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Tools for Engaging the 21st-Century Students
By Professor Jonathan Acua-Solano
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

To start with and put my professional life in perspective, I am an English Language
Instructor at Universidad Latina mostly working with students who are enrolled in ELT
(English Language Teaching) and whose professional goal is to teach high school or adult
students. And although I do not teach online courses per se, I have tried to empirically
run courses in which I have successfully implemented the use of Web tools to enhance
student commitment to the class and learning of the subject-matter studied in class.
Among the different online tools that I have been using for about five years, I have
two that combined with additional software or simple html understanding, students can
produce better results. On the one hand, I have my own channel on along
with videos I have produced with the help of freeware to edit audio and videos, both by
NCH Software: Wave Pad and Video Pad. Once videos are produced, edited, and polished,
they are uploaded onto and/or later embedded on the class Moodle LMS or
on my personal class blogs for the students.
On the other hand, since I do not really like the layout and display of the forum
tool in Moodle, I have always been drawn to use Nicenet.Org to host class forums and
exchange of ideas. In Nicenet the threads of conversation are visible and readable by
students as soon as the conferencing rooms are open. Learners can visualize the whole
different threads of communication among class members, but in Moodle the visualization
or display of conversation threads is hidden making students click more times to be
able to read their partners entries and to respond to them. Additionally, if students are
trained to use Nicenet with some simple understanding of html, they can include pictures,
presentations hosted in sites such as SlideShare.Net and Scribd.Com, etc.
Because you do not usually find tailor-made content for your class, I decided to create
my own English pronunciation videos to help students understand and visualize vowel
segment differences. The class explanation combined with the content introduced and
displayed in my class blog have helped students for almost five years to better understand
and assimilate subtle differences in American English pronunciation. And because Nicenet
has a better display and layout when compared to Moodle forums, students find this other
Web tool more appealing for the amount of extra features it includes to share ideas, links,
documents, messaging, class members, and teacher contact information.

To fully comprehend the scope of this teaching reflections, it is highly advisable that
the following topics must be expanded further:
Freeware to edit audio and video
Forums on NiceNet.Org

Professor Jonathan Acua-Solano
ELT Trainer, Instructor & Curriculum Developer based in Costa Rica
Active NCTE Costa Rica Member
Resource Teacher & Curricular Developer at CCCN
Senior ELT Instructor at Universidad Latina, Costa Rica, since 1998
Contact Information:
Twitter @jonacuso

BIN-02 Pronunciation 1
BIN-06 Pronunciation 2
BIN-04 Reading Skills 1 Reading Skills
Development BIN-08 Reading Skills 2

Curated Topics
TEFL Daily
ELT Daily
English Language Teaching Journal
Phonemics Daily
The Linguists: Linguistics News
Jonathans Learning Attic

Article published on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to quote this blog entry:

Acua, J. (2014, June 11). Tools for Engaging 21
Century Learners.
Retrieved from Reflective Online Teaching Website: http://reflective-online-