I’ve been using sosauce as an online writing platform with my kids for almost 2 years.
This is my sosauce journal: http://www.sosauce.com/user14281/journals/ (I have written 31 journals so far which contains 262 entries already! ^_^ And my kids have written 113 journals altogether.)
Sosauce is actually made for travellers to record their travel logs. It is similar to facebook which you can make friends with others, write comments, update status, create photo albums and many more. There is a function for writing group journals (you got to use the premium account to do that. but back in time, it’s totally free! =-=) which I find very useful.
This is how I start the whole thing :
1. Go to www.sosauce.com (if it’s in chinese, just scroll down the bar and you can click the ‘Eng Version’)
2. Sign up for an account. You can use your facebook account to sign up as well !
3. Ask every of your kid to sign up for an account (it’s easy today cos most of them has a facebook account already, but back then, I spent a lot of time to urge them do so).
4. After they created an account, make sure they add you as ‘friend’, so that when they update anything in sosauce, you will see it in ‘My home updates’.
5. Start writing!!!!
My major purpose of using sosauce is to encourage my kids to write more in English (They only write in English in their hw and compositions) and not afraid of making mistakes (imagine how they usually get a piece of writing full of red markings). Okay, so how to get started?
I then wrote my first journal http://www.sosauce.com/journal/1183/let’s-write-a-journal/ (Run, Miss Law run )
I wrote about the 800m race I participated in Sports Day as an example to show them that people can write whatever memorable in their journals. Then, I thought of a topic : The secret of XXX (same link as above, just scroll down the bar on the right and find this journal entry) , made the journal to a group journal ( It means I added all my students to be the co-authors, so they will be writing their entries under my journal) and asked them to write about their own secret.
It was a success. We all enjoyed writing silly things (we then kept on thinking different topics to write about) and the kids love to add comments to others’ writing (they can add polls as well). They even proofread their friends’ work. Btw, you can set the privacy of each journal to friends, public or private. It’s safe if you don’t want your journals to be published to the world.
Besides writing group journals, we also write our own journals to share our ups and downs. I know much more about my kids by reading their journals. An intimacy gradually grew up between us. Once S wrote a journal about how she didn’t want to take her grad pic because she got pimples all over her face. I helped her solve the problem by telling the photographer to use photoshop to remove her pimples 😄 She was so glad about it.
It also becomes a very efficient way to share resources with my kids. For example, I set up a journal “Grammar Notes”. http://www.sosauce.com/journal/1801/grammar-notes/ I scanned the notes I wrote during lesson and put them there. Sometimes, I may put powerpoints for my kids to dl at home. It is esp useful for those who are absent from school. They can just check and see what we have learnt and ask me questions if needed.
I may sometimes videotaped their performance in class and put them on youtube. Then I’ll put the clips here in the journal ” Class Drama/ Presentation”. http://www.sosauce.com/journal/1828/class-drama-presentation/ They can learn a lot from others’ performance and be proud of their excellent work.
It’s also a great way to instruct them online. For example, I want to set up a class podcast. I only have to teach them briefly at school and ask them to read the instructions at home in the journal “Create our own podcast”. http://www.sosauce.com/journal/2084/create-our-own-podcast/ They learnt how to set up microphone, use Audacity and make their first podcasts at home! They are pretty much an expert in using Audacity to edit sound files now! (I’ll write more about podcasting in another post)
I’m sure there are a lot of platforms out there that teachers can use to do similar things I mentioned. Setting up this whole thing isn’t much a problem, as you can imgaine. Continuing the work and having more kids to get involved will be our main concern. Well, I’ll say…teachers have to write more than kids in order to get them involved. Update it frequently and talk about it during lessons. Tell them that you are interested in knowing if they have similar experiences. Relate it to their studies and make it as useful as possible.
That’s all I can think of . Tell me how you think about it when you have time. Now It’s time for me to see if they have written anything new today, Ciao ! ^_^