Image courtesy of Theis Kofoed Hjorth
For those who have been reading my posts over the past few weeks or following me on Twitter, you are probably aware that I am working on reading more academic journal articles in order to grow as a professional. In the course of sharing that in my posts and tweets, I have had some encouraging comments from others that they are also interested in reading research articles and discussing it with one another. The idea of an article discussion group was mentioned by Phil Chappell where colleagues could get together and share what they have been reading. I wondered how that could work online with people getting together from all over the world. Here are some of the ideas I pondered and what I eventually settled on.
- Twitter chat: This would follow the same format that #eltchat or #eapchat follow where people come together at a predetermined time to discuss a topic on Twitter. It involves following and using a set hashtag. My worry with this idea is that many people are already involved in a Twitter chat or two and are starting to feel stretched. I nixed this idea. I still like the idea of a hashtag, but more about that below.
- Discussion forum: Forums have sort of had their day online and are not as popular as they once were. The idea is fine, but I have a feeling that most people wouldn’t visit very often. Idea eliminated.
- Facebook page: Not a bad idea since it is more interactive and people can post things and share ideas. The problem I have seen with most groups on FB is that you end up getting a lot of people who are only there to promote or sell something and so it takes a lot of moderating to keep the page from becoming a marketplace. Maybe could be a part of this group later on, but not to begin with.
- Individual blog: Also not a bad idea, but someone would have to be responsible for the blog and keeping it updated. Could work, but it would be better to share the load a bit.
- Blog carnival: For those who are not aware of what a blog carnival is, the idea is to have people post things on their own blogs and share them with one person who collects them and puts the summaries and links on one post for everyone to share. Each month or so, a new topic is shared and anyone who wants to blog about it can share their post with the moderator / host for that month. The responsibility is shared amongst people in the group and the person who hosts it for that month gets to have a number of people visit their site. For an example on how this works, take a look at the ELT blog carnival page here. I was also thinking that a Twitter hashtag to use to promote and share it could be helpful. I was thinking about using #eltresearch since it could be used for more than the blog carnival. The tag has been used a few times in the past, but doesn’t seem to be a common hashtag. People could share articles or other research related information on Twitter using the hashtag.
- Find an academic journal article related to the theme of that particular blog carnival. If you can find one that is open to everyone (ie. not behind a paywall), that would be helpful to those who don’t have access to the larger journal databases. Please don’t break copyright by downloading from a pay site and then posting the article elsewhere. If you need help finding an article, here is my Diigo list of open ELT journals and my post on how to use online search engines to find articles by topic.
- Don’t promote your own material in the blog. Find articles from other writers. If you want to share your own material, use the #eltresearch hashtag to share it on Twitter.
- Write a post interacting with the information found in the article. This could be that you agree or disagree, you apply it in a different way than was intended in the article, you test it in the classroom (action research), or anything else related to it. If possible, provide ideas that teachers can do to apply what you have learned to their classroom.
- Post your blog post on your own site. Make sure to mark on the post that this is a ELT Research Blog Carnival post (can be in the article or a note at the top or bottom of the post) along with a link to the blog carnival host instructions so others can join in.
- Share your post with the blog carnival host. This is up to the host on how this will be done, but it is common for people to email the link to the post to the host before the deadline.
- The host will write up a post with links to the various posts. This usually is done in an introduction to the topic for that carnival and a very short abstract of the post (1-3 sentences). This is then shared with all of the authors and posted on Twitter along with the #eltresearch hashtag.
I will get things started. For our 1st ELT Research Blog Carnival, I propose the topic of listening. This is a very general, but as our first topic, I didn’t want to make it too specific to restrict others from joining. Once you have written a post reflecting on a research article related to listening, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, a tweet to @nathanghall with the #eltresearch hashtag, or post a comment here. The closing date is in 4 weeks from today on August 23rd, 2013. Thank you!Update: In response to a number of people without a blog who would like to participate, I wrote a post on how to submit work without blogging. I have also created a dedicated site for the ELT Research Blog Carnival where I can post things for people.