Saturday 2 June 2012

Summer holidays and computers

Image by Spree2010
I have been trying to accustom my students to using online sites for creating their personal pages. They started with wikis a few years ago, went on to using class websites and ended up with writing their blogs.

As an example, you can take a look at the class website of my 15 year old students which was mainly used for posting tasks and (sometimes) asking for their responses. Students learned to write comments and read what other classmates had written. Very often an online task was accompanied by a follow-up at the next lesson to ensure they would read what the others had written.

My 17 year old students tried out blogging last summer which you can see here. I created a class blog and each of them had a page (some students did not feel like doing it, the others worked all summer, so I did not insist). They could post on their pages their summer reflections and pictures. For all of them it was the first time they published something on the web, and they unanimously declared it had been a wonderful experience, though not exactly child's play.  

On the last day of school I discussed with my students what they could do online during the long summer holidays (on rainy days, on being-sick days, on I-am-bored days) and, not without a bit of resistance, we made a deal - they create their own page of choice and I give them grades in autumn.

I made several suggestions about the websites and tools they could use, depending on what they felt comfortable with.

Beeclip is a website for creating a personal scrapbook. If you gather your summer impressions in pictures and don't feel like writing a lot, that's the right tool.
Update! Beeclip has now been updated to Biteslide. It is a beautiful site for creative projects and presentations, and students can work on them collaboratively.

Diary is a free, personal online journal which is available to anyone older than 13 (Terms of Use). Write entries and post images on your page, keep it private or show it to everyone.

Penmia is a free, secure online diary for capturing your impressions, reflections and thoughts. Penmia lets you upload pictures and attach links to your posts.

Notepub is a free online notepad which can be made public or kept private. It allows you to write posts, upload pictures and attach files. It is simple and easy to use which makes it great for students.

Orbs is an excellent option if you'd like to share editing and posting on your page with another person. It allows to create a webpage with 2 editors for free so it's a fantastic opportunity for two best friends!

September will (or won't) bear fruit and I'm keen to see how tech-minded my students are.


Selga Goldmane said...

A wonderful idea!
Alas! I only had 12th graders this year, so no deals with my students. However, I'll come back to this idea next spring :)

Baiba said...

Hi Selga,
I know how it feels when your students who have finally reached maturity, who are reliable and responsible, and who have acquired the best skills a teacher could give them, leave school. Part of you goes with them... and you have to start from scratch again :))

Thanks for coming to visit me!