What's the purpose of this blog?

"What's the purpose of this blog?" someone noted as their "muddiest point" after the March 17 session.

It has a number of different purposes, including the following:

  • It allows me to share things with you — notably the useful websites in the "links section".
  • It gives you an example of a blog
  • It is a blog that you can actually use in a number of ways

Favourites and other things
The links on the right are ones that come from my "Favourites" — websites that I have bookmarked as being interesting and useful. One of the lessons that long experience with the Internet has taught me is "Don't search!": bookmark useful sites, and you won't have to waste time on Google. Bookmark this blog, and you've got a series of useful websites two clicks away.

Most of the links on the right are in fact on the handout from the session; but a blog is more practical for two reasons: (1) you can just come here and click, and not have to labouriously copy the address out and (2) before each session (ie once a month) I check that all the links actually still work.

The blog also allows me to share other things with you — such as other useful sites that I come across after your session.

An example of a blog
Of the various possible ways in which you can use technology in language teaching (see handout from the session), to my mind a blog is one of the most exciting.

You can use a blog in many ways but, whichever way you use it, a blog fulfills two important criteria:

  1. Blogs are not that time-consuming: they have minimum set-up time, take no longer than e-mail to post to, and — assuming that you are doing a collaborative blog, either with your students or with other teachers — needn't take up hours of your time writing
  2. The return on investment is high: if — for example — your blog is a "learner diary", of your experiences in the classroom, and your reflection makes you think and your thinking makes you learn (about teaching, that is)… or if — to take another example — it's a class blog which gives a purpose to your learners' writing, motivates them and leads to a sense of belonging to a community… then in those, and many other ways, your time has been well spent

Personally I feel that a lot of technology doesn't fulfill those two criteria for (poorly paid, pressed-for-time) language teachers.

Use this blog
There are various ways in which you can use this blog, one of which is merely coming back to it to find those useful links.

Apart from that, you can participate in it, by commenting on any of the posts. There are a number that I think are interesting which our 90-minute introductory session doesn't allow time for — for example in the "intro session" category. You comment, I'll reply — and then we have dialogue, and that can only be good in any classroom.

You can also subscribe to this blog by RSS. "Don't search, have things come to you" is one of the primary lessons 12 hours a day on the Internet has taught me!

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