About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6050-6058
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

THE USE OF DIGITAL GENRES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING – ENHANCING INTERACTION, DEVELOPING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE AND PROMOTING DIGITAL LITERACY

E. Mattos de Sa

Authentic Business English Language Center / Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (BRAZIL)
This presentation discusses the use of digital genres and social networks in the context of English Language Teaching (ELT) and presents an account of two teaching experiments in which the genres e-mail and microblog (also categorized as a social network, as seen in Orihuela, 2007) were used with a total number of 15 pre-intermediate students of English at CENEX/FALE at UFMG – the Federal University of Minas Gerais – in Brazil, as their main source of communication outside the classroom in a period of 6 teaching months. With this presentation, I aim to show that digital genres and social networks can enrich the English language learning process at the linguistic/pragmatic and interactive/social dimensions by providing opportunities for i) practicing writing within specific genres and working on communicative strategies and appropriateness in authentic digital environments, thus raising language and genre awareness; and ii) promoting digital literacy as students were actively engaged in real-life communicative situations in the digital world. As pointed out by Ruiz-Madrid & Villanueva (2010), genre awareness is key for the development of digital literacy, an issue that has been at the core of pedagogical planning in Brazil as defended in the Brazilian Educational Guidelines, or Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais (Brasil, 2006). Moreover, in a globalized world, the use of digital genres in ELT should take a central role, as contemporary international communication is undoubtedly realized also through technology, especially in English. As Harmer (2001) adds, learning a new language also involves being aware of the different ways and the different situations in which language is used. These are the reasons that motivated me in undertaking the aforementioned experiments, which were part of my post-graduation teaching practice and have proved to be excellent for the development of interaction, communicative competence and digital literacy. The use of e-mail and microblogs as a basis for communication outside the classroom, for example, incited a more responsive attitude from learners, who engaged more frequently in communication using the target language. Through the exchange of emails, learners also became more aware of language use and appropriateness – what should and should not be used in a given context –, and the use of microblogs provided them with the opportunity to express their opinions and to actively position themselves regarding a number of topics (from their colleagues posts and online activities, to the discussion of current events and communication with other online users), thus taking part in the world of digital communication. From the 15 students, 10 continued using the social network and/or moved on to other social networks, and during the experiments, communication between teacher and students was fully carried out in the target language. Digital genres and social networks can therefore be regarded as powerful resources for enhancing interaction as well as for developing communicative competence at the linguistic and pragmatic levels. As a final conclusion, the use of digital genres in ELT was paramount in fostering digital literacy and digital inclusion, as students were not only introduced to and interacted in the digital world, but also voluntarily started using online dictionaries, search engines, online encyclopedias, web messengers, etc. throughout and after the experiments.
@InProceedings{MATTOSDESA2012USE,
author = {Mattos de Sa, E.},
title = {THE USE OF DIGITAL GENRES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING – ENHANCING INTERACTION, DEVELOPING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE AND PROMOTING DIGITAL LITERACY},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {6050-6058}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. Mattos de Sa
TI - THE USE OF DIGITAL GENRES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING – ENHANCING INTERACTION, DEVELOPING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE AND PROMOTING DIGITAL LITERACY
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 6050
EP - 6058
ER -
E. Mattos de Sa (2012) THE USE OF DIGITAL GENRES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING – ENHANCING INTERACTION, DEVELOPING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE AND PROMOTING DIGITAL LITERACY, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 6050-6058.
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