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The use of blogs in an EFL writing class

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Sussan Roo

on 24 October 2013

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Transcript of The use of blogs in an EFL writing class

Contents
Introduction
What is a blog
Advantages of blogs in an EFL writing class
How to use a blog to promote and enhance writing skills
Setting up a blog
Free blogging services
Further reading suggestions
Conclusions

Blog, to blog, blogging, blogger
Web 2.0 technology
Blog is the contraction of web log.
A type of web page that resembles an interactive online journal.
It can be easily updated with entries or “posts”.
Can also display photos, slide presentations, links to other internet sites, audios and videos.

Why has blogging become so popular?
It allows people to interact with each other.
Easy to start and maintain.
Freedom to express your feelings, thoughts or points of view in a non-threatening way.
They are user friendly.
“They are multilinear: Thoughts can easily be connected with resources or articles on the World Wide Web with little or no technical knowledge” (Ducate & Lomicka, 2008)

Introduction
From web 1.0 to web 2.0 technologies






It has changed the way we socialize, do business and…learn.
We need to adapt to learners with a set of different cognitive skills: the Net generation.

Current uses of blogs
Bruns & Jacobs (2006) say blogs can be used as:
News blogs
Political commentary blogs
Marketing blogs
Corporate blogs
Fictional blogs
Personal blogs
Educational blogs
(bingo!)

The use of blogs in an EFL writing class
Hanging out in the blogosphere
“A blog is a means of sharing thoughts and ideas. Your blog can be a personal diary, a project collaboration tool, a guide, or any means of communicating and publishing information on the web. Its uses are as limitless as your imagination.”

So, what is a blog?
Ward (2004, p.3) discusses the potential of blogs in an EFL writing class:
“For the language teacher the weblog is a timely arrival which can fulfill many of the needs identified for the effective teaching of writing. The weblog provides a genuine audience, is authentically communicative, process driven, peer reviewed, provides a dis inhibiting context and offers a completely new form with un-chartered creative potential”.

Use of blogs in an EFL writing class
Studies in Tanti (2012) show blogs:
Are a non-threatening way to challenge students cognitively, to think about issues and express their opinions in written form.
Foster critical and analytical skills.

Blogs in an EFL writing class: Developing cognitive skills
Based on the study by Hourigan & Murray (2010) the use of blogs in a writing class:
Raised language awareness and development
Encouraged the use of different language patterns.
Are extremely beneficial in assisting students to “articulate their ideas in a range of complicated linguistic modes” (p. 121), thus developing students’ ability to construct complex sentences. (Safford, 2009, cited in Tanti, 2012)

Blogs in an EFL writing class: Developing language
Tanti (2012) states that blogs:
Serve as an additional means for students to develop writing skills and build vocabulary
Develop a sense of voice
Murray & Hourigan (2006) found:
Students are more thoughtful in content and structure if they know they are writing for a real audience.

Blogs in an EFL writing class:
Developing writing skills
Blogs in an EFL writing class: Developing writing skills
As Hourigan & Murray’s study indicated, blogs were able to increase student motivation and engagement, because they provide students with a personal writing space. (2010)

Blogs in an EFL writing class:Promoting motivation
Murray & Hourigan (2006) mention:
Students interaction as readers and writers help them co-construct their own learning.
Through their interactions, students can develop a sense of belonging to a community of readers or writers.

Murray & Hourigan (2006) mention:
Students interaction as readers and writers help them co-construct their own learning.
Through their interactions, students can develop a sense of belonging to a community of readers or writers.

Blogs in an EFL writing class:
The role of interactivity
Rollinson (2005) asserts that:
Peer response is more informal, which may encourage the writer.
By giving the opportunity to revise others’ writings, students become more critical readers and this helps them to become more self-critical to self-edit and revise their own writings.


Blogs in an EFL writing class:The role of peer feedback
Using blogs in an EFL writing class
Ways to manage blogs is a class
Individually
Collaboratively
As a class

Ideas on applying blogs in a writing class
Personal Journals
Collaborative online magazine
Group discussion
E-portfolio
Individual creative writing
Collaborative creative writing
Publish their homework
Publish their essays for peer review


Ideas on applying blogs in a writing class
Special projects: Promote multiculturalism Develop an awareness program
Reported speech practice (videos, news, movies)
Academic writing developing (Source of materials and practice)
Space to share poems and short stories
Movie or book reviews
Content-based instruction tool
ESP

Creating a blog
Setting up a blog
Visit www.blogger.com
Creating a blog (1)
Fill in all fields: User name, password, blog name, email address, accept terms. Click on CONTINUE.
However, if you already have an account from Gmail, click on sign in first.

Creating a blog (2)
Name your blog
Enter your blog title, blog address (URL), word verification.
Click on CONTINUE.

Creating a blog (3)
Select a template (colors, layouts)
Click on CONTINUE.

Creating a blog (4)
Your blog has been created -
Click on START POSTING.

Posting a blog entry (1)
Type the title & text message and then click on PUBLISH POST.

Posting a photo in your blog (1)
Click on the image icon, which is indicated with a box showing a picture with a blue sky.

Posting a photo in your blog (2)
Click on Browse and select your image.
Click on Upload image.

Adding a hyperlink (1)
Click on the hyperlink icon, which is indicated with a picture of a chain link and globe.

Adding a hyperlink (2)
Type in the URL and then click on Publish Post.

Free blogging sites
Blogger: www.blogger.com
WordPress: http://wordpress.com/
TypePad: http://www.typepad.com/
FreeBlogIt: http://freeblogit.com/
Technorati: http://technorati.com/
LiveJournal: http://www.livejournal.com/

Conclusion
Students have changed their way of learning, so we need to change the way we teach
We need to incorporate web 2.0 technologies in our instruction
Blogs have proven to be a successful tool to develop writing skills, motivate and engage students in learning, increase language awareness and development, and promote meaningful interactions (and thus language learning)
Let’s not be afraid

References
Bruns, A. & Jacobs, J. (2006) uses of blogs. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
Ducate, L.C. & Lomicka, L.L. (2008). Adventures in the Blogosphere: From Blog Readers to Blog Writers. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21 (1), 9-28.
Hourigan, T. & Murray, L. (2010). Using blogs to help language students to develop reflective learning strategies: Towards a pedagogical framework. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(2), 209-225.
McNamara, S. (2008). Using ICT to teach creative writing: the theory and some practical teaching strategies. Metaphor, 3, 51-58. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy1.acu.edu.au/fullText;dn=172041;res=AEIPT.
Murray, L., & Hourigan, T. (2006). Using micropublishing to facilitate writing in the foreign language. In L. Ducate & N. Arnold (Eds.), Calling on CALL: From theory and research to new directions in foreign language teaching (pp. 149–180). San Marcos, TX: Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium.
Rollinson, P. (2005). Using peer feedback in the ESL writing class. ELT journal, 59(1) 27-30.
Tanti, M. (2012). Literacy education in the Digital Age: Using blogging to teach writing. In C. Alexander, J. Dalziel, J. Krajka & E. Dobozy (Eds.), Teaching English with Technology, Special Edition on LAMS and Learning Design volume 3, 12(2), 132-146, http://www.tewtjournal.org.
Ward, J.M. (2004). Blog assisted language learning (BALL): Push button publishing for the pupils. TEFL Web Journal, 3(1), 1–16.
Wordpress.org. (n.d.). Introduction to blogging. Retrieved from http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging
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