Martin’s Weblog

Vido Confession 14: Web 2 for ESOL students on work experience

Our core IT systems run from an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) backed up by a diesel generator that can provide power for up to 24 hours. The UPS provides a nice stable clean supply of electricity for our core systems from its large set of batteries. On the morning that the video was taken our UPS system was undergoing maintenance and our core systems were running from the raw mains for three hours – I was a little nervous.

The ESOL department at Hammersmith has benefitted from the input of Liz Boyden working on the PET project to experiment with new technologies in teaching – particularly the application of Web 2 systems. Web 2 is all about interaction and communication and it has been taken up remarkably well in ESOL – a subject full of interaction and communication.

In the video ESOL teacher Helen mentions the Web 2 systems they have used in their teaching (Microblogging using Twitter, standard blogging using Blogger, Audio podcasting using Podomatic, and unstructured blogging using Tumblr).

Helen describes the use of Tumblr with 16 to 19 year old students on their two week work experience.  

The traditional way to document work experience is for students to be issued with paper work experience diaries which they would fill in each day and then return to the teacher at the end of the work experience period. During this period the opportunity for interaction with college teachers and fellow students is limited, the students feel relatively isolated and are not motivated to fill in the traditional paper diaries – a task which is often seen as a chore.  

Instead of paper diaries the ESOL team helped the students to set up their own Tumblr accounts and taught them how to use them with a few introductory exercises before they went out and had to use them on their own while on work experience. Using an on-line system like this has many advantages:

– The students could interact with fellow students and their tutors while on work experience – they were less isolated and could read about the experiences of their fellow students.

– The students were motivated to complete the log each day – many included photos

– The students were learning and using IT (the latest IT at that) in a real word setting and in a meaningful way.

– Tutors had day to day feedback from students

– Documentation was on-line and easily accessible by all, instead of in a pile of paper forms.

The project found that all the work experience locations had computers which the students could use to access the Internet to type up their logs – this is the 21st century and we are in London so I shouldn’t have been so concerned. Whilst Internet access is increasingly pervasive, we would have to have a contingency for students who were not able to access the Internet daily.

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May 17, 2008 - Posted by | IT and education, video blog, web 2

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