Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tomorrow marks the end of Week 10 & we have a 1-week teaching break. I hope to use this time to have a good look at all the exciting webquests that have been posted & get to the bottom of some other piles of marking for other courses I teach ... and finish writing a paper & ... & ...

But in the midst of all that I plan to actually do some reading - some even for pleasure, I hope?! And I also plan on catching up with friends I haven't seen for a while during these last several hectic weeks of getting this course up & running.

We said our f2f good-byes this week to one of our students, Basim, who's now gone back to Oman, to continue his course participation from there - so that should be interesting!

Summer feels like it's just around the corner with 28C today?! Where did winter go then??

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The third and final workshop for the semester is over - yay! another exhausting but very profitable day, I think ... Everyone worked hard & seems to be making impressive progress.

All students have now posted their Webquests, so I'll be adding links to those over the next few days ... Then I have the task of marking them?! Sure I have grading criteria, but so many of them have done such impressive work, I'm not sure how to apply the criteria. So this will require some further thought. I've also posted some reflection questions on the Discussion Forum to see what individual reactions different students have had of the process & their impressions of the task & of webquests. More interesting information.

My students are also looking forward to giving and receiving comments in their blogs from Norm's students in Canada. It will be intersting to see if/how this develops.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

In some time out last week end I found this flower in the midst of a whole patch in the windswept sand dunes - couldn't resist taking a photo & posting it here for reflection ...

This week links to the student Web quests are starting to sprout like mushrooms on the students projects page of the class wiki, so it looks like we have some go-ers! always a relief when the light breaks through & success is achieved ... Now it's back over to me to start moving or copying them all on to my own webspace so that they're all viewable from the same location & by the big wide world, not just within QUT.

I hope that Norm Vaughn's students in Calgary will be starting to exchange blog comments with my students shortly - it looks like they will be starting on blogs next week, so that should be exciting - for all concerned!

Our last Saturday workshop will be this weekend, when we will be exploring the vagaries of electronic portfolios, collaboratories, Hot Potatoes for web-based activity creation & media such as Audacity & Movie Maker ... should be interesting! I'm also planning on having some problem-based focus group discussions on their experiences so far in this mode of delivery for this unit, and some further discussion about the philosophical and methodological issues surrounding the uses of technology for language teaching and learning ... interesting times ahead!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I have been busy reading and commenting on my students' blogs for this last week, & watching their progress in developing their wiki as a community space. It seems to be shaping up as a place they feel they own and feel comfortable posting to, which is good. One of my students has already posted a link to her webquest and others are coming close - this is exciting!

It's also good to see that many students are doing the reading for this unit and posting their reflections on these in their blogs too. In fact it is interesting to watch the way different students are using their blogs and tailoring them to their own take on what they are for and how they should be used. I think there is almost some evidence accumulating for some culturally-determined differentiation, though of course personalities are also an influencing factor. Watch this space ...! :-)

I'm now going to try to establish a working connection with a colleague at the University of Calgary in Canada ... to try to get his students working and communicating with mine. I think this would provide all concerned with a stimulating learning environment as they hopefully swap ideas and experiences across the Pacific.
More on this next time.