I don't teach that much anymore so I have no idea ábout the extent to which I would use Web 2.0 tools if I had a full timetable. At the moment I have a very small class of colleagues wanting to upgrade their English. We started with a lot of oral work with them recording various job related exercises such as what would our answering machine message be in English. Then we changed gear and started putting more emphasis on written work.

I have been very fortunate in that I was talking with Carla Arena a few weeks ago and she was willing to give the mystery guest idea a try. So at http://engelsk.edublogs.org/ we now have a very modest little blog where Carla gives information about herself and my students have to try and find out more about her.

I only have them for an hour and a half each week and it was very difficult to get them started but considering that I only have 3 in the group I think they are doing very well so far.

Firstly I think they had trouble understanding what the exercise was all about. One thought that maybe she was writing to a celebrity and I don't know if others thought that it was me masquerading as a mystery person.

Next hurdle was that it was difficult to encourage them to continue the exercise outside the lesson (otheriwse there would have been a weeks delay between each exchange). I must admit that I nagged a lot but then they started to respond.

There is as yet no process writing. The first comment was added during a lesson but all the other comments have been done in their own time and as far as I know directly into the comment dialogue box. I asked about their attitude to mistakes and was told that as long as it was understandable they were not too concerned if there were errors. Nevertheless the teacher in me says that I have to do something in that direction so we did spend some time looking at a printout of the original post and comments and seeing if we could make some improvements. I then edited in all the corrections they spotted plus one or two which I brought to their attention. Many remain. Carla has been really good at reformulating their comments so I also asked them to look at her replies for clues regarding some of the spellings.

They are very keen to answer Carla's questions about our region but less curious about exploring Carla's situation. My plan is for them to make a Bubbleshare album fully annotated and with audio commentary about our organisation and our town over the next two weeks. I plan to take care of the technical side myself so that they can concentrate on planning, scripting and applying quality control to the finished product.

I have seen the mystery guest exercise done a couple of times before and am very pleased at the opportunity to do it myself. Inherent in the exercise is the need to really understand what is being written by the mystery guest (for example, at one point they thought that Carla had confirmed that she was not a woman) and the reformation which I mentioned above.

I will need to make an overall evaluation when the project is finished in a couple of weeks time.

Views: 37

Comment by MP Bumsted on April 20, 2007 at 3:49pm
Would it be possible for you or Carla to mention your "learnings" at the edublogs.org forum, Lessons Learned http://edublogs.org/forums/forum.php?id=8

Just what you have here (a link to this would be good) would be very helpful to others figuring out how to use the esl blogging, etc.
Pam
Comment by Anne Fox on April 20, 2007 at 5:08pm
Gladly but I don't seem to be able to log in. Can't I just use the same log-in as for my edublog blog?
Comment by MP Bumsted on April 20, 2007 at 6:07pm
At the moment you have to register for the forum separately. My suggestion is to use the same username and password as your main blog. It also helps to add your main blog to your forum profile.

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