I teach German and English at a secondary school in Portimão, a town in the south of Portugal, Algarve. My students (this year only German students) are beginners at a lower and intermediate level and they are between 14 and 18 years old.
I have a degree in English and German languages and literature. I have been trained as a teacher of German and English and my interest in computers started in 1993. Since then I have been using computers and the Internet. I also have a master degree in educational informatics since 2006. My research was about the ICT literacy of the teachers of my school, i.e. on how teachers use these technologies in and outside the classroom.
My contacts are: email; joca01 in skype;
Where I live
I live in the South of Portugal, in a region called Algarve. Some people say this is the place with more hours of sunshine per year in the world. I live in the western part of Algarve, in Alvor, near the town Portimão.
Here are some pictures.
(: Hi Joao. Going to the Algarve in a few months to catch some R&R, can't wait--Patricia 17:43, 11 August 2009 (UTC)) Great, Patricia! What are R&R?
This year I started using blogs with my two classes I am teaching German to. I have only 25 students altogether which is absolutely exceptional. They have 3 lesson per week which are distributed 90+90+135 minutes. Fortunately I managed to teach each class in a computer equiped room in the 135 minute lessons. Each student has access to his own computer and Internet which represents excellent and exceptional conditions.
Blogs in the classroom
At first I was not sure which blogging software I should use. I know Blogger and Wordpress. After asking for some advice in the Webheads in Action Community, of which I am a proud member, I came across a Wordpress MU blogging software called bloxio. After having a look at the software I found it very powerful, especially because of some powerful features like the forum and the wiki (this wiki runs the mediawiki software, like WikiEducator) that it includes. So I decided to use this software in spite of some bugs it still might have.
Now, 4 months later, I realize that it might have been a mistake having chosen this blogging software. There were still too many bugs that made the use of it quite difficult for the students in the beginning. I had the feeling that difficulties with the software, together with it being not very user friendly had a negative impact on the students' motivation to use the blog. The fact that there were no templates to choose from giving the students the freedom to customize their blogs was another reason that didn't catch the students' enthusiasm. And last but not least, my lack of experience in the use of these tools with students maybe was the main reason why it was bit difficult. The next time I will do things in a different way. I set up a class blog and some of the students are using their individual blogs, too.