Jun 13 2007
Was the French Connection a success? Well more of a flawed success looking from both teachers and students points of view. I guess the possibilities of using a social network in a way which would aid teaching and learning but also in the students ‘eyes’ be fun is more complex than it first seems. Beyond this from my point of view the network had to aid students understanding of Web 2.0 technologies and there possible use for learning as well as fun and communication.
Below are a list of recommendations from teachers, students and myself as to how to improve the social network for MFL use:-
- Time – Three weeks was not enough from questionnaires it seems a year or more would work much better, maybe throughout a course at GCSE or Diploma?
- Participants – Must involve as many groups of students as possible within the school, so that those groups then become part of a larger network.
- Age of Students - Vocabulary at Yr 9 was probably not enough for students to be able to converse to any great depth, Yr 10 (15 years old) and above is probably the ideal age.
- Outside Experts – The more expert French speakers the better, especially if there were some native speakers from outside of education.
- Cross School Exchange – The Social Network would work best if students are getting to know each other, and so an exchange program would be a great idea. Maybe between El Alsson and ACS-Egham next year – who knows?
- Teachers - Need greater training in the complexities of a social network. Their was confusion between Forum, Blog and Comment posts and why they were different.
- Objectives and Blending – The use of the network needs to blend with objectives within the curriculum, rather than be an addition. Vocabulary of site and menus needs support.
- Technology Needs – The MFL department needs a number of internet enabled computers within their classrooms, this would then open this system to their students and themselves and enable them to integrate it into class time as well as home time.
- Simplicity -The environment is quite complex, and many students found it hard to understand. More evidence we are not teaching a complete cohort of ‘digital natives’. This impeded on the use of the network and may need training or simplifying.
- Multimedia and Video – All students need to be videoing and podcasting, the new tool will improve this greatly……
Well that is all I can think of for now….below is the usual mind-map I have produced for the outline of my assignment. Yes it is complex and will take a time to download the graphic but maybe worth a look -Mindmap NING (SECOND warning this is large and takes a long time to load….but…)
Also I have uploaded the results from the student questionnaires (anonymous) for you to view, as their are some interesting conclusions. It’s a PDF so you will need acrobat reader to view. Enjoy.
I will be publishing excerpts from the assignment soon, along with sending a summary assignment to the wonderful Miranda.net community.