Friday, February 23, 2007
Output and Wikis and Creativity, oh my! Prompt 5
EGBERT Ch. 5. Creativity and Productivity
RICHARDSON Ch. 4. Wikis: Easy Collaboration for All
Output is a key stage to language learning and development. While I agree that comprehensible input is important in language acquisition, I believe that actual language use requires output and plenty of it. By expressing ourselves in the new language, we not only have the chance to negotiate meaning, but we also increase our chances of finding out what is and is not correct and/or missing in our own output, which creates the need and desire for us to learn it. If someone doesn't understand what we are saying, we will notice that we are not using all of our language correctly, or that we are lacking in vocabulary. Egbert discusses various ways to use technology to inspire increased output. What I found interesting was that these activities have all been around forever in language (and other) classrooms, but here these are moved onto the digital platform. Of course, creating an interactive Web page is new, but even a suggestion such as the digital montage of life in the U.S. that the author suggests could be done with magazine/brochure/tour book cutouts, photos or postcards, and maps. It is just faster, and the student has access to more resources online than in the classroom (classroom resources being limited to what the teacher or students can find on their own, at home).
It was also interesting that Egbert suggested making a Wanted poster. I did that in about 6th or 7th grade for Social Studies and it was fun! I remember, though, soaking it in tea overnight and drying it, so it got that antiqued look, then burning a hole or two in it (Of course with adult supervision) so it looked really authentic. I guess once the students create the poster on a computer, they could print it and do this to it--it really was the coolest part of the whole assignment!
Wikis can be a great collaborative tool; there is always of sense of accomplishment with putting something out there in the world for all to see and share. It is such a fascinating concept. It does seem that, with the input of people (experts, fans, laymen, opinionated folks, and loonies alike), things do tend to be presented in a more balanced way over time, even though it all changes in a moment with an exaggerated, extreme, or simply false entry. It's not perfect, but I have yet to se a media source that is perfect or truly unbiased. The story of the tsunami really stuck with me--it is such a powerful and amazing tool. I think students will enjoy collaborating and taking turns giving input on what they know best and what they feel is important or interesting. Like Phil said on his blog, http://bukurblog.blogspot.com/ , students get excited and spend more time on their assignments when they are part of the decision-making process.