At the beginning of this year, students were surprised to realize that Mackayzine no longer existed as part of the virtual platforms promoted by the English Department. This website compiled over a year of work carried out by English teachers under the direction of Miss Carla Chavez, who introduced a series of competitions and interactive modules for students to feel more attracted to the subject. As Mackayzine was no longer available, it was replaced by the use of Google Sites, a platform whose tools were less catching but kept the technological relationship between the classroom and the student.
So we turned to Miss Carla to elucidate the cause of the sudden disappearance of Mackayzine and its temporal replacement with Google Sites.
Miss Carla, would you tell us what happened to Mackayzine?
We had a technical problem. The website was hacked. It was bad luck, but we are trying to solve the problem now. We have to erase the code to clean the site from virus.
The English Department is working with Google Sites. Does it work in the same way that Mackayzine did last year?
Not in the same way. Our intention is to have digital classrooms in each level. The idea is to have Mackayzine as a portal with the events of the department, compiling the different Google Sites classrooms there. It is working quite well specially in 6th and in 7th grade and in Middle School and is also working fine in Senior School, but one of the problems that I see is the access, as we do not have a domain as simple as ‘mackayzine.cl’, it is more difficult for people to find the sites. At the same time, to have interaction with the audience through comments, for example, tends to be a little bit complicated because you need a Gmail account. In Mackayzine, all comments from any account are sent to moderation for the admins to approve them. In the general, the evaluation of this new tool is positive because students are more motivated if we use the different channels: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.
But is there going to be a ‘Mackayzine 2.0’?
Yes, we are working on the new version and the update WordPress. The admin of the site, Mr. Mac Millan, is working on cleaning the virus.
And is this new version called Mackayzine?
Mackayzine, yes, because that’s the name we tried to stick on everybody’s mind last year. It took a while to get the students get used to it…the site and the address, so I think it is a good idea to keep on using the name as it is easier for people to find Mackayzine.
So you are planning to use Google Sites and Mackayzine?
Yes, Google Sites as classroom and Mackayzine as the website of the English Department. That is what we want to do.
When is this project do to?
Google Sites is working now and Mackayzine is to be ready within two or three weeks. So before winter break we are going to have both for sure. You know that we are introducing a lot of technology in the classroom; for example, we are also using Glogster in 6th grade, in 7th grade, in 11th grade.
Each student from 7th grade up has a blog, which their virtual copybook or notebook. In that way, we can see what students do, their homework and they can use different tools to organize their learning. So we are using technology and social networks, trying to combine what the students like in our programme.
What are the advantages if we compare with Moodle?
Google Sites and Mackayzine have the format of social networks. It is open to everybody and we can add more interactive gadgets such as a Twitter button or how to share in Facebook or embed flash objects in the site.
We invite all the community to vote for the best Leprechaun trap built by Middle school students during St Patrick’s week. For example visit 7th grade projects and vote!