My learners are definitely 'digital natives' and I, too, am quite good at using digital tools.I would like to incorporate the use of the internet into our lessons,without overwhelming the interm.learners I have in mind with a lot of English texts to read

ANSWER:  To promote selective reading and fact finding for elementary and pre-intermediate learners,  you can create information-centered tasks in which your learners will read with the purpose of fact gathering.  Hence, they will scan for specific information in order to complete the task you design for them. 

Here are some guidelines for and an example of "Writing Search Tasks":

WHAT? 

A. Well written tasks which will serve as a 'structured guide' for the learners' information search and note-taking.

B. Worksheets,  featuring graphic organizers help guide learners' 'research', as they help indicate which specific pieces of information need to be found in order to complete the diagram.

HOW?  Teacher prepares the task and chooses the appropriate graphic organizer depending on the topic of the search and/or the content of the texts that learners will search for.  With some tasks, there may be opportunities here for recycling vocabulary from their course material.

WHY? Search Tasks require learners, from the start of their language learning experience, to use English as the medium for finding information, without the use of translation tools.  Search task exercises will improve their reading and vocabulary skills tremendously and, hence, their self-confidence.

WHEN?  At designated 'Let's Learn About ...' times of the week, perhaps, each Monday, Tuesday or end of the week for 10 -15 minutes.  Examples of task questions:  Which is the most popular tourist destination in Europe?  Where can we taste sushi in or near our neighborhood? Which countries in Africa have coastlines? What are the processes of homogenization and pasteurization?

WHERE?

For Individual and Pair work: 

In the computer lab at school, learners can work in pairs.  If all learners have Internet access at home, Search Tasks can be set for homework. 

For Group Work:

Ideally you can write 5-7 distinct tasks so that you can organize group work and peer teaching/learning sessions during a subsequent lesson.  Once the learners complete their tasks, they get into groups with those learners who had the same task as they did to check the information found.  After that, you re-group the learners so that each learner is together with peers who have searched for different information--an information gap of sorts is created.  In their new groups, learners report to the other members what they have learned.

Also Search Tasks can be a good start and/or serve as scaffolding tasks for project work.

AN EXAMPLE:

Worksheet Instructions: 

Use the links at the bottom of this worksheet to visit websites and read about the Polar Bear and the Panda Bear.   You may also use a search engine to find further other information and fill out this Venn diagram.

To start, fill in information about:

1) maximum weight

2)  countries/regions where they live (Habitat).

3) Physical description (Here you may describe the accompanying

    photos!)

4)  Food

5) Scientific name of the species. 

5) Any other facts you can compare.

 

 

Extra Credit "Beyond Bears":  Once you finish, as an independent project, you can create another Venn Diagram about  2 types of animals of the same species, (e.g. a Siamese cat and Turkish Angora cats, a Labrador and Irish setter dogs, etc. . .).

Websites to search:

http://bearwithus.org/8-bears-of-the-world/

https://www.popsci.com/science/gallery/2013-06/bear-species-order-quality#page-14

http://www.bearsoftheworld.net

 

Have a Creative New Year,

Suzanne Antonaros and Lilika Couri,

www.etc-seminars.gr

 January 2018