Teaching blog to study comic strips. Aedean, November 2011.


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Project of teaching blog to study comic strips in a pragmatics course. Aedean Conference, Barcelona. 16-18th November 2011.

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Teaching blog to study comic strips. Aedean, November 2011.

  1. 1. Designing a teaching and research blog to do regular guided activities in an advanced grammar and pragmatics seminar. Eduardo J. Varela Bravo. Universidade de Vigo www.coverbrowser.com On the18th, Edu. Brief, orderly and relevant. Don’t tell lies, behave and wait until they call you! Got it? Here’s some new technology from the old pragmatic bin! Edu at large! The feather is mightier than the sword, but I’d better help my UAB friends before it gets too late! Felip Soriano
  2. 2. Outline 0- First general considerations. 1.- The use of blogs in the different fields of English Studies nowadays. 2.- Blog potentiality in teaching and research projects. Most important technical and methodological advantages. 3.- Some Other’s Strips. A blog designed for some complementary activities on my Grammar and Pragmatics Seminar, Fifth Year English Philology. 4.- Conclusions. 5/6.- References.
  3. 3. 0.- First general considerations. • Publishing blogs online on all kinds of topics and for all kinds of purposes is a massive (cultural) phenomenon nowadays which presents some very positive advantages in education, not yet well explored and also some limitations that need to be taken into consideration before designing a teaching and research blog. The English Blog. http://www.englishblog.com/
  4. 4. COMMENT Could that US drone be heading for Gadaffi? Is the cartoonist trying to tell us something? VOCABULARY 1. Someone or something that is pitiless shows no pity or kindness. • The Arab League, nettled by Muammar Gaddafi's pitiless rampage against his own people, has endorsed the flight exclusion zone. 2. If you are helpless, you do not have the strength or power to do anything useful or to control or protect yourself. • The United States originally declared it was intervening in Libya to prevent a likely imminent massacre in Benghazi, a city of 700,000 seemingly helpless against assault by the forces of Moammar Gadhafi. 3. If you describe someone as clueless, you are showing your disapproval of the fact that they do not know anything about a particular subject or that they are incapable of doing a particular thing properly. • There is a whiff of panic about Cameron and Hague's strategy on Libya. To say it has been clueless is almost to be too kind. GRAMMAR The suffix -less is added to nouns in order to form adjectives that indicate that someone or something does not have the thing that the noun refers to. Examples include topless, brainless, and jobless. Some advantages of a good blog in language teaching: 1) Immediacy. 2) Access to a massive flow of information on the web of practically all kinds. 3) Possibility of linking to the original sources and to complementary data. 4) Possibility of archiving, indexing and classifying all the items of information published. Post: 24th April 2011
  5. 5. This is the usual way in which I edit materials from the web to publish in my teaching blogs. The strip has been selected to illustrate a particular grammar point in class. The editor does not only provides a general comment and the link, but he also designs a specific activity. Faitic Tema online. 11th Nov 11 Some disadvantages, though. Editing and publishing focused on selecting and commenting briefly the items of news. There is neither personal elaboration nor much creative contribution. This can lead to repetition, overlapping and shallowness in many occasions.
  6. 6. A list of interesting blogs on English Studies There are some very interesting and high quality blogs in the fields of English Studies and related –both in Teaching and in Research- which correspond to different structures and functionalities, but not that many. Blogs in our specialty are often ephemeral: personal projects used to publish news about congresses, cultural or research activities and personal impressions on a variety of subjects. Usually very brief notes without much elaboration and with a lot of materials borrowed from other Web 2.0 resources.
  7. 7. My English Journal. A detail from the blogroll. Usually, blog rolls are nor exhaustive and do not follow clear classificatory criteria. They are simply lists of titles the editor(s) of each blog follow. They can be directly related with the topics dealt with in each case or not. Further, the most important blog directories are quite often compilations of blogs which have acquired a significant distribution level because of their popularity on the web, but some more specific criteria are usually missing. However, a teaching and research blog can acquire extra functionality in a class if the list of references are classified in topics and a first summary of the entries is provided.
  8. 8. 1.- The use of blogs in the different fields of English Studies nowadays. Topics. Blogs are very versatile and fast means to publish on the web first drafts or sketches of teaching and research ideas which are presented for a first appraisal and which can be later on expanded and developed in other more ambitious projects to be distributed academically. Therefore they can be very useful in some of the planning and discussion of activities in different university courses.
  9. 9. 1.- The use of blogs in the different fields of English Studies nowadays. Publishing and editing on the Web 2.0 Blogs seem to present more advantages than wikies or web pages when the project feeds on everyday materials taken from the web 2.0: news, cartoons, advertising. It is also easy to co- edit and share by Internet and it can also be kept restricted when a project or design is still under construction.
  10. 10. 2.- Blog potentiality for teaching and research projects. Most important technical and methodological advantages. From the point of view of technology, the blogs provide a somewhat limited basic framework which enables an editor to publish a first outline of a potential new idea by combining text, image and video quite fast and without much complication. A basic blog can be complemented with a number of useful gadgets which can be used to provide the most immediate links and materials to be used in a project.
  11. 11. 2.- Blog potentiality for teaching and research projects. Most important technical and methodological advantages. Organization Blogs seem to present more advantages than wikies or sites when the project feeds on everyday materials taken from the web 2.0: news, cartoons, advertising. It is also easy to co- edit and share by Internet and it can also be kept restricted when a project or design is still under construction.
  12. 12. 2.- Blog potentiality for teaching and research projects. Most important technical and methodological advantages. Efficient use. . From the point of view of teaching methodology writing posts and editing blogs is a very positive asset to actually develop a communicative competence because of the number of different skills involved in the publication. Not only communicative competence in a second language, but all the related competences involved in creating and keeping this electronic publication alive. The consequences in the realms of teaching methodology and in the exchange of research ideas is obvious
  13. 13. 2.- Blog potentiality for teaching and research projects. Most important technical and methodological advantages. Classifying first immediate information on the web. From the point of view of research it is useful both in terms of informal research and also as a first practice in the synthesis and classification of information. A blog feeds on materials accessible on the web, some of them ephemeral and subject to change. This means that not all this information needs to be kept in a more stable kind of classical academic format, especially in practical activities of discussion held in a research seminar, for instance. Keeping this kind of information on the blog enables the editor(s) to repair missing links and access new information more quickly and effectively than with other more traditional systems of listing.
  14. 14. This blog is part of a project to design activities based on the development of competences in subject on grammar, pragmatics and communication in the context of the present educational reform and the substitution of the old English Philology degrees by the new degrees in Foreign Languages. 3.- Some Other’s Strips.Example of application. Participating in this blog means the actual development of the communicative ability and competence of the students as the same time as the other interpersonal and complementary competences involved in editing, commenting and correcting the different contributions to the blog. This activity will be evaluated by means of a rubric and will be assigned a percentage of the course final mark.
  15. 15. 3.- Some Other’s Strips. Submitting drafts, correcting them, referencing them, tagging them. 1.- A list of pragmatic and communicative topics. 2.- Each student picks up one topic and chooses one suitable strip from the web 2.0. Properly linked and identified, of course. 3.- The students write their first drafts. 4.- The students contribute to the blog rolls with the list of references they have used. 5.- They also tag their comments.
  16. 16. 3.- Some Other’s Strips. Correcting them, editing them, publishing them still under restricted access. The process of revision and editing takes place as many times as necessary under the contribution is considered to be acceptable for publication on the blog. When the course blog (year… ) is complete: 1) publication, 2) process of joint discussion, 3) writing of a final report about the process and the main conclusions. The students are marked according to their participation in the project.
  17. 17. The blog can be kept from year to year , shared on the web, and give rise to old kinds of initiatives focused on topics related with humour, comic strips and comics from the perspective of language, pragmatics and communication as main distinctive specialized feature which differentiates this blog from the usual collections of comics and strips available on the web. 3.- Some Other’s Strips. Any further possibilities?
  18. 18. 4. Conclusions The use of blogs to design teaching activities for the new university courses in foreign languages offer some obvious advantages: immediacy, accessibility, easiness, distribution, access to online materials, basic format and potential improvements. In some key respects, they can be more functional than wikies and other web 2.0 recourses for projects like the one here mentioned. Besides the development of specific grammatical and pragmatic abilities and competences, posting and commenting on a blog involves the development of the complementary skills involved in its publication and editing. Further, the need to list and classify the adequate materials and references on the web and also the tagging and indexing involved is good practice The blog designed for activities in an advanced course based in the linguistic and pragmatic comment of comic strips taken from the web 2.0 following the new methodologies seems to fulfill this objectives in a very rewarding way and also open up new perspectives for the future. It also hints at the possibility of a new subtype of specialized academic blog different from the other types on the same kind of cultural and linguistic material available on the web. This proposal is part of a personal teaching and research project started in 2008 at the University of Vigo.
  19. 19. Abraham, Lee. B. and Lawrence F. Williams 2009: Electronic Discourse in Language Learning and Language Teaching. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. British Council: ‘Blogging for ELT’ < http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/blogging-elt > (Accessed 30 April, 2011) Bruns, Axel and Joanne Jakobs (eds) 2006: Uses of blogs. New York, Peter Lang. Castro, Elizabeth 2009: Publishing a blog with blogger. Berkeley, C., Peachpit. Council of Europe: ‘Common European Framework for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assesment’ < http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre_en.asp > (Accessed 30 April 2011) Crie, Mollie 2006 ‘Using Blogs to Integrate Technology in the Classroom’. Teaching Today. < http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educationupclose.phtml/47 > Dawley, Lisa 2007: The tools for successful online teaching. Hershey, PA, Idea. Fielding, Nigel 2008: The SAGE handbook of online research methods. London, SAGE Martínez Lirola, María y Eliecer Crespo Fernández 2007: ‘ La evaluación en el marco del EEES: El uso del Porfolio en Filología Inglesa’. Revista de Docencia Universitaria 2 < http://www.um.es/ead/Red_U/2/ > Wright-Porto Heather. 2011. Creative Blogging. Your first steps to a Successful Blog. New York, Apress. 5.- References
  20. 20. Best of the web: Blog Directory. < http://blogs.botw.org/ > Crystal, David: DCblog. < http://david-crystal.blogspot.com/> Google: Blog Directory. <http://www.google.com/Top/Computers/Internet/On_the_Web/Weblogs/ > Gunelius, Susan: Blogging. < http://weblogs.about.com/?once=true& > Hill, Jeffrey: The English Blog. < http://jeffreyhill.typepad.com/english/ > Liebermann, Max and Geoffrey Pullum: Language Log. < http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?page_id=2 > Martín Alegre, Sara: The Joys of Teaching Literature. < http://blogs.uab.cat/saramartinalegre > Open Directory Project: Blog Directory. < http://www.dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/On_the_Web/Weblogs > Varela Bravo, Eduardo: My English Journal. < http://ejvb-myjournal.blogspot.com > Varela Bravo, Eduardo: Some Other’s Strips. < http://pragmaticsandhumour.blogspot.com > Wells, John: John Well’s phonetic blog. < http://phonetic-blog.blogspot.com/ > 6.- Blogs and blog directories mentioned (Accessed last 30 April, 2011).
  21. 21. That’s all. Thank you very much! evarela@uvigo.es Blogs My English Journal: http://ejvb-myjournal.blogspot.com My English Log: www.myenglishlog.ejvarelabravo.com Barcelona, 18th November 2011