Got Blog? How Blogs Support Collaborative Learning and Student Engagement in Language Learning

Session Description
For years I’ve observed my students’ exceptional ability to learn and produce language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) individually. However, they struggle to integrate these skills cohesively to produce Spanish in a real-world context. From years of observing this along with the immersion of technology tools into the 21st century curriculum, I conducted an action research project with my Spanish 4 students. For students to improve on how individual language skills function cohesively, my goals were to focus on embedding the art of blogging to increase student engagement, self-confidence, and awareness of real-world language use. The strategy was to develop a collaborative partner project in which students would present their ideas via written, audio, and visual blogs, and would then provide positive feedback and constructive criticism to their peers for adaptation of their original ideas. The culminating project was a 5-minute trailer for an up and coming telenovela (Spanish soap opera). Studies have shown that blogging helps to foster learner interdependence, interactive blogs increase collaborative learning and positive attitudes, and peer feedback directs students to reflect and understand their language output. This paper will discuss the design of this project and the steps carried out in its development. As a result, collaborative work through blogging fostered students’ creativity to display their knowledge of purposeful language use. Lessons learned will further shape and drive future instruction on the interdependence of all language skills.
  • Jami Higashi-Lee
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