Saturday, August 04, 2007

Get Hip to Learning English!

The first semester of our school year has just ended. One of my major goals for the term was to use blogging with my students. I started a class blog at Motime called Get Hip to Learning English IES. Overall, it was a good experience, thanks mostly to the comments of great friends from online communities of practice! The students felt really encouraged to know that they were making connections with a larger audience.

There are some points that I want to improve about the blog for next semester. First, I want to make it more visually appealing and interesting, so students won't lose interest. Second, I hope to use the blog to conduct a collaborative online project with a guest or guests from another country. Finally, I hope to get students more involved in generating content for the class blog, or to have them start their own individual blogs. In addition to those items, I want to become involved in Dekita, and help students to create some relationships with student bloggers in Japan and other countries.

By the way, I chose the title "Get Hip to Learning English" because "to get hip to something" means to become more aware and appreciative of it (M-W Dictionary).

Since I'll be continuing the same blog with the same students in our next semester beginning in September, I'm looking forward to the chance to work toward the above goals. Please share your reflections or suggestions about blogging with students!


pab said...

Hello again, Mary.

You seem keen on helping your blogging students build relationships with near peers in Japan and overseas. The evidence that your students provide in comments on your Motime blog underscores the value of less immediate blogger - audience connections than those with just their instructor.

I too am keen on such connections, and I have considered Dekita. However my colleagues and, more importantly, some of theirs are cautious about over-publicity and concerned about possible repercussions. While I continue to discuss broader publication options with peer teachers, I'd like to open discussions with you, too, to explore overtures between our blogging classes.

I gather that your students have not yet started individual blogs, yet you are considering having them do so. If they did, that would put them more on a par with the students in the writing courses that I'm teaching, where each of the students must develop their own Blogger blogs.

At this juncture, how likely do you feel it is that your students will start blogs for their course work with you next semester?

Mary H said...

Hi Paul,
Thanks for your response to my ideas about blogging with a class!

I think the best way to decide if students want to publicize their blog would be to ask them what they feel comfortable with. For me, sharing my blog through online communities, and most recently through tags (see my WiA2007 post for a fabulous conversation that developed just through use of tags) has been a positive experience.

At this point, I can say there is a good chance that my students will create their own blogs. Because we'll be able to meet in the computer lab a couple times a month, we'll have some class time to help each other get started.

pab said...


The prospects of learner blogging community building with students you teach sound good! I look forward to news of further developments.

If you'd like to have a look around Weblogging in Kumamoto (WinK) sites, please let me know via email I'll be glad to point them out.

Cheers, Paul