I BLOG, THEREFORE I LEARN: BLOGGING IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING
Cyprus University of Technology (CYPRUS)
About this paper:
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The development of Web 2.0 tools has brought about many changes in the ways we communicate and interact with each other in cyber space. Education has not been immune from this trend, as educators have seen the potential of Web 2.0 tools in presenting new teaching methods and, thus, creating new learning opportunities. One tool that has been very positively received by educational practitioners and, therefore, has been largely used in educational contexts, is ‘weblogs’. A weblog (or ‘blog’) can be thought of as an online journal that an individual can continuously update with his or her own words, ideas, and thoughts through software that enables one to easily do so (Campbell 2003). Weblogs have a relatively short history having started around the end of the previous decade. However, the use of weblogs for different purposes has rapidly grown, gaining more and more popularity. In recent years, there has also been extensive research on the use of weblogs, and many scholars have been concerned with the use of weblogs in education. Specifically, there have been a number of articles regarding blogging in the service of language learning (Lavin 2006). Blogging has been adopted by many language educators either as an occasional, short-term activity with a minor role to support learning, or as a powerful tool with a central position in the teaching and learning experience. This paper takes a look at blogging as a learning tool in the instruction of English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) at the Language Centre of the Cyprus University of Technology. It will demonstrate how the initiative to use weblogs as a support tool in language teaching was taken. Furthermore, it will explore the possibilities and the pedagogical value offered by using weblogs in language learning, drawing on the experiences of the teachers who decided to try blogging in an effort to extend the classroom in the virtual world. It will also provide an insight into the students’ reflections as they emerged in the questionnaires administered to them. Specifically, the paper will present the two types of weblogs which were used in two ESAP language courses at the University: the Learner blog and the Class blog, outlining the benefits of each type, as well as the challenges and pitfalls encountered. It will also suggest certain ways in which weblogs can be used in a language class to practise different skills, and it will finally give some practical advice on how to set up a weblog for teaching and learning purposes. Overall, the paper will give an overview of the positive experience gained from using weblogs in language instruction and learning.
Keywords: Blogs, language learning, new tehcnologies.