Methodological Implications of Using Google Applications (Google Sites and Google Wave) for Cross-Institutional Collaboration in Language Teacher Education

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In computer-mediated discourse analysis (CMDA), disrupted turn adjacency has been cited as highly problematic because messages get posted in the order received by the system, regardless of what they …

In computer-mediated discourse analysis (CMDA), disrupted turn adjacency has been cited as highly problematic because messages get posted in the order received by the system, regardless of what they are responding to. Multiple posts can respond to one initiating message, and single messages can respond to more than one initiating message (Herring, 1999). Hybrid web tools (e.g., wikis) for social interaction have posed additional challenges to CMDA because authors can go back and manipulate previous content or messages at any point.
This paper identifies problems encountered in analyzing two case studies using Google Sites (a wiki) and Google Wave (a synchronous communication/collaboration tool) in language teacher education. In the first study (2009), four cross-institutional groups of student teachers in the U.S. and Luxembourg, communicated via Google Sites to design ESL/EFL tasks. In the second study (2010), participants at the same US institution used Google Wave to collaborate with students in Taiwan. The goal for both collaborations was for participants to share perspectives about technology implementation in teaching and learning while using technology to work across institutions (model learning, see Hubbard & Levy, 2006; Willis, 2001). Data triangulation involved CMC transcripts, journals, needs analyses, and post-course questionnaires.
Findings show that using wikis as a collaborative, asynchronous writing tool, posed difficulties for all groups. They used the wiki to post meta-level comments about their editing process within the actual project page, while others used the wiki as a discussion forum or blog. Not only does this have implications for learner training in the functional uses of technology tools, the findings also raise important issues for interaction management (Herring, 1999). Google Wave poses further challenges for researchers due to the lack of control over what gets edited when and by whom - especially in the absence of a proper history of revision function.

References
Herring, S. C. (1999). Interactional coherence in CMC. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 4(4). Retrieved February 20, 2008, from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol4/issue4/herring.html

Hubbard, P. & Levy, M. (Eds.). (2006). Teacher education in CALL. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Willis, J. (2001). Foundational assumptions for information technology and teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 1(3), 305-320.



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  • Acknowledgments: Katerina Zourou, all participants, Emmajoy Shulman-Kumin, Yoonah Seong, Fred Tsutagawa All names are pseudonyms All data were kept in their original form
  • How do student teachers use the tools (e.g., the wiki) in co-constructing ESL/EFL tasks? What kinds of interactions take place via Google Sites/Google Wave? What are the methodological implications for analyzing interaction in these tools?
  • - These case studies contribute to studies on the integration of online/blended learning formats in cross-institutional teacher education settings (e.g., Arnold & Ducate, 2006; Arnold, Ducate, & Lomicka, 2007; Arnold, Ducate, Lomicka, & Lord, 2005; Fuchs, 2003, 2006; Lomicka & Lord, 2007; Lord & Lomicka, 2008; Müller-Hartmann, 2005; Scherff & Paulus, 2006; Shaughnessy, Purves, & Jackson, 2008); - The studies were informed by a socio-cultural approach to computer-mediated communication (CMC) (Warschauer, 1997; see also Lantolf, 2000; Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). According to Warschauer (1997), the ‘acquisition of literate skills involves not only conversation, but also analysis, reflection, cross-cultural interpretation, collaborative problem-solving and critical thinking. Successful use of the Internet in the foreign language classroom generally involves well-planned projects demanding critical, collaborative inquiry’ (n.p.). In both studies, the activities for participants were collaborative, experiential, goal-oriented, and carried out via the meditational means of CMC and, more specifically, Web 2.0 tools like a wiki (Google Sites) and a real-time collaboration tool (Google Wave) to engage with counterparts overseas (Luxembourg in Case Study 1; Taiwan in Case Study 2). Not on slide: The potential for using ACMC (e.g., email, discussion forums, wikis, blogs) for reflective writing and writing for an authentic audience in foreign language instruction has been well established (e.g., Egbert & Hanson-Smith, 2007; Reinhardt & Thorne, 2007; Richardson, 2006; Warschauer, 1996). Moreover, CMC-based interaction may result in increased motivation (e.g., LeLoup & Ponterio, 2003; language fluency e.g., Kern, 1995; and pragmatic knowledge e.g., Belz, 2007; Belz & Vyatkina, 2005). Call to advance preservice language teachers’ professional literacy by modeling “innovative uses of technology” (Willis, 2001, p. 309; see also Hubbard & Levy, 2006);
  • PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR HANDOUT (P. 1) FOR A SCREENSHOT OF GOOGLE SITES AND HOW IT WAS USED IN THIS STUDY : Case Study 1: Screenshots 1&2 (see p.1 on handout) - Use of Wiki: student research projects, collaborative annotated bibliography, publishing course resources, knowledge and reflection base, mapping concepts, presentation and group authoring tool (for an overview, see Parker & Chao, 2007); FoF in language teaching (Kessler, 2009); - Educational wikis on Wikispaces and range from 2 nd grade class wikis to a wiki for early childhood educators; anyone is encouraged to contribute their wikis to the site - Other researchers state that “[b]ecause of their very low technological barriers yet very rich and flexible functionality, wikis afford the opportunity to offer collaborative, constructive learning more extensively in our educational environments” (McMullin 2005, as cited in Parker & Chao 2007, p. 59). - According to Duffy & Burns, 2006: “Often group members collaborate on a document by emailing to each member of the group a file that each person edits on their computer, and some attempt is then made to coordinate the edits so that everyone’s work is equally represented: using a wiki pulls the group members together and enables them to build and edit the document on a single, central wiki page” (Duffy & Burns, 2006, as cited in Parker & Chao, 2007, p. 61). - But critical voices stress that in order for wikis to work, it takes careful design and implementation (e.g., Lin & Kelsey, 2009). Lin and Kelsey (2009) wonder whether students feel comfortable editing each others' wiki articles, for instance and point out that their study found that collaborative writing and learning were not the norm among participants in the early stages of working with the wiki. They suggest that teachers will need to do a great deal of learner training with regard to how to use the wiki and how to work collaboratively to maximize the supportive learning experiences. ----------------------- NOT ON SLIDE: In the literature, the ease with which the wiki can be used has been stressed on numerous occasions: “The word wiki is Hawaiian for “quick” and refers to a type of Website with pages that any user can easily contribute to and edit, including text, photos, and videos” (Niño 2009: 25). The first wiki was created by Ward Cunningham in the mid 90s, and the essence of the wiki concept is as follows: An ongoing process of creation and collaboration (all users can create and edit pages) that constantly changes the landscape of the website. The wiki promotes meaningful topic associations between different pages by making page link creation almost intuitively easy (Leuf & Cunningham 2001). The Essence of the Wiki Concept - A wiki invites all users to edit any page or to create new pages within the wiki Web site, using only a plain-vanilla Web browser without any extra add-ons. - Wiki promotes meaningful topic associations between different pages by making page link creation almost intuitively easy and showing whether an intended target page exists or not. A wiki is not a carefully crafted site for casual visitors. Instead, it seeks to involve the visitor in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the Web site landscape (Leuf, & Cunningham, 2001). “ any user can easily contribute to and edit, including text, photos, and videos” (Niño, 2009, p. 25) . BUT: Not as easy as my study will show Parker & Chao (2007): Reviewed a number of studies on how wiki can be used: collaborative projects, teaching writing, but only 2 studies with apparent negative results. For example, De Pedro, Rieradevall, López, Sant, Piñol, Núñez, and Llobera (2006) found that the public nature of the wiki can have an inhibiting impact on students. “ Because of their very low technological barriers yet very rich and flexible functionality, wikis afford the opportunity to offer collaborative, constructive learning more extensively in our educational environments” (McMullin, 2005, as cited in Parker & Chao, 2007, p. 59). “ Wikis allow visitors to engage in dialog and share information among participants in group projects, or to engage in learning with each other by using wikis as a collaborative environment in which to construct their knowledge” (Boulos et al., 2006, as cited in Parker & Chao, 2007, p. 58).
  • Warschauer in his most recent commentary in Language Learning and Technology seconds the enthusiastic reviews of the wiki: “ Wikis turn traditional CMC activity around. Whereas e-mail and chat facilitate informal, author-centric, personal exchange, writing on a wiki facilitates more formal, topic-centric, depersonalized exchange. Each edit makes a concrete contribution to a collaborative written product. A log of edits and their authors is relegated to a separate page, which a teacher can use to confirm who contributed what to a joint student product. Wikis are thus an especially powerful digital tool for collaborative writing and collective knowledge development” (2010, p. 5).
  • Google Wave started in October 2009 and has been described as ‘a new web application for real-time communication and collaboration’ ( http://wave.google.com/about.html ) and functions as both a SCMC and ACMC tool for communication. Google Wave still exists in that registered users can create waves (which function similar to discussion threads); however, maintenance of the tool was officially discontinued in August 2010 (Jackson, 2010; Swan, 2010). Nonetheless, the insights gained through this study still provide important findings for CMC-based interaction, collaboration, and methodological implications. Not much prior research but a couple of notable reviews: One investigates Google Wave and discusses how effective it is as an online collaboration tool for intracampus and intercampus collaboration (Ovadia, 2010). The author lists the chat as a benefit because it ‘records and archives conversations, providing users with a transcript of conversations within a wave, even conversations for which the user was not present’ (p. 160). Another advantage is ‘its ability to search other users’ public waves. Wave users can find and join specific projects and conversations they might not otherwise be aware of’ (p. 161). Moreover, a Calico Wave set out to explore how Google Wave could be used for language learning and whether it could potentially replace other course management systems such as Blackboard (Godwin-Jones 2010). PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR HANDOUT (P. 3) FOR TWO SCREENSHOTS OF GOOGLE WAVE: Case Study 2: Screenshots 1&2 (see p.3 on handout) Screenshot 1 Google Wave interface -Names automatically in the blip -But: overlapping or interrupted blips (cf. turn-taking in the wiki) Screenshot 2 shows the complexity of the interaction on Google Wave. For instance, the teacher-researcher (“Me”) started the original blip on January 26, 2010 (see date in the upper right-hand corner of the blip) asking the following: “Is there an easy way to invite people to a wave? And can you merge waves? I have a feeling the answer is no to both questions…” Pavlos replied within the blip on February 1, 2010. The teacher-researcher then replied to Pavlos’ answer by inserting her response right where his blip ended on February 3, 2010. This resulted in the original blip to get torn apart. This resulted in the blip getting broken down into many different parts but all from the same conversation: “Is there […]” and then there is first Pavlos answer and then the teacher-researcher’s answer to Pavlos before the original blip continues “an easy way to invite people to a wave? And can you merge waves? I have a feeling the answer is no to both questions…”
  • Previous studies in telecollaboration have used action research (e.g., Basharina, Guardado, & Morgan, 2008; Fuchs, 2006; O’Dowd, 2003; Ware, 2005) and microgenesis (e.g., Belz & Kinginger, 2002), OR thematic or syntactical units to analyze discourse in CMC (e.g., Rourke, Anderson, Archer & Garrison, 1999) AND combined structural and content analysis of asynchronous online discussions (e.g., Zhu, 2006). Following Herring (1996), Koh, Herring & Hew (2010) have used functional moves to analyze the relationship between students’ levels of knowledge construction during asynchronous discussions with regard to engagement in project-based learning. In her analysis of how small online discussion groups established common ground in email, discussion forums, and chats, Paulus (2007a) found that participants first and foremost focused on logistics, then on social moves, and finally on technical moves. In their 2007 case study on whether cross-cultural chat between adult learners in Azerbaijan and facilitators in the US facilitated deep learning, Osman and Herring used quantitative participation analysis in addition to rubric-based content analyses. 3 rubrics were used: functional moves (social, conceptual, logistical, technical, see Paulus, 2007b, Herring, 1996), a five-phase interaction analysis framework for measuring knowledge-construction in CMC (Gunawardena, Lowe & Anderson, 1997), and an adapted version of the teaching presence model (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison & Archer, 2001), focusing on instructional design/organization, facilitating discourse, direct instruction. Others have adapted Herring’s CMDA approach to analyze online interactions between tutors and learners (e.g., Mangenot & Nissen, 2006).
  • These exploratory case studies draw on Action Research, (Richards, 2003) In both studies, the author’s status was that of researcher, teacher of the course in the US, and project co-designer in collaboration with the Luxembourg teacher educator, i.e., her role was that of participant observer (e.g., Denzin, 1989). Data triangulation (e.g., Strauss & Corbin, 1998) involved gathering information through a combination of different instruments, i.e., through qualitative and descriptive quantitative data from a needs analysis questionnaire, a post-course questionnaire, journal entries, and CMC data = FOCUS (e.g., Nunan, 1992) *For Case Study 1: CMC DATA ANALYSIS Data analysis through CMDA (Herring, 1999; 2004) ; adapted approach by Condon & Čech (n.d.) for coding conversational moves in CMC **For Case Study 2: Questionnaire ANALYSIS (and all other data) For analysis of open-ended questions, two trained coders developed codes and categories as they emerged from the data without trying to force them into categories already outlined in the existing literature (“borrowed concepts,” e.g., Strauss & Corbin 1998, p.115) Open coding (i.e., line-by-line or applied to sentences, paragraphs, or the entire answers Categorizing the codes by grouping them around phenomena in the data related to the research questions (e.g., What are benefits and challenges of using Google Wave for collaborative purposes?) Linking such categories to in vivo codes , i.e., to abstract codes taken from the subjects (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). For instance, the in vivo codes “Good way to collaborate on writing projects” and “For collaborative work, a good option” were subsumed in the category ‘Collaboration/Interaction.’ Moreover, “Small space to show lots of words” and “Length of wave limited” were included in the category ‘Interface.’ Not on slide: Students filled out a post-course questionnaire at the end of the course where they reflected on the technology tools used and on their collaborative exchanges. This questionnaire was administered anonymously through Google Forms and consisted of 11 open-ended questions asking all participants in the U.S. and Taiwan about their learning experience and benefits and challenges through their cross-institutional discussions, e.g., interaction on Skype, room for improvement, and the benefits of the cross-institutional interaction for their final projects, and any additional comments regarding the tools covered in class. Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis (Herring, 1999, 2004) CMC modes (Murray, 1988) expanded to socio-technical modes to include the social and cultural practices that have arisen out of their use (Herring, 2002) Herring (1999) lists two properties of the medium that are known to be obstacles to interaction management in CMC: “ (1) lack of simultaneous feedback, caused by reduced audio-visual cues and the fact that messages cannot overlap; (2) disrupted turn adjacency, caused by the fact that messages are posted in the order received by the system, without regard for what they are responding to.” (p.2) ----------------- CMDA = approach to analyzing internet content that goes beyond traditional content analysis; basic methodology of CMDA is language-focused content analysis supplemented by a toolkit of discourse analysis methods adapted from the study of spoken conversation and written text analysis; methods can be quantitative (coding/counting) or qualitative (Herring, 2004) the quantitative approach resembles classical content analysis, BUT a broader spectrum of approaches is also included. Thus, CMDA is both a sub-type of CA (broadly defined), and CA (narrowly- defined) is a sub-type of CMDA (Herring, 2004) Implementation for the coding and counting (quantitative) approach to CMDA, involve a five-step process that resembles that for classical content analysis: 1) Articulate research question(s) 2) Select computer-mediated data sample 3) Operationalize key concept(s) in terms of discourse features 4) Apply method(s) of analysis to data sample 5) Interpret results (Herring, 2004)
  • Context: 18 MA students 12 Ss (Korea, U.S., Taiwan) enrolled in TESOL/AL, Music Education, Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education at a private graduate institution on the East Coast in the U.S. (“Internet and Language Teaching” elective) 6 Ss (Italy, Algeria, Romania, Denmark) in Learning and Development in Multicultural and Multilingual Contexts at a university in Luxembourg. 4 cross-institutional groups: 4 local groups in the U.S. with 2-5 participants per group were joined by 1-2 students from Luxembourg Not on slide: Project Goals: Exploring various Web 2.0 tools such as podcasts, wikis, blogs, and creating their own Google Sites (wiki) platform and tasks for ESL/EFL students Becoming familiar with computer-mediated communication (CMC) and cross-institutional collaboration
  • The ten-week collaboration was based on asynchronous CMC (group forum, wiki) and voluntary synchronous CMC (chat). The main project site was run through Google Sites (wiki) Google Groups added as discussion forum. 3 Phases: (1) The Introductory Phase (2) The Project Phase (see screenshot on audience handout) (3) The Presentation and Evaluation Phase
  • Coding Procedure 1 st round: 2 coders coded for c-units (e.g., Crookes, 1990): “word, phrase, or sentence that in some way contributed pragmatic or semantic meaning to a conversation” (Duff, 1986, p. 153); definition first applied to FTF interaction in SLA and have recently been adapted to online interaction (e.g., Böhlke 2003; Vandergriff & Fuchs 2009) c-unit = closely related to t-unit (one main clause plus any subordinate clauses that happen to be attached or embedded within), “but has the advantage that isolated phrases not accompanied by a verb, but which have a communicative value, can be coded” (Crookes, 1990, p. 184) These definitions were first applied to FTF interaction in SLA and have recently been adapted to online interaction (e.g., Böhlke 2003; Vandergriff & Fuchs 2009). In a second round, the two coders analyzed the 19 postings by Group 3 and identified and coded the c-units according to eight different types (or conversational moves). - 2 nd round: Same 2 coders analyzed the 19 postings by Group 3 and identified and coded the c-units according to eight different types or conversational moves (adapted from Condon & Čech n.d.) - Intercoder Agreement: .90 In order to check intercoder agreement, Cohen’s Kappa coefficient was computed. The agreement coefficient of .90 indicated that there was substantially high agreement between the two coders. The CMC transcripts were complemented by a needs analysis, journal entries, and a post-course questionnaire.
  • Coding Example The following types of types of c-units / conversational moves were coded (adapted from Condon & Čech n.d.), and some examples for the codes are listed in brackets:   SI: Sharing/Summarizing Information   SA: Suggesting Action   RA: Requesting Action (“Now for the project, we have some suggestions:[…]”)   RV: Requesting Validation (“Any thoughts?” “Let us know what you think, and we look forward to hearing from you.”)   RI: Requesting Information   EG: Expressing Gratitude (“Thank you for sharing.”)   A: Agreeing   D: Disagreeing   E: Emoticons   O: Others  
  • According to the graph, Sharing Information was by far the most frequent conversational move with 23.1% - with the exception of the category “Other,” which included tokens that had not been previously agreed on such as Expressing Excitement. The most frequent tokens were: Suggesting Action (12.5%), Requesting Validation (6.7%), Expressing Gratitude (6.3%), Requesting Action (5.8%), Agreeing (5.3%), Requesting Information (4.8%), and Emoticons (3.0%). There were barely any Disagree tokens (0.5%) except for a couple of instances where members disagreed with the suggested Skype time due to prior engagements (e.g., Lines 11-13 : “about our next skype session, can we change the time to 3:45pm? I just found out that I have a dance lesson which ends at 3:30 on Sunday.”) LET’S TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT THE QUALITY OF THE GROUP’S POSTS
  • When looking more closely at the quality of the posts, it becomes clear that most of the conversation is spent (re)arranging a time and day for chat. As can be seen in lines 11-13, Ying asks Michel and Liz-Anne if they could change the agreed time for their next Skype session (“about our next skype session,  can we change the time to 3:45pm ? […]”). In line 22, Michel agrees: “3:45 is ok for me,.” Group 3 then spends the remainder of their conversation on the Class Wiki to finalize the day and time to meet over Skype. This then marks the end of the conversation on the Class Wiki. Interestingly, Ying’s question to finalize the time (lines 11-13) does not get answered on the Class Wiki. The group most likely switched to another tool (e.g., e-mail) to communicate because the group did meet on Skype as per members’ journal entries. - From the data excerpt it appears that Group 3 used the Class Wiki like a discussion forum. For instance, they used greetings as a way to indicate who is speaking (cf. email: to/from is already in the mask; chat: has names of participants – real or pseudonyms). With regard to the language used, the members used the greetings and salutations to make the wiki more conversation-like but they were also trying to vary (e.g., “hi all,” “hi guys” – lines 20 & 29). No one would know who’s “speaking” if there were no greetings because the author has no control over who reads the post and when. Group members also used the date to ensure coherence. Despite the informality of their posts, it becomes clear that they thought about what they would post beforehand (similar to email or discussion forums). In her analysis of how small online discussion groups established common ground in email, discussion forums, and chats, Paulus (2007a) found that participants first and foremost focused on logistics, then on social moves, and finally on technical moves. No one would know who’s “speaking” if there were no greetings because the author has no control over who reads the post and when they read it. Group members also used the date to ensure coherence. Despite the informality of their posts, it becomes clear that they thought about what they would post beforehand (similar to email or discussion forums). One reason groups may have thought that the wiki lends itself to discussion could have been the fact that they knew that they were supposed to negotiate their joint project with cross-institutional partners and that they were going to create their own wiki for the project. Nonetheless, at no point did the teacher indicate that groups ought to negotiate the project on Google Sites. She had merely created subpages for each group from where they could link to their own wiki project site.   Another reason could have been that groups had no other way of getting in touch with their partners as Google Sites does not allow members to email each other. They might have not used Google Groups because sub-folders as working spaces for each group had been set up in Google Sites. More specifically, the teacher/researcher had linked the Class Wiki on Google Sites to Google Groups (= the discussion forum) but none of the groups used Google Groups to discuss procedures for the joint project. This may have been due to the fact that they did not have a group space for discussion in Google Groups whereas there was a group space for each cross-institutional group on Google Sites in the form of a subpage. In other words, the teacher/researcher had created four separate Google Sites (“Group 1,” “Group 2,” “Group 3,” “Group 4”) and linked them to the main page. Group members could edit their group sites and enter project content and/or link a new site to the Class Wiki. By the same token, the wiki does not allow for group members to email each other. This was only possible through Google Groups; however, discussion thread posts in Google Groups usually go to everyone and not to individual members. Moreover, in Google Sites, there is no room for adding meta-level comments on changes and/or edits except through the Comment function at the very bottom. If comments do get posted via the comment function, they get simply listed in chronological order but do not necessarily correspond to the content on the main site. In comparison, Wikispaces and Wikipedia have comment tabs at the top of each site. Even though this allows for users to comment on the changes they made, the problem of cross-referencing remains and it is not clear which parts of the site the changes pertain to unless the changes on the site are explicitly described by the person who made the edits. In Google Sites, it is difficult to a) detect the comment function at the very bottom of the site and b) to connect the comment functions to the content on the site. Group 1, for instance, used the Class Wiki in a similar way as Group 3 until one member switched from the main site to the comment function by asking: “How come nobody is using the Comment function? Wouldn’t this look more organized?” What happened next was that the group continued their previous discussion on the main site in the Comment space.   As mentioned above, another reason why groups may have used the wiki as a discussion platform where they would leave comments could have been that each group had their own personal group space on the Class Wiki in form of a subpage. Group members knew they had to collaborate to design the tasks for ESL/EFL learners. Unlike editing something in a public wiki such as Wikipedia, the group spaces were not anonymous. Here, the question arises whether anyone would feel comfortable simply editing project content in the wiki. In collaborative work, it is common to send email messages with attachments back and forth. In accompanying emails, collaborators can then include a brief comment on what they have changed and why. Moreover, an attachment can include track changes or inserted notes where collaborators comment on changes made (e.g., Duffy and Burns 2006). People may not feel comfortable making changes without adding meta-level comments on what they have changed, why, and how. This seems to be part of providing constructive criticism or feedback. In other words, as Lin and Kelsey have pointed out, learners may feel inhibited when it comes to peer editing (2009) and they may not just want to change what a group member has created but point out alternative suggestions (except for the final editing stage perhaps). In Wikipedia, on the other hand, the person editing an entry will most likely never meet the author virtually or in real life. Hence, the person making changes may have fewer inhibitions to edit something composed by a complete stranger.   There seems to be additional issues with the wiki due to the fact that users can insert messages at any point. The revision history is in chronological order and won’t show who edited what unless one reverts to a prior version. With email messages, there is some sort of a dated thread. But the wiki does not show the date except for the revision history. Additionally, in contrast to analyzing public forums or chat rooms where all the messages are displayed, institutional settings differ in that students have a choice of tools and may revert to exchanging private email messages or, in the case of Group 3, talk on Skype. The researcher does not have access to these data.
  • V. Conclusion & Implications – Case Study 1 ----- Not on slide: The analysis of the conversational moves in Case Study 1 showed that Group 3 barely disagreed (Disagree tokens: 0.5%) except for a couple of instances where they had to renegotiate logistics, i.e., a previously agreed time for a Skype meeting that did not work out. The most frequent tokens were Sharing Information, Suggesting Action, Requesting Validation, and Expressing Gratitude, which indicate that Group 3 had no major disagreements or differences. Additionally, the four cross-institutional groups did not use the Class Wiki site in the way intended because all groups entered meta-level comments about the task design, task procedure, or collaboration. In other words, participants appropriated the wiki tool for their purposes, i.e., to communicate with their group members about the project. It needs to be noted, however, that groups did use their own wiki platform exclusively for project content. -----  The data show intriguing results with regard to the use of technology tools, i.e., the class wiki was used as a discussion forum and contributions were difficult to track despite the wiki’s history function. Even though the “revision history” in Google Sites allows to compare two different versions, it only shows the changes but does not clearly indicate when the changes had been made and by whom. - The use of the wiki as a discussion tool raises a number of methodological concerns because it seems impossible to separate who said what to whom in the wiki despite the revision history function. The reason is that the revision history only shows the name of the person who clicked on “edit” on the respective wiki page (even if the person decides not to make any changes, the mere click on “edit” gets logged as a ‘revision’ in the history). For example, Group 3 used the wiki as a discussion forum and addressed each other in a joint greeting (e.g., hi guys, hi all) and they occasionally also signed off together as was the case with Michel and Liz-Anne (due to space limitations, these data were not included in the excerpts above). It seems virtually impossible for the researcher to get a full picture of the turns taken by participants. Thus, when employing CMDA, the researcher cannot easily track conversational moves. - This raises the following questions: How easy and collaborative a tool is the wiki really? How do we most effectively introduce the two functions of the wiki? How can we integrate a discussion function that students can easily link to changes made on the wiki in case they want to leave meta-level comments? Or can students appropriate the tools in whatever way they like? One will also need to look at the different groups and the linguistic properties of the wiki data as the wiki use seems to be a hybrid of email, discussion forums, blogs, and chats. - Herring (1999) lists two properties of the medium that are known to be obstacles to interaction management in CMC: “ (1) lack of simultaneous feedback, caused by reduced audio-visual cues and the fact that messages cannot overlap; (2) disrupted turn adjacency, caused by the fact that messages are posted in the order received by the system, without regard for what they are responding to.” (p.2) ----- Not on slide: Implications for future research There are a number of questions that arise from the findings from the Google Sites project: How easy and collaborative a tool is the wiki really? What are the implications for learner training? How do we most effectively introduce the two functions of the wiki (i.e., as project portal, as website or efolio)? How can we integrate a discussion function that students can actually use? Or should they just appropriate the tools in whatever way they like? One will also need to look at the different groups and the linguistic properties of the wiki data as the wiki use seems to be a hybrid of email, discussion forums, blogs, and chats.   Finally, one could look into the potential for language play in the asynchronous function of Google Wave. So far, studies have looked at synchronous CMC (e.g., Belz & Reinhardt, 2004; Vandergriff & Fuchs, 2009; Warner, 2004). However, the fact that even though each blip shows every author’s name, there is no way to track what kinds of changes were made by whom and when. This gives blip authors and editors a lot of freedom to play with language.   - What are the methodological implications if anyone can go back and edit previous posts? How are blogs different from discussion forums if anyone can be made an author? What are the implications for authorship/ownership? - One needs to look at the different groups and the linguistic properties of the wiki data: wiki use seems to be a hybrid of email, discussion forums, blogs, and chats.   How do we analyze wikis if anyone can go back and edit previous posts? How are blogs different from discussion forums if anyone can be made an author?   One needs to look at the different groups and the linguistic properties of the wiki data: wiki seems to be a hybrid of emails, discussion forums, blogs, and chats.   Herring’s CMDA (1999, 2004) on Interaction Management helpful but modes seem limited to chat, email, web content, weblogs
  • Context: 30 MA students 17 Ss enrolled in TESOL/AL and Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education at a private graduate institution on the East Coast in the U.S. (“Internet and Language Teaching” elective) 13 Ss in TEFL at a university in Taiwan In small groups, Ss first explored the usefulness of several Web 2.0 tools (e.g., Ning, Google Wave, and Skype) Then U.S. students designed technology-based tasks for ESL or EFL learners focusing on reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar etc. Not on slide: Project Goals: Providing student teachers in different countries and teaching contexts (in the U.S. and in Taiwan) the opportunity to discuss various aspects of language teaching and technology with one another by interacting via CMC; Online interaction and task co-construction aiming at the development of a common understanding of computer technology facilitated by various social networking applications and technology tools such as Google Wave
  • Between April 1 st and April 8 th : All students participated in a discussion on Google Wave responding to issues raised in three articles on intercultural language teaching April 12 th : 1 st Skype session (students in the U.S. had been asked to prepare two questions for discussion with their Taiwanese partner April 26 th : Second Skype session (more open-ended and students were given several different topics, technology tools, and/or cultural norms).
  • Not on slide: Interaction/Collaboration Provides a space for students to communicate with each other (2) Combines several tools into one Interesting tool for students to engage in a really immediate interaction Real time chat ----- ON SLIDE: Interface (+) All messages can be saved, reviewed at any time SCMC and ACMC tools all integrated into one, no need for using separate features Interface (-) Confusing layout Hard to follow other people’s posts A bit disorganized The way messages are recorded is not at all user-friendly ----- Not on slide: Interface Confusing and slow, as a new tool, a lot to work out Should maximize the number of blips and make the environment more user-friendly Length of wave limited, get lost in numerous blips. Not enough gadgets or templates, not enough user-level differentiation Small space to show lots of words
  • - In the blip in Data Excerpt 1, (the teacher-researcher) tries to teach Kang how to edit a blip (line 3: “So try to click on my message and edit it… :)” Kang then gets into the teacher-researcher’s blip and types “like this?” in blue bold print (line 7). The T-R’s reply continues seamlessly in the same line with her adding “YEP! :) I just added the color and underline to what Kang had typed.” This excerpt is another example of overlapping edits in the original blip. The researcher remembers exactly what she typed and what Kang typed. Otherwise, it would be extremely difficult to tease apart the different edits. There is no way of knowing - especially when it comes to blips with multiple authors - unless authors are asked to comment retrospectively on what they did or unless one reconstructs the entire Wave from scratch. - Data Excerpt 2 shows an interrupted blip, i.e., an incidental example of how someone can type in someone else’s blip. Here, Suzanne and Ellen are discussing cultural topics (“honoring the dead”). In lines 3-4, Suzanne is sharing how her mother’s home country Ireland keeps up the tradition of honoring the dead when, suddenly, Ellen starts to type into Suzanne’s blip: “That’s where traditionally Hello~ am I on your way?” Here, Ellen’s blip starts with “Hello” in the middle of what Suzanne was typing in her original blip. The word “way” is most likely a typo and supposed to read “wave” based on how the conversation continues. Suzanne replies “Yes!” right away and her answer does not even show a space between Ellen’s final word “way” (line 5). This exchange results in Ellen’s question being embedded into Suzanne’s narrative and answer. Ellen then creates a new blip and apologizes for having gotten into Suzanne’s blip: “I didn’t mean that…. no hard feelings~~~” (line 8). - Data Excerpt 3 of May 12, 2010, shows an example of what the “edit-within-a-blip” looks like in the Google Wave chat. The chat function is similar to other chats in that it shows participants’ names or pseudonyms and the SCMC turns. Unlike the Google Wave blips, however, the chat cannot be edited afterwards. Once participants leave the chat, the chat cannot be modified. While line 3 is clearly a greeting, line 6 seems to be an ambiguous message: “Hi i see you this is what you think….” What had happened was that Elena wrote the first part (“Hi I see you”) when both Elena (the teacher-researcher’s TA) and the teacher-researcher were trying out the Google Wave video conferencing gadget and when Elena realized she could see the teacher-researcher on the screen. Then the teacher-researcher clicked on Elena’s original message and added in a joking way “this is what you think….” [emphasis not in original]. In brief, Google Wave has both synchronous and asynchronous abilities. Authors’ names and edit dates are automatically inserted into the blip. Anyone can post anything on the wave and edit other’s blips at any time. Additionally, anyone can interrupt anybody else's blip while the other person is still typing.
  • The exchange in Data Excerpt 4 happened on March 8, 2010, when the students in the U.S. were asked to conduct a remote-location real-time conversation on the Ning chat. Yet, as a result of a technical difficulty on Ning, students attempted to use Google Wave. Some students logged in from home, others from the campus’ computer lab. Here, Jean and Kang agree that the lag in Google Wave is of serious concern: “The lag is bad” (line 3) and “i feel as if I were stuck in a jam or something […] google wave is making me illiterate that i cannot spell” (lines 6-7). This highlights a Technology issue also voiced in the post-course questionnaire by several participants. Interestingly, unlike in other studies (e.g., Belz, 2003; Fuchs, 2006; Sadler, 2007) challenges such as participants’ typing speed for the synchronous collaboration did not seem to be an issue. Kang and Jean simply appeared annoyed that the technical lag was slowing their typing down and making them feel “illiterate.” In Data Excerpt 5, we see two posts by Bruno dated April 9. Here, he is laying out some of the technical challenges posed by Google Wave. The interesting thing is that there are 13 blip posts in-between his first April 9 and his second April 9 post. These in-between blips range in date from April 5 to April 12 (line 7). Nonetheless, one blip post does not necessarily equal one post but could be an edit in-between. Not until one goes back to the Playback function and reconstructs step-by-step who posted when and what.
  • VII. Conclusion & Implications - With regard to the kinds of interactions that took place via Google Wave and the implications for language teaching, the teacher-researcher found it striking that interactions cannot be easily tracked. In Google Wave, anyone can go back and edit at any point. Thus, it is hard to tell afterward what went on. Google Wave is a tool where one cannot only edit previous blips but can also edit within someone else's blip. In a sense one can interrupt somebody else’s blip (e.g., Suzanne and Ellen in Google Wave chat), which raises questions of authorship/ownership. - According to (Godwin-Jones, 2010), ‘[b]ecause the history of the Wave is maintained in all its detail, it also works as a rich collaborative environment, like a blog or wiki’ (p. 13). But reconstructing a wave does not seem as easy as clicking on the revision history button in a wiki. While this poses a main challenge for the researcher (see Fuchs, 2010), the L2 instruction could take advantage of this technological phenomenon and ask participants to reconstruct their interaction in class. This would be a meaningful and relevant micro-interaction analysis because students as researchers would examine their own written products. Reconstructed interactions could be verified through the Playback function. It took 2:20 minutes for Google Wave to load the 1428 blips and edits. When hitting the ‘play button, the wave gets reconstructed chronologically and shows step by step what happened on each blip and message. For instance, “You added Bruno” or “You edited this message” or “Jean deleted this message.” There is a skip button but it is not easy to skip and to actually know what message the replay button will be skipping to. Plus, the wave tends to crash during the playback operation. In sum, the playback function may lend itself to a smaller wave for reconstructing who edited what and when but it does not seem feasible for larger waves.
  • VIII. Conclusion & Implications - Researchers may have to use instruments such as think-aloud protocols or track what users were doing on the screen in order to analyze changes; - Limitations: No one has control over what gets edited afterwards when students log in from home - The real question however seems to be whether editing functions should be looked at as affordances or constraints of the medium.

Transcript

  • 1. Carolin Fuchs Teachers College, Columbia University AAAL Chicago, March 28, 2011 Methodological Implications of Using Google Applications (Google Sites and Google Wave) for Cross-Institutional Collaboration in Language Teacher Education
  • 2. I. Research Questions
    • How do student teachers use the tools (e.g., the wiki) in co-constructing ESL/EFL tasks?
    • What kinds of interactions take place via Google Sites/Google Wave?
    • What are the methodological implications for analyzing interaction in these tools?
  • 3. II. Background: Theory
    • Integration of online/blended learning formats in cross-institutional teacher education settings (e.g., Arnold, Ducate, Lomicka, & Lord, 2005; Fuchs, 2003, 2006; Müller-Hartmann, 2005)
    • Socio-cultural approach to CMC (Warschauer, 1997; see also Lantolf, 2000; Lantolf & Thorne, 2006)
    • The “[a]cquisition of literate skills involves not only conversation, but also analysis, reflection, cross-cultural interpretation, collaborative problem-solving and critical thinking. Successful use of the Internet in the foreign language classroom generally involves well-planned projects demanding critical, collaborative inquiry” (Warschauer, 1997, n.p.)
  • 4. II. Background: Technology Tools (Google Sites)
          • Wikis have been used for student research projects, collaborative annotated bibliography, publishing course resources, knowledge/ reflection base, presentation/group authoring tool (Parker & Chao, 2007) ; FoF in language teaching (Kessler, 2009);
          • Educational wikis on Wikispaces
          • Very low technological barriers but very rich and flexible functionality (McMullin 2005)
          • Group members get pulled together and are able to build and edit the document on a single, central wiki page (Duffy & Burns, 2006)
          • Students comfortable editing each others' wiki articles? (Lin and Kelsey, 2009)
  • 5. II. Background: Technology Tools (Google Sites)
    • “ Wikis turn traditional CMC activity around. … [W]riting on a wiki facilitates more formal, topic-centric, depersonalized exchange. Each edit makes a concrete contribution to a collaborative written product. A log of edits and their authors is relegated to a separate page, which a teacher can use to confirm who contributed what to a joint student product. Wikis are thus an especially powerful digital tool for collaborative writing and collective knowledge development” (Warschauer, 2010, p. 5).
  • 6. II. Background: Technology Tools (Google Wave)
    • Started in October 2009 and has been described as ‘a new web application for real-time communication and collaboration,’ functions as both a SCMC and ACMC tool for communication
    • Online collaboration tool for intracampus and intercampus collaboration: Users can “find and join specific projects and conversations they might not otherwise be aware of” (Ovadia, 2010, p. 161)
    • Calico Wave set out to explore how Google Wave could be used for language learning (Godwin-Jones 2010)
  • 7. II. Background: Methodology
    • Action research (e.g., Basharina, Guardado, & Morgan, 2008; Fuchs, 2006; O’Dowd, 2003; Ware, 2005) and microgenesis (e.g., Belz & Kinginger, 2002)
    • Thematic or syntactical units to analyze discourse in CMC (e.g., Rourke, Anderson, Archer & Garrison, 1999)
    • Combined structural and content analysis of asynchronous online discussions (e.g., Zhu, 2006)
    • Functional moves to analyze students’ levels of knowledge construction (Koh, Herring & Hew, 2010 following Herring, 1996; Paulus, 2007)
    • Quantitative participation analysis and rubric-based content analyses (Osman & Herring, 2007)
    • Herring’s CMDA to analyze tutor-learner online interactions (e.g., Mangenot & Nissen, 2006).
  • 8. III. Research Design
    • Exploratory case studies that draw on Action Research (e.g., Nunan, 1992; Richards, 2003)
    • Researcher as participant observer: Instructor/project designer (e.g., Denzin, 1989)
    • Data triangulation: CMC, needs analysis, journals, questionnaires (e.g., Nunan, 1992)
    • CMDA data analysis (Herring, 1999; 2004) ; adapted approach for coding conversational moves in CMC (Condon & Čech, n.d.)
    • Two coders developed codes and categories as they emerged from the data (“borrowed concepts,” Strauss & Corbin 1998, p.115); Linked categories to in vivo codes taken from subjects (Strauss & Corbin, 1998)
  • 9. Case Study 1 (Spring 2009): Google Sites (wiki)
    • Context: 18 MA students
    • 12 Ss (Korea, U.S., Taiwan) enrolled in TESOL/AL, Music Education, Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education at a private graduate institution on the East Coast in the U.S. (“Internet and Language Teaching” elective)
    • 6 Ss (Italy, Algeria, Romania, Denmark) in Learning and Development in Multicultural and Multilingual Contexts at a university in Luxembourg.
    • 4 Cross-institutional groups: 4 local groups in the U.S. with 2-5 participants per group were joined by 1-2 students from Luxembourg
  • 10. Case Study 1: Project Phases and Tasks & Tools
    • The ten-week collaboration was based on asynchronous CMC (group forum, wiki) and voluntary synchronous CMC (chat).
    • The main project site was run through Google Sites (wiki) Google Groups added as discussion forum.
    • 3 Phases:
    • (1) The Introductory Phase
    • (2) The Project Phase (see screenshot on audience handout)
    • (3) The Presentation and Evaluation Phase
  • 11. Coding Procedure
    • 1 st round: 2 coders coded for c-units (e.g., Crookes, 1990): “word, phrase, or sentence that in some way contributed pragmatic or semantic meaning to a conversation” (Duff, 1986, p. 153) ; definition first applied to FTF interaction in SLA and has recently been adapted to online interaction (e.g., Böhlke 2003; Vandergriff & Fuchs 2009)
    • 2 nd round: Same 2 coders analyzed the 19 postings by Group 3, identified and coded the c-units according to 8 different types or conversational moves (adapted from Condon & Čech n.d.)
    • Intercoder agreement: Cohen’s Kappa coefficient was .90
  • 12. Coding Examples
    • SI: Sharing/Summarizing Information  
    • SA: Suggesting Action  
    • RA: Requesting Action (“Now for the project, we have some suggestions:[…]”)  
    • RV: Requesting Validation (“Any thoughts?” “Let us know what you think, and we look forward to hearing from you.”)  
    • RI: Requesting Information  
    • EG: Expressing Gratitude (“Thank you for sharing.”)  
    • A: Agreeing   D: Disagreeing  
    • E: Emoticons   O: Others  
  • 13. Ratio of Each Type Out of 208 C-Units SI SA RA RV RI EG A D E O 23.1 % 12.5 % 5.8 % 6.7 % 4.8 % 6.3 % 5.3 % 0.5 % 3.0 % 32 %
  • 14. IV. Results & Discussion – Case Study 1 (Google Sites)
    • Case Study 1 Data Excerpts:
    • Group 3’s contribution to the class wiki on Google Sites (see p.2 on handout)
  • 15. V. Conclusion & Implications – Case Study 1 (Google Sites)
    • Contributions on discussion forum difficult to track despite the wiki’s history function: revision history allows for comparison between two different versions, but only shows the changes - difficult for the researcher to track conversational moves
    • Herring (1999) lists two properties of the medium that are known to be obstacles to interaction management in CMC:
    • “ (1) lack of simultaneous feedback, caused by reduced audio-visual cues and the fact that messages cannot overlap;
    • (2) disrupted turn adjacency, caused by the fact that messages are posted in the order received by the system, without regard for what they are responding to.” (p.2)
  • 16. Case Study 2 (Spring 2010): Google Wave
    • Context: 30 MA students
    • 17 Ss enrolled in TESOL/AL and Communication, Computing, and Technology in Education at a private graduate institution on the East Coast in the U.S. (“Internet and Language Teaching” elective)
    • 13 Ss in TEFL at a university in Taiwan
    • In small groups, Ss first explored the usefulness of several Web 2.0 tools (e.g., Ning, Google Wave, and Skype) Then U.S. students designed technology-based tasks for ESL or EFL learners focusing on reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar etc.
  • 17. Case Study 2: Project Phases & Tasks & Tools
    • Between April 1 st and April 8 th : All students participated in a discussion on Google Wave responding to issues raised in three articles on intercultural language teaching.
    • April 12 th : 1 st Skype session (students in the U.S. had been asked to prepare two questions for discussion with their Taiwanese partner).
    • April 26 th : Second Skype session (more open-ended, students were given several different topics, technology tools, and/or cultural norms).
  • 18. VI. Results & Discussion – Case Study 2: Benefits of GW
    • Interface (+)
    • All messages can be saved, reviewed at any time
    • SCMC and ACMC tools all integrated into one, no need for using separate features
    • Interface (-)
    • Confusing layout
    • Hard to follow other people’s posts
    • A bit disorganized
    • The way messages are recorded is not at all user-friendly
    • (Post-Course Questionnaire, N=21)
  • 19. VI. Results & Discussion – Case Study 2 (Google Wave)
    • Case Study 2 Data Excerpts:
    • Data Excerpt 1 (see p.3 on handout)
    • Data Excerpt 2 (see pp.3-4 on handout)
    • Data Excerpt 3 (see p.4 on handout)
  • 20. VI. Results & Discussion – Case Study 2 (Google Wave)
    • Case Study 2 Data Excerpts:
    • Data Excerpt 4 (see p.4 on handout)
    • Data Excerpt 5 (see p.4 on handout)
  • 21. VII. Conclusions & Implications – Case Study 2 (Google Wave)
    • Google Wave is a tool where one can not only edit previous posts but can also edit within someone else's blip; in a sense one can interrupt someone’s else blip (e.g., Suzanne and Ellen in Google Wave chat).
    • According to (Godwin-Jones, 2010), “[because the history of the Wave is maintained in all its detail, it also works as a rich collaborative environment, like a blog or wiki” (p. 13).
    • Reconstructing a wave is not as easy as the revision history button in a wiki: It takes 2:20 minutes for Google Wave to load the 1428 blips and edits chronologically; “skip” button not functional – poses challenge for the researcher
  • 22. VIII. Conclusion & Implications: Collaborations using Google Applications
    • Researchers may have to use instruments such as think-aloud protocols or track what users are doing on the screen in order to analyze changes;
    • Limitation: No one has control over what gets edited afterwards when students log in from home
    • Editing functions: Constraints or affordances of the medium?
  • 23.
    • THANK YOU
    • Contact:
    • Carolin Fuchs
    • [email_address]