Best Platforms to Create a Blog for Your Class

Blogs have become one of the most used tools among teachers. They have many benefits for teachers, students and their families. If you are planning to create a blog for your class, here is a compilation of platforms that you can use.

Not only blogs, but also webpages. This is what Weebly offers. It uses a simple widget-based site builder that you operate in the web browser. All the elements are drag-and-drop so it is really easy to configure. This tool generates also a mobile version of your blog automatically.

You can have your personal domain by paying an annual fee. If not, the default domain is .weebly.com

Storage through Weebly is unlimited. However, the service restricts individual file sizes.

By using education.weebly.com you can administer your students’ accounts, create online tasks and inform their parents.

9845502

 

Easy, safe and secure. It allows you easily create & manage student and teacher blogs, quickly customize designs and include videos, photos & podcasts.

However, if you want to manage your students’ accounts you have to upgrade to a “pro” version. This has a cost of about 40$ per year. This “pro” version also allows you to have multiple authors, which is forbidden with the free account.

It is a shame that the free version offers so little: you cannot neither include videos nor custom HTML to embed items into posts. You are allotted a free space of 32.00 MB.

Edublogs-2k7t2ct-1oe30zf

If you are not an expert, this is one of the simplest platform and it is absolutely free. In less than 15 minutes you can create your first post by using some of their templates. If you don’t like any of them, you can download millions of free templates that are on the net and adapt them to your necessities.

It supports 100 users, so you can have many publishers: colleagues, friends, students’ families… And it is possible to have a mobile version too.

It hasn’t got any advertisement, although if you want to insert them the only thing you have to do is to create an account on Google Adsense and generate the kind of ads you want to show. But… don’t expect to be rich instantly.

The price of having your own domain is about 15$ per year.

blogger

It is one of the most popular blogging platforms nowadays. This is a little more complicated than the previous one but it has plenty of options. When you sign up you can set up the blog on your own server or on a WordPress-hosted blog. The number of array of configurations is so big that you may be lost at first, but after watching some tutorials and examples it is easy to manage too.

It supports multiple authors and you can use your own domain by paying around 25$ per year.

Unfortunately, if you want to remove the ads that appear on your blog, it is necessary to pay a fee and, even if you want to have them, it is very difficult to obtain any money for publicity.

índice

 

 Now, take your time and start to publish!

 María Pérez Navarro

Advertisements

Advantages of Using Blogs for Teaching

Blogs had a great potential for students learning when tasks are developed to align with course objectives. A blog allows anyone (from pre-primary to post-graduates) to publish information online. Pupils use technology constantly so why not use this in our favor? Let’s see some their advantages!

  1. Writing skills improvement: students (and people in general) write better if they know that someone is going to read what they are creating. Blogs allow us to write to an authentic audience, even bigger than we could think. Our articles can be read all over the world and this creates great expectations. Students pay more attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation because they know it. Teachers, friends, family, other people around the world can see our creations.
  2. Anytime, anywhere: there are not frontiers. Internet accesses allow pupils to engage with other students and teachers instantly, so they have the chance to discuss questions as they arise providing significant learning. Furthermore, we can access to this knowledge whenever we want. It is always available.
  3. Reflection time: as we have this availability we also have plenty of time to sit down, write and reflect on what we have learned while learning to create an emotional connection to that information. Instead of putting contents into our brains (as if into a bin) we can relax, think about our learning and establish meaningful connections.
  4. A place for everyone: if we think about it, we can always remember the typical shy boy/girl who sat at the other side of the classroom, as if hiding himself from the teacher. Blogs break this kind of barrier allowing students to communicate their inner thoughts and maybe we get astonish when a student who never wants to participate in our activities, writes in our blog and expresses himself/herself. This is a great opportunity to know them more and a starting point to practice social skills.
  5. Creativity: a blog is a great tool for improving our creativity and personal iniciative. As part of our reflection we can create things using other tools (videos, podcasts, pictures…).
  6. People learning from other people: we can share our ideas, feelings, questions, experiences… to others. Students can add to and edit content written by each other. They can communicate and receive feedback almost instantaneously. They are no longer confined to a class groupings or techers within a classroom. Maybe a student from New Zealand can solve our doubts. Our audience: the entire world. This may result in a net of interconnected knowledge with no geographical borders.
  7. Parents’ availability: each year more and more parents are not available to attend the school meetings because they work full-time. Blogs helps them to see what their children are doing in class, so they can bridge the gap in the home school connection.
  8. Motivation: all these reasons motivate our students a lot. Using ICT in class generates expectations and a great feeling of innovation. Our pupils have fun with this kind of activities while learning without even noticing.
  9. Interconnected knowledge: art, technological skills, writing skills, maths, geography, foreign languages… we can work on every subject and even integrating them.

Do you know more advantages of blogging for teaching? Then make a comment. I would really appreciate it.

María Pérez Navarro.

Livemocha: tool for learning

 Livemocha web as a tool for CoP ( http://learn.livemocha.com)

The Livemocha community is made up of language enthusiasts: teachers, language experts, other language learners, and native speakers proud of their language and heritage.  Community members help each other learn in a myriad of ways: they leave comments in response to practice exercises, build mini-lessons within exercise feedback, have practice conversations via text, video or audio chat, provide language practice and culture tips, and give much-needed encouragement.

It is universally agreed that conversational proficiency in a language is most effectively acquired and retained through immersion. The Livemocha community provides learners with a convenient and safe environment for language immersion and is an essential component of the Whole-Part-Whole methodology that makes Livemocha’s language courses effective.  After a learner has observed how the conversation is performed and learned the vocabulary and grammar components, they can then engage in a series of exercises with the native speakers in the Livemocha community. They practice, learn, and actually communicate.

Beginners or learners who like a bit more structure can connect with native speakers in the community to practice conversations using a set transcript. Practicing speech production in real time with a native speaker and receiving immediate feedback on your skills is a fun and effective way to develop comfort and confidence with synthesizing the components of a language for use in a conversation.

Language is not just an academic subject but also a performing art – something that must be actively practiced in order to master. A learner can watch people speak a new language, memorize all of the grammar rules, and talk about the language ad nauseam. But to truly speak a language, a learner must actually try it out with a partner. Real conversational fluency takes good instruction, a dose of courage, and a lot of real-life practice.

Whole-Part-Whole is a proven structure that allows learners to observe, learn, and then practice new language concepts. Consistently used in skills training, Whole-Part-Whole breaks down learning situations into three parts:

  • Demonstration: The learner watches and/or listens to native speakers engage in a conversation. The situation includes new language skills and is presented to learners in a complete real-life setting that helps with the construction of a mental model. For example, the learner may watch a video of people ordering coffee at a café and then complete a short exercise to gauge their own comprehension.
  • Deconstruction: The situation represented in the conversation is broken down into its vocabulary and grammar parts. This allows learners to fully understand the components of the new situation and to learn how those components can be applied to other situations as well.
  • Practice: Finally, the components are reassembled and the learner is given the opportunity to practice via a series of interactive activities.  These activities focus on written and spoken production and all involve interaction with and feedback from real native speakers of the language.

Livemocha’s learning materials are all made up of Activity Sets.  The building blocks of each course framework, one Activity Set represents a single Whole-Part-Whole deconstruction of a concept or scenario.  Activity Sets can be combined into Sequences that, when completed, allow the learner to do a specific task. Sequences are then combined into Courses, which deliver a specific learning outcome tied to the proficiency level a learner will achieve upon completion – for example, English Mastery for Business. Each Course is created to meet the needs of a particular Persona – the target learner for the Course, who has an assumed set of competencies including knowledge, age, skills, etc.

There is a chance to learn 35 languages, in a free online learning way, and with a worldwide community of native-speaking language learners. Hailing from every country in the world and speaking over 260 languages, the Livemocha community represents a rich blend of languages, cultures, and nationalities. Learners, teachers, and content creators—all equal members of the community—come together to learn, share, and connect, building each other’s language skills and expanding each other’s worldview.

Livemocha’s blog is very useful and is divided into entries from teachers and students. Submission exercises—in which a learner writes a passage or records him or herself speaking and then submits that exercise to the community for feedback—are found in all Livemocha courses and are also available as standalone activities.  In a lesson, they provide learners with the opportunity to practice writing and speaking, which synthesizes the vocabulary and grammar components of a conversation.  Learners who complete practice exercises are encouraged to submit them to the community for review and get the full benefit of the whole-part-whole structure of Livemocha’s courses.  Repeated practice and feedback from the community helps a learner develop the skills and confidence to eventually participate in a conversation in the new language.

The submission exercises are submitted to native-speaking members of the community at large for review.  Learners can also request feedback from specific members of the community to whom they are connected. As soon as their exercises are reviewed, learners receive notification and are able to view the feedback for their work.  All exercises and the associated feedback are saved for the learner to review as much as he/she wants.

Learners who submit their exercises to the community for review receive a rating for their work, a written comment and frequently, an audio comment as well.  The Livemocha community is made up of language enthusiasts who are teachers, language experts, native speakers proud of their language and heritage, and other language learners so getting comments specific to practice exercises is just the start. Learners can get feedback that includes detailed mini-lessons that extend beyond the subject of the exercise, language practice tips, culture tips and much-needed encouragement (after all, learning a new language is not easy!).

When you login for the first time, you get 50000 points and you get more if you help other users. Each advanced lesson in English is 7000 points, so you have enough points for 7 advanced lessons if you don’t help. Of course, you can buy more points, if you like it.

If you need special features for learning, Livemocha’s resources are related to Rosetta Stone (http://www.rosettastone.es/), a very interesting and complete learning method.

This content has been extracted taking into account public data from the Livemocha’s web published general information.

Javier Rebollo

Aplicaciones de las TIC

Edmodo: Introducing the virtual classroom

Oxford University Press

Girl on sofa with laptop and papers Image courtesy of Alessandro Valli via Flickr

Sean Dowling, an Educational Technology Coordinator, looks at using Edmodo as an alternative to blogs for running web-based English language courses.

In my previous post, I discussed how blogs could be used to design, deliver and manage a complete English course. However, using blogs for this purpose has a number of potential weaknesses.

First, blogging platforms don’t have in built assessment tools. Second, while the comment/reply feature of blogs does allow for some interaction between course participants, it can get a little unstructured if there are a lot of learning activities. Finally, student privacy is a concern. Fortunately, there are some free, web-based learning management systems (LMS) that help with these problems. One such LMS is Claco; however, my favourite, which I have been using for about four years, is Edmodo.

Edmodo allows teachers to set up private, online…

View original post 489 more words

How Long Does it Take You to Write a Post?

Writing a blog post is not just “copy and paste” text chunks from other blogs. Please, read this carefully in order to be a good blogger! 😉

QP and Eye

The idea of an editorial calendar appeals to my Type A personality.  The annal personality that loves order, planning, advance scheduling and control.  For the past few months I’ve toyed with a number of ways to post on a regular basis rather than the ad hoc system that is my current default.

The good thing about planning is that I have some topics sorted for the coming weeks and I can be giving them some thought.  The not so good thing about the calendar is that having a great idea is one thing, getting the post written is a different matter completely.

Occasionally a post will literally fly off the keyboard and the sense of achievement is surely every blogger’s high, a feeling that could make me a post junkie.  The inspiration is there, the photos appear as if on cue and everything comes together like, well, magic. If posts happened that…

View original post 258 more words

WhatsApp como herramienta en la enseñanza de idiomas

Something written by one of our e-camat (http://e-camat.wikispaces.com/) collaborators…I hope you like it!

Informática para las lenguas

Me gustaría estrenarme con unas breves consideraciones en torno al WhatsApp y algunas posibilidades didácticas que pueda aportar en la enseñanza de idiomas.

Martín (2013) se plantea si herramientas de mensajería instantáneas como la tan popular WhatsApp, al igual que Line y WeChat, podrían ser consideradas redes sociales. Curiosamente estas aplicaciones comparten muchas características con las Redes Sociales, tal como se conciben hoy en día. Castrillo y otros (2014.) analizan la idoneidad de la conversación por telefonía móvil (mobile chatting) mediante el WhatsApp con el fin de desarrollar la interacción escrita, de carácter coloquial y espontanea, que tiene una fuerte conexión con el discurso oral. Para tal fin, se ha realizado un experimento en el que participan
estudiantes de la UNED que han cursado estudios de alemán como lengua extranjera.

En este proyecto educativo los alumnos han utilizado el WhatsApp como un medio de aprendizaje colaborativo. La tarea de esta iniciativa consistía en fomentar la escritura colaborativa a través…

View original post 1,151 more words

Is being Google + so good as it promissed to be?

Is being Google + so good as it promised to be?

Some years ago, Google + came to compete with Facebook or Twitter states to promote product, people and events in the we. Two year later, it is time to demonstrate if its expectations have been achieved or not…

Read this article writen by

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/is-google-about-to-transform-the-web/52004 By for Between the Lines | July 7, 2011 — 05:52 GMT (22:52 PDT) and express your opinion using the comments’ option of this blog.

Google +

Social Networking for Language Education | Marie-Noëlle Lamy | Katerina Zourou | Palgrave Macmillan

Social Networking for Language Education | Marie-Noëlle Lamy | Katerina Zourou | Palgrave Macmillan.

A new book has just been published about Social Networking for Language Education.

These are the contents:

PART I: THE WIDER ECOLOGY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING WITH SOCIAL NETXWORKING SITES
1. An Ecological Analysis of Social Networking Site-Mediated Identity Development; Jonathon Reinhardt And Hsin-I Chen
2. Architecture Students’ Appropriation of Avatars – Relationships Between Avatar Identity and L2 Verbal Participation and Interaction; Ciara Wigham and Thierry Chanier
3. Online Reading Groups and Network Dynamics; Chris Lima and Marie-Noëlle Lamy
PART II: PEDAGOGIES AND PRACTITIONERS
4. Bridging Design and Language Interaction and Reuse in Livemocha’s Culture Space; Katerina Zourou, Mathieu Loiseau
5. Profiles in Online Communities; Richard Harrison
6. It’s Not Just the Tool; Carolin Fuchs and Bill Snyder
PART III: LEARNING BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES
7. A Study of the Use of Social Network Sites for Language Learning by University ESL Students;
Liu, M., Evans, M., Horwitz, E. K., Lee, S., Mccrory, M., Park, J.-B., and Parrish, C.
8. On-Line and Off-Site; Meei-Ling Liaw And Kathryn English
9. Formative Assessment within Social Network Sites for Language Learning;
Paul Gruba and Cameron Clark
PART IV
10. Social Media-Based Language Learning; Marie-Noëlle Lamy and François Mangenot
References

CALL and Language acquisition

Nowadays the use of ICT in our lives is rather common. Read chapter two from your textbook and try to explain the evolution experienced in this area of knowledge.

After that, have a look at this recollection of links:

http://delicious.com/stacks/view/RjgSan

and try to relate it to the advantages of using CALL material created for language learning purposes vs general teaching material used to teach / learn languages.

Please, use the comments option to reply.

Machine translation & CALL

As you could read from your textbook, machine translation (MT) has been linked to language learning and CALL in general from its beginnings. Nowadays, you could find multiple applications in the web, to elaborate dictionaries o even to produce software for grammar checking.

To know more about this, visit this article from the Wikipedia, read something more about its history, professional software and many other external links.

Try to visit any of the sites suggested here and leave us your own oppinion about the use of MT in language learning. Do you think it is actually effective? Is is worthwhile using a web-based translator to present your academic papers? Do you think that MT has evolved enough from the publication of your textbook?