This paper explores the strategies of implementing email in ESL writing classroom. It focuses on how email can be implemented in a collaborative learning ambience incorporating the stages of writing process approach and pair work activity. Both teachers and learners hold crucial responsibilities to ensure success of the approach employed. Additionally, the learning ambience, task structure and task content contribute to the positive implication of the learning approach. It is hoped that the strategies will offer insights for further action to be explored to attain a better understanding of how learners interact in a collaborative learning environment via email discussions and the impact on their writing performance particularly in ESL writing classrooms.
Journaling in the classroom has traditionally been a paper process. E-journaling eliminates some of the drawbacks of journaling mentioned above. Additionally, this “intellectual exchange allows faculty members to encourage, guide, and engage student in an academic venue” and “builds a rapport between faculty and student that contributes to positive learning experiences and successful outcomes” (Phipps, 2005, ¶ 1).
Consequently, some instructors have turned to electronic media for journaling. The type of media used varies, but Longhurst and Sandage (2004) stated that “choosing pedagogically appropriate technology with the lowest support requirement and the simplest learning curve encourages faculty adoption and student learning alike” (p. 69). They noted that the appropriate technology does not feel disruptive or intimidating. For this reason Longhurst and Sandage (2004) chose email as their method of transmitting journal entries. Another group (Duerden et al., n.d.) chose to use Webnotes™ as their technology for journaling. In both of these studies, the authors found that the use of an electronic means of transmitting journal entries: (a) simplified the entire procedure, (b) was easier and more timely than using paper, and (c) provided more opportune feedback to the students.
all 428 sixth graders at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick, N.J., are charting their own academic path with personalized student learning plans — electronic portfolios containing information about their learning styles, interests, skills, career goals and extracurricular activities. These new learning plans will follow each sixth grader through high school, and are intended to help the students assess their own strengths and weaknesses as well as provide their parents and teachers with a more complete profile beyond grades and test scores.