The efficacy of the Blog by 78M5m2H


									The efficacy of technology in the classroom:
      Web authoring as a pedagogical tool
                      State of the Art
 The number of Blogs has increased substantially
  over the course of the last few years: 10 million
  in 2005 to 70 million in 2007.
    120,000 new Blogs created daily.
    Blogs are free, easy to use, and offer a wide-range of
     user-generated items; this explains their use in
     educational contexts.

 Other technological tools are increasingly
  appearing in the classroom as well, many
  without solid pedagogical support.
    Discussion boards, Instant messaging, chat, WIKIs,
     RSS, Social Networking tools, etc.
                      Theoretical considerations
 As with any pedagogical tool, it is extremely important
  that the use of technology in the FL classroom be directly
  connected to sound SLA theory.
    How do the students benefit from the technology?
    How can we improve the tools we are using to help us in the

 In order to use technology correctly as a pedagogical tool,
  we need to examine not only which areas of acquisition
  will receive the most benefit from the technology but also
  which types of technology can be the most beneficial.
    Which of the four skills can benefit the most from technology?
     Reading? Writing? Speaking? Listening?
    Which tools can be applied and which cannot?
                              Pedagogical considerations
 Instructors must invest time and flexibility into their background
  research in order to ensure that any web-authoring tool is integrated
  effectively and appropriately in the classroom.
                                               Deciding on a Blog Application
                           •It is important to remember that the goal of any Blog is to engage
                          the student in creative, multimedia application of language
    Learner levels must be accommodated, especially in the their language
    classroom.             learning experience.
                           •The Review of Weblog Applications (2008) lists nine features that
                           are important in a Blog used for educational purposes:
                                  • Interface should be user-friendly and attractive.
                                         be HTML should be replaced by an easy-to-use text
    Appropriate assessment mustuse ofestablished in order to hold students
                                  • The
    accountable for their work.   editor.                     Process Approach
                                                            Post-Process Approach
                                            •A non-linear placed on theand moderate comments
                                            •Emphasis able to access focuses of critical
                                  • Learners should beis approach that receptionon the
                                  with ease.“challenges and complexity” that can be used
                                            feedback from the instructor of the writing process
   The nature of the tool must             effectively by the advance
                                       should offer many options for that it
                                  • Itbe determined instudent(s).
                                            itself .
                                                                               (profiling, friends
                                  • Many social features should be included be used within to
                                         of •Goodare the comment functions on Blogs and
                                             the students toolswellcan
    matches the particular needstag •Is “inherently adaptable” andas the course
                                  lists,    searching, etc.)
                                            the use of CALL.
                                                     examples of
                                                                 as that therefore relevant
    objectives.                             •Two particular frameworks within this other Blogs
                                  • Learners should be able to access/subscribe to approach:
                                  of interest withapproach can be combined with the Process
                                            •This •Expressivism: supports creative thinking and
                                            Approach to post and share multimedia items.
                                  • It should be easy to provide for a better evaluation of in a
                                                   emphasizes fluency; will occur inherently
                                  • Learners should be able to perform spell checks.
                                            student production.
                                  • It should be a web-based service that does not charge any
                                                   •Cognitivism: supports higher-order skills and
                                  fees.            tends to be a more problem-solving approach.
                    Web-authoring tools
            First-generation Web
Asynchronous tools
 Email: allows for one-to-one exchange and supports
 Discussion boards: allow for group exchange and
  encourage “universal participation” (Godwin-Jones, 2003).

Synchronous tools
 Chat sessions: promote rapid response and group
  interaction as well as the ability to analyze the language
  at a later time.
 Instant messaging: have high communicative value
  because of voice/video options and the support of
                   Web-authoring tools
               Second-generation Web
 Can be individual or collaborative and offers self-
  publishing options which can “encourage ownership and
  responsibility on the part of the students” (Godwin-Jones,
 Drawback is that posts are organized by time and not

RSS and Wiki
 Allow automatic updates to students in regards to
  services to which they have subscribed.
 Are intensely collaborative and allow for recognition of
  work (i.e. changes are connected to the user).
                 Other web-based tools
                  Social networks
 Links groups of individuals together through common
  interests or goals.

Common Features
 Allow for writing, reading and commenting.
 Maintain permalinks and tag entries, as well as
  trackback and pingback.
 Allow syndication and RSS feeds so that readers may
  subscribe to the content.
 Support mash-up, or the sharing of content between
  various web-based platforms.
                 Effective implementation
           Documenting Target Culture Travel

 Documenting target culture travel (in a Blog, for example)
  can be effective in helping students gain useful cultural

 The goal can vary depending on the language of delivery:
    when written in the target language, can be used as a
     sort of “virtual immersion” for students who are unable
     to travel abroad.
    when written in the native language, can be used to
     showcase the students’ exploits abroad to family and
                Effective implementation
             Encouraging Critical Thinking

 Reading and writing in the target language can give
  students a unique cultural perspective, even when they
  are unable to travel abroad.

 Teachers can encourage students to use critical thinking
  skills when examining the target culture by having them
  research and write about other target language Blogs
  individually or as a group.

 Students in the Ducate project reported to have improved
  in two main areas:
    vocabulary acquisition
    reading comprehension
                  Effective implementation
          Bringing Culture into the Classroom

 A Blog can be used as a means of introducing students to
  cultural information that they might not be able to get
  during normal classroom time.

 Since the internet is filled with authentic and current
  cultural material, a Blog can be effective in delivering such
  content to the students with minimal effort on their part.
    Updating the Blog consistently also allows the instructor to
     stay current on cultural issues from the target culture.

 Alizadeh reported that many of her students maintained
  contact with the Blog even after the class ended.
                            Blogs of Interest
                              La Vedette
                           The New Tanuki
                             Blog Abroad
                            Blog Exchange
 Consider the following questions as we critique the Blogs above:

Are posts made in the L1 or in the L2? What role does this play in the
effectiveness of the Blog?

What other components do you notice on the Blog that might play a role
in its success or failure in the classroom?

Is it evident from the Blog how the successful completion of language
objectives is being assessed or evaluated?
                  More discussion questions
 What sorts of things can we do to modify a Blog so that it is

 What kind of things could we include in a Blog that might
  increase its success as a pedagogical tool?

 Which kind of Blog do you feel would be most appropriate at
  the language level you teach? Why?

 Based on the readings, which of the four skills do you think
  could benefit the most from Blogging?

 Based on your conversations with your group Chat members,
  in what kinds of ways could we successfully implement a
  Blog in a classroom? Project ideas?

 In your opinion, how pedagogically useful are the other social
  networking tools mentioned? Is it possible to connect them to
  sound theory or not? How?

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