A.B. Garcia-Varela, M.A. Martinez

Universidad de Alcala (SPAIN)
In this paper, we analyse an educational experience with a group of undergraduate students at first year in Bachelor of Education at the University of Alcalá (Spain). We combine the use of the virtual platform and blogs for teaching and learning in a subject of Developmental Psychology.
One of the challenges facing the adaptation to European Higher Education Area is how to integrate new teaching tools at the university (Coll & Monereo, 2008). Within this context we explore from a sociocultural perspective many possibilities to understand how to encourage the learning of our students by creating good uses of these tools (Coll, Mauri, Onrubia, 2008). In this sense, we proposed our first-year students to complete classes with the use of virtual resources, such as Blackboard e-Education platform and blogs. The platform is primarily used to keep track of classroom activities with the calendar tool, to provide the texts and audiovisual materials that support classes and to hold forums to discuss issues arising from the contents of the course. The blogs were used to publish the conclusions from the ideas and activities performed in the classroom practice sessions, so that could be shared with the rest of his teammates to start a joint construction of knowledge activity (Dawes, L. et al, 2004).
From this experience we analyse a questionnaire and personal interviews in which students emphasize the value of the uses of these tools but the weaknesses of this methodology. We also explore the blogs created by each group and the posts of their mates. These data were analysed using the software for qualitative analysis Nvivo (Richards, 2002). In this sense, the data from our analysis highlights the high motivation that generated in students the use of these online tools to support teaching and learning, but also the workload at certain times when they have to follow a course both virtually and face to face, the difficulties to coordinate a working group, etc.
With this work we aim to provide some ideas to reflect the change in university teaching methodologies. From a Vygotskian perspective, these virtual tools, promote learning but also influence in our thinking frameworks and guide our learning strategies. It is not just learning about the subject but developing basic skills that are also present in their daily lives (Domenech, Tirado y Vyreda, 2005). We emphasize the active role of our students, as they take responsibility for their own learning while participating in a collaborative culture in the digital space of the Internet (Lara, 2009). This is particularly relevant for students that in the future will be teachers and will also have to literacy new generations in these new tools.

[1] Coll, C.; Mauri, T. y Onrubia. J. (2008). El análisis de los usos reales de las TIC en contextos educativos formales: una aproximación socio-cultural. Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa —REDIE, 10 (1), 1-18.
[2] Coll, C. y Monereo. C. (2008) Psicología de la Educación Virtual. Madrid: Morata.
[3] Lara, T. (2009). El papel de la Universidad en la construcción de su identidad Digital. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento, 6(1), 15-21.
[4] Richards, L. (2002) Using Nvivo in qualitative research. Melbourne: Sage.
[5] Domènech, M.; Tirado, F. y Vayreda, A. (2005). “Aprender a participar en la vida pública a través de Internet”. En C. Monereo (Coord.), Internet y competencias básicas (págs. 117-142) Barcelona, Graó.