Saturday, April 30, 2005

Vance Stevens was invited to address the Qatar Teachers English Network Conference (QTEN) in Doha. The title is “Blogging in online communities of practice: Impact on language learning and teacher professional development”

He wrote:

" Blogging is an Internet phenomenon with significant impact on both language learning and teacher professional development, It is now possible for students AND teachers to create their own web pages in minutes and, with minimal guidance, extend these to more elaborate web sites. This workshop will guide participants in creating and developing their own blog sites, and illustrate and discuss ways that blogs can be configured to create authentic, interactive, communicative, reflective, creative, and motivating learning environments that engage students and provide a means for teachers to further their ongoing professional development. Members of the Webheads community of practice are invited and encouraged to attend from their respective locations and interact with the on-site audience. "

Bee, Teresa, Susanne, Buth, Hala and I volunteered to assist in this presentation. Bob, Candace, Darli, and Ale joined us in Elluminate at 07:00 GMT.

Our producer and moderator in Doha was Florin. They had about 30 participants on-site. With Vance presenting, we were looking forward to the first "fresh baked blogs". You can find some of them at:

Florin reported that they had created 20 blogs. Amazing!

Candace ( San Diego, California ) video taped our presentations in Elluminate. " I didn't do anything fancy,- she said, - I just held up my little video camera in front of the computer screen "

At the end of the session, Bee invited us to visit . This site was born this morning.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A virtual potluck is an event without
a "planned menu". The session participants brought something of their
choice for everyone to share.

The event took place at the Department of International Relations.
There were 10 students with me on-site in Minsk.We had two computers
working,a data projector and a microphone.Susanne and I moderated
the session.I conducted the session from a PC running Elluminate which
was projected on the screen in our PC Lab.

The Elluminate worked well for Susanne.In Minsk we experienced some
major problems with the voice tool.We used the Direct Messaging area
most of the time, but we were able to talk a couple of times. The Direct
Message conversation and the Whiteboard activities were saved by
Susanne.We decided not to use some wbd interactive exercises.

Again,my thanks go to Susanne for providing a virtual home for us on

Our joined photo blog is at
Susanne and I are looking forward to hearing from my students.
We invited them to post their comments to our blog, which is at

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Virtual Potluck

Susanne and I are preparing a Virtual Potluck session with my students. A 'virtual potluck' is an event without a planned menu. All or a least most of those attending, including my students , bring something of their choice for everyone to share. I know that Elizabeth ( hope she makes it ! ) is bringing a northwestern wild salmon with lemon-mustard-dill marinade ! Yummy!!!

Yes,... back to our potluck event! Susanne has been our Mystery Guest for a couple of weeks. She has been trying to raise the curiosity of my students and make them ask all sorts of questions to find out who she is. We've been sharing my Class Blog which is at: and this synch session which is going to take place on Tuesday, April 19 is a follow up activity.

We are going to use this experiment for Vance's session on April 30. Sus and I are in the middle of creating a PPP which will be used as a springboard to start the whole thing. Hope it works!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Writing Activities

Nick recently put up a very interesting post on writing activities in class.

He writes:

"In a writing class, just about anything can be tried. A sampler of ideas:

* as writing journals (duh).
* as reading response journals.
* as research spaces where students post notes on research ideas and processes.
* as writing-sharing spaces, where essay drafts are posted and the comment feature lets classmates offer feedback.
* as place for students to write about things that don't fit into the class, but arise from having been in the class -- the tangents, outtakes, and other ideas that percolate but often are left unattended.
* as a place to post and comment on photos.
* as a place to put audio notes and ideas as they occur -- get a good idea on the way to someplace and not near a pen, or keyboard? Audioblog it with your cell phone.
* as a place for assigned writing topics -- civic discourses, questions about reading, continuations of class discussions and other bits of homework and classwork that usually come in as bits on bits of paper can come in as bytes on blogs. More of the work of the class can be captured and saved by students, and reviewed and reflected on by teachers."