Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blogs or wikis to work English language in the school?

Does it really matter? Well, it depends on what we would like to use them for and what level we will use them.


Blogs are a great source for concrete information and tend to be chronologically oriented. They provide good tools for public attribution of contribution.

Blogs are used to post interesting finds or questions for students to comment on or to respond to. They probably are more of an opinionated tool, so if you're trying to encourage your students to express their different viewpoints, then a blog would be a good tool.

Blogging is also a good option because students can share their work, ideas and thoughts with different people in the world.  They also learn about different cultures and they communicate to see different opinions from teenagers like them.

In a Blog students can post images or videos that are related and tell their opinion of what they felt was important in the lesson they have just covered. They can also post research they have found useful in their learning such as online articles or websites that support what the students have learned.

Our school (Ruiz Amado) in the neighbourhood.
I think a blog would be the best tool to work with older students to show their learning, opinions and critical points of view. In this way it can be used as a portfolio and as an evaluation tool.

Wikis tend to be more content oriented and have less capability for public acknowledgment of contribution.

Wikis allow a constant update of information, a continuing work ethic, while giving the teacher and other students the possibility to add anything they think is missing. You can get a lot feedback from the students work.

In a Wiki students can collaborate with the discussion tabs. The best thing for a teacher is the history tab so that you can see who did what and when, who changed what and when.

Wikis allow the students to go in and edit other people's work in the same wiki page, so if you're trying to get the students a truly interaction, that would probably be the best tool to collaborate and share ideas.

Working in the English classroom (School Ruiz Amado)
But if you are considering using a Blog or a Wiki as a final product of a project or a task, I think it is important to think about  the age of the students. You can let older students to choose the medium by which to demonstrate what they've learned. This gives them the freedom to show their creativity. For the youngest, maybe Wikis are easier for them: it can be used for quick edits and for directed exercises or assignments.

Cooperation, collaboration, interaction... these are tags than can be addressed to the use of wikis.

Points of view, ideas, reflection, giving opinions... then, maybe, blogs are the best choice.

Better to see an example of “Best teaching” English with a Wiki. It has been made by a terrific primary English teacher, Rosamaria Felip Falcó, in the school Ruiz Amado in Castelló d’Empúries (Costa Brava - Girona). It is worth having a look: http://ruizamadoenglish.wikispaces.com/


You can also have a sight for the Blog made by another great English teacher in the school Splai in Barcelona: Oscar del Estal Martínez. He uses the blog as a bank of resources and, above all for assignments and homework: http://blocs.xtec.cat/anglesceipsplai/


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1 comment:

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