HANDS-ON NING: AN ONLINE COMMUNITY FOR THE ELT CLASSROOM
Tesol-Spain; Colegio Ntrª Srª Maravillas (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: ‘Blended Learning and types’
In the Web2.0 era, online communities of practice, instant access to data, collaborative work and sharing spaces, in which the user interacts and shares data with other users, seem to be the perfect allies for the creation of scenarios for ELT. Blended learning, or the combination of face-to-face instruction and technology use, is gaining currency in the field of ELT.
Blended learning refers to specific forms of teaching with technology. Nevertheless, the combination or mixture of students’ learning styles, students’ needs and learning outcomes; the type of delivery and media; instruction, methods and tasks to be performed lead to different kinds of blended models.
THE FRAMEWORK: the teaching context; the elements and the tool.
This point will explain Rowntree’s (2000) ten principles to set up a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and how the present Ning VLE covers them. It will also be shown how these principles can cater for different teaching contexts depending on the participants’ needs.
a. The Teaching context:
i. The learners: needs and learning styles.
ii. The teacher’s role.
b. The elements:
i. The task and the structure.
ii. The learning outcomes
iii. The media.
c. The tool: NING.
(i) The election of Ning to set up a virtual environment with the students obeys several reasons: (a) the basic services are free; (b) the simplicity of use for both, teacher (administrator) and users; (c) there is no need for technical knowledge on behalf of the teacher and no server is needed; (d) the facilities it offers: membership, uploads, sharing files, creating groups, edit profiles, inviting friends, blogs, etc.; (e) the proliferation of online social networks among teenagers, such as Tuenti, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, etc. make the use of Ning for classroom purposes more suitable than a institutional VLE such as Moodle; and (f) Ning is more user friendly to set up and develop than a wiki or a blog.
(ii) Advantages for Education: (a) students are given more practice in productive skills: writing and speaking since they can: focus on individual needs and proper feedback; (b) collaborative work: group creation according to interests, levels, etc.;‘Profiles’ allow grouping possibilities, group blog and students’ blog
The participants will have the opportunity of exploring the Ning community created for this presentation. They will be able to:
a) upload/download files, pictures and videos;
b) share documents and information;
c) edit their profiles;
d) invite friends;
e) open a blog;
f) create groups;
g) complete some tasks which will make the participants reflect on their students’ needs;
h) share ideas on and about Ning for their teaching practice.
Keywords: virtual learning environments (vle), computer mediated communication (cmc).