Remote Learning Strategies with Side by Side eTexts

By Bill Bliss and Steven J. Molinsky

We are inspired by how quickly and creatively English language instructors have implemented remote learning over the past several weeks in response to the challenge of moving their classes online. Many are using the eText versions of Side by Side Plus and Side by Side Extra for this purpose, citing the programmatic and predictable nature of the courses and their “Zoom-friendly” communicative methodology.

To support instructors, we have created a new quick-start guide to Remote Learning Strategies with the Side by Side eText. It offers tips for using the eText along with Zoom and other platforms to create a dynamic and interactive remote learning experience. The guide also explains how teachers can use the eText to create classes, modify course content, communicate with students, and document their program participation and progress.

Side by Side eText

Synchronous, Asynchronous, and Independent Learning

Synchronous instruction is easy, interactive, and fun using a conferencing platform such as Zoom or Google Meet. Instructors can use screensharing to display the lesson page on students’ devices. Breakout rooms enable the highly interactive pair practice that is the hallmark of the Side by Side guided conversation methodology.

Asynchronous learning is an important component of the remote learning experience as students preview on their own activities and content to prepare for a synchronous class, and then do follow-up activities to reinforce and expand upon the online lesson.

Independent learning is promoted through easy-to-access embedded audio, course features such as the Side by Side Gazette, and the unique FunZone digital amusement park that offers informal, self-directed, and flexible learning through motivating instant-feedback activities, games, and videos.

Zooming with the Side by Side eTexts

screensharing

Screensharing allows instructors to display the digital student book page for all students, with instant access to the audio program for each page. The eText’s enlargement tool makes it possible to focus on a particular activity, such as a dialog, illustration, or exercise. This is especially helpful to students who access online sessions on a smartphone or small tablet device.

gallery view

Gallery View builds community in the online classroom as students participate together in listening and speaking practice, present dialogs and role plays, and engage in discussions.

breakout rooms

Breakout Room mode in the Zoom platform is the ideal environment for pair practice that is at the core of the Side by Side guided conversation methodology. The instructor can pre-assign particular students to work together in pairs, or the platform can assign pairs automatically.

The eText can do that? I didn’t know!

Many teachers using the eText are unaware that their Instructor Version enables them to create classes and post assignments and notes to students directly to their students’ eTexts, without the need for an LMS such as Canvas or Blackboard. Onboarding students is an easy registration process at the Pearson English Portal, and creating courses and class rosters happens through the eText platform and a simple email invitation to students to join a class.

The platform’s Notes feature allows students to type and save written work in their eTexts, send it to the instructor as an email or text message, and even save all the coursework as a digital portfolio. (As a low-tech solution, reproducible Remote Learner Participation forms for each unit are also available. Students can indicate the amount of time spent on each unit’s activity, take a photo of the completed form, and send it to the instructor in an email or text message.)

Teaching Strategies

The quick-start guide offers step-by-step suggestions for using each type of Side by Side activity in a blend of remote learning modes of instruction: synchronous, asynchronous, and independent. The guide also provides simple instructions for onboarding students, creating courses, and using the eText platform to document learner participation.

We hope that this resource is helpful as you continue to adapt your instruction to meet your students’ language learning needs at this challenging time.

To download the quick-start guide, click here.

For information about Side by Side Plus and Side by Side Extra, click here.

To download information about career/academic and civics content and CCRS/ELPS standards in Side by Side Plus, click here.

To locate your dedicated Pearson ELT Specialist, click here.

Tax Time!

Bill Bliss Photo 2014Bill Bliss

Here are three quotes appropriate for the month of April:
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
“Why did the colonists fight the British?  Because of high taxes – taxation without representation.”
“When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?  April 15.”

The first was penned by Benjamin Franklin in 1789. The second and third are among the 100 official questions and answers on the US citizenship exam.

Tax Tips

Filling out tax forms always seems to occupy too much time – and often it’s our evening time in April that we might otherwise be devoting to lesson preparation, correcting student homework, or other professional work. So in the spirit of helping you get through tax season, here are some tips to ease your lesson planning on those days you’re slogging through your 1040 form. I hope you find these helpful whether you are preparing students for the citizenship exam or you are incorporating civics topics into general EL/Civics instruction. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Fact Check & Idioms Fun

Bill Bliss Photo 2014Bill Bliss

True or False?
Can your students answer these true-or-false statements? Have them correct the false sentences and rewrite them as true facts.

1. We celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 15.
2. Two common colors of Valentine’s Day cards are green and blue.
3. Post offices and banks are closed on Valentine’s Day because it’s a national holiday.
4. A heart is a common symbol of Valentine’s Day.
5. A popular gift to give someone on Valentine’s Day is a long-stemmed carrot.
6. Another popular gift to give someone on Valentine’s Day is a box of candles.
7. Presidents’ Day is a U.S. holiday in February that occurs before Valentine’s Day.
8. Cupid is a fictional character we associate with love and Valentine’s Day.
9. Many people like to go to a restaurant for breakfast in the evening on Valentine’s Day.
READ MORE

 

 

Out of the Shadows, Into the Classroom:
Executive Action on Immigration and the Impact on Adult Education

2014_BillBlissBill Bliss

President Obama’s recently announced executive actions on immigration have a potentially significant impact on many of the students we serve. The actions include expansion of the population of young people eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, implementation of a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program for the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been present in the United States since January 1, 2010, waivers from deportation for spouses and children of permanent residents and for children of U.S. citizens, and proposed changes to immigrant visa policies to expand opportunities for skilled workers and entrepreneurs. READ MORE

Tax Time!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABill Bliss

Here are three quotes appropriate for the month of April:

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

“Why did the colonists fight the British?  Because of high taxes – taxation without representation.”

“When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?  April 15.”

The first was penned by Benjamin Franklin in 1789.  The second and third are among the 100 official questions and answers on the US citizenship exam. READ MORE