Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I've started to blog with my students. I'm just jumping in. I'm not perfect at any of it, but since a classroom happens in "real time" with lots of action and responsibilities, it's important to collaboratively explore new technology with students.
I'm calling it "Mundo Maestra" (http://woodsmurphy.edublogs.org/) which means "Teacher world." Students from all of my classes are responding to prompts that relate to our readings or classroom discussion. This way they can connect with each other online and I am able to extend the reach of my classroom. Even though they make grammatical errors typical of learners of their age, they learn by engaging in conversations with each other.
Isn't that what we do when we speak? Practice our vocabulary, forms of expression and discourse - in the moment.
So too, they are writing and sharing in "real time." I post their comments. I need to "approve" them, but I don't correct what they write. Some might fault this because what is "published" should be edited and impressive. I'm using the blog in a different way, which attempts to take away the fear of expressing oneself in a second language and also to give students experience with an online classroom structure.
Many college classes have online components nowadays and kids who come from high school are not used to having to jump into online chats and formalized postings. I'd rather have them work on these skills before they leave high school so I am incorporating these sorts of lessons into my Spanish class.
I want the kids to be writing and thinking in Spanish. I am thrilled with their progress. An added dividend that I hadn't even predicted is that students from different classes and ages can see each other's work online. This way, all classes can potentially connect - older students with younger, students in other classrooms, schools, nations. Is there a limit? I don't think so!