Technology in blended learning: The Wiggio platform19-Nov-2012
The Wiggio platform – a virtual classroom
Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder once said, “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we are doing”.
That was the reason behind the idea of my school developing not only the blended learning department at AVO-Bell but to incorporate IT in language teaching in different language courses, such as General English, Business English, English for an Academic Purpose, Exam Preparation Courses and English for Specific Purpose Courses.
I feel proud to say that I was one of the pioneers at AVO-Bell who researched and introduced Wiggio as an online toolkit and a friendly platform for a variety of work types that met the requirements of both my colleagues and learners. The Wiggio project which was started by two Cornell University graduates was released to the public in 2008. In the article, “Online Collaboration Tools: A Critical Examination”, it is said, ‘Wiggio’s mission is to continuously develop an application that eliminates the frustration of working in groups by providing the powerful, straightforward functionality that you need to work effectively’.
Effectiveness was the key word that inspired me to start using Wiggio with my learners and colleagues. The platform found its practical application in my school in various ways. It provided the teachers with the following options:
- To organize virtual language sessions with learners (as an alternative to using Skype).
- To assign different tasks, by sending emails or voice messages; some of the options that the platform provides.
- To upload and manage files on numerous topics, as well as links in a shared folder.
Personally I have registered with three different emails, in order to have Wiggio “classrooms” for specific aspects of my work. As an Academic Coordinator of teenage General English courses, at the A2 level of The European framework for language competence, I created a Wiggio group for my colleagues. There they can find all the necessary information for the courses they teach, for example: folders with details about Cambridge University KET exams or supplementary materials for the Student’s Book “More3” and for every unit in it. Currently the “More3” teachers in my school are willing to share lesson ideas, links, files, pictures, videos and podcasts. All in all, everything that really motivates them and makes their classes with students not only useful but entertaining.
My second Wiggio group is for teenagers, who were or at present are my students. It is my pleasure to share the link to this particular Wiggio platform with you:
There you will be able to see the B2TE group /teenagers, B2 language level. If you click the group and then click FOLDER in the middle of the page, the platform will take you to shared folders of the group. I would like to present The Video Folder. For me and for my students it has had a really specific purpose; the most practical use of it was to provide evidence of the group projects, which my students developed over the school year 2011-2012. The Video Folder also encouraged them to demonstrate their speaking skills.
The topic of the project was “Cuisine of English Speaking Countries”. The learners had to do research, present recipes typical of their chosen countries and video themselves while cooking some of the food delights. Their enthusiasm was absolutely amazing. Not only did they prepare accurately for the presentations but they completely immersed themselves in the task. The video clips on Wiggio prove my words. In cases like this, Wiggio eliminates the need to have everyone physically present in class and allows for better group collaboration remotely.
Of course, you can see other folders on Wiggio as well. All of them have helped me a lot in my work and have transformed my lessons into interactive fairytales aiming at teaching English in a more modern way.
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