Monday, 12 March 2012

Blended Learning: Teaching Languages to Young Learners


I created the following sections:
For the following purposes:
-To introduce the module and welcome the students
- To announce time and place of extra activities relevant to module
Module Information
To store information such as:
Module flyer
Schedule of sessions
Assignment rubric
Learning resources
Divided into subsubsections -
A section for each session
To store materials, resources relevant to each session.
A video clip which was introduced in a session but which requires observation many times in order to do the required analysis was also stored in this area.
Module wiki
Divided into subsubsections -
One for each session I taught
4 students were chosen (by register order) at the end of each session to summarise the session collaboratively on the wiki and then to invite comment from all other students. They were given 36 hours to do this. Thereafter other students responded with their comments.
At the beginning of each session the comments were projected and used to recap the previous session and re-engage the students in the topic.
This area on the VLE was used to display answers I gave to queries on the assignment which I received by email from individual students.

The storage of materials provides easy access for all involved in the module. Putting the video on the VLE space enabled students to view it as much as they needed to in order to carry out the observations that were needed for the depth of analysis required at this level.

The use of the Wiki had several aims:

1. To make explicit student’s responsibility in their learning / to give students autonomy in their learning / to evaluate how much they had understood / to evaluate my own teaching;
2. To prolong students’ engagement with the theme of the session and to encourage further thought and discussion;
3. To enable all students to participate to the discussion and debate in some way;
4. To provide an efficient way of recapping previous work at the beginning of new sessions.

The wiki was far more successful than I had anticipated. All students read and followed the discussion and most contributed. Reading their entries myself gave me a better idea of the depth of students’ understanding than I usually get from classroom sessions and this allowed me to identify things which needed to be clarified.
Setting up a site to display answers to assignment queries meant that I did not receive the same question from many students.
Yes; what I did worked. It was accessed by students and they appreciated this type of support.
I will certainly do it again. The management of the wiki needs some further thought as I am not sure the ‘collaboration’ facility was really exploited by the students (I think that they divided the task up and wrote separate sections, rather than collaborating on the text through the editing and re-editing facilities). I plan also to extend the activity from merely summarising to discussing a particular issue.

Next time I will also use the module space on the VLE to make links to journals.

And, I hope to learn about other things that i can usefully do to enhance the experience of taking my module.