Sunday, 5 April 2009

Using wikis in the Language Classroom

Not long after I presented to Japanese teachers in Sydney on Saturday and briefly mentioned wikis, Alex Blagona gave a presentation to Language World 2009 (UK) on using wikis in the MFL (LOTE for those here in Australia) classroom. The presentation was apparently inspiring and very practical. The slideshare presentation below is well worth a look if you are using wikis or considering using them in your language classroom.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Japanese Teacher's Conference

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to volunteer as a presenter at the annual Japanese Teacher’s Conference in Sydney. I was at the stage where I felt I had the confidence to get up and share my Web2.0 journey with my Japanese teaching peers, so I took the plunge and yesterday I presented to my peers for the first time. I loved the experience and felt like I’ve grown a little bit more as a result. After the conference and the presentations I saw, I am more convinced that "Teachers teaching teachers" is definitely the way to go.

Whilst preparing for the presentation I was determined to remain aware of what I had learnt from seeing other presenters in the past few years - and not repeat the mistakes that I had perceived in them. For me, proof that reflection is an important part of what we do. See this post here for clarification on that point. Also, as there are so many fantastic resources out here, I decided it may not be the best strategy to bombard people with information, though it’s very easy to do that without knowing it. So, I decided to try to take people with me on the journey that brought me to a place where I was talking to my peers about how to use technology with language students.

I began by explaining RSS (for visual learners) and readers like Google Reader and Bloglines, before moving on to the power of a PLN and where to go to start building your Personal Learning Network. I suggested that delicious and diigo (diigo groups in particular) were great places to start to do this, also briefly explaining about twitter. Some Web2.0 tools we can use in the classroom with language students was the next stopover and so, at that point in the presentation, I switched over from my version of death by powerpoint to the presentation wiki. I had also intended to show a couple of my class wiki as an example of how I use them but ran out of time; so for those who were at the presentation yesterday (and anyone else out there) check out Year 7 Japanese here.

Of the sites shown in the presentation, Voki seemed to be the biggest hit, and so it should be. It is a great site to get students to practice their speaking skills in a language and gain confidence in using the target language. For other sites I found useful last year, check out this post.

Thanks to all those who attended the presentation and for the positive comments. All feedback is appreciated so please let me know if you have any suggestions on how I could improve for next time.