Saturday, 5 April 2008

Developing my own Student Blog

My blogging journey has been mostly focused on developing My Languages, my rationale being that for blogging to have a real impact on learning, I needed first to get the members of my team to consider it as something they could do with their own classes. I am now considering how the student blog I created could be developed further.

What would I like on it?
I would like some links to extensions resources for the topics covered in class. However, more than just references to resources, I would also like to use it to celebrate students’ achievements and develop peer assessment.

The main obstacle so far had been the difficulties to upload to Blogger. I did include a “box” widget on mrsjoneslanguageresources but I found that although it was easy to upload materials to it, it was not always easy to find them from the blog as the list cannot be fully displayed at all times.

However, I very recently found out about Scribd, a very useful tool to publish all sorts of documents on blogs and websites.
With scribd, I can upload any documents and either embed them or refer to them in a blog post via a link. I can also see what other people have uploaded and browse it through categories. I also like the group facility that can be made public or private in order to share documents-something that could be useful within a learning network.

As a results of my musings, I have been looking at a number of student blogs-more often more “for” students than “by” students and I have found this very useful.

Dianne Krause is a French teacher from Pennsylvania-and also my Voki twin!-, her blog includes: information about each of her classes, current and past homework assignment, upcoming tests and quizzes, Information about project assignments, additional Internet-based practice activities and quizzes and links about French culture, French language and the learning of a foreign language.

Sans Probleme, Marie-France Perkins’s blog includes links to extension material, home-made audio, interactive practice exercises (quia)

Les chevalier du chateau des champions , Andrea Henderson's blog from Texas, also includes lots of excellent materials for students, but the blog has not been used to display student work.

Spanish @Owen's does have some student work and recording as well as posts about school trips although it has lots of other posts in between that can detract from that fact.

When student work is peer assessed through comments like in the Two Star and a Wish or Rate My Mates blogs, more student work is displayed.

So, our blog would include vokis, links to visual resources including video, podcasts by students and work to be commented on following the 2 stars and 1 wish rule. I do not anticipate developing different blogs for different classes as the audience given will then be local and international.

Last but not least, my first consideration when getting the students directly involved in their blog will have to be their safety and I need to consider how I will deliver corresponding student training.

My review time will be the end of the academic year in July. Let’s see how this develops…

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