JOHOR BARU - School teacher J. Ammani has turned to Glogster to make learning English fun and it has become an eye-opener to not only her students here but also educators worldwide.
Those not familiar with this social network, Glogster allows users to create free interactive posters, or glogs, which is short for graphic blogs.
This interactive multimedia image looks like a poster, but readers can interact with the content. While the majority of users are young people, the tool has become helpful to teachers, educators and those in the advertising business.
The user inserts text, images, photos, audio (MP3), videos, special effects and other elements into their glogs to generate a multimedia online creation and share with other users on the site or via other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Ammani, 29, who teaches at SMK Kempas said her own teaching module on Glogster had been internationally recognised, when she represented Malaysia at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain, between March 9 and March 16.
"I was the winner in the Expert Educator Competition in the category of knowledge construction and critical thinking with my module, titled Poster Yourself Programme.
"I won after being a finalist among 250 people from 78 countries. A total of 23,000 people worldwide took part in the competition," she said in a recent interview here.
Ammani, who has been a teacher for six years, added that her passion for teaching English had pushed her to come up with ideas and ways to make learning the language fun through her module, which was developed last year.
"I decided to make the traditional classroom learning of English fun with technology and interacting with the community," she said, explaining that as part of her module, her students were divided into groups and required to interview goreng pisang sellers, stall operators and shops within a 2km radius from the school.
"My students record their interviews. If it is in Malay, I ask them to use the Bing software to translate the interview into English and then use movie maker to show their project to the entire class," she added.
Besides the social media, Ammani got her 13-year-old and 14-year-old students to speak in English with students from overseas via Skype.
"So far we have conversed with students from Thailand, Indonesia and India and it was a real eye opener for my students who realise that English is an important language, especially internationally," she said, adding that it helped them learn about different cultures.
Ammani said within two weeks of using her module, she had seen marked improvements in her students with regard to their personality, proficiency in the language and their level of motivation, adding that the students also became more keen to learn English.
Prior to the Microsoft competition last month, Ammani had represented Malaysia in a Unesco event on associated school projects in New Delhi in 2009, had won a gold award from the Asia Europe Foundation in 2010 and was a moderator at the Johor International Leadership conference in 2011.
She credits her students for all her winnings and thanked her school administration for their support, especially in granting her unrecorded leave to represent Malaysia in Spain.