Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ning, and Twitter, and Flickr... oh my!

I have been exploring three new sites: Ning, Twitter, and Flickr. I include them all together in this blog post for several reasons... First of all, they all allow users to share information with other like-minded people. They all have potential uses for education (though I'm still working out what those could be!). And finally, they are all social networking sites that seem fun and easy to use. I'll start with Flickr first, since at this time, it's the site I know best.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, last month we were visited at our school by Will Richardson last month. He urged us to become familiar with web 2.0 sites for our own personal uses - and THEN we should explore the sites for educational purposes - only after we fully understand them ourselves. Well... I agree! I got into Flickr due to my current collecting obsession: vintage Pyrex (!) I am crazy for Pyrex bowls from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and this mania brought me to a website for other Pyrex entusiasts like myself: PyrexLove. From that site, I was drawn to the Flickr site, where folks post photos of their latest Pyrex acquisitions. I now find myself checking Flickr on a regular basis for my own interests - and miraculously, ideas for teaching languages are starting to come... I could see sharing photos from the target culture and asking students to add comments and mark their favorites.

I am less familiar with Ning and Twitter, but have signed on for accounts on both. With Ning - a service that allows you to start an easy social network, I could start a simple website and have students sign on and share information (in the target language, of course). I plan to start a Ning for our upcoming participation in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO). Twitter is a site that allows you to update your friends and family about your daily activities. It is what they call "micro-blogging." I am still exploring the use of this one for teaching world languages.

Does anyone have some creative ways to use these new web 2.0 sites for teaching languages?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blogging in the language classroom

Little by little, teachers -- and their students -- are getting into blogs in our ESL and World Language Department! It's amazing what students are able to write in the target language, and they report having tons of fun while doing it. Check out some of our language blogs:

Palabras Pintadas - Spanish 5AP blog by Ms. DeSimone

Italiano Tre - Italian blog by Mr. Vittorino

El Blog de la Srta. K - Spanish 4 students by Ms. Kirschner

Cuna de Lobos - Spanish 3 students also love novelas!

EspaƱol 2 blogs by Ms. Reiss - period 2, period 3, and period 4

Italian blogs by Mr. Vittorino - Italiano Tre and Italiano Quattro

ESLebration - Middle School ESL classes

...and so much more to come!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Will Richardson and Web 2.0

On November 4, a day that will long be hailed as historic in the United States, another sort of history-making event was happening at my school. We were fortunate enough at Herricks UFSD to be visited by Will Richardson, author of the book: Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. During his talk, Mr. Richardson inspired us to think about ways in which web technologies can transform what we are already doing in our classrooms. He shared many sites and tools that will prove useful in our daily teaching. Among these "gems" are: