Archive for E-Notebooks
I have been asked recently for greater clarification about E-Notebooks: are they a computer? software? a blog?
To answer that let me share with you the reaction of my clients/students when I first told them that I had set up a “blog” style digital notebook for each of them so that they could record their written English, audio and video recordings and we could monitor their progress in the various language skills ….
Their initial body language: horrified, scared, taken aback, distressed ….
As I read these reactions in their face, I knew that something was a miss. Had I overstepped an invisible boundary? Walked into quicksand?
I reflected on how I had explained the concept to them and started looking to see which words carried the extra baggage. I spotted one.
So, I asked them to explain what they understood when I said the word “blog”.
“obligation” “time-consuming” “does the company allow us?” “I don’t do that…” were some of the explanations.
So, the problem was with what they understood by the word “blog”. So I dropped the word blog and just call their digital notebooks, “E-Notebooks”. (I could have used D-Notebooks – but that might have had other connotations for English language teachers!)
E-notebooks are a concept. They are meant to be a virtual place where students can keep their written, audio and visual language exercises in a digital format. It is not meant to be a blog in the current sense of the meaning. The students are totally free to chose to keep their material private or to publish it. Nor do we use them in every class. They are worked into the lesson plan and accessed when needed. At this point, in fact, all the students have opted to keep their audio and video productions private. And that is fine: an e-notebook is a teaching and learning tool in this case – not a publishing platform.
I chose to use the WordPress blogging platform because I felt it was easy to use in its most basic form, allowed the students to personalize their own digital notebook to a degree, gave accesible to students and teacher wherever there was a computer internet connection and provided us with the needed controls to protect students’ work and privacy.
So is the “e-notebook” a blog? No. It’s a learning tool where what is practiced and learnt is stored digitally.
Does it use blogging software? In this case, Yes.
Can it become a blog or website? If the person wants it to be.
Now, if you are reading this post, then you are blog-savy…. But how do your family, friends, clients, students see a blog? Do they read blogs? Do they want to write a blog?
Here’s to Using Social Media in ESL, EFL, ESOL…