom activity, students can become beta-readers for or with each other. Alternatively, students can post a request for a reviewer for their own work and work with them online

throughout the process of their writing.

Beta-reading helps writers improve their writing. It also provides an authentic opportunity for students to learn about providing constructive feedback. This is an important skill in today's collaboration-driven world.

Provide students a model of positive and helpful feedback that is appropriate for their age and ability.

This Peer Review lesson from

peer feedback: 1) Compliments 2) Suggestions 3) Corrections. While designed for younger students, the principles are appropriate for secondary students unfamiliar with peer editing.


Classroom Activity 5: Publishing and Feedback

Once students have been through the beta-reading process and feel their stories are ready for a wider audience, they may post their stories in a location where they can be shared with

classmates, schoolmates and/or family and friends.

Depending on your school's technological resources, classes might create their own internal sharing on platforms such as a blog, website, e-portfolio or wiki. Feedback can be allowed on some platforms to allow students to interact with their readers.

Students can also post the story to a publicly available site like fanfiction.net, Figment, or Wattpad.

Once stories have been posted, be sure to keep watch of the feedback coming in from readers.

How much you interact with your readers is up to you, but many fanfiction authors find

discussions with readers can be constructive ways to learn to improve future stories. Some even edit the posted story based on feedback received.

Note: Fanfiction classroom activities online resource and references.


Integrative Teaching Approaches for Creativity and the New Literacy

New Literacy Genres

Correspondence to

LA Electives Integrating Activity Potential Platforms

Writing Your Life Short Stories

Write a fictional short story modeled on a short-short story and based on an important real-life experience. Blend with a digital platform.

Traditional books

Online resources

Blog or Website


Fan Fiction Popular Culture

Research a favourite celebrity and include him or her in a scene (or ending) from a story such as Harry Potter or Hunger Games.

Novels, Biographies, Feature articles



Graphic Novels Drama

Use elements learned from graphic novels to create a storyboard for a dramatic performance. Record and edit it.

Google Drive


Adobe Spark Video




Integrative Teaching Approaches for Language Skills:

Spotlight on eResources

Planning Objective Examples Platforms

To increase students’ language practice, confidence and fluency:

Design language skills activities which recycle prior learning

Review portfolio of prior learning to extend topics; undertake new tasks

Create a final multimedia presentation of learned material

Watch flipped class videos using prior content or language

Google Drive

Blog or Site



Adobe Spark Video

Design grammar-in-context activities with authentic, creative and digital texts

Read biography of hero, celebrity or historical figures

Write biographical sketch

Write digital diary or fanfiction sketch

Blog or Site

WebQuest/Online resource

Traditional book

Design activities with both top-down and bottom-up language skills objectives

Music video review

Movie trailer review



Design language activities with graphic, video, audio and text features

Read and write graphic novels

Video and podcasting

Blog or Site

Adobe Spark Video

Design activities that include a balanced focus on language form, meaning and analysis

Reading autobiographical memoir

Writing personal memoir (e.g. paradigm shift)

WebQuest/Online resource

Blog or Site

Traditional book


Experience Sharing and Discussion


Recommended References:

Balance with Blended Learning

by Catlin R. Tucker, Corwin Press (2020)

Going Google: Powerful Tools for 21st Century Learning

by Jared Covili, Corwin Press (2016)


Recommended References:

Blended Learning in Action: a Practical Guide Toward Sustainable Change

by Catlin R. Tucker, Corwin Press (2017)

The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy: Critical thinking in a multimedia world

by Cindy Scheibe and Faith Robow, Corwin Press (2012)




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