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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Virtual Exchange

Since September my Year 9 French class has been running a blog alongside a similar aged class in France. It's the first time I've done anything like this so we've kept it quite simple. Our aim was for both classes to complete and post a task on the blog each month, and then look at one another's work, comment and generally get to know and help one another. In September we decided each student would post a voki, introducing themselves in the Target Language. We had some great lessons recording ourselves, and then listening to partner students' introductions. In November we realised a task a month was a bit ambitious, and sent bears to one another for a Christmas exchange visit. Toffee (our Woldingham bear) and Francois and Jules (pictured left) enjoyed Christmas in their exchange country and posted slideshows (hosted by scribd and voicethread) to report on their experiences.

While we were using snail mail we also sent some handwritten letters to our partner class, which they then corrected, commented on and returned. In the meantime we have also posted individual photos, text, and the odd interactive game relating to work done in class.

We have had to overcome several challenges, such as restrictions using Blogger in school, and the reliability of equipment at times, but the students are having great fun, and I would definitely recommend it as a relatively simple (and really cheap!) way of getting your classes enthusiastic about the country and seeing a real purpose for the language.