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Collaborative Learning through Student Web Projects

Christine Bauer-Ramazani from Vermont

Christine Bauer-Ramazani is Instructor of Applied Lingustics at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont.

Christine Bauer-Ramazani
Photo: Karl Sklar
Once they were convinced that this would be a fun project for collaboration and language learning, they "took over" the decision-making process, and I became the facilitator.

 

This was indeed hard work but very rewarding and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm with which the students approached this project; it was great to see how they implemented all types of technology in completing this web page, all of which fostered their language learning process in a meaningful, communicative way.

They corresponded via e-mail; they used word processing editors for typing the text, checking vocabulary and synonyms; they had evening and weeekend meetings at the library; they took great pictures with Mika's digital camera and downloaded them to a photo editor; they researched the Web for links that would help new students coming to Vermont and Saint Michael's College; and finally they constructed the web pages.

In all of this, the students collaborated, using English as the medium of communication/interaction/negotiation. By doing so, the students gave evidence of the possibilities of project-based learning, collaboration, and constructivism for language learning.

For me as a teacher, the most fascinating element in this student project was the students drive for autonomy—they wanted to "own" this project, and so it had to be something that they could all be proud of.

Once they were convinced that this would be a fun project for collaboration and language learning, they "took over" the decision-making process, and I became the facilitator. They made the decisions autonomously as to what to include, how to organize the material, how to make the web pages attractive, and how to revise them. In fact, these pages went through 4 or 5 voluntary revisions (What more could any teacher ask for?)!

Takashi was a huge help in the creation of the web site, as he single-handedly took on the task to design it and be responsible for collecting all of the pieces that each of his classmates contributed. We could not have done this without his help. Thank you, Takashi! Now we have a web site we can indeed be proud of. As one of my graduate students said, "This is a testimonial to the power of CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning)."


Student Project: Shopping for Necessities near St Michael's College

Original student project on Christine Bauer-Ramazani's web site.

Christine Bauer-Ramazani's Home Page (with link to her Online CALL course)

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