Electronic Village Online EVO 06 blog workshop:
Social blogging for collaborative learning and teaching

This Session is sponsored by the Teacher Education IS of TESOL

Susanne Nyrop, Denmark, Anna Koorey, Australia Jane Petring, Canada

Target Audience
Educators who wish to use blogs with their classes for encouragement of online social interaction and reflection, by collaborative learning and teaching. Participants need to have some experience with word processors and the basics of Internet navigation. People who already know how to work with blogs are encouraged to join us from the start to help with tips and tricks, while in the last part of the course we will all be ready to experiment with collaborative uses of blogs in education.

Content Description
Weblogs (or blogs) have evolved from easily updated private online journals into a multimodal collaborative tool for information exchange and reflection. This online session will encourage participants to explore possible uses, and to create their own blogs as a project of collaboration and peer exchange of ideas and knowledge. We will examine and compare several current blogging tools and how they could be put to use with ESL/EFL learners. We will also consider how to use multimedia content, such as audio recorded voice messages, podcasts, photos and videos. Participants will work together in a group blog, and become familiar with group features, such as multiple authors, clustering Friend of a friend (FOAF), and interest sharing by keyword tagging, blog rolls, RSS and aggregation software. This way we hope to encourage the development of community oriented practices.

Relevant guest speakers will be invited for each week of the workshop.

Week by Week Outline

Week I - Introductions, survey, getting acquainted with blogs

Participants will meet moderators and participants; complete an exploratory survey to pool experience, needs and expectations; and set guidelines and readings for the course. A range of actual examples will allow participants to become acquainted with the use of blogs in ESL/EFL, and participants will open their own blog accounts. We're going to discuss a video showing how blogs are used in education in the UK.
Week 1 Tasks

Week II - Comparing various asynchronous tools, different weblog categories and uses

Participants will look at different blog tools (free and open source); compare and contrast them to forums, webpages, and wikis; and experiment with various uses and categories (personal blogs, class blogs, open, closed).
Week 2 Tasks

Week III - Personalisation and RSS

A news reader is a tool for aggregating RSS feeds from multiple sources and displaying them in one place, such as in your own blog. Participants will explore how to configure and personalize their blogs by adding RSS feed link on their weblogs and begin using aggregators to subscribe to relevant links that relate to students work and interests. Examples of aggregation software (e.g. Bloglines), web-based search and tracking services (such as del.icio.us and Technorati) will be introduced.
Week 3 Tasks

Week IV – Beyond the text: Multimedia weblogs

In this section participants will discover ways to enrich their blogging activities by incorporating images and sound. Examples of typical Audioblogs, Photoblogs, Moblogs and Videoblogs will be discussed, along with the various software applications that support working with images and sound.
Week 4 Tasks

Week V - Weblogging Projects

Blogs offer a meaningful way of utilizing the power of information and communication technologies for project based and problem oriented learning through readers' comments and suggestions that are available to public blogs. We will look at several projects currently underway, and speak with the teachers and students involved. We will examine and discuss collaborative projects, blogging communities, and the use of E-portfolios. One solution could be ELGG, an Open Source application, a hybrid of weblogging, e-portfolios and social networking.
Week 5 Tasks

Week VI - Building a community of practice with social software

Finally, participants will be encouraged to explore how to cultivate and maintain a thriving weblog-based learning community. Edu-blogs are those that engage people and make them want to come back again and again, not only to read posts, but also to participate. What can we do to encourage this participation and convert our blogs into engaging and dynamic online communities?
Week 6 Tasks

Date: January 16 - February 26 2006

Communication Media
- Collective and personal blogs, wiki, and Yahoo Group
- Synchronous chats with experts (Alado, Tapped In, Learning Times, podcasts)

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