Archive for Blogging

Blogging from Scotland

Interspersing and sharing some of my own findings while surfing.

MFLE is the online service from Learning and Teaching Scotland and Scottish CILT which supports anyone working with modern languages in Scotland, from foreign language assistants and trainee teachers to teachers and principal teachers.

They have published a good introduction to blogging in education.

You may also want to check out Ewan McIntosh’s edu.blogs, where he shows how blogs and podcasts aren’t just a gimmick: they can be used to provide powerful learning in Scottish schools.

An interesting article in the Guardian: “How blogs make the link”

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Weekend

After the party in Sao Paulo, I slipped to touchbase with the family so I missed the sessions on Saturday. Andrea Calvozo, from SP and Nahir Aparicio from Venezuela posted their conversation about what happened on the ELT forum. You can also listen or download podcast of the interviews Sara and Mike did with various participants.

When I arrived on Sunday noon, Julian Wing had given a talk on how important it is to keep up the network through the ELT community. Rafael reports on his own blog and Julian describes in more detail how the day went on the ELT spotlight.

I tried to invite people to join the Worldbridges event being broadcast, however, it was difficult to make anyone stay in the conference room  as this competed with an exceptionally sunny Sunday. pool

People were longing to lizard in the sun, splash in the swimming pool before joining others for an informal chat, caipirinhas and barbecue at the restaurant.

 Santos2006-01-09_004.JPGlunchby the pool

The nice thing about podcasts is that if you missed the live event, you can download and listen to the 45 min. recording of the EVO Kickoff Teleconference when you have a little time to spare.

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Happy birthday

Today WordPress gave Sergio a birthday gift by sending him the long-awaited password so he was able to make his first post on the newly created blog. A date and an event to remember 🙂

Happy birthday, Sergio and wishes for a long blogging life!

 

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Blogging towards autonomy

This afternoon I gave the workshop on blogging. Autonomy was indeed required while participants struggled to open their accounts on WordPress.com. There were too many people signing in so I suppose the server could not process all requests at the same time. It was also very difficult to hear the two podcasts, one made by Michael Coghlan and the other by Aiden Yeh as the connection was a bit slow and the sound was delivered in chopped packets. The session on RSS was postponed for tomorrow.

I hope you can listen to them in your spare time or when you are back home because they are really worth it and give you a good idea of what can be done with this techology.

Some examples of blogs that were shared during the presentation, in case you want to revisit them are:

Dekita.org – a project that highlights blogging projects and students’ publishing work and helps you find other blogging classes around the world.

The Mie Journal –  a group weblog created by undergraduate students at Mie University, Japan, as part of an EFL course.

6eme05 (elementary students)

Some others you can check are:

Beeonline – intermediate students interacting with mystery guest

A student’s blog

I encourage those who did not manage to open the account during the session to persevere, contact me if you have any doubts and send me your URL (address) as soon as you get it. Do not forget to place yourselves on the HSS map.

At the end of the session we moved to the ELT open chat moderated by Julian Wing in Rio de Janeiro. From there some took off into virtual space to voice chat on Yahoo Messenger with some of the webheads invited for the event. Although there was not much time to talk to each one and find out more about the work they have been developing with blogs and other tools, you are warmly invited to join the Electronic Village Online sessions starting next weeek. The sessions are free and open to all interested parties and you do not need to be a Tesol member to participate.

I especially recommend the Becoming a Webhead workshop for all those who want to have an overview on how to use different communication tools in their teaching and join a warm and supporting international community of teachers interested in learning more and developing professionally.  Collaborative blogging will provide you with more practice in what you have started here.

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Getting to know each other

I drove to the hotel early this morning (it´s only 45 minutes away from my country house) to be here at the opening session. All participants arrived here yesterday.

It´s a very nice group composed of 29 participants (18 from different places all over Brasil and 11 from other Latin American countries: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Cuba), 3 tutors: Vanessa Andreotti, David Shepherd and Sarah Walker and 1 course director, Margit Szesztay.  After a plentiful breakfast, Margit, Mike Thornton, British Council representative in Brazil, and the tutors mapped out the week. A few warm up activities made participants interact and know each other better. 

Vanessa asked us to draw a suitcase, putting inside what he had brought to the course and outside what we had left behind. These drawings were shared in groups. During break time we went out for some photographs. I have taken some individual pictures of participants who do not have their own photos online for the blogging session tomorrow so that they can place their faces on our Summerschool Frappr Map.

We are now discussing “English as a Global Language: different perspectives”. Margit projected a quote by David Crystal ” Nobody owns English now”

Some participants reacted against the concept of “ownership” and feel that nobody owns a language. They illustrated their argument with examples of different varieties of Spanish spoken in Latin America and that there is no correct variety. Sarah (native speaker) mentioned how the perspective towards English changed in the past 40 years. When she started, she considered it very much her own language and taught all the cultural aspects associated to it (example: double decker buses), while now she does not have the impression of owning anymore. For David (native speaker from the Notheast of England ), having to teach RP felt like teaching a second language as he did feel he owned this particular variety.

Several participants read extracts from an Internet interview with David Crystal, during which teachers from all over the world bring forward questions on what the appropriate uses of the language should be.

Triggered by these examples, some of the points that were brought up in the group discussion in this room were whether some forms are more correct than others, whether other local varieties of English should be corrected, what should be considered a mistake, what should be corrected and if a standard and models should be established.

Other questions that came up were evaluation, the nature of the English language (widespread and spoken by so many different people) and what could be considered a natural use of the language – the role of accuracy. One participant mentioned the importance of adapting the language and behaviour to the local context so as to make yourself better understood. Shaun mentioned native speakers like himself sometimes have more difficulty in adapting to other contexts than non-natives.

Break for lunch 🙂

 

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Entering the Blogging World

Anne Davis is an edublogger and works with faculty, staff, and students in the area of instructional technology at the University of Georgia, USA.

In Edublog Insights, which won the 2005 Edublog Awards in the best teacher blog category, she reflects, discusses, and explores the possibilities of blogging in the classroom. Here is some advice she offers for those about to enter the blogging world (any parallels with learning a foreign language?):

  • At first, keep it simple.  There is much to learn.  Don’t worry about what you don’t know.  Just focus on how much you can achieve with learning just a little.  That’s one of the amazing things about weblogs.
  • There is not a “right” or a “wrong” way to post.  This is an area that is wide open for exploration of learning possibilities for both students and teachers. 
  • Although you will probably begin by creating a weblog for your own use, keep students in mind throughout the process.  Students need lots of practice engaging in exciting, collaborative learning activities where they have to discuss, think, contribute, read, and write.  Weblogs are a perfect place for this so include them in your thoughts and planning.
  • Don’t agonize over your postings. Of course you want to write well. What you have to say is important.  But don’t get lost in feeling that every post needs to be perfect.  We need more education voices (and student voices) heard!
  • Try to post on a regular basis.  If you don’t have time to collect all your thoughts, go ahead and post the beginning of a thought or an idea.  You can always go back and add more later in a future post.
  • Take the time to comment on your fellow classmate’s weblogs, as well as others you visit.  This is the way online communities develop and grow. 
  • If you are quoting another source be sure to give them credit.
  • Be sure to write a little about yourself on the About link.  People visiting your site want to know a little about you and why you created a weblog.
  • The links you create on the side will be of interest to those visiting your site.  I always check that out and love when I find a new link that leads to further learning!
  • Get ready to enter an exciting world of weblog possibilities.  You’ll be joining a community of learners like yourself.  I have learned so much from a cohort of dynamic, interesting, and caring EduBloggers.  It’s inservice in its best form, designed by us, for us.
  • Have fun and enjoy the learning journey!

Are you ready to start?

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Welcome

Welcome to the Hornby Summer School 2006 Mother Blog!

Here you will find links to interesting readings online, announcements, reflections, gossip 🙂 and the blogroll of the participants. In a nutshell, a record of the high points of this 10-day event in Brazil.

Enjoy your stay and experience. In your own blogs, practise using this new technology! Take a little time each day to gather your thoughts, insights, doubts and questions on the points covered during the workshops and discussions. Record your learning process. Check other people’s posts, comment on them or take one of their points and discuss it in your blog. Tell a story and illustrate it with a picture!

Once you are back home, keep your blog alive by feeding it with links and reflections. Document your findings, keep in touch with others from a distance using your Bloglines account.

Remember. A blog establishes your presence online, your own publishing space.

 

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