let’s get down to the nuts and bolts.
Why go to all this time and bother of
setting up blogs and podcasts,
how can we use them in our classes?
You can start out as simply as you like. Blogs go down well, even with young students.
Here is an example from a Junior Elementary group
talking about what they've done and learnt in class.
Why not create tasks that liven up the course book you're using?
The unit we were looking at with this class was Storytelling
and here is the blog task they did.
And here is what one student posted in response.
Another task the same group did was to test out their language level
using the CEF grid and it's can do skills.
Here is one posting in response.
I've also given the same, but more guided task, to higher level students.
These examples, I hope, paint a convincing picture of how blogs and podcasts encourage learner autonomy and more than compensate for the time spent in setting them up.
- They encourage students to find their own resources
- and enable them to pursue subjects that interest them.
- Once the ball gets rolling, students generate their own class material
- and can work at their own pace, writing posts and comments when they see fit.
- They enjoy operating with media that's in tune with their generation
- and have the gratifying experience of expressing themselves in English within an authentic environment.
- For example, if you comment on the content of your students’ postings between classes, you can then use the time in class, when they are working on the next task, to talk to them individually about their language problems.
- Both you and your students will find this a far more rewarding and productive experience than setting activities in the course book for language practice. Here your role becomes more one of a collaborator: giving students a helping hand to express what they really want to say.
- You can use students’ postings as a natural springboard to practise their speaking skills. Ask them to present their blog findings to the rest of the group. Or make the material they’ve researched for their postings the starting point for a group discussion.
- Put what you plan to do in the next class or what you covered in the last on the blog. This provides students with a point of reference, giving them the opportunity to reflect on what they’ve learnt. It also allows students who’ve been absent from classes to catch up on what they’ve missed.
I've talked here of some of my ideas of how blogs can be used in class, but you can find suggestions for far more at, for example:
- ESL Teacher Talk
- 99 Ways to use a podcast in language education
- Podcasting in the classroom
- Class Blogging Projects
- CALL class resources
- Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom.
- The Daily English Show an Internet show for learners of English. Each episode has a video and the blog publishes the transcript of it.
- Absolutely cultural looks at all intercultural aspects of human intercultural communication. Every week there's a new podcast and the blog post summarises what's been said in them.
- English Idioms and Slang explores the world of English colloquial language.
- The Bob and Rob Show offers weekly English lessons.
- Storynory presents audio stories for kids with both a summary and the full text available.