My Students as Bloggers

The use of blogs has shown to have a great potential in the learning-teaching enviorement. One of its main advantages is the promotion of interaction.  Interaction seems to be essential in a natural classroom enviorement. Needless to mention its importance in the languages classroom.

Many times interaction in the classroom seems to be scarce. That is why it is more than ever demanded by the members of the educational community.

In this article, I would focus on a creating a blog as a way of interaction between teacher-students and students-students without playing other vias of communication down. I would also like to prove that  this neccessity of further interaction and communication can be made up for through blogs and blogging in two directions; inside the classroom and even more important outside the classroom.

As we have learnt Blogs are becoming a good means for educators, students and other members of the educational community. It has been said many times that Blogging can  be used as a potential tool in education. Let us see some of the main reasons why their use can be taken for granted.

  • Blogs provide a space for sharing opinions and learning in order to grow communities of discourse and knowledge — a space where students and teachers can learn from each other.
  • Blogs help learners to see knowledge as interconnected as opposed to a set of discrete facts.
  • Blogs can give students a totally new perspective on the meaning of voice. As students explore their own learning and thinking and their distinctive voices emerge. Student voices are essential to the conversations we need to have about learning.
  • Blogs foster ownership and choice. They help lead us away from students trying to find what the teacher wants in terms of an answer.
  • The worldwide audience provides recognition for students that can be quite profound. Students feel more compelled to write when they believe many others may read and respond. It gives them motivation to excel.
  • The archive feature of blogging records ongoing learning. It facilitates reflection and evaluation. One student told me that he could easily find his thoughts on a matter and he could see how his thinking had changed and why.
  • The opportunity for collective and collaborative learning  is enormous. Students have the opportunity to read their classmates´ blogs and those of others. This is not possible in a regular classroom setting.
  • Blogging provides the possibility of connecting with experts on the topic students are writing.
  • The interactive nature of blogging creates enthusiasm for writing and communication.
  • Blogging engages students in conversation and learning.
  • Blogging encourages global conversations about learning–conversations not previously possible in our classrooms.
  • Blogging provides the opportunity for our students to learn to write for life-long learning.
  • Blogging affords us the opportunity to teach responsible public writing. Students can learn about the power of the published word and the responsibilities involved with public writing.

Article found in: http://anne.teachesme.com/2007/01/17/rationale-for-educational-blogging/

However, the main question is: how could I use a blog in my classes?

As I explain in my Page My Blog “I am an English teacher in the so-called Culinary Arts School”. This means that I have to deal with students whose ages vary from 16 years old up to …?. Therefore, as you can imagine not only the ages but the variety of people, interests and motivations are boundless as well.

However, we should not forget that there is a clear advantage; that is, all of them have opted to study either Culinary Arts and Cooking or Management in Culinary Arts or any other of the cycle offered, which means that all the students have in common a same desire and a same  willingness of making of their studies a profession for the future.

I am concious that class interaction  and a more intrinsic interaction and communication with students is an essential point in our daily task. That is why, the main learning objective of my blog will be the one of  students having it as a main reference for further learning.

  • On the one hand, to be a reference of  the target language. Therefore, I would propose general exercises of the language, concepts, and revision. It could also be established term by term as the syllabus is established.
  • It can also be used as a library-site  where articles, books can be uploaded or suggested or linked.
  • A further function can be the one of a discussion forum where commentaries or news on a particular subject, such as food, new culinary techniques or recipes can be exposed.
  • Taking into account that a typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic, we will make a good use of this advantage uploading videos for example.
  • We should not forget that the ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of any blog. So that, students will be an active part of it.

The structure of the blog could be the one done of organizing thev posts by archives, into different categories and tags. So that, it will make it easier for students to find or go to the options that are offered and wish.

I know it is always a challenge to start a new project. I am conscious that unforseen circumstances will come up. Almost daily improvement and updating will also be necessary. Apart from that,  creating a blog that should attract students in general is an essential step in advance.

But challenges are to be a reality and this one may be ONE in a near Future.

Will YOU join us?

And Remember!!!!

Merry Xtmas

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Merry Xtmas, posted with vodpod

Advantages and disadvantages of collaborative projects

After reading all my colleagues´articles, which I must congratulate them for their excellent jobs, and getting to know more about collaborative projects and collaborative learning in general, I cannot still give a final opinion about it.

Needless to say, that from a theoretical point of view,  it cannot be denied the numerous advantages that collaborative learning brings to the classroom. Many have already been mentioned such as:

Some time ago, I also wrote an article about what collaborative learning means based on a Cooperative Learning Based Methodology. The article can be summarized in this two paragraphs which gathers the essential basis of Cooperative Learning:

Cooperative Learning is one of the best researched of all teaching strategies. This methodology consists on put students into small groups and work on a structured activity or task. Each member of the team is responsible not only for learning or understanding what is taught but also for helping teammates learn or understand, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Students work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete it. Thus, we can remark it is based on the principle of “the success of the group depends on the successful work of every individual”. Among their numerous advantages one of it is that it helps students develop essential interpersonal life-skills like trust-building, decision making communication, conflict-management skill, leadership, etc.

 The teacher´s role is typically limited to help in this process, sometimes, as an observer, assessor and other times as organiser or prompter so as to encourage them. This type of methodology helps to attend diversity because as students get in charge on their own tasks they will show different difficulties and will have different working paces. So that, the teacher will be able to attend them individually, paying closer attention to the ones who need it at a certain moment. 

collaborative learnign

So that, it seems to become clear the degree of advantages that Collaborative projects have if we want to use it in our classes.

However, like some others collegues at this course, I also have a quite critic eye about the subject. It seems to be quite sensible to me what Iraide Palacios says in the 3er paragraph of her blog http://aixerrotagaratu.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/collaborative-projects/,

 or as Rakel mentions about being Time-consuming http://rakelm.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/collaborative-projects/,

I also may not agree on the whole with the very well-written article from Vidal Patxi http://vidalpatxi.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/collaborative-projects-through-the-net-an-online-reality/ where teachers seem to be the main responsible for the projects´ fullfilments. But, there is some truth on it too.

As a matter of fact, the words collaboration, collaborate and what this article concerns Collaborative projects” sounds very challenging, very avant-garde and full of good intentions.

It is true that nowadays we keep on hearing things like “a successful learner or a successful worker/employee should possess the features of effective communication and collaboration

In Theory, we ALL are very collaborative but, in practice?

I do not see much of it when I think about the type of society we are inserted in;  are we  really collaborative?

I have my doubts.

From my point of view, adults try to make up for the type of society it has been created. A society whose individuals try to look for their own benefits. The younger generation are our best pupils at school and out of it.

In the end, it seems to be clear that teachers as a main resource at school try to show the Good Face of it and repair what is being awfully wrong outside.

In any case, I would not like to finish this article with such hopelessness. So that, I will look towards the encouraging opinion of Itzi in http://blogitzi.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/collaborative-projects/.

and also Jesus´ in http://jesusmfp.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/collaborative-projects.

Or, perhaps I should stay halfway as Inma shows us in her blog: http://santosinmac.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-collaborative-projects/.

In any case, the examples regarding collaborative projects proposed by Jolanda Mazkiaran in part 3 on her blog will always be helpful http://beginnerschance.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/advantagea-and-disadvantages-of-collaborative-projects-in-teh-classroom/.

And of course, I will have a further look at Mª Jose´s project in her wiki: http://errioxawitch.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/etwinning-or-how-i-got-involved-in-an-authentic-collaborative-project-for-the-first-time/

Thank you to all my colleagues (I hope not to have missed any) for letting me mention your articles and blogs.

ANOTHER WEB 2.0 TEACHING TOOL

The Web 2.0 teaching tool that I am going to present is called PHOTOPEACH.

http://photopeach.com

PhotoPeach is a simple, no frills slideshow web based application which can be used to make slideshows from your photos. PhotoPeach is one of the most simple applications which is designed to do this, and is great for anyone wanting to make slideshows where their photos keep the viewers attention. It’s a very straightforward and simple application to use and unlike others does not have as many themes. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends on whether you really actually use these. The application also allows people to make comments on slideshows.

Using PhotoPeach to create a slideshow is really easy, as soon as you’ve logged in you get to your dashboard. From here you can simply click the “Create new Show” button; you are then guided through the process to create your very own PhotoPeach slideshow. First you need to get your photos uploaded; you can either do this by uploading them from your computer, or by getting them from Flickr, Picassa or Facebook. Once you’ve done that you can then arrange the photos by dragging and dropping them. After that you get to choose background music and then your slideshow is ready to be shared with everyone.

Registering for an account with PhotoPeach is very simple. It will involve you entering a username, password and filling in your email address. As you don’t have to confirm your password it’s a good idea to be careful when entering it. As soon as you’ve done that you are registered and can start creating your first slideshow.

Therefore, Photopeach´s advantages can be summarized as follows:

– you can choose as many pictures as you wish,

-you can choose any type of music (from YOU TUBE,…),

-you can write comments on the pictures shown,

-you can choose the speed of your presentations,

Have a look as the following one done in a rush to have an idea of how it works!

LANGUAGES on PhotoPeach

 
Vodpod videos no longer available.

or go this other way: http://photopeach.com/album/o9uo2n

You can also use the option of Quiz. Very interesting option for diagnostic tests, for example. You will see that option once you have uploaded the pictures, the music and choose finish. Once there, you go to edit; edit captions and photos and it will appear as an option.

This is a very simple example of how it works:

Questionnaire on PhotoPeach

Vodpod videos no longer available.

or go this way to see how it works: http://photopeach.com/album/186b32t

We can have a meal together!

Imagine that …

… you have just met your other half in a remote place in Great Britain and tells you the following:
We can have a meal together!”
At a sudden, you realise that you don´t really know what  time of the day s/he is referring to.
 Our lunchtime, our suppertime, our dinnertime, …?  or theirs?
That is why, it is so significant to get to know culture matters. Needless to say, the ones related to eating and eating habits.
Have a look at the following presentation and test your knowledge about British eating and meals:

My secret phobia is…

Preparation task

I suggest that you do the vocabulary task below:

1. Look up the meaning of the word Phobia and write down the meaning of it.

Phobia:……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

2.  The following words are mentioned in the video. Match them with one synonym  and one antonym :

alone    –    unexplainable    –    freaks    –    fear of    –    apologies 

 strange,    accusations,    geek,    comprehensible,   lonely,    ordinary,

   excuses,    together,    terrified of,    corageous                                                      

Listen and Watch the video

Now listen and watch the following video.

After listening and watching Tasks

 3. Identify the phobias of each of the main characters as they arrive.

1st Man: …………………………………………………………

1st Woman: …………………………………………………….

2nd Man: ………………………………………………………..

2nd Woman: ……………………………………………………

4. What are the greetings each of the characters say when the 2nd woman arrives?

5. Can you hear two more words referring to fear of (apart from the synonym mentioned on exercise 2)?

Post-listening Tasks

6. Can you comment in few words what your phobia is or any you can think of ?

Hello Blogger Friends

This is my new post on my new blog called bhenglish which is https://bhenglish.wordpress.com. I will include activities for English learners. I hope you will enjoy it!!

So that, keep joining us!!