Image from: Heligods
I don’t have much experience when it comes to discussion forums, the only involvement I’ve had has been with EC&I 833 and 834 through google+, twitter and wordpress. The experience of blogging has given me a great opportunity to share my thoughts on different prompts each week assigned by Alec and Katia . I enjoy reading other classmate professionals’ perspectives and the different experiences they have had in the field of education. I have learned so much through this form of sharing and of course got some great ideas as well. I am still trying to get the hang of twitter though, my tweets are quite weak and I rarely write anything. Sometimes I just don’t know what to write about. I do like that fact that you’re limited to only a few words, so you have to get to a point and no mumbo jumbo and no drama. Once in a while I will see something that will catch my attention and I start reading articles and different links others provide within their tweets. There definitely are some good benefits with twitter and blogging for sure.
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As a language Educator I am still trying to figure out how I can use these writing tools to my benefit and to the learners benefits. You see I try to keep it oracy based when I’m teaching as this is the purpose most times why language learners take a course from me. There has been a few different writing systems within the Cree language and still to this day. We as Saskatchewan Cree language teachers have been enforcing the standard roman orthography (SRO) writing system (which uses English sounds) for many years now and has been working fine. The concern with teaching different orthography at a post-secondary level I have is that students coming from many different dialects of the Cree language and writing systems are introduced to a new a new set of alphabets they’re not familiar with, they sometimes have to relearn writing Cree words they already know. It’s not a big concern. But why should someone that has advanced in a language have to relearn something? There needs to be a common writing system throughout Canada with the Cree language. Quite a big task to get that or a big request but maybe one day that will happen. I will have to find out how I can be part of that. Theirs is still much work to be done within our Cree language, but nothing is impossible…baby steps and we shall someday take bigger strides. Andres had mentioned on his blog this week of connecting with other people with the same interests. It was a good read and I remember those music forums but was never part of them back when I was in the music scene. I think if one continues using tools such as discussion forums, twitter, blogs, and other means of media one will eventually find someone they are meant to meet for the right purpose.
Image from: Digital Teacher… Welcome To The Future!
I don’t know enough about discussion forums to see if they are going to work for my language courses and I also don’t know enough about which form will suit my course between open or closed online forum. This article by Bow Valley College on Facilitating discussion forums in online language learning gave some fairly good tips on how I can use discussion forums within my language course. I like the idea of having both open and closed within my course. I think there are benefits in having both for different purposes. In an open forum, I would likely get my students to create blog sites where they can document their journey in Cree language learning. This would be helpful for me as the instructor and also good for their peers. It would give me a better understanding as an educator from the students’ perspective of language learning, this way I can be a better educator and a listener. A closed forum in my course would play the part of asynchronous communication and responses to subject related Q & A’s and/or sharing about local cultural events. I also like the idea of Ask Me Anything (AMA) as Andres mentioned in his blog. I can invite special guest knowledge and language keepers in the course and the students and I can ask them anything about Cree Language and Culture. Rules and moderation would have to be key to make these forums effective. I just don’t know where to begin, I guess at the starting line is a good place to start.
How can I start a good group discussion?
How can I make an effective online discussion? Some tips from Youtube of some instructors.
There is still lots to learn about open and closed discussion forums and the experimentation has to start somewhere. Searching for ideas and language teachers that have used discussion forums within their language learning courses would be good to look at. Will anything be authentic and how do I know it’s the students writing responses about the topic I choose? It could be their cousin that has taken a course from me already and knows what I am going to ask and the responses I expect. I guess if they have to trust me then I must trust them as well. I still prefer synchronous communication but willing to try something new and we shall see how it will work out.
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