Welcome to a new WELL Module!


Welcome to our brand new WELL blog! An open online space to share our reflections and conversations with the world.

My name is Carla Raguseo and I'll be your online tutor. I'm an EFL teacher from Rosario, Argentina. In 2006 I started my first blog for an international online exchange for Argentinian and Brazilian students. Since then, I've started different blogs for my classes to facilitate connections and authentic communication.

Of course, there are no recipies or fixed guidelines for the use of blogs and wikis in education. However, we do need to understand how they work and what they mean to the learning process to take a sound decision on how to implement them in our classes.

Here's the recording of our Kick Off event last Saturday: An open talk with Claudia Ceraso to share experiences and to think together of new inspiring and innovative ways of empowering our students not just to learn the language but through the language and meaningful interaction.

Have a look at some of the examples we shared with Claudia during the conference:
http://fceblog.blogspot.com/
http://eltnotes.blogspot.com/

http://www.toeflibtprep.blogspot.com/




We'd love to hear about your experiences as well.
Please, write a short introduction and tell us about your experiences and expectations.

Have you ever blogged with your students or for your own professional development?
In your opinion, how can blogs and wikis be integrated in the language classroom?
What are your expectations for this course?

I look forward to learning together!

18 Response to Welcome to a new WELL Module!

June 10, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Dear All,
First of all, I'd like to welcome our new mate in the course!
As I mentioned before, I am a teacher as well as a translator of English searching for new ways of teaching and helping my students with their learning process.
I have learnt lots of new staff during module 1 which I'm planing to use right away in class.
As regards blogs and wikis, I can say that before Module 1 I have never heard about them. Now, I'm trying to integrate them in the classroom. I know that it might not be easy for me to create a blog or a wiki for my classes and it might not be easy for my student to participate. But I will try!
Personally, I have never participated in a blog before but after listening to the conference I decided to start blogging not just by joining others' blogs but also by creating my own.
If I manage to create a blog on my own I'll let you know so you can comment on it!
I'm sure Module 2 will be as enriching as Module 1.
See you around.
Regards,
Andrea

June 10, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Hello Carla and course participants!
I had a great time joining you in this kick-off session and look forward to the conversations here.

Thank you for this Carla. I am adding it to my presentations wiki:
http://claudiaceraso.pbworks.com/WELL-Blog-Talk

June 10, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Wow, Andrea!

It's great to know the talk aroused your curiosity and that you are alreday willing to start experimenting.

I look forward to reading your new blog! Let's help it grow together.

Dear Claudia, I was just about to invite you to the blog, but you found it first! How do you do that!!! ;-)

Link to Claudia's Presentation Handout Wiki: http://claudiaceraso.pbworks.com/WELL-Blog-Talk

Hugs!

June 10, 2010 at 9:04 PM

Hello
I have just joined this course. I didn't do module 1. I'm sure I've missed a lot of great stuff. I teach English in-company. I know very little about the web in general. I don't know about wikis and just this year I heard about blogs. It sounded like a good way of organizing what I had been doing with my students last year, which was just provide them with a list of websites to access whenever they had time to do extra practice, but it turned out to be too messy. So I still don't know how but I managed to create a private blog, which is simply a list of links where my students can find different kinds of exercises clicking on just one site. But that's all. I know I am missing out on a lot of great things that can be done and I am hoping to learn all that in this course. Looking forward to it!
Mariela

June 11, 2010 at 5:52 AM

Welcome aboard, Mariela!

Each WELL module is self-contained, so you haven't missed anything! We'll start learning about blogs and wikis from scratch.

I agree blogs are a very good idea for in-company classes. Corporate blogs are very popular, so I guess it would be a great way to combine English with authentic business tasks.

Looking forward to learning together!!

June 12, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Hello everyone and welcome to the group Mariela!

Personally, I have participated in some blogs and I've also started a couple of them myself but I still find it difficult to realise what's the pedagogic rationale behind them and which type of blog I should be setting up depending on my different aims.

As regards how can blogs and wikis be integrated in the language classroom, that's precisely what I'd like this course to help me learn :-) though I've tried some ideas in my blogs.

Though it makes me feel highly embarrassed, following experts advice that we should share with our colleagues to enhance our professional development, I dare share with you my blogs. Please, bare in mind that I started them intuitively... I'm eager to learn so your all your comments about them will be more than welcome!

http://sherwoodschool.wordpress.com/

I started this blog first with the idea of uploading videos we had seen in class for students to be able to watch them again whenever they wanted but then I started including some other things like photos and information about who we are in the school year after year.

http://sherwoodprojects.blogspot.com/

We started this one as a project with a New York school. Our students produced some things to share with NY students, and in response to those students' questions in a blog of their own they had shared with us first: http://quepasa-danette.blogspot.com/.

I was finally able to listen to the Conference and I think it was great! I'm learning a lot through your experiences!!

Thank you for sharing!

xox

June 13, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Wow, Cecilia!!

Amazing start! Thanks for sharing your blogs with us!
The first one is a school blog with photographs of all the different classes and some videos as well: http://sherwoodschool.wordpress.com/
How did students react to the blog? I imagine partents liked the idea as well.

As regards your project blog http://sherwoodprojects.blogspot.com/, I loved the videos. Great job! So your students recorded their questions and answers on video for Dannette's students who did the same on their blog:http://quepasa-danette.blogspot.com/ right?

When I carried out a similar exchanges with Brazil and with Canada, in most cases we decided to have a single blog for the project to facilitate students interactions on a single spot. I think this is a good idea especially for young learners. Maybe we could explore the different possibilities and the pros and cons for each one on this module.

I look forward to learning more about your projects!!!

Carina Locascio
June 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Hello!! Here I am, again!! What a beautiful blog, Carla!! Apart from the great stuff discussed here, I like the choice of colours and the organization :)

As regards my expercience with blogs, I have very little. I tried to do something last year with a 3rd adolescents, which was a complete failure :( and although I follow some colleagues' blogs, I haven't created my own yet.

I do admire those blogs for professional development and I LOVE some blogs I follow with lots of material to use in the classroom, such as these ones:

http://moviesegmentstoassessgrammargoals.blogspot.com/

http://www.technogogy.org.uk/index.html

I hope to learn how to 'blend' these wonderful web tools with my lessons!!

Hugs,

Carina.

Anonymous
June 14, 2010 at 5:46 AM

Hello again everybody!
Welcome Mariela
I have visited blogs before,but I never used in the classroom. I have never participated as an active participant in a blog before, but I´m really enjoying this course and I´m learning a lot.
I hope I can follow every discussion and learn from all of you. :)
I´m eager to start this new module.
Love,
Carina S

June 14, 2010 at 6:39 AM

Hello Everybody! And welcome Mariela!
I have built some blogs with some groups of students but I found difficult to get them involved in the task.
I have also created a blog intended for all kinds of students, which was a final work for another course I did last year. In that blog I used many resources and gadgets that I did not know existed. But I still find it hard to make my students participate.
I hope I can find the magic ingredient to include the blogs with all my courses!

Melina
June 14, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Hello everyone,

To begin with, I'd like to welcome Mariela.It is such a pleasure to keep on doing this second part of the course with all of you.
In my case, I have done the first module and I have learned lots of new interesting stuff. I am very glad with my performance in the first part of this course since I have considerably expanded my knowledge regarding the use of technological tools. Now,I am able to apply quite a number of online tools that I have never used before.So, thanks a lot Carla for sharing your knowledge and for helping us become knowledgeable in this field.
Talking about blogs, I just have a general idea of what they are.I have never blogged with my students. I have blogged as a student in one of the subjects, Literature, at the Teaching Training College.
I expect to become familiar with the use of blogs and wikis. I know that I will be able to pursue this goal, as I did in the first part of this course.
Regards,
Melina

June 14, 2010 at 8:20 PM

Dear Carinas, Lilia and Melina,

It is my pleasure to keep sharing this WELL experience with you. We've already had a great start with your own blog samples and lots of food for thought...!

I really hope this course will meet your expectations and will help us all move our pedagogy forward through reflection and playful experimentation.

I'm also looking forward to your contributions on this week's forum.

Hugs,

Carla

June 20, 2010 at 7:41 AM

Hi everyone!

Thank you Carla for your comments on 13/06! There are so many things to keep track of that I forgot to check this blog :-(. I have now subscribed to receive the updates and be able to follow the discussion better, let’s see if I can…

As regards the Wordpress blog (sherwoodschool.wordpress.com), students reacted very positively though it was difficult for me to get them involved, same as happened to Lilia apparently. However, I decided to go on posting because I realised many students were watching the videos despite the fact that they weren't making any comments. Parents were very happy to see their children there too!! That's why I started the category "Sherwood Community" because I noticed it could be a good “hook” for them to start following the blog or at least visiting it from time to time, since there is where they can find photos of the different classes.

As for the Blogspot one (sherwoodprojects.blogspot.com), YES my students recorded their questions and answers on video for Dannette’s students who had done the same on their blog. I totally agree now that it would have been better to have a common blog to share students’ work but when I did it, I was in a rush (as usual) and experimenting with these new tools so I just plunged into it to learn from the experience.

I’ll keep on reading you!

Hugs,

Ceci

June 21, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Exactly, Cecilia!

Many times students are engaged mainly as readers without necessarily leaving comments, especially in a tutor's blog where the teacher is mainly sharing resources.

That's why it's also a good idea to keep track of the visitors through a widget.

Let's see what happens with the comments in the blog samples we are analyzing in class. ;-)

Hugs,

Carla

June 21, 2010 at 11:45 AM

aha... I didn't know you could keep track of the visitors... and I don't know how you manage to make all the comments appear. And yes, as you've just said Carla, in a tutor's blog a teacher is mainly sharing resources, this is one of the most remarkable features of a blog, isn't it??

Kisses!

Cari.

June 21, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Sorry... I'm trying to answer my own question. In a tutor's blog a teacher can be sharing resources, but also many other tasks can be accomplished through a blog, like in this one! So, the degree of students' participation may depend on the final objective of what we decide to publish... seems so simple but I think it's not that simple, at least for me... Cheers,

Cari.

June 21, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Yes, Carina, if the main objective of a tutor's blog is to foster discussions and conversations, then comments are an expected outcome. But should we expect comments when we publish one-way information or when we are directing learners to other sources?

Check out our visitors widget on the sidebar, too! :-)

June 30, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Coming back to this conversation. Thank you for sharing all of these comments.

@Carla I wonder if it is one-way information. Somebody reflecting and not commenting is also an answer. So we always come back to the original idea: what's the purpose of the blog in question?

I think success depends on the extent to which we get initial objectives plus something else. Call it serendipity. If you get a response you had not imagined before, then I think you are definitely doing something new and different. This makes it worth it.

Then you explore further for next time or next class.@Cecilia and all: Please don't worry about being newbies in this. We are all experimenting all the time.

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