MICROBLOGGING IN LANGUAGE LEARNING - ANALYSIS OF EXPERIENCES AND SUGGESTIONS OF PRACTICES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY CLASSROOM
1 National Kapodistrian University of Athens (GREECE)
2 University of Salford (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In the last years the new web applications have been 'transforming the web from a predominantly "read only" medium to one where anyone can publish' (Perifanou and Mikros, 2008). O'reilly (2005) has coined this phenomenon as the second phase of the web which he named web 2.0 The emerging participatory media has enabled individuals to communicate, share information and be connected in many different ways. Hence, the web 2.0 era of blogs, wikis and other known web 2.0 applications have had a growing impact on our lives, and particularly on the way we learn and share knowledge (Attwell, 2007).
Education is a field that has also been mostly influenced by this new web 2.0 reality. Educational Technology has developed an important role in the classroom.
The www is a world too well known to the new learner generations, and it is also becoming more familiar to the senior ones. The 21st century students are the web generation! They associate the use of computers and the Internet with entertainment, communication and collaboration. Such activities are characteristically associated with fun. Nevertheless, such web possibilities also host opportunities where learning can take place. If the classroom can accommodate such communication channels for meaningful interactive learning, everyone wins. For that to happen, however, educators need to grasp the concept of teaching and learning through meaningful collaboration, while focusing on the six 21st century skill elements: Core Subjects, Learning skills, 21st Century tools, 21st Century content, 21st Century context, and 21st Century assessment.
A faster and easier mode of communication compared to the well known blogging is microblogging. Costa et al (2008) define it as ‘a variant of blogging which allows users to quickly post short messages on the web for others to access. These messages can be restricted to a certain number of individuals, sent exclusively to a specific contact, or made available to the World Wide Web' through different means of social media. This recent web 2.0 technology has had a major impact on the way learners and educators of different fields have been sharing knowledge and communicating informally in the last two years. In fact, many microblogging services such as twitter -the most popular service - have given the possibility for people to be connected and related to one another in virtual informal learning networks.
This paper will introduce the use of micro-blogging in teaching and learning of foreign languages in the light of the 21st century skills convention. In the second section of this paper, the authors will examine micro-blogging practices from both the learners’ and educators’ perspectives, and thus explore the usage of such approaches to respectively pursue meaningful connected learning and networked further development in their sub-area of expertise.The following section of this paper will consider the added-value and any pitfalls of such web learning possibilities. The paper will finish with a reflection on the use of micro-blogging in educational contexts.
Keywords: microblogging, web 2, 0, language learning, blended learning, 21st century skills.