It’s project time for the students – this term they don’t have exams but they have to produce a project instead. As teachers, we have a certain amount of freedom – ok, we have a lot of freedom – in choosing what the project looks like. And we’re encouraged to give our students a certain amount of freedom too.

Now, as some of you will know, I am really interested in the use of technology in learning environments. I’ve also been doing (yet another) MOOC about teaching with technology, which has encouraged me to go beyond Kahoot! and incorporate different and more challenging technologies into my teaching. I don’t want to be one of those teachers who restrict my students’ learning opportunities through my own limitations. So I’ve decided that for their project, my B1 students should make a blog.

I can’t give you the link as it’s a private blog (privacy and all that) but I’m really excited about the project.

The blog, ready and waiting for content

The next thing to consider was what kind of content I wanted the students to produce. I decided on reviews – that way, hopefully the temptation to copy and paste from Wikipedia will be less. As for what they should review, I’ve left that up to the students. I’ve told them their audience: other students, staff at the academy and potentially also their parents, and I’ve asked them to produce reviews of films, books, TV shows, restaurants, tourist attractions or anything else they think will be of interest to that audience.

I’ve also left it up to them to decide exactly how they want to present their reviews. Personally, I’ve stuck mainly to text in my posts, but there’s no reason why we can’t include links to online presentations, videos, audio files… They can choose. And variety is, as they say, the spice of life.

It’s taken a bit of work to set the blog up, to put together a project launch presentation and to think through the structure and marking criteria for the project, but now that it’s up and running, I’m really looking forward to seeing what they produce. I daresay there will be a few surprises along the way – hopefully good ones. And you never know, they might even inspire me to improve this blog too!

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