TEsol 2006 Internet fair
March 15-18. 2006
Using Educational Blogs to Motivate Writing
The Edublog as an extra component added to the course to enhance learning and motivate writing
From Stem to Stern: a collaborative blog
2 classes (24 students and 2 instructors*)
Introduce students to edublogging
Motivate students to language learning
Enhance writing skills development
Process (strategies & activities):
The blog was introduced to each class by its respective teacher. The purpose of having a collaborative blog as well as its main features were presented to the students. The students were also told that they would be assigned a blog task per week and that they would have to collaborate and interact virtually with the other class.
The teachers created the blog, giving it a naval look (providing an "authentic" learning context) and wrote a welcoming post.
All students wrote self introductory messages and recorded them. Two posts - one for each group - was created and the audio messages uploaded onto the blog.
Students were asked to write a story collaboratively. The beginning of the story was provided and students wrote the story in turns through a chatroom. Each student was given a number (level 4 got the even numbers and level 3 the odd numbers) and when his/her turn arrived he/she had to add a sentence to the story.
Students were given the opportunity to interview a teacher in Boston. They asked questions about her life and reality in the USA, which were later uploaded to the blog. The guest teacher answered all questions and it generated great enthusiasm among the students.
This assignment had two components. First, working in pairs, students were asked to write a paragraph describing a person from history. The name of the subject in the paragraph was not revealed in the uploaded entries. In the second step students from the other class were supposed to guess who was being described. The replys were published as comments to the posts.
The ultimate task was to write a witness statement after viewing a short video that was displayed in the classroom. This task was also carried out in pairs.The video was later uploaded onto the blog.
Students were provided with handouts, explanations and training on how to perform the tasks.
There was no formal assessment as it was an extra component that the teachers added to the course.
The student's feedback at the end of the course was quite positive and useful for future blog experiences.
Other features were included on the blog in order to motivate and generate more interaction among the students.
Tag board - for free communication - A huge success
Links to other English language and EFL sites
A photostory (to commemorate the experience)
Only freeware tools were used.
Blogger provider used: www.blogger.com
Audio recorders and editors: http://www.handybits.com/ ; http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
*Teachers: Cristina Costa
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