Engaging students in practical authentic learning situations using social networks in ESL contexts

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Engaging students in practical authentic learning situations using social networks in ESL contexts. A presentation at the TESOL in Qatar conference October 2011.

Engaging students in practical authentic learning situations using social networks in ESL contexts. A presentation at the TESOL in Qatar conference October 2011.

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  • 1. Engaging students in practical authentic learningsituations using social networks in ESL contexts Ismail Fayed & Amer Yacoub ifayed@qu.edu.qa - amer.y@qu.edu.qa FPDE, Qatar University Image: http://www.123rf.com/photo_10027890_illustration‐of‐social‐media‐concept‐social‐media‐wordcloud‐in‐circular‐shape.html
  • 2. Outline • Definition & video • SN interaction tools • Social networking and education • What to share? • SN benefits • SN impact on young people & the Arab Spring! • Concerns • SN classroom practices2 * Background image: http://dataflowpk.com/2011/social‐media‐the‐newest‐background‐check/
  • 3. What is a social network (SN)? • “Individual level: a SN consists of all the people, friends, family and others – with whom one shares a social relationship.” • “Macro level: a SN demonstrates how a large group of people are connected to one another.” Golder et al., 20063
  • 4. Social media.. Most SN use an aggregating communication  and notification patterns using RSS news feeds. Uploaded: Jul 30, 2009 Viewers (as of Sep. 2011): 2,888,271 7,894 likes  &  392 dislikes  All Comments (1,938)4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8&
  • 5. SN Tools: Students rule.. Social  Web 2.0 media Mobiles/  Mobile  Wireless  tablets APPs school5
  • 6. Commonly shared data on SNs • Profiles: (name, geographic, location, sexual preference, occupation) • Interests: (hobbies, favorite books, movies, television programs, etc.) “Most crucially, these services are focused on allowing  users to list other users as (friends), thereby linking their pages to one another and publicly demonstrating  their connection.” Golder et al., 20066
  • 7. Sharing tools & sites o links and news (Digg) o Websites (Stumbleupon) o Favorite sites (Delicious) o Information (Wikipedia) o Pictures (Flickr) o Interests & experiences (blogs) o Videos (YouTube) o Professional SN: to create a cv, etc.. (Linkedin) o Opinions, comments, notifications and polls (Facebook)7
  • 8. SN Benefits • Unlike CMSs, Ss already know how to use it. (Denise Knowles in Young, 2010).  • New research from the Univ. of Maryland suggests that Social networking  helps students perform better (Su, 2011). • Learners are responsible for the learning experience & post their own  content (comments, posts, images, videos, opinions, articles or stories, etc) • According to a British Council research, 69% of learners around the world  learnt most effectively when socializing informally. (Patel, 2009) • SN use standardized technologies regardless of the PC, OS or browsers used. • Ss find it a good interface to use their popular mobile devices & other APIs.8
  • 9. “What these findings mean is that sometimes young people get more new information from the technology they use outside of school than they do from their teacher in the classroom… Sometimes, young people learn more from using the Internet at home or in a café than they do at school.” Example? Dalton, 20099
  • 10. SN impact on young people & the Arab Spring! • FB users: over 677 million users as of April 2011 (with the ME as one of the regions that contributed the largest amount of new users). • FB mobile users have exceeded 250 million subscribers. • Twitter users also exceeded 200 million users at the end of March 2011; collectively, these 200 million users tweet about 4 billion tweets a month. “Today, social media tools have merged online and offline identities, while playing an  arguably critical role in dramatic changes sweeping the Arab region.”10 Mourtada & Salem,  Arab Social Media Report, May 2011
  • 11. Paradigm shift happens.. • The first three months of 2011 saw what can only be termed a substantial shift in the Arab world’s usage of social media towards online social and civil mobilization online, whether by: o citizens — to organize demonstrations (both pro- and antigovernment), o disseminate information within their networks, o and raise awareness of ongoing events locally and globally – o or by governments, in some cases to engage with citizens and encourage their participation in government processes, o while in other cases to block access to websites and monitor and control information on these sites11 Mourtada & Salem,  Arab Social Media Report, May 2011
  • 12. 12 Mourtada & Salem,  Arab Social Media Report, May 2011
  • 13. 13 Mourtada & Salem,  Arab Social Media Report, May 2011
  • 14. Concerns • Privacy • The dangers & abuses of social media (sexual predators, cyber-bullying and harassment, and publishing/ sharing inappropriate materials online) • Lack of clear policies regulating the use of social- media. (I.e. One of the first few initiatives was The Virginia Board of Education vote last Sep. 2011 to encourage school districts statewide to adopt policies regulating social-media use by teachers.)14
  • 15. Classroom Practices Reading – Writing – Listening – Speaking • Facebook (newsfeed, posts, links, videos, polls, long notes, photos, APIs) • Blogs, Posterous: (newsfeed, posts,, links, videos, polls, long notes, photos, APIs) • Twitter (Short updates, links, videos, APIs) • Edmodo • Voicethread15 http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty‐free‐stock‐images‐social‐network‐background‐with‐media‐icons‐image19656989
  • 16. The main purpose of Social Networks is to socialize and entertain. Would any academic instruction defeat this purpose? Assessing the students’ academic Writing Using Facebook basic tools. Why Facebook? • Interesting. • Less formal, friendly atmosphere. • Improved communication. • Secure, Secret group. • Events. • Group-work. • Facebook tools: Media, games, Synchronous & Asynchronous communication. Post, Add Comment, Like.16
  • 17. Goal: Using Facebook as an assessment toolto enhance academic writing. (See Lesson Plan )Method• Peer assessment & group work.• Teacher’s assessment.• Reading students’ assignments.• Reading the teacher’s comments.• Using Chat to ask questions.• first draft, essay structure & content.17
  • 18. 18
  • 19. 19
  • 20. Stimulating Writing Production by  Socializing on Facebook.  Purpose: Engaging students in an  entertaining writing activity to enhance  writing and increase classroom rapport.  Aim:  ‐ Emphasis is on production, Not on form.  ‐ Learn  vocabulary.  ‐ Encourage and stimulate writing.  ‐ Provide help.  ‐ No grading.  ‐ No error correction. Activity  Practice daily writing by posting a  response on Facebook to one of the  following. (See Lesson Plan 2) ‐ Describing an interesting/weird picture ‐ Describing favorite food, sports etc. ‐ Countries you have visited?20
  • 21. The Challenge to stimulate writing in English/ lower levels! - If possible, give time for students to write during class, e.g. the last 15 minutes of the class. - Daily writing tip or quote. - The use of pictures & videos. - The art of asking questions: “16 Ways To Ask Questions On Facebook” E.g. Ask poll questions , Ask fun, Ask for tips, Reply and pay attention. (See website) “How to Increase Engagement on Facebook” E.g. Short posts. “80 characters or less received 27% more likes” Ask questions with a call to action. “Leave a comment,” “post your response.” (See website)21
  • 22. Listening/ Speaking Practice An audio recording activity where students can share audio/ video messages and comment on each others ideas.. www.voicethread.com22
  • 23. 23 Screenshots of students personal reflective journals on Blackboard
  • 24. Edmodo, another educational FB.. Edmodo secured social learning network for students as a virtual  classroom: http://www.edmodo.com24
  • 25. The interesting ways series!25 http://edte.ch/blog/?page_id=424
  • 26. 26 https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AclS3lrlFkCIZGhuMnZjdjVfODgzZnNucW5zZGM&hl=en_US
  • 27. Collaborative teaching ideas examples27 https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=0AclS3lrlFkCIZGhuMnZjdjVfNzY1aHNkdzV4Y3I&hl=en_GB&authkey=COX05IsF https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AclS3lrlFkCIZGhuMnZjdjVfODgzZnNucW5zZGM&hl=en_US https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dhn2vcv5_245f2nkv3g3
  • 28. Lesson Plan 1 Assessing the students’ Academic writing Using Facebook basic tools. • Create a Secret group and then give it a name, e.g. Group 111. • Create an event and then name it for example, Assignment 1. • Ask the students to add you as a friend . When you get a friend confirmation add the student to Group 111. • In the class, the students write an essay or a paragraph. • Explain to the students that when they finish writing their assignment they will have to type it at home using Microsoft Word. Then post their assignments on Facebook in Group 111, in the Write Post area. Inform the students that they will be assigned into groups to assess their group members’ assignments. • Next, assign the students to groups, each group consists of four remembers. • Each member will only assess one skill, for example language usage, organization content and style. The students will write their feedback right under the assignment in the Comment area. • The teacher also comments on each assignment by showing areas of strengths and weaknesses, as well as giving credit for the students who assessed the assignment. • The students who have not managed to satisfy the requirements of the assignment will be asked to modify their assignments, then to post their assignments again. • The assignments which have been assessed on Facebook will act as a first draft. When the students modify their assignments they will have to submit them as a hard copy for grading, or can be graded using a computer software such as, Markin.28
  • 29. Lesson Plan 2 Stimulating Writing Production by Socializing on Facebook. • Show an interesting picture to students in the Last 15 minutes of the class. Then brainstorm some ideas and list some vocabulary on the board. • Ask the students to write few sentences about the picture. Tell the students to type their work at home. Alternatively, if the students have laptops or mobile phones, they can post their comments straight to Facebook. • The students are encouraged to comment on each other’s writing. (In class if possible) • The teacher stimulates more comments by asking more questions, being witty, give credit etc. • Next day in the class, the teacher generates a discussion on some of the comments in order to give credit for those who have participated in the writing.29
  • 30. References • Young, R. J. (2010). How Social Networking Helps Teaching (and Worries Some Professors). The  Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved August 2011, from http://chronicle.com/article/How‐Social‐ Networking‐Helps/123654 • Su, E. Y. (2011). Social networking helps students perform better, • professor says. California Watch, Retrieved Sep. 2011, from: http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/social‐ networking‐helps‐students • Patel, T. (2009). Social Networking Sites for Teaching English.  http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/tarunpatel/social‐networking‐sites‐teaching‐english‐part‐1 • Dalton, A. (2009). Teaching and learning through social networks. Teaching English, Retrieved July. 2011,  from:  http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/print/5411 • Golder, S. A., Wilkinson, D. M. and Huberman, B. A. (2007). Rhythms of Social Interaction: Messaging within a  Massive Online Network. In Steinfield, C. and Pentland, B. and Ackerman, M. and Contractor, N. (Eds.),  Proceedings of Third International Conference on Communities and Technologies. (pp. 41‐66). Springer. East  Lansing, MI. (conference paper). Retrieved Sep. 2011, from: www.hpl.hp.com/research/idl/papers/facebook/facebook.pdf • Mourtada, R. and Salem, F. (2001). Arab Social Media Report, Vol. 1, No. 2. Dubai School of Government,  UAE. • John, H (2011). 16 Ways To Get More Comments On Your Facebook Page.  http://www.johnhaydon.com/2011/04/how‐get‐more‐comments‐facebook‐page • 60 Second Marketer, BKV’s Online Magazine for Marketer (May 4th, 2011) “How to Increase  Engagement on Facebook” http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2011/05/04/how‐to‐increase‐engagement‐ on‐facebook30