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Fceblog Towards Online Learning

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Exploring the use of weblogs as classroom support.

Exploring the use of weblogs as classroom support.

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  • 1. fce blog towards online learning Exploring the use of weblogs as classroom support Claudia Ceraso 2007
  • 2. Blogs and language learning
    • This is an enlarged version of the original presentation made at the British Arts Centre
    • 14 September 2006
    • Updated January 2007
    • Claudia Ceraso
    • Teacher of English
  • 3. In this presentation
    • Educational use of weblogs
    • A pilot experience:
    • The FCE Blog
    • Origin -Backstage
    • Outcomes - Reflections
    • The ideas presented here are strictly personal and need not always reflect those of AACI – Asociación Argentina de Cultura Inglesa
  • 4. Before the blog was born
    • My Internet use
    • Finding information fast
    • Bookmarking
    • Sharing with colleagues and students via email
    • My Internet needs
    • Availability anywhere
    • Organisation for my favourites
    • Just one link to remember
  • 5. What is a blog?
    • A weblog is a diary-style site, in which the author links to other web pages he or she finds interesting using entries posted in reverse chronological order
    • Focus
    • Author’s subjective view on a topic
    • An invitation to make comments
    • Characteristics
    • Simple to get started
    • Word document-like edition
    • Free
    • Forever
  • 6. A blog is born
    • Internet – The way it is used today
    • A personal printing press
    • A personal broadcasting channel
    • A collaborative tool
    • Content creation power has been handed over to the user and there is no going back
  • 7. EduBlogs
    • Blogging in education is still in an experimental phase
    • Metablogs
    • The teacher’s journal
    • The teaching blog
    • The course blog
  • 8. Blogging as classroom support
    • Some Advantages
    • Reference : valuable information always accessible
    • Empowering tool : students’ writings can be published
    • Afterclass companion : the blog creates a sense of belonging to the community of readers
    • Collaboration : students suggest alternative learning paths
    • Informal learning : students make constant decisions about what to read
  • 9. Disadvantages: the blogger’s time eaters
    • Building an interesting and responsive website requires assigning time for…
    • Planning
    • Continuity
    • Maintenance
    • Comment moderation
    • Email
  • 10. Blog and classroom: the teacher’s decisions
    • Will students read the blog in class?
    • Can we include the blog among compulsory tasks?
    • Assigning homework through the blog, will it work?
    • Let me introduce you to Georgie, a five-year-old digital native…
  • 11. Can a blog be homework?
  • 12. Innovations: Learning Online
    • Blogging is about making something new -not simply replicating classroom procedures
    • The web is a medium that can blend learning and playing
    • A user-centred environment: students control their reading choices and participation
    • Excitement and discovery reinforce motivation for online learning
  • 13. Characteristics of a blog project in the foreign language classroom
    • fce blog http://fceblog.blogspot.com
    • Originally addressed to my First Certificate Exam preparation course at AACI – Asociación Argentina de Cultura Inglesa.
    • A group of 15 students aged 16 and 45+
  • 14. Blog content management
    • Variations on a theme:
    • What is your blog identity?
    Writing Style Link Policy Contents Purpose
  • 15. A) Purpose
    • Each student has access to further practice in areas he needs to consolidate, even though they are not included in the main content points of the current lessons
    • Opportunities to use the language in a real communicative context with students learning in other countries
    • Via links, students read suggestions and comments from other teachers preparing them for FCE
    • The class chooses the best compositions to publish students’ work
  • 16. B) Contents
    • The blog functions as a guide to access further practice in English at an advanced level.
    • All links are annotated with suggested objectives for reading and reflection about informal, autonomous learning
  • 17. C) User’s Policy
    • The blog has a theme as well as a defined audience
    • Participation and comments have rules which everybody knows (published in a Manifesto)
    • Students’ privacy (identity, email and image) is protected
    • Attribution and links to all sources
  • 18. D) Writing Style
    • The teacher’s language : neutral to informal. Direct questions to the reader
    • Entry design : dialogues, emails, letters, articles
    • Widgets : integrated to the blog objective. (e.g. online clock to time yourself in exam practice)
  • 19. The students’ response: some stats
    • Visits Jun- Dec 2006: 5400
    • Origin : Europe, USA, South America
    • Most revisited pages : Grammar and Phonetics
    • Most commented on pages : Guest map
  • 20. First steps
    • The blog was presented as a complement to the class and an invitation to practice. It is not compulsory to visit or comment.
    • Since March 2006 untill July, the site –still invisible to Google- was visited almost exclusively by my students
    • During the two-week winter break, students visited the blog every day
    The FCE Blog Stats Source: Statcounter.com
  • 21. Outcomes (1): Motivation cycle
    • Students ask in class what a blog is and how to get started
    • Top commenters receive more attention in class by their classmates
    • Students value the teacher for editing a tailor-made blog for their students
    Discussing the blog Commitment Classroom Interaction
  • 22. Outcomes (2): Informal learning
    • Change of habits: students started reading foreign newspapers and consulting online dictionaries
    • Critical attitude towards information sources: students commented about the best sites found and how they used them
    • Students “teach” in class what they learn on the web
  • 23. Challenges (1): The teacher as the expert learner
    • Integrating technology implies a change in the teaching and learning model
    • Students can teach how they use technology. The teacher must find value and meanning in those tools
    • The new teacher learns constantly and accepts that students can know more
    • Everyone is an expert in something
  • 24. Challenges (2): Inside the Blogosphere - Web literacy
    • New student roles
    • Self-directed
    • Content creator
    • Autonomous
    • New teacher roles
    • Informal learning guide
    • Moderator
    • Model of online conduct
  • 25. Challenges (3): The future of the blog
    • fce blog
    • A virtual learning environment
    • The blog outlives the course
    • Possibility to establish a global collaborative network with teachers and students
    • FCE exam results impact: Will the grades improve?
  • 26. Conclusions: Is blogging worth it?
    • Blurs the distinction between spontaneous discovery and formal teaching
    • Students and teachers exploring web literacy skills together
    • Autonomous learning fosters life-long learning
    Discovery Formal Learning Informal Learning Learning with Technology
  • 27. Epilogue: End of the course, but not the blog…
    • After exploring technology integration, will the students…
    • … make steps towards online learning ?
    • … understand that learning is a process and not a product ?
    • … visit the class blog again once the course is over?
  • 28. An encouraging comment in the blog
    • -Hello! I’m Marta from Poland :) This summer I wrote FCE and passed it with 'B' result. Do you think it is a good mark??
    • -Good mark indeed, Marta. Congratulations! Hope the fceblog helps you enjoy learning English.
    • - Thank you, Claudia. I will enter this site in order to get to know more knowledge about English language.
    • (See source in GUEST MAP, first comment)
  • 29. Reflections: Blogs allow us to have classrooms without frontiers but…
    • To have a blog is to assume the responsibility of asking these questions frequently:
    • Why are we doing this?
    • Who for?
    • How long?
    • The blog is simply a tool.
    • It is the teacher’s task to make sense out of the use we make of it.
  • 30. Thank you
  • 31.
    • fce blog
    • http://fceblog.blogspot.com
    • [email_address]
    • References
    • Original presentation
    • http://fceblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/are-you-teacher.html
    • Notes and sources
    • http://eltnotes.blogspot.com/2006/08/blogging-for-teachers.html
    • http://claudiaceraso.pbwiki.com/The+FCE+Blog
    • Illustration from George Sfarnas at
    • http://beingfive.blogspot.com