Steve Herder asks a couple of questions:
Q1) How much L1 vs. L2 you use when getting the students set up to this point?
A1) I have used almost entirely L1 (theirs! not mine), throwing in some English words which I think would be useful to know (create, account, register, login, logout, URL, password, user name, ID, firewall, subject, body, upload, download, address, dashboard, post (noun and verb), entry, comment). This setting up is already taking much longer than I had anticipated. I want this over and done with as soon as possible, yet I don't want to rush it and have most students only half-understand, or not properly signed up.
Q2) Do you feel they are working with you during this process or are they somewhat resisting?
A2) "They" are not one entity but 27 or so individuals, so I can't answer for all of them. Most seem willing, as they are learning something new and I'm there to help out on the spot with problems. A few are slow and I think this is simply due to their inexperience and inexpertise using computers. During the last session, 1 student asked me how to change the colour and design and several students listened and then went quickly to their own "templates" and tried it out. This was satisfying: they are starting to take the ball and run with it, not just follow directions.
I'm assuming students see the blogs and the Y!Group as simply a class requirement, like having a quiz every week. I'm hoping that, through using these tools, they will eventually realize the independence that is being offered them, both by me and by the tools themselves. The discovery of how to change the look of their blog was one such realization, albeit a small one. It's not just how to change your blog's appearance, it's that the teacher hasn't mandated a particular look and the student is free to make any changes they like.
I'm also assuming it will take a while for this to sink in.