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  • Positive Psychology and Academics’ End-of-Year Burnout

    The academic year is a journey filled with highs and lows, and as a teacher who has been in the field for a decade, I find the beginning and the end of the year to be the most captivating parts. My motivation during my service has seen its ups and downs, but I'm grateful that it has never faded. This resilience stems from my belief that positivity is a choice, one that requires effort and commitment. Positive psychology has been my anchor, keeping me steady amidst the challenges. Reflect on your practice as the year ends. This reflection isn't just a casual look back but a deep dive into what worked, what didn't, and how you can improve. Use these insights to craft a plan for the next academic year. Starting with a clear plan can set a positive tone and provide a sense of direction. As the academic year draws to a close, it's crucial for us as teachers to fully unplug and take a complete break. This isn't just about taking a vacation; it's about disconnecting from everything related to work. Allow yourself the freedom to truly relax, recharge, and rejuvenate. Only then should you allocate a small portion of your vacation to research and growth. In conclusion, embracing positive psychology can be a game-changer for combating end-of-year burnout. It empowers you to control your emotions, find happiness, and maintain motivation. So, take that much-needed break, reflect, and plan. Here's to ending the year on a high note and starting the next with renewed energy and purpose.

  • Custom GPT - The AI agent

    As someone deeply committed to maintaining organization in every facet of my life, including my work related stuff, I have always relied on meticulously crafted colorful spreadsheets and calendar reminders to manage my tasks. The concept of having a personal assistant to handle these duties was beyond my imagination, until the advent of AI and the recent unveiling of customizable GPT technology. Upon delving into this innovation, I was struck by its simplicity and efficiency. I crafted a personalized GPT for my coursework, aiding me in a variety of tasks, and I even created a course assistant for my students' benefit. However, it's important to note that using this feature fully necessitates a GPT-4 Plus subscription. For those interested in creating their own tailored GPT, I recommend watching YouTube videos about custom GPTs. They guide you through the process, and you can choose between private or public GPTs. Check out one of my public custom GPTs for proofreading; for this GPT, you don't need any prompt, as I crafted it in a way where all you need to do is paste your text, and the GPT will only proofread it without making any major changes. https://chat.openai.com/g/g-wvCyHMOXt-proofreader

  • Saying Goodbye to Grammar Mistakes with the Use of AI, but Are We Communicating Effectively ?

    Since the introduction of AI, it has become a valuable tool in correcting grammar mistakes for non-native speakers. Users no longer need to worry about grammatical errors in their writing. However, this technological advancement has also led to an unintended consequence: the prevalence of long and vague messages. Recently, I have observed a phenomenon worth studying. I have come across messages written by non-native speakers that exhibit an impressive writing style but lack any meaning. Ironically, I struggle to understand the intended meaning of these texts, and at times, I find it challenging to read through the entire lengthy content. It seems that these messages are composed by individuals who heavily rely on AI. As a result, I often resort to chatbots to request a brief summary of the written text. Unfortunately, the summaries provided are often vague, further hindering effective communication. Please note that my concern is not against the use of AI, but rather against its misuse as a substitute for generating original ideas. AI is not a replacement for our own brains and cannot function as such. To address this issue, it is crucial to educate AI users and learners on the effective utilization of this technology. We should encourage them to view ChatGPT and similar AI chatbots as tools that assist their writing, rather than relying solely on them. It is essential to communicate thoughts and ideas concisely, avoiding the inclination to provide the chatbot with a vague prompt as this will lead to compose lengthy messages that hinder effective communication. The purpose of using AI is to enhance and facilitate our communication, not hinder it. Let's remember that AI should write with us, not for us.

  • How to communicate effectively with chatbots: The power of prompt engineering

    With the rapid expansion of AI chatbots, it is essential to spread awareness about how to effectively communicate with chatbots to produce high-quality output. As an early adopter of AI, I have to admit that it took me some time to master the skill of prompt engineering. Once I mastered it, my productivity level increased and I saved hundreds of hours with the help of AI tools. 1. Let AI write with you, not for you. The first step is to let AI write with you, not for you. This means that you should provide the chatbot with as much information as possible about what you want it to do. 2. Use concise, simple words. The chatbot is not a human being, so it does not have the same understanding of language as a human does. If you use complex or jargon-filled language, the chatbot may not be able to understand what you are saying. Therefore, it is important to use concise, simple words when communicating with a chatbot. 3.Be specific. The more specific you are in your requests, the better the chatbot will be able to generate the output you want. For example, if you want the chatbot to help you in your course design you might write something like this; I need a course design for a 10-week course on artificial intelligence for beginners. The course should cover the following topics: What is artificial intelligence? The history of artificial intelligence The different types of artificial intelligence The applications of artificial intelligence The ethical issues surrounding artificial intelligence The course should be designed for students with no prior experience in artificial intelligence. The course should be engaging and interactive, and it should encourage students to think critically about artificial intelligence. This is a concise prompt because it is specific and to the point. It tells the chatbot exactly what is needed, without any unnecessary information. This will help the chatbot to generate a more accurate and helpful output. Is there any science behind this? Yes, there is, and you can find plenty of free online resources about the power of prompt engineering. Here is an example of a short course on YouTube:

  • Tech Tools for Busy Teachers: Keeping Up with Gen Z

    In the dynamic world of education, it is crucial for teachers to cater the needs and preferences of their tech-savvy students. After reviewing several technology tools as part of a post-graduate course I am teaching, I have handpicked a selection of essential tech tools that will help busy teachers keep the spark alive in their classrooms. 1.Collaborative Whiteboard: A collaborative whiteboard is an excellent tool for promoting interactive learning and engagement. I normally use this one: https://whiteboard.fi/ 2. Youglish: (Contextual Pronunciation Practice) Introduce your students to Youglish, a unique platform that provides pronunciation practice using YouTube videos. With Youglish, students can search for a word and instantly see and hear the word being used in various contexts. It helps students improve their pronunciation skills by exposing them to authentic examples in real-life situations, without requiring any additional preparation from your side as a teacher. https://youglish.com/ 3. Voicethread for speaking: it is an interactive slide-based tool that enables students to record and share their speaking assignments. With a free version available, teachers can create speaking prompts and invite students to respond by recording their voices. It doesn’t require a lot of time for preparation. https://voicethread.com/ 5.. Google Docs: A simple yet powerful tool for collaboration, Google Docs is my first choice from Google's suite" Workspace". Use it for all your worksheets and remember to create a system that allows you to use the same worksheets across different sections/classes. 6. Quizizz:  is one of my favorite AI-powered applications that offers free educational games on various topics. https://quizizz.com/?lng=en 7. WordWall: is an easy to use platform where you can create quizzes and games https://wordwall.net/ By incorporating these essential tech tools into your teaching practices, you can effectively engage and inspire Gen Z students. For more advanced technology tools and resources, explore my webpage, where innovation meets education. https://www.alaanajashi.com

  • Chat GPT-4 in the English classrooms: To use or not to use?

    As language teachers, it's crucial to stay informed about the latest tools and technologies that can enhance our students' learning journey. One such technology that has recently been gaining attention is Chat GPT-4. The question that many language teachers are thinking about is whether to allow or prohibit the use of Chat GPT-4 in their English classrooms. While some argue that the use of AI-generated content can undermine students' language proficiency, others believe that it can be a valuable resource in promoting creativity and enhancing writing skills. In my opinion, Chat GPT-4 can be a helpful asset for both teachers and students, provided that it is used in moderation. Rather than relying solely on the tool, students should be encouraged to use it as a supplement to their own writing abilities, allowing them to experiment with new ideas and generate creative prompts. So, it is all about creating a balance. As language educators, it's crucial to stay open-minded and embrace new technologies that can enhance our students' learning experiences. By empowering our students with the latest tools and resources, we can help them to develop their skills and appreciate our role as modern facilitators of language learning. .

  • Tech-savvy Teaching: Keeping Up with the Latest Technologies

    As I concluded my modern technology class, I stressed the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field of language learning and technology . Then a student asked : "Where do I find references to keep up-to-date with technology?" Her question was an eye opener to me as I had always thought that staying current with technology was a given in today's world. But then I realized that not everyone knew where to start when it came to finding reliable sources of information. So, I decided to put together a list of the most interesting and informative sources I knew of. Here is a list of websites, blogs and academic Journal that will keep you up to date in terms of language teaching and Technology: Websites For Technology: Codecademy (https://www.codecademy.com/) For coding and programming but with AI this might not be needed now unless you are so keen about programing Udemy (https://www.udemy.com/) Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/) . Many free amazing courses but requires commitment . Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/computing) edX (https://www.edx.org/) Blogs: Here are some useful blogs for technology and language learning: For Technology: Mashable (https://mashable.com/) For Language Learning: Lingoda (https://blog.lingoda.com/en/) here are some academic journals for modern technologies for language learning: Language Learning & Technology (https://www.lltjournal.org/) Computer Assisted Language Learning (https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ccal20/current) International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (https://www.igi-global.com/journal/international-journal-computer-assisted-language/1586) CALL-EJ: Computer-Assisted Language Learning Electronic Journal (https://callej.org/) These academic journals focus on research and developments in modern technologies for language learning. They cover a range of topics, including the use of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) software, mobile applications, virtual reality, and social media. These journals are great resources for educators, researchers, and practitioners who are interested in staying up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations in technology-enhanced language learning.

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