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This hypothetical scenario ** of a student's learning journey demonstrates: 1) how a student


might learn English, as well as a range of other skills, within a blended learning programme;
2) how she would progress through the My New Zealand scenario-based task; 3) the
scaffolding and developmental nature built into the design of the My New Zealand scenario-
based task; and 4) how she would interact with peers and teachers, virtually and face-to-face.
This scenario is designed to be read in conjunction with a complementary diagram of the My
New Zealand scenario-based task, which can be accessed by clicking this link.

Cantana: My New Zealand Scenario-based Task

Name: Cantana
Year level: 11
Age: 16
Country of origin: Thailand
ELLP: Oral language: Foundation Stage B; Reading: Foundation Stage A; Writing
Foundation Stage A

See Cantana’s e-Profile - Record of Progress and socio-cultural and medical information such
as vision and hearing checks (socio-cultural and medical information stored in a secure area
accessible by e-teacher and e-tutor only - please click here for a glossary of definitions of key
personnel and their roles).

Cantana is Thai and has been living for the last 4 months with her family in a medium-sized,
rural town in New Zealand. She is close to her family and shares a lot with them. Cantana
misses her country and friends, but is quite outgoing and enjoys making new friends. She
finds school a bit boring at times, and does not like doing lots of homework by herself.
Although she has used a computer before, Cantana is not very confident about her ICT skills.

In the first week of school a bilingual support person is used to establish links with Cantana’s
family, help with assessment, and begin discussions around desired future pathways.
Canatana has basic oral communication skills. However, for assessment the bilingual support
person was needed to translate and help her throughout the assessment process. This
information is recorded in Cantans’s e-Profile Record of Learning and stored in her e-
portfolio. An Individual Progress Plan (IPP) has been written with Cantana and the bilingual
support person to set learning goals based on key guidelines. All of the records are kept
online, in a secure environment in the ELLINZ Moodle course. Only Cantana and her
teachers have access to this personal information. According to the bilingual support person,
Cantana has age appropriate oral skills in her L1 for getting things done and expressing her
wants and needs in social settings, and her L1 academic vocabulary is quite well-developed.
Her written language in L2 is at foundation level. Cantana can cope with simple statements
and sentences in a record of oral language in L2. Cantana is in a home room class at school,
for most of the day, participating in mainstream classes for a limited range of optional
subjects.

During her first month at school, Canatana is introduced to the ELLINZ eTutor and eTeacher
and given a welcome pack, saved on a Flash memory stick, to the year-long blended learning
ELLINZ programme. She takes the memory stick to the local community centre, where she is
beginning to make friends, and asks someone to help translate the contents. The pack
contains videos and images, as well as text (written in graded language, with non-complex
sentence structures). She finds the videos fun and easy to follow and is able to understand a
lot from the graphics without knowing the words. When she learns from the welcome pack
that she will be using the Internet in her studies she is curious, but apprehensive too.

As Cantana has arrived after the first two parts of the ELLINZ programme (the Orientation
Camp: New Faces, New Places course, and the Our Safari Park: Animal Discovery course)
have been offered, the first thing the eTeacher does is buddy Cantana with another Thai
student from a different school, called Jaidee, who has completed the first two ELLINZ
courses. Jaidee helps Cantana explore the different aspects of the ELLINZ online programme.
All the programme parts are marked with icons, and, to help with aural as well as reading
skills, students are ‘guided’ by a speaking avatar (Voki). The Voki also gives tips about
online safety and etiquette. Cantana enjoys visiting the student lounge (hosted in Elgg),
where she can see the videos uploaded by her peers or eTutor/eTeacher, leave a comment on
her peers’ wall, or do text chat. Jaidee also shows her the “Our Cultural Village” area where
she can find online bilingual dictionaries, eBooks in Thai, and videos, music and pictures
from Thailand, as well as from other countries.

The eTutor and the other ESOL student at Cantana's school enjoy helping her when they see
she is stuck with something on the computer. As such, Cantana quickly becomes familiar and
comfortable with the online environment, so she looks forward to the weekly online Webinar
session with her new classmates from around New Zealand (NZ) and her eTeacher (using
Adobe Connect). Jaidee helps Cantana access a range of activities, in particular those with
with a visual aspect where she can hear and read the text and record herself repeating the
word(s). Cantana enjoys watching online videos followed by interactive matching or ordering
tasks, and likes recording her own simple sentences in the online environment and then
writing them. These word and sound files are stored electronically in her e-portfolio. (She
scans handwritten files and uploads them.) Canatana quickly works out how to text chat with
other students on a social (foundation) level. She accesses online bilingual dictionaries and
can search for images and music on the Internet. She is increasingly eager to access the
resources in the online library and is practising her typing skills.

The eTeacher introduces a 9-week project (during which she will be studying between 8 to 10
hours per week) which focuses on New Zealand. Throughout the 9 weeks, weekly
suggestions of central tasks/language learning strategies to work on are included in the
ELLINZ online environment. The eTeacher asks students to form groups of four (with at
least two in each group being from a different school), and Cantana and Jaidee make sure that
they are in the same group.

An exemplar has been created around the pioneers of New Zealand. Within the exemplar key
topic areas such as the Treaty of Waitangi have been embedded, along with the introduction
of generic topic-related vocabulary, and the explicit discussion of learning strategies in order
to promote learning inside and outside of the school environment. While exploring the NZ
Pioneers exemplar, the students are given the challenge question: "Why 1840?", which
students, in their groups, seek to answer through discussion in synchronous sessions, as well
as collaborative written replies in a Moodle wiki space. They are also encouraged to 'notice'
the structure and content of the exemplar, to predict who the intended purpose/audience was,
and to finally 'grade' the exemplar using a self-check rubric - the same one that will be used
for the scenario-based task***. Through this process the students become aware of some of
the important strategies that they will use while working around the scenario and in the
creation of their own My NZ resource. While completing the scenario-based task they will
also be practising, revising and producing the topic-related vocabulary, working on the
fluency and accuracy of their writing and speaking, and spending time reading, participating
in social interactions, searching, accessing and processing topic-related content, using
learning strategies to enhance their learning competence, and becoming aware of the cultural
and historical underpinnings of NZ.

After two weeks of working with the NZ Pioneers exemplar, all the groups of students choose
from a range of 10 topics focussed on NZ, including an 'own choice' topic. The teacher helps
the students decide on the roles they are going to take in each group (for example, one student
is in charge of sorting all the images and videos everyone takes, makes and finds, another is
responsible for making sure that all the writing is edited and revised until everyone is happy
with it, another looks after the audio files that are recorded or located by the group, and the
final makes sure the layout, design, and content provided by the team are suitable for the
purpose and audience chosen). The self-check grading rubric and set of instructions that
frame the scenario are referred back to frequently by the students, who also have access to
videos (with audio) which illustrate and demonstrate the key skills they will be using as well
as guidelines around what they might like to include. Further scaffolding in the form of
videos and audio helps students with concepts around inquiry based learning, such as Internet
search skills and staying safe online.

Cantana's father was a farmer in Thailand, and her group think that, because they all live in
rural towns it will be easy to find resources for their topic. They decide to put together a wiki
resource that is a comparison of agriculture in their own countries (Thailand, Somalia, and
Kiribati) and agriculture in NZ. However, when Cantana and her group discuss the scope of
their project they are rather overwhelmed by the the whole topic. They ask their eTeacher for
help, and she helps them make a list of possibilities (using pictures as well as words), and the
group is then able to make the decision to look only at small farms in NZ so that the
comparison will be simpler because there tended to be more small farms in their countries of
origin. Jaidee sets up a wiki page in the class wiki where they are going to initially put all the
resources and collaborate on the writing and revisions. The group chooses to make it a private
space for the first couple of weeks, with only the teacher invited. They plan who will do each
task, and because Cantana feels rather nervous, Jaidee and she choose to share their
responsibilities.

One member of the group decides that they would like to make a Voicethread about farming
in their country of origin, while the others decide to find images, videos, soundfiles, and other
information to use. Jaidee and Cantana work together, and ask for help from the eTeacher
when they get stuck on difficult texts. They have found some great resources that other
students from around the world have created about agriculture in Thailand, and find those
very useful. After writing a simple script, they also record each other describing life on a
farm in their home country using a microphone and the desk-top computer in the school
computer lab. Once all of Cantana's group have collected resources for their countries of
origin, they have some central topic points to start comparing with NZ agriculture.

The group work together to collect interesting comparisons of practice, livestock, crops,
irrigation and waterways (including the significance of rivers to Maori), from a range of
multimedia, text-based sources and image-banks. Cantana's group also want to capture
images and stories from farms in their local communities. Cantana, however, is not confident
enough with her oral English to make contact, request a visit with, and interview a farmer, so
she asks one of her father's friends, Annan, who also speaks Thai, to help her. First, though,
she works with her family to think of some good questions to ask a farmer, and writes these
down in Thai. She uses an online diction to translate the questions, and then asks Annan to
check the meaning before getting her eTutor to check the questions in English. Cantana then
visits the local library and asks if they can recommend a farmer who may be willing to help
her. The library gives her the address of the local farmers' society and she and Annan go to
speak to the president. He is really helpful and arranges a visit to a farm on the edge of town.
Cantana, her family, and Annan, all head out the next Saturday where Cantana, using the
camera she has borrowed from the school, takes photos, records short video clips, and records
the answers the farmer gives to her questions. She doesn't understand a lot of what is said in
the interview, but Annan is able to work through the video recording with her. The rest of
Cantana's group have also been busy taking photographs, and one student has visited a local
agriculture show.

The wiki resource developed by Cantana's group is taken through many revisions and editing
cycles, which also offers many opportunities for peer feedback and support, as well as rich
input from the eTeacher and eTutor. The president of Cantana's local farmers' society is
impressed with the idea of the project and he takes a real interest once the wiki is made
public. Local farmers and parents [this situation is taken from an actual environment project
at a Year 1 to 8 rural school on the east side of the Tararua Ranges between Pahiatua and the
Manawatu Gorge] observe that Cantana's project did not require large amounts of their time,
and were really pleased that students were taking an interest in the agriculture of NZ. There
was also cross-cultural relationship-building, with farmers being quite interested in the
farming practices of other countries.

Throughout the scenario-based task each student in Cantana's group keep a weekly blog.
They can choose between recording an oral blog or writing one (although once a month all
students have to complete at least one written and one oral blog). Cantana has been able to
capture his concerns and anxieties, as well as her triumphs, successes and pleasures. She
shares her blog posts with the rest of her team, the eTeacher and Jaidee.

Figure 1: Our NZ: A scenario (Click HEREto view the full size version of this diagram)
** The scenario developed here is based on research studies around English language
learning and ICT enhanced learning and teaching, including (but not solely based on):
• Gilmore, A. (2009). The times they are a-changin': Strategies for exploiting authentic
materials in the language classroom. In M. Dantas-Whitney, S. Rilling & L. Savova
(Eds.), Authenticity in the Classroom and Beyond (pp. 155-168). Alexandria,
Virginia: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
• McDonough, K., & Chaikitmongkol, W. (2007). Teachers' and learners' reactions to
a task-based EFL course in Thailand. TESOL Quarterly, 41(1), 107-132.
• Meskill, C., & Ranglova, K. (2000). Sociocollaborative language learning in
Bulgaria. In M. Warschauer & R. Kern (Eds.), Theory and practice of network-based
language teaching: Concepts and Practice (pp. 20-40). Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
• National Waterways. (2006). Case Study: A Long-Term Community Project for
Ballance School [Electronic Version]. Retrieved May 22 2010 from
http://www.nwp.rsnz.org/content/SchoolProjects/Ballance/.
*** Scenario-based tasks develop a contextualised situation or activity that exposes learners
to challenges, issues, and dilemmas, and asks them to apply their knowledge and skills to the
situation. Students navigate the scenario-based task through discussion, trial and error,
reflection, and choosing options. Throughout the process they are given feedback based upon
their choices, from peers, teachers, and the wider community where desired/relevant. This is
an example of a video that sets up a scenario-based task with the task, instructions,
requirements etc included.

Cantana: My New Zealand - a scenario by Hazel Owen is licensed under a Creative


Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 New Zealand License.
Based on a work at docs.google.com.