Buncee is an intuitive learning platform, supporting beginning ESL students with their multimodal writing projects at Eastern Michigan University. This semester students learned to write a personal narrative on a particular topic: “A Turning Point” or “An Event that Changed My Life.” Instead of asking students to write or type their narratives, I challenged them to do something creative and interactive. Using the web tool Buncee, students combined their project-based work with language practice by incorporating writing and speaking skills.
First, they spent time brainstorming, listing ideas on the significant event that changed their lives. For students at the beginning proficiency level, brainstorming can be challenging. I therefore utilized some photographs and thought-provoking questions to help with their thinking process. Some examples of their narrative subjects included: receiving a scholarship, meeting a “significant other,” and giving birth to a child.
Fast forward to the writing process when students created their narrative drafts. Each student had their checklists to ensure that they incorporated all important elements into their narratives. They also had an opportunity to do a peer review and revise their drafts.
Next, the creative part began! I introduced students to Buncee, which they used to transform their narratives into multimedia content. Although this involved a learning curve, the students quickly found the web tool to be very intriguing. They were more enthusiastic to share their narratives as they were able to incorporate pictures, stickers, and sounds into their digital content. More importantly, they were honored to be invited to share their work at Eastern Michigan University’s ESL Symposium.
All in all, Buncee has given my students a different learning experience by allowing them to demonstrate their language learning through developing and publishing authentic and creative work. Importantly, it provides a way for shy or inhibited students to present their work without having to do a formal presentation. As an instructor, the tool has taught me a great deal, including how to help students internalize their learning, how to help them be engaged with class activities, how to encourage student ownership of learning, and how to empower student voice.
The following pictures were taken during the ESL Symposium at EMU, Dec 12, 2019.
Pics 1 and 2: Students showcasing their Buncees to the symposium attendees
Pic 3: The class picture
Alexandra B. Patty is an ESL Lecturer at Eastern Michigan University. An experienced ESL and EFL instructor, she has a demonstrated history of 10 years+ working with culturally diverse learners. She is skilled in curriculum development by utilizing students’ cultural strengths to help scaffold their second language learning, and passionate about presenting at both local and international conferences to stay updated on current teaching research and approaches. You can find her on Linkedin.