Friday, June 29, 2007

Been Unable to Blog the Last Couple of Days . . .

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. . . and not by choice. The Internet connection at school is screwed up again. According to those in the know, they (whoever they are) have been trying to upgrade the school to a new high speed line. In doing so, they messed things up somehow. For the past two or three days we have either had no connection, or we can only connect to websites in Malaysia. That really helps when you are trying to teach English, and the only websites you can connect to are in Bahasa Melayu.

Lucky for me, despite the problems, my 2K students have been able to log into the Classblogmeister website, and work on their Blogs.

Things have been going great with the blogging project I have been doing with them, a lot better than I ever expected.

The students really enjoy blogging. When it is time for class, half of them, usually the boys, are waiting for me outside the computer lab, and the other half are waiting all the way at the other end of the school, outside the classroom, for me to wave them over. I admit that at first there was a little bit of fooling around- playing games on the computer that students from other classes had saved, checking e-mail, playing music, etc. Now, I do allow them to play music while they do their assignments, as long as they keep it low. At the end of class if there is a funny video someone else has saved on one of the computers, then I let them to watch it. But as things have gone on, there has been little of that going on.

Now, when class starts, they run in, and log into their accounts. The first thing they usually do is see if anyone has left any comments on their Blogs. They get excited when someone from a different country reads what they wrote and leaves a comment. They also enjoy leaving comments on each others work. Of course, for security sake, everything has to go through me first. That's why Classblogmeister is such a great tool. The teacher can have complete control over what gets published on the students blogs, and can even make comment to the students if something isn't appropriate, or if someone from the outside does something they shouldn't do. Believe me, the administration here would have it no other way.

Some of the students enjoy what we are doing so much, that they have started blogging outside of class. Other than doing homework assignments, or in class, reading and writing in English is something that they would not normally do. It is also something they don't really like to do. Yet with blogging, it's something they love to do and get excited about.

My 2K class obviously has been talking with the other form 2 students about what they do in the computer lab, and now the other classes are asking me when they can start blogging. I am working on getting the 2S class started, and hopefully adding 2U and 2Z later on.

The problems are:
1. Getting enough computer time.
2.Scheduling time for the class.
3. The spotty at best Internet connection.
4. A stone age era IT system.

Plus there is the fact that the computer class has plenty of computers, and is not used very often, but only four out of the thirty something computers have an Internet connection. So while I could probably get the time that I needed there, it is useless for what I need.

Oh well, I gotta go. The wife is waiting to eat.