Biography writing activity

Technologies: Blogs for writing autobiographical statements and for posting biographies, text chat or skype or video conferencing tools for interviewing the person who is the subject of the biography, and a wiki, googledoc, or website environment for posting final reflections, responses, and reactions to the biographies project.

The goal: For students to practice written communication skills, to present information and opinions about themselves and telecollabration classmates, and to share that information in writing with others.

Description in four phases:

Phase 1: Using a blog for weekly (or more frequent) compositions, students begin by composing a number of autobiographical entries that describe their interests and hobbies, important life events, future dreams and aspirations, and/or other self-selected or teacher suggested topics.

Phase 2: Students are paired with telecollaboration partners to write bibliographies of one another using the autobiographical blog entries as the primary data source. Using text chat or skype or video conferencing, students can also be encouraged to interactively interview the person they are writing a biography of in order to glean additional information. Once completed, the biographies can be posted as blog entries and all biographies can be read by both partner classes as a homework assignment.

Phase 3: An in-class follow-up activity involves the teacher asking factual and content questions of the whole class about the biographies. In class discussion can emphasize amusing content or serious life goals, any systematic similarities or differences within or between the partner classes, and can serve as a venue for students to share their observations.

Phase 4 (optional): Students in both classes compile their comments and reflections using a wiki, googledoc, or web environment. The documents from both classes can be combined as a summative conclusion to the project.