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									Blogging in the Foreign
Language Classroom

            Lina Lee
  University of New Hampshire
21st Century Learning

“I never teach my pupils; I
only attempt to provide the
conditions in which they can
       --Albert Einstein
Transform your classroom into
a creative learning space and
provide the opportunity for
students to collaborate.
Welcome to the
 21st Century
Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0
Web 1.0 (website)   Web 2.0 (blog)
 One way            Two way
 Authoritarian      Democratic
 Passive            Active
 Static             Dynamic
 Closed             Collaborative
What is a blog?
 Weblog (website) – online diary/journal
 Single or multiple authors
 Postings in a reverse chronological order
 Read postings and make comments
 Link to other sources
 Instant publishing
 Social networking v=NN2I1pWXjXI&feature=user
  Blogging Cycle
 1. Read           2. Reflect

                   3. Write
4. Repeat
Free Blog Hosts



How to start a blog?
Write an entry here!
Dress Up …
 Embed multimedia
   Images from

   Videos from

   Presentations from
 Add your own voice to a blog
   Audacity, iMovie, Movie Maker
   Speaking Avatars
             Why Blog?
 Learner autonomy
     Decision-making; accountability
 Critical thinking
     Asynchronous CMC; more time to reflect
 Sense of community through interaction
 Broad audience; not just for the instructor
 Feedback through multiple viewpoints
 Track progress and keep motivation
Part 1: Blogs
 Personal blogs – reflective writing, interactive
 Audio blogs – listening and speaking
 Class /group blogs – idea exchange, out-of-class
 Exchange blogs – intercultural learning, cross-
  cultural awareness and
Key Questions
 What do I want my students to benefit
  from using Web tools?

 What types of tasks promote meaningful
  communication and interaction in L2?

 How should feedback be provided? Who
  does it?
 Keep in Mind …
“Technology itself does not guarantee the
success of learning outcomes. Tasks that are
linguistically and cognitively suitable for the
target learners are essential because they
affect significantly the quality of writing and
the degree of interaction among students.”

Lee, L. (2010). Fostering reflective writing and interactive exchange
Through blogging in an advanced language course. ReCALL, 22(2), 212-227.
Some Thoughts …
 Intercultural Exchange
   Overgeneralizations and stereotypes
   BIG-C vs. small-c
   Cross-cultural awareness and understanding
 Reflective writing
   Traditional compositions
   Writing for fluency; process as product
   Critical thinking
Intercultural Exchange Blogs
Graduate Seminar (Spanish) (English)
With native speakers

According to O‟Dowd (2006),
“Telecollaboration is the use of network-based
language teaching to connect language learners
in different countries for the development of
collaborative project work and intercultural
exchange” (p. 9).

Web tools: e-mail, discussion board, text/real-
time chat, video conferencing, blog, etc.
León - UNH Online Exchange
 Participants (Spring 2008)
    10 graduate students from UNH, USA
    23 undergraduate students from University of
     León, Spain
 Various Web tools
    Bloggers for group blogs
    iMovie or Audacity for podcasts
    Message board for ethnographic interviews,
     feedback and comments
 Three different types of tasks
  Task #1: Group Blogs
Topics Chosen by American                Topics Chosen by Spanish
Students                                 Students
Blog #1: University Life; Stereotypes;   Blog #1: A City Tour of León;
Global Warming                           University of León and Technology

Blog #2: Super Bowl; Crossword           Blog #2: Night Life in León University
Puzzles; Cyberlanguage                   Life; Brief Guide to Spanish Music

Blog #3: Political Figures-Obama and     Blog #3: Spanish Films; A Famous
Romney; Economics in USA                 Place in León; Spanish Music

Blog #4: University Life in USA;         Blog #4: University Festivals;
Presidential Debates                     Smoking; Interviews with University
Task #2: Podcasting
Controversial issues
   Global warming
   Euthanasia
   Same sex parents
   Capital punishment
   Drug related issues
   Immigration
Task #3: Ethnographic Interviews
Topics Chosen by American        Topics Chosen by Spanish
Students                         Students

Flattering (“Piropos”)           Capital Punishment

Educational System in Spain      Cinema

University Student Life          Free Time

Politics in Spain                Life in New Hampshire

Student Exchange and Travel      Weapons in the USA

Farewell to Students from León   Iraq War
Moodle site in Blackboard
Super Bowl from NH

                     BLOG - UNH
Road to Presidency from UH

                       BLOG - UNH
Vodcast in Blog from NH
Vodcast: Capital Punishment
BLOG - León
Blog from León

                 BLOG – León
About Old Part of León

                 BLOG – León
Tapas and Nightlife

                      BLOG – León
BLOG – León
Interviews with León Students
Podcasts from León in Moodle
Post-Task: Peer Feedback
 Read blogs and listen to podcasts
 No specific instructions on “how” to
  provide feedback
 Peer feedback by
   Written comments or voice recordings
   Use of English and Spanish
 Focus-on-form
   Linguistic issues and problems
Feedback in Message Board
Direct Feedback from NH
Direct Feedback from León
Feedback with explanations to NH
Lexical Comment from León
“By the way,"mirar la tele" it is not use in
Spain, we say "ver la tele". Why is that? I
don‟t know and besides, I think you‟ll
never find a logical answer because it
should be "mirar la tele" because you are
paying attention while you are watching
the TV, isn‟t it?”
Lexical Comment from León
“One interesting thing about your spanish is
that sometimes (not often, I must say) it seems
more "mexican" than "spanish" due of the
use of the diminutives and because words like
"ahorita” "linda" or "usted/es" (we spanish
people are not so polite as latinoamerican
peolple, actually). Don‟t get me wrong, I find
this pretty cool.”
Lexical Comments from NH
--It was the School of Agrarian Engineering, in the
   decade of the 80‟s.
** normally we would just say in the 80's
--you have a free day to spend
** instead of free day, use day off
--cultural activities during all the day
** the entire day is how we usually express
   this thought
(focus on form by comparing the original against
the “more native-sounding” rephrasing)
Pedagogical Implications
 Blogging using topic-based tasks for authentic
  communication and cross-cultural learning
 Podcasting or voice recordings to build oral skills
 Expert speakers for linguistic scaffolding
 Balance between “meaning” and “form”
 Sufficient training and teacher‟s monitoring

Lee, L. (2009). Promoting intercultural exchanges with blogs and
podcasting: A study of Spanish-American telecollaboration. Computer
Assisted Language Learning, 22(5), 425-443.
Places to Find E-partners
 eLanguages
 ePals Global Community
 My Language Exchange
 Other options
   Native speakers from other universities in the U.S.
O‟Dowd, R. (Ed.) (2007). Online Intercultural
Exchange: An Introduction for Foreign
Language Teachers. Multilingual Matters,
Clevedon, UK.

Lomicka, L. (2009). An Intercultural Approach to
Teaching and Learning French. The French Review,
82(6): 1227-1243.
Personalized Learning

Online Journal – Personal Reflection
Reflective Blogs
 Personal blogs over a 14 week period
    SPAN 631-Advanced Composition and Conversation
    17 students (freshmen and sophomores)
 A four-skill integrated approach to task-based
      Course syllabus
   Two 150-200 word entries per week
   Read and comment on others‟ blogs
 Web 2.0 technology
   Blogger and iMovie
Four-Skill-Integrative Approach
 Assigned readings from Revista textbook
 Free topics
 Listening to podcasts
   Notes in Spanish
   Cody’s Cuentos
 3-4 minute oral recordings for “Tertulia”
    Ideal personality, media/TV, globalization
Other Options …
 Listening skills
   BBC in your language
   CNN in your language
   Fairy tales/short stories
 Speaking skills
   Voice boards from Wimba (textbooks)
   Interviews with native speakers (YouTube)
Topics For Each Type of Task
Assigned Readings                  Listening to Podcastings
   “Another circle”                   Energy saving
   “Four scientific formulas for      Facebook
                                      Eating out and fast food
   “ TV garbage”
   “I was my own path”
   “Ten minutes”
                                   iMovie: Oral Recordings
Free Topics                           Ideal personality
   Women‟s rights
   Red Sox in Boston
   Country music
   Swine influenza A (H1N1) in
     Mexico                           Globalization
Free topic
 Listen to
Recording via
Ratings of Task Types
Role of Feedback
 Linguistic feedback from the instructor
   Fluency vs. accuracy
   Focus-on-form
   Error correction
 Peer feedback on the content
   Reflective thinking
   Affective support
Spanish Food
Assigned Reading
Ratings of Feedback
Reflective Thinking: Facebook
“Your point was interesting. I have never
thought about the parents. My mom has a
facebook but she only uses it to post family
pictures. I agree that facebook is a wonderful
tool for us to connect with people. However, I
think people spend too much time online. Also
there is not much privacy. I actually prefer e-
mail.” (translated to English –podcasting)
Comments on Readings
“Most people made similar observations
about the readings and some of comments
were repetitive. I did not find this
assignment engaging and useful.”

Teacher‟s role: Commenting on their entries and
asking questions that promote critical thinking.
 Comments on iMovie
#1 “Making voice recordings was time
consuming because it took a lot of time to
upload a video to Blogger.”
Other options: Voice board by Wimba;

#2 “I did not feel comfortable making voice
recordings in the language lab and the
quality of my recordings was not very good.”
Preterit vs. Imperfect
“El año pasado mi familia hizo un viaje a europa.
Este fue mi primer viaje afuera de los estados unidos
y mi primera vez en un avión. *Estuve muy
emocionada y *tuve miedo también. Cuando
llegamos en Barcelona, *fueron casi las once de la
tarde. Nos quedamos en Barcelona tres días y …. Al
final, *era muy contenta con la experiencia.”
(Third Week)
Preterit vs. Imperfect
“Me gustaban estos podcasts mucho. Recientemente
empecé a mirar la tele española y a veces, es muy
difícil comprender. La historia que Mariana y Ben
hablaron [era] muy interesante. Un hombre [robó]
muchos bancos y la policía no [pudo] cogerlo por 15
años. El hombre [llevaba] una peluca y [tenía] armas.
La polícia descubrió que robó casi 600,000 euros y
mató dos guardias civiles.” (Eighth Week)
Students’ Reactions …
“Writing has become easier for me. I‟m
now more confident in expressing myself
after having posted more than 20 entries.
Not only did I improve my writing skills
but also gained different perspectives that
I had never thought about before.”
Evaluating Blogs/ Rubrics
 Elements to consider:
      Content (fully covered with supported resources)
      Organization (coherent, easy to follow)
      Accuracy (vocabulary, grammar, spelling)
      Comments (how many and often? quality?)
 Examples:
    University of Wisconsin
    Teacher Planet
Personal Blogs
Advanced Comp and Conversation

Study Abroad: Granada
Collaborative Blogs
 A Little Background …
 Director of UNH study abroad program in Granada,
  Spain (Fall 2009)
    16 students; sophomores and juniors
 Blogging as part of coursework
    PERSONAL blog (student-chosen topics)
    CLASS blog (teacher-selected topics)
    PROJECT blog (personal interest)
 Ethnographic interviews
    Real-time conversations with native speakers (NSs)
    26 NSs from local communities and the University
     of Granada
Prior to the Blog Project
 Training of how to use Blogger
 Schedule
      PERSONAL blog (September 2nd to October 29th)
      CLASS blog (September 3rd to November 24th)
      PROJECT blog (November 10th to December 8th)
 Face-to-face interviews
    Audio/video recordings
    Upload them to the class blog for
 Topics for Each Blog Type
Personal Blog/Student-chosen Topics Project Blog/Topics of
    Schedule, meals and nap          interest
      Streets, garbage and recycling
                                          University system and
      Family life and school              scholarships
      Social behavior and manners        Healthcare system and flue
      Mediterranean diet, finger food and tip
                                          Economic and political issues
Class Blog/Teacher selected Topics        Immigration in Spain and in
    Animal rights (e.g., bullfighting)    the U.S.
    Mass communication, TV programs and  Living environment and
      press                                recycling
    Immigration, ethnic groups and racism
    Life style and expressions (e.g., “no
     pasa nada”)
    Food and thoughts
Class Blog
                       Interviewing the
La Inmigración
Y los Inmigrnates en   Housing Director
España                   in Granada
Interview: Holidays

        Free topic
Interview: Food
Comments on Class Blog
“The discussion about the immigration
issues in Spain, especially in the southern
region of Andalusia was very informative.
Blogs gave everyone a voice to express
opinions and concerns. I‟ve learned so
much from reading others‟ comments
about this debatable topic.”
Ethnographic Interviews
“It was so interesting to learn about the host
culture from personal views shared by real
people not from a textbook. I became more
aware of how I feel about my own culture
by listening to and analyzing the information
that emerged from the interviews. For me, it
is the best way to get to know people from
other cultures.”
Ethnographic Interviews
“In my view, interviews created optimal
conditions for me to interact socially with
native speakers from whom I learned about
their everyday lives, words and expressions
that I would never have learned from sitting
in a regular class.”
 Ethnographic Interviews
“I would not have gained a deeper understanding of
certain aspects of the Spanish culture had I not had the
opportunity to interviewing my host father. It was
interesting to learn about the host culture from personal
views shared by real people not from a textbook. I
became more aware of how I feel about my own culture
by listening to and analyzing the information that
emerged from the interviews. For me, it is the best way
to get to know people from other cultures.”
 Compare/Contrast Two Cultures
#1 – “It is weird that my host mom often gives me cookies
  for breakfast and we eat a fresh piece of fruit or yogurt
  after lunch. In the United States we would have pies or
  cakes for dessert. I do miss fresh baked bagels and
  donuts in Dunkin Donuts.”

#2 – “I„m surprised that here in Spain it„s perfectly fine
  not to leave tips in restaurants or tip taxi drivers. I still
  don„t like the idea of not tipping people for the service. I
  work as a waitress in the US and I would want people to
  tip me.”
Cultural Perspectives/Stereotypes
NS: The truth is that not everyone watches or
goes to bullfighting shows. I have never seen
one and I am against the idea of killing animals.
The same thing can be said about flamenco.
Some Spaniards cannot stand flamenco music. I
grew up listening to Paco de Lucia and Moraito. I
am passionate about flamenco. In fact, my
friends and I play in a small bar near the Elvira
street. You are welcome to come …
Cultural Perspectives/Stereotypes
NNS: Thank you for the invitation. I would like
to come. It is interesting to hear what you have
just said. I thought all Spaniards were passionate
about this sport. It seems to be an important
tradition and central to the cultural identify.
Now I see that what I think as an American
about bullfighting is just an example of many
Small c Perspective
“Una de mis frases favoritas es „no pasa nada‟ Es una
expresión muy interesante que me explicó mi
compañero de entrevista. El me dijo que en España la
gente trata disfrutar la vida lo mas posible. No
preocupa mucho para la vida. Me gusta esta actitud
mucho. Obseciono mucho para vivir „perfectamente‟
que he perdido cosas que me hacen alegres y
saludables, como amigos, comida y diversion – y tapas
en Granada, por supuerto. España me ha enseñado
relajarse más.”
Formality- You (Tú vs. Usted)
“Today I interviewed my political science asked
me to address him using tú. I really did not feel
comfortable doing that. In my Spanish classes, I
learned that the informal tú is used when speaking
to family members or close acquaintances. I got
confused. He jokingly said to me that it would
make him feel younger … and of course we
laughed. I guess it all depends on the person not the
(1) Blogging as a mediated tool for reflective
  writing and intercultural learning
(2) Incorporation of different skills and tools
(3) Design of meaningful and interesting tasks
(4) Building community of practice through
  interaction and collaboration
(5) Instructor and peer feedback for focus on
Why Not?

                   !Haz limonada!
Si la vida te da
Your Ideas …

More …
Group/class blogs – collaborative writing

Exchange blogs – intercultural learning
   (English)
  Native Speakers’ Blogs

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