Thursday, April 29, 2004

R-efl-ECTIONS

R-efl-ECTIONS seems to be a new blog by an EFL teacher. This seems to be a growing trend.

Elearning and Blogging

The E-Learning Guide to Blogging and RSS is another 'start here site' that provides a well-organised and easy-to-follow introduction to blogging as an e-learning tool.

Blog Review

Jill's Blog review grade descriptions could easily be adapted for use with ESL/EFL classes if you set a blog review as an assignment.

Thanks to Anne Davis at Edublog insights for the lead.

In an earlier post, Anne states:

"We are using weblogs but in most cases our students are not blogging, per se. Our current educational system is not ready for that big of a leap, and we have much to teach our students before they can learn how to speak responsibly, yet forcefully. That's a whole other discussion so back to the writing focus. Weblogs are unique spaces for us to use in education. We can use weblogs with students to make writing THE focus. We can publish quickly. We can set up an audience for them. We can give them ownership and best of all we can give our students a rich and diverse array of writing experiences. It's a way we can make writing a joy and let our students know that their writing matters."

There has been much discussion lately about whether students are actually blogging, or is they are only blogging if it is made a compulsory feature of a course. I think the same as Anne does. Blogging is still in its infancy as an educational tool and deserves to be investigated. We all know (the Educational Blogging community at least) that the potential exists. We can feel it, sense it, otherwise we wouldn't be so interested in blogging with our students surely...

Moodle and Blogging

Moodle is an open source CMS (Course Management System), often called VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), that has a journal module incorporated. There has been discussion about converting this into a weblog.

It seems that the module would give the appearance of a weblog and would work in the same way, but only be available for use by those enrolled on the course.

There is also the option of keeping the journal private, so it can be used only as a means of correspondence between teacher and student.

I am exploring this for the next academic year, when I will be running an online version of one of my courses, and I'd like to use a VLE with weblog funcionality. Moodle looks like an interesting place to start. Does anyone out there have any experience of this / tips / alternative suggestions? I'd love to hear your comments.

Linguistic Life

Linguistic Life is an ESL blog from a Michigan-based teacher.

There's an insightful reflection on using blogs with classes here

Here's an extract:

"My own class seems to be keeping up their blogs well. No doubt a large part of this is due to the fact that updating their blogs at least 3 times a week is 15% of their grade. However, I do not think that they would be so inclined to keep it up if I had simply told them it was a requirement and they had to do it. I spent a lot of time explaining why I thought this was an important thing for them to do, and how it could help their learning. I told them that writing on their blog forces them to think in English outside of class, but it lets them think, and write, about subjects that interest them. Constantly practicing their English writing will help their reading, speaking, listening, and grammar as well, because putting their English to use helps them remember vocabulary, and notice grammatical structures they have already learned."

Thai Blog

LDMA's Life in the WOR Zone is an interesting blog written by a teacher based in Thailand. Here's a smaple from one of his entries:

"I get to my class, to find that half of the other trainees have deserted their regular class to join mine...result...not enough handouts...doh! I've got to say that the 3 hours went REALLY well from my perspective, though I'm sure any negative feedback will arrive tomorrow. The really scarey bit for me was the realisation 2 hours later that I had been unwittingly inspected by the Ministry of Education, but I think it should be ok, even though this woman had a face like a bag full of spanners."

He also writes a vivid account of the recent troubles in the south of Thailand.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Knowledge Tree - Blogging to Learn

Knowledge Tree - Blogging to Learn: "

Have you considered using blogs within your pedagogical practice? Do you know what a blog is? This excellent article makes a significant contribution to the flexible learning debate. Anne Bartlett-Bragg describes the phenomena of blogging, the process of blogging and how it can be used to enhance learning."

An interesting article with a 5-stage blogging process

LearnScope

LearnScope

An introductory article about blogs in education that srts out to answer the following questions:

"How to start your own blog
What 's a blog?
Why would I want one?
How do I get one?"

owrede_log: What's the blogging point?

What's the blogging point?:

"Almost every examples I have seen of serious student blogging, took place because running the weblog was more or less a requirement in the course. Students that start (and keep) a weblog without 'formal requirement' are quite rare and only a fraction really blog in relation to their learning goals at all...And even if students are blogging: few of them really will use a self-reflective style that actually displays learning progress and potential stepping stones."

An interesting discussion that concludes:

"before "personal publishing" can be a valuable tool and students really get more process oriented, we need to introduce a learning environment where teachers change their evaluation method departs from a result orientation as well"



Monday, April 19, 2004

BBC | British Council teaching English - IATEFL

At last year's IATEFL conference, the Britiah Council sponsored 2 webloggers to write reports, which are published here:BBC | British Council teaching English - IATEFL. I've just heard that they are going to do the same at the British Council's Glasgow conference in June. Another example of weblogging at work...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Where is the love? : Home

Melanie Segal has recently started an ESL/EFL related blog called Where is the love? which takes peace as its theme.

This, and other blogs can be found on the EFL/ESL blog ring, which Blinger has just started up. Nice idea, Blinger!

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Workindex.com article

Although the workindex article Learning Goes Mobile is aimed at a professional context, there's nothing to say that in the future, students can't use mobile technology to receive learning support. The way mobile technology is going, soon all mobile telephones will have facilities (document readers, audio players) that could be exploited by educators. Perhaps it is too far fetched now, but I'm sure it won't be in a couple of years.

Obviously, the problem is the same as always - that not all students will have access to these devices. But, it could be interesting in the future to try out a blog aimed at students who have access to these devices.

Weblogg-ed - Using Weblogs and RSS in Education :

Weblogg-ed - Using Weblogs and RSS in Education : - Will Richardson has posted a useful document : RSS: A quick start guide for educators - RSS is something I've avoided so far, despite the comments / suggestions of many on blog-efl that I should provide a feed. This I promise to remedy after the Easter holidays.