Thursday, 1 September 2011

Blogging with students 2

Two weeks into the new school year, and we have now managed to create individual blogs for each of the special EXE EFL-course participants. There are 13 Finnish students in the group, two all-year foreign exchange students, and 5 EU Comenius exchange students, who will only stay in our school for 3 months, ie. a total of 21 students at the moment.

I am very grateful for Norwegian colleague, Ann Michaelsen for her expert advice on starting student blogs. I approached her in the summer, and she kindly blogged her tips for everybody to benefit from. Following Ann's advice, I let students choose between Blogger and Wordpress. There are now links to 9 Wordpress blogs, and 12 Blogger ones in the sidebar of our joint assignment blog.

We spent one lesson on talking about writing in public, the history of it, and how today, anybody can get their message published for the whole world to read. Special thanks to Australian educator Tania Sheko for her slideshow! We also talked about online safety, netiquette, copyright and other important related issues to do with starting a blog for school work. I uploaded the main information in our class blog, too, and then sent students home for the weekend, with the assignment of setting up their blogs, and sending me the URL before the next class on Monday. I must say, I felt a little bit uncertain how they would manage but they did just fine! Some minor problems were addressed in class but otherwise, mission accomplished really smoothly. Only two of the students had any experience of blogging beforehand.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind mention in your blogpost! I'm happy to see you are working with your students writing blogs! Good for you, it is fun don't you think?

sinikka said...

My pleasure, Ann. It's important to give credit where credit's do. One of the greatest things about building an online PLE is all the great ideas, so willingly shared by others, you can learn from!

I think blogging is a good way for students to improve their English, and write for a purpose. Some of them have also told me that, after the initial uncertainly, they have got to enjoy it actually. Some are not that keen, though - maybe they are students who don't enjoy writing in general. Personally, I'm very excited to read my students' posts every time!