Using online journals is a great way of practicing writing while enhancing reflective thinking skills in language classes. Here is how I used them in my class in a nutshell:

Grade level: K-5

Learning outcome: Write about past experiences using the Past Tense

EdTech tool: Penzu – free online private journal

Activity description: I used Penzu as a homework tool about the Past Simple. After teaching the target structure and practicing it in class, I told my students to do their weekend homework using the Penzu app, which is super easy. I told my students to write at least 100 words about what they did at the weekend and include a few photos in their journal entry. First, I showed a sample that I created and they had no difficulty figuring out how to use the app. They e-mailed me their journal entries, which I then checked and gave feedback on.

Advantages over paper & pen: Overall, keeping a journal encourages reflective thinking whether online or offline. In addition to that, this digital tool helps in a couple of ways:

  • It helps especially young kids improve their digital literacy skills as they learn how to create and publish appropriate multimedia content – with text and visuals – and finally to send it to their teachers via e-mail.
  • It saved me a lot of time to check the homework as it was all paperless.
  • Adding photos was a key for this homework assignment and Penzu was quite convenient.

How to use the app: You sign up with your e-mail address for free and immediately start creating entries downloading the app on IOS and Android devices or in your browser. You can personalise your journal by changing the theme or font, share your entries via e-mail or a public link, and set reminders to receive e-mails that help you remember to keep writing.

SAMR Level: Augmentation

How do you use Penzu with your students? Send us your activity idea using the form below so we can publish it as an EdTech Recipe with your name and give you a shout-out on social media.