Web Journals in Language Education
A peer-to-peer collaborative writing platform for language learning

January 2007

November 2006

June 2006

November 2005

June 2005

December 2004

March 2004

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BLOGS Team Meeting - 29th & 30th January 2007

The D.1 BLOGS team met on 29th & 30th January to finalise plans for the dissemination workshop that will take place on 5th & 6th June 2007.

Aimed at language teacher trainers, the workshop will not only offer a thorough practical review of the ECML BLOGS project but will also draw out principles and ideas as to how blogs might effectively be used in other language-learning or teacher-training situations.

The BLOGS project publication is also reaching its final draft stage and promises to be a useful resource for teachers considering using blogs in schools. The team have certainly enjoyed discussing and mulling over the differing approaches that have successfully been employed by the blogging teachers and students. It seems that, like other good blogging software, the ECML BLOGS platform 'faded into the background' allowing the pedagogical vision and aspirations of teachers to take centre-stage and influence the learning opportunities and outcomes for their students. As one famous Scottish technologist put it:

It is not about the tech. Its about the teach!

Watch this space for more information or read the blogs themselves at

November 2006: BLOGS Team Meeting

The D.1 BLOGS team met on 24th & 25th November to discuss the draft project publication and to plan for the dissemination workshop that is due to take place in June 2007.

The team members also took the opportunity to review enthusiastically the many project highlights as well as to identify some of the less successful aspects. These experiences should make for a very positive yet realistic publication of practical use to teachers in schools.

Watch this space for more information or read the blogs themselves at

June 2006: BLOGS Web Journals in Language Education

The team met on 9 - 10 June 2006 at the ECML in Graz to evaluate the project which ran from January -April 2006. Both student and teacher participants had been invited to share their views about the project through a specifically designed questionnaire which had been circulated to all via the BLOGS platform.

The project attracted 14 countries which followed the English track and 11 countries which followed the French track. This translates to some 30 teachers and 600 student participants, for a total of 4000 postings and over 9000 comments. Of course, some students and teachers were more active than others. The project also attracted guests from as far afield as Brazil.

Participants agreed that the project had been quite a success. An overwhelming majority of students reported that given an opportunity, they would like to continue with the blogging experience. Students felt that this was a great way for them to get to know people from different cultures, to communicate in meaningful contexts. They also reported that the BLOGS experiences helped them improve reading and writing skills in the foreign language without necessarily having to complete traditional language exercises. Students were given autonomy in choosing topics to write about and incorporating photos; they could personalise their own blog, allowing for their individuality and creativity. Students were also very sensitive to comments they received from colleagues around Europe. Some complained that they had not received enough comments or that this feedback was rather irregular.

From the teachers' perspective, BLOGS was perceived as a fresh approach to support foreign language teaching. Their students enthusiastically embraced this project. The project brought with it a further two advantages: while teachers were encouraged to reflect upon their current language-teaching practices, the tool itself allowed them to organise their teaching in a variety of ways according to specific requirements. Thus, many tried to find a balance between compulsory and free writing activities.

The ECML is committed to supporting the web-blogging community until the end of the project in 2007. So, to all of you who are hooked on blogging, blog on!

November 2005: BLOGS Workshop

The first workshop of the BLOGS project took place on the 23th to 26th of November 2005, in Graz Austria. Full details can be found in the workshop report, which can be downloaded in pdf format in the Materials section.

June 2005: BLOGS Web Journals in Language Education

The organising team of the ECML Web Journals in Language Education (BLOGS) project met in Graz on 17th and 18th June 2005. The dual emphasis was on evaluating the pilot phase of the project and on preparing its implementation phase that commences with a four-day workshop in November 2005.

From an evaluative viewpoint the web-logging software performed admirably during the pilot phase and ´faded into the background´ as all good software should, allowing the teachers and students to concentrate on posting and commenting. Students and teachers were asked to fill in questionnaires and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Two of the teachers from the piloting phase will be present during the full workshop in November to provide their peers with own practical experience and insights of blogging.

The workshop promises to be a great event that will underpin a great deal of hands-on experience of weblogging with the theory and practice of writing acquisition in foreign language learners. By the end of the four-day event, participants will be fully equipped to start reaping the benefits of using weblogs with their students. With representatives from up to 33 nations involved in the implementation phase of this project, the potential for collaboration and inter-cultural writing should be immense, or at the very least blogtastic.

December 2004: BLOGS Project Meeting

The organising team of the ECML project on Web Journals in Language Education (BLOGS) met in Graz on 3-4 December, together with the four teachers who will be involved in the piloting phase. Schools from Malta, the Czech Republic and Poland were represented. The whole team enjoyed the experience of being exposed to a cocktail of five working languages.

One of the main aims of this project is to develop a web-logging tool with specific features tailored to the needs of the foreign language-learning environment. With great anticipation, this tool was unveiled and then road-tested by all members of the group. It promises to be simple to use and apply in the classroom and should provide an effective platform for collaboration between students from the different pilot schools.

The project is twin-tracked, one for students of French and the other for students of English. Teachers from each track met together to explore common themes and ideas for collaboration that might be explored by their students. They also seized the opportunity to post to their own web-logs, recognising the importance of modelling the writing process to their students.

The pilot phase will be implemented between January and mid-April 2005.

The project can be accessed at

March 2004: Team meeting report

The organising team of the ECML Web Journals in Language Education (BLOGS) project met in Graz on 19th and 20th March. Online journals or web logs (blogs) offer opportunities for enhancing the experiences of both foreign language students and teachers alike. They provide an online platform for communication and collaboration, and give students access to a real and measurable audience, a crucial factor in motivating students to believe they are writers.

Working in a delightful combination of French, Italian and English, the team examined the traditional principles of the use of journals in education to encourage writing development and went on to discuss how blogs could build on these foundations in foreign language teaching and learning.

This project aims to develop its own web-logging tool with specific features tailored to the needs of the foreign language-learning environment. It will not only be simple to use and apply in the classroom, but will extend learning opportunities beyond this setting. In fact, anywhere with an Internet connection could be transformed into an environment for a student to publish their thoughts and demonstrate their creativity.

Over the next few months a number of foreign language teachers will be invited to a project meeting in December with a view to piloting this exciting initiative in their own classes. It promises to be a blogtastic time!