Summary of the presentation on blogging and ELT

Dear teachers, as agreed, I'm publishing here the summary of the presentation I did on using the internet as a languange learning tool.

The idea of the workshop was, although we had very limited time, to move on from simply using the internet as a motivator (which is also important) to using it as a real instructional tool. But I dare go even further. Web Content-Producing activities are the main goal of this talk.

We all know it's hard to manage this kind of activities with our young kids in front of the computer, because they probably know a lot more about blogging, You Tube, Podcasts, Flickr, etc. than we do. Don't worry, use that in favor of your computer classes. What you can't forget is that you're in command and you're the one who masters the language they'll need for blogging and so on.

A good first step towards producing content for the internet is using the dfilm movie maker, where students can create personalized short animated cartoons. Although it is a very controlled activity students can start producing fun ELT material for the web. It's seems to me a very good substitute for a traditional writing activity.

The main aim of the workshop was, though, the use of blogs and other hypermedia as a productive instructional tool for ELT.

The steps I suggested for practising and getting familiarized are, as follows:

1) Create your own accounts on applications like You Tube (videos), Flickr (images), Podcast1 (audio files) and Wordpress (blogging). Or other websites/platforms with the same purposes. Those mentioned are, though, the ones that are well known because of its features. For example, as I showed you, Wordpress allows you to put a video INTO the blog, whereas Blogger just allows you to use links for videos.

2) After having created those accounts, you should start producing material with your students (small videos, pictures, audio files) so that you'd have the required material for an internet content-producing activity to become successfull. Cel phones and digital cameras are very useful for surveys, small movies, interviews, etc.

3) Now it's time to upload those files in the cyberspace, meaning the platforms mentioned on step one. In case you have doubts on how you can do that, all those web 2.0 applications offer help links that will give you the necessary instructions to follow.

4) Then you're ready to move on to use all of those into your blog. Rememer, I believe Wordpress has more features than other usual bloggers nowadays, but that's only my opinion. Again, here things will be very similar to a wordprocessor where all the main functions are as clear as a simple button. Hyperlinks, pictures, font design, layout, etc.

For those who didn't do the activity about grammar proposed in the previous post, it's a good moment to try it out. Don't forget that hyperlinks can be as misterious as possible. They could be compared to the footnotes in a book, for example.

Now it's time to set your imagination free. As Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Wise words from a wise man.

Enjoy your teaching!!!


Using blogs for ELT purposes

If you are already familiar with blogging, things will be a lot easier, but we have to keep up the same pace so as to get everybody together.

Remember, content-producing activities can be quite frustrating if they are not well explained or guided according to our students knowledge and abilities.

Here are the things I want you to do as a first WEB Content-Producing practice.

1) Create your own blogs (in English, please). Suggestions of hosts are WORDPRESS or BLOGGER.
Note: Some bloggers open up in Portuguese, but you can easily change it to English.

2) In pairs, choose a language point to write about. Each one of you is going to take care of one aspect of that specific language point (i.e. Form and Use) and create hyperlinks that connect your posts somehow. In a way, one text should complement the other and that's exactly what we should want our students to do in a Web Content Producing activity. They'll learn how to do real collaborative work together.

3) Add an image to your blog to make it more attractive. It can be a grammar table for those who had to work with form, for example.

4) If you're ready, we can then try and link our text to an audio file that we can store on a podcast, as this song, which is a cover played by my last cover band.

5) And finally, insert a link to a video from You Tube, or any other free videos host. Remember, you and your students can use digital cameras or cell phones to record small videos and publicize them on You Tube, for example. Creating a kind of electronic portfolio for them. Remember that some bloggers do not offer this option. I haven't found that tool on Blogger, but I know on Wordpress you can surely do that.

If we've gotten here, then we'll probably be able to start carrying out those kind of Internet content-producing activities for our students, ALWAYS WITH A LEARNING POINT IN MIND.

Hope you liked it!!!