Blogging for MFL – Oct 2007

Blogging for Modern Foreign Languages (Training session held at St Ivo School in October 2007)

Handout Downloads:

1. Starting your own Blog – A teachers guide to setting up and running an educational blog – WordPress

2. A guide to setting up a Blogger Weblog

Using ICT in MFL:

The following 2 blogs are aimed at MFL teachers and specifically explore the use of ICT in MFL

Integrating ICT in the Modern Foreign Languages Classroom (an excellent site by Joe Dale – regularly updated with lots of inspirational ideas for making the best use of ICT to support the teaching and learning of languages – including podcasts etc.)

Langwitches – the magic of learning through technology

Examples of MFL Blogs:

The following blogs provide excellent examples of current good practice in the use of blogs to support the teaching and learning of Modern Foreign Languages.

Copyright, Online Safety and Child Protection Issues:

Our responsibilities:

As we continue to make more use of the technology that more and more of our students have access to, such as the internet, mobiles, social networking sites, blogs etc. it is important that as well as using these technologies to support the education of our students that we also educate our students on the responsible use of these technologies! On the one hand we need to promote and encourage student creativity in the use of online technologies but we also need to teach them the ‘rules’, it is acknowledged in the literature on this that the rule of thumb is, if it is not acceptable in the physical world it is not acceptable in the virtual world.

Whilst in school, students are to a greater extent protected by the safety of school and county filtering systems, most of our students use of online technologies takes place outside of school and often not within an educational context, for example use of messenger or social networking sites with friends. It is therefore important that if we are to utilise these technologies in achieving our educational aims and objectives we ensure that we teach responsible use and raise awareness amongst students of the potential dangers and how they can be minimised or avoided through responsible use.

Copyright Issues

As well as online safety issues we also need to give due consideration to other issues for both staff and students in the creation and use of online materials. When creating or posting materials online, copyright issues must be considered to avoid accountability for copyright theft, schools need to ensure there is no infringement of the intellectual property of others in materials posted online. Permission must be sought in all cases where materials are from other sources, this includes text, video, music and images. Likewise schools need to give due consideration as to how their own materials posted on the web are copyright protected. Further advice and information related to these issues can be found on the Becta e-safety website. The following pages on the Becta site are in particular worth looking at:

If creating podcasts or audio files in which you wish to include music, if these materials are to be shared online you must ensure that you do not break copyright laws. There are a number of sites that do provide royalty free music which are specifically designed for use in podcasts and audio files (see the page on podcasting links for more ideas on these) – just make sure that you read the conditions for use on the specific sites used.

Students use of Online Materials

We also need to encourage students using online materials to give consideration to the plausibility / accuracy of the information posted and to teach students how to use material selectively, appropriately and making use of referencing to acknowledge sources that are used.

Child Protection / Online Safety and Blogging

When using Blogs there are a number of precautions we should be taking to help keep students safe. It is important to set your blog so that all comments added have to be moderated prior to being posted. This means that whenever anyone adds a comment to a blog post, you will be notified of the comment and asked to allow or delete the comment helping to ensure that all comments are of an appropriate nature.

You should also ask students to NEVER use their full name in a blog post. You should check individual school policy on this, some suggest using first name only, or a nickname. Students should also never give away their e-mail address. It is important to make these rules very clear to all students. Some blogs have this information as part of the sidebar at the top of the blog, reminding students of the rules (this can be easily added as a text widget).

See also these two links:

  • Safe Blogging tips for Teens
  • Childsnet – Blog Safety (includes a downloadable booklet for parent / carers)
  • Further Information on Internet Safety and responsible Blogging:

    Ollie Bray, Depute Head at Musselburgh Grammar School recently ran a very successful evening session on “Internet Safety for Parents and Families” to encourage collective responsibility and to get parents involved in learning more about how to support ‘responsible use’ of the internet. Ollie’s event was supported by LTS and the Child Exploitation Online Protection Agency (CEOPA). An account of the evening, including some copies of slides used can be found on Ollie’s excellent blog.

    The thinkuknow website, includes information for children of all ages (the site is well organised according to age groups) on technologies such as mobiles, social networking, messanger, chatting on the internet, blogs etc. with consideration of what is good, what is not and how to stay safe. There is also advice for victims of cyberbullying. The site also contains specific areas both for parents and for teachers / trainers. The teachers/trainers area includes a wide variety of resources available for download, including videos for training, posters, lesson plans and leaflets and posters can also be ordered to support presentations in schools.

    Further information on safe use of the internet / online technologies:

    There are also a number of videos available online to help raise awareness of the issues related to the dangers of the internet and the need for responsible use e.g. “Think Before You Post” (available on Youtube).

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