Skip to main content

What's better: work done in books or blogs?

For a couple of years I experimented with having a proportion of written homework done using student blogs. Y10-11 classes would write a composition piece about once every two weeks. I taught them how to set up a Blooger blog, encouraged them to personalise it and to read the blogs of other students. I would always read and comment on every homework done in this way.

Overall students seemed happy to do work in this way and I really should have got some empirical feedback, but I didn't.

On reflection there were a few disadvantages in having students work in this way.

Firstly, I always had the impression that typed work in a blog was less carefully done than it would have been in their exercise books. I am not certain why this was the case. Maybe there were simple typos. Maybe the blog format encouraged fluid writing at the expense of accuracy. Maybe typing encouraged some subtle use of copy-paste/ Google Translate (I never was aware of this at the time). Word-processing does allow for easier redrafting and editing, but may produce more inaccuracy.

Secondly, marking blogged work was less than perfect. I would write a grade and pick out a few corrections to comment on, but obviously could not deal adequately with minor error where I would have liked to. I also tended to be more generous with comments because blogs were public. Sometimes you need to be critical and direct to get the best work in future. (The Craig Revel-Horwood approach!)

Thirdly, with typed work it is harder to tell how hard a pupil tries. Neatness of handwriting is a big indicator of time and care taken. Generally, as I mentioned, blogged work came across as less careful.

Lastly, and this is a minor point, it was a bit harder to keep track of the punctuality of student work. When exercise books were handed in in lesson time students were very reluctant to meet with my disapproval if a book was not there. With blogs, on the other hand, delayed, online disapproval meant students were a little more likely to fail to meet deadlines.

On the positive side, a few students excelled even more using blogs and did take advantage of the presentational opportunities. Students did read other blogs, though less than I had hoped for. Students also got used to blogging in general.

To answer the question posed in the title of this post, I would suggest that hand-written work has the edge over the blog. I would even argue that hand-written still just about trumps word-processing.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.

Attitudes16





An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at dolanguages.com, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…