Saturday, January 24, 2009

"A Vision for incorporating blogging into lessons"

The Scenario: "'You are a 'blind optimist' who believes that by using blogs in your lessons you might afford new learning opportunities for students and perhaps encourage your colleagues to become interested in using Web 2.0 tools. You would like to present 'A Vision for Incorporating Blogging into Lessons' at the first staff meeting of the year. Explain your plan for incorporating blogging. (What do you have in mind and how you will accomplish it?).'"

First, I would spend some time doing some blogging activities with my students for a semester or so before I would approach my colleagues with the idea of incorporating blogging into our program. I would also collect examples of blogs from similar programs.

Our program divides reading, writing, grammar/speaking, and listening into separate courses across 4 levels. I've taught reading at two different levels so far: high intermediate and now pre-intermediate. A large part of the curriculum has been vocabulary acquisition, reading skills and strategies being the other part. We do a lot of vocabulary exercises and assessment.

One idea: Set up a class blog, and then provide prompts or scenarios every week that would elicit the vocabulary we are currently working on. The students would have to respond in a comment or with a posting that included some of the new vocabulary items in a meaningful way.

Another idea: Set up a class blog, and instruct each member of the class to set up a blog as well. The scenarios and prompts would be posted on the class blog and then each student would respond in their own blogs with a posting that used the vocabulary in a meaningful way. They would also be encouraged (or required) to comment on other blogs.

After I had collected enough data, i.e. student blogs, I would share this with my colleagues. The main points I would focus on:
1. Blogging does not have to be a substitute for other types of activities in class that the teachers find useful. If they really like giving fill-in-the-blank activities, blogging can be used as an addition to that.
2. The blogs give the teacher an opportunity to give instant feedback on the student's work.
3. The blogs allowed for the students to see each other's work.

I would then have them brainstorm activities for blogs for the different courses. Or perhaps, in what ways we could use blogs to compound the information they are getting from each of their classes.

I think that it would be important in my program to start small, using a blog for a set of specific activities, for example. No one in our program has done anything like this so I would reinforce the following:

-blogging, although many may think of it as a social tool, also can be harnessed for educational purposes
-blogging is not a substitute for 'tried and true' methods (I think that this would be a great hang-up) but should be seen as supplemental
-blogging has other possibilities beyond what I've shown them, we only have to start trying to see the opportunities.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My first step

This is my first post to my first blog. This blog was created as a result of my joining two EVO (Electronic Village Online) sessions, Enhancing Lessons with Web 2.0 and Multiliteracies for Social Networking and Collaborative Learning Environments. I'm just beginning to learn about and navigate Web 2.0 and I'm hoping to eventually incorporate what I learn from these sessions into my work. So far, I've started this blog, which is my first step!