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  1. 1. Social Language Learning: RSS-based Personal Learning Environments Esperanza Román-Mendoza George Mason University eromanme @ http:// http:// CALICO 2009 Arizona State University March 13, 2009
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Concepts and definitions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Learning Environments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS / Content syndication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integration in the FL curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Present practices </li></ul><ul><li>Future practices </li></ul>
  3. 3. Personal Learning Environments <ul><li>Concept and definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning . This includes providing support for learners to: set their own learning goals; manage their learning, managing both content and process; communicate with others in the process of learning. (Van Hamerlen, 2006) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Beyond Learning Management Systems (LMSs) </li></ul><ul><li>E-portfolios </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A collection of authentic and diverse evidence, drawn from a larger archive, that represents what a person or organization has learned over time, on which the person or organization has reflected, designed for presentation to one or more audiences for a particular rhetorical purpose. (EDUCAUSE NLII quoted in IMS, 2005) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mashup Personal Learning Environments (MUPPLEs) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Social Web <ul><li>Concept and definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiplicity of terms: web 2.0, read-write web, social web, user-generated, live. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Variety of definitions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>See, for instance, Hinchcliffe, 2005 and MacManus, 2005 for repositories of definitions coined at that time : http:// web2 . / review_of_the_years_best_web _20_ explanations.htm and http:// /archives/ web _20_ definiti.php </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Controversy about the concept and the terms. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Semantic web. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Development </li></ul><ul><li>Different degrees of integration/usage </li></ul>
  5. 6. Social Web state of mind
  6. 7. RSS / Content Syndication <ul><li>Content syndication is the process by which a reader chooses to periodically receive content published by a given source by means of a subscription. </li></ul><ul><li>Markup language: XML </li></ul><ul><li>Two leading XML dialects ATOM & RSS </li></ul><ul><li>Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication or RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Content syndication has been around since 1997. RSS since 1999. </li></ul><ul><li>Documents enabled for syndication via XML are called feeds , news or news feeds </li></ul><ul><li>News aggregators: Google Reader, Bloglines </li></ul><ul><li>Start pages: MyYahoo, iGoogle </li></ul><ul><li>Social personalized start pages: Netvibes & Pageflakes </li></ul>
  7. 8. RSS Sources <ul><li>Blog posts and comments </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki edits and discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Podcasts and videocasts </li></ul><ul><li>Microblogging updates </li></ul><ul><li>Lifestream entries </li></ul><ul><li>News and other regularly updated information. </li></ul><ul><li>Results of queries performed in repositories, search engines, directories, and databases </li></ul><ul><li>Tags created by users (for instance in Delicious, Amazon, Flickr, Gmail, YouTube) </li></ul><ul><li>Almost anything, by converting it previously with tools such as Page2rss or Feedity </li></ul>
  8. 9. Aggregators / SPSPs <ul><li>Easy to manage </li></ul><ul><li>Share with friends </li></ul><ul><li>Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Favorites </li></ul><ul><li>Stable platforms </li></ul><ul><li>High learning curve </li></ul><ul><li>Tools to create personalized start pages and share them with the Internet community or with a group of people. </li></ul><ul><li>Not necessary to create a personal profile </li></ul><ul><li>Not necessary to provide information about followers and friends. </li></ul><ul><li>Collective editing </li></ul><ul><li>Widgets </li></ul><ul><li>Technical glitches </li></ul>Aggregators Social personalized start pages
  9. 10. Google Reader subscriptions
  10. 11. Sharing option in Google Reader
  11. 12. Wikispaces-based writing course. Wikipedia team project.
  12. 13. Subscription to Wikispaces edits
  13. 14. Course pagecast template. Pageflakes
  14. 15. Sharing option in Pageflakes (group pagecast) Sharing option in Pageflakes (public pagecast)
  15. 16. Integration into the FL curriculum <ul><li>RSS-based activities provide opportunities for best practices in e-language learning--as defined in Chinnery (2008): </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>productive, informative, collaborative, communicative, aggregative. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Students gain more control over their learning process. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Students teach their teachers to understand what they have accomplished using social web tools and how it relates to their learning goals.” (Wilson, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>But are students really so familiar with social web tools? </li></ul><ul><li>How big is the digital gap between digital-savvy teachers and FL students? </li></ul><ul><li>Gradual, simple-step implementation is the way to approach this task. (Wilson, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Are our students ready to gain control over their learning process? </li></ul>
  16. 17. Technological Skills <ul><li>Data gathered via </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey on technological skills ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Journal entries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Class observations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Class discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comments on course evaluations forms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Students do not question the use of technology in the classroom. For the most part, they accept the role of technology in the society and know they need to be up to date with technology. </li></ul><ul><li>But they have limited flexibility when technological problems occur. </li></ul><ul><li>Students are worried that their grades can be affected if they don’t have the necessary technological skills or infrastructure to perform the task. </li></ul><ul><li>When given the opportunity to choose, students are very conservative in terms of their preferred tools to present their work. </li></ul>
  17. 18. Institutional Support <ul><li>Most institutions provide support for commercial LMSs and leave open the opportunity for instructors to use other non-institutionally supported social web services. –Do we want institutional support? </li></ul><ul><li>Not all classrooms are equipped with the necessary tools to let students work independently, though supervised, in their projects at their own pace. – Do we need to teach in smart classrooms? </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions are reluctant to set up requirements in terms of hardware, Internet access, and digital skills necessary to enter the university because it can affect enrollments. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Preliminary Survey Ages Internet Access Internet Access Frequency
  19. 20. Preliminary Survey What Internet services do you regularly use?
  20. 21. Preliminary Survey Blogs Wikis Social tagging
  21. 22. Preliminary Survey Social networks Podcasts Videocasts
  22. 23. Scenario I: Spanish Civilization & Culture <ul><li>Challenges: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too much content to cover </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students are still struggling with learning the language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students have difficulties making connections with an unknown culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Actions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not rely on data memorization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide opportunities to apply language skills to real communicative practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design activities in which learners learn from each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign projects that produce useful, publishable deliverables. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Final project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each student is in charge of studying a particular comunidad autónoma , is required to post a blog entry with the answers, can check other students’ projects (even the teacher has one) and provide feedback in a centralized, Pageflakes-based web site. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24.
  24. 25. Scenario II: Spanish for Heritage Speakers Challenge Actions SPSP Activities Complete text and references: Rom án-Mendoza (2009)
  25. 26. Scenario II: Spanish for Heritage Speakers Challenge Actions SPSP Activities
  26. 27. Scenario II: Spanish for Heritage Speakers Challenge Actions SPSP Activities
  27. 28. Scenario II: Spanish for Heritage Speakers Challenge Actions SPSP Activities
  28. 29. Scenario II: Spanish for Heritage Speakers Challenge Actions SPSP Activities
  29. 30. Scenario II: Spanish for Heritage Speakers Challenge Actions SPSP Activities
  30. 31. Conclusions <ul><li>RSS has great potential as “channelizer” of information, and significance for learning processes in which content syndication enhances accessing, filtering, and repackaging data of all sorts. </li></ul><ul><li>As the information produced and consumed by students and teachers in any learning environment is diverse in format, size, nature, and periodicity, to mention only a few variables, so are the possible educational applications of RSS in collaborative or individual assignments and projects, peer assessment, learning portfolios, service learning, and professional development, among many other uses. </li></ul><ul><li>In a world in which the volume of data exceeds the capacity of users to sort and receive it , learners and teachers alike will benefit from a sound use of RSS. </li></ul>
  31. 32. Conclusions <ul><li>The modular nature of Pageflakes provides a level of customization that helps address the needs of a diverse student population. By introducing flakes like Notepads or Chat Rooms Widgets, teachers and students can produce and receive feedback immediately and contextualized. Sharing of resources becomes also easier, and the use and development of multiliteracy skills is also encouraged. </li></ul><ul><li>By asking students to access diverse feed-generating sources, organize and select information, FL students will be exposed to FL and communicate with native speakers in ways probably never explored by them before. </li></ul><ul><li>Although there are increasingly more social web services that rely on oral communication, the current web is still text-based. Communication via blogs, wikis and chats requires the written language, and by asking FL students to be producers of information, we are encouraging them to use FL in new environments, with which they are already familiar in English. </li></ul><ul><li>Students projects and portfolios will enhance not only students’ knowledge about the subject matter but also that of the teacher’s. Students and teachers (and hopefully the community) will form a learning community from which all participants will benefit. </li></ul>
  32. 33. References, Sources and Bibliography <ul><li>Barrett, H. (Last update: March 4, 2009). </li></ul><ul><li>Chinnery, G. M. (2008). Biting the hand that feeds me: The case for e-language learning and teaching. CALICO Journal, 25 , 471-482. Retrieved December 26, 2008, from EDUCAUSE Learning Iniciative. (Last update: Fall 2006). E-Portfolios. </li></ul><ul><li>IMS (2005). IMS ePortfolio Best Practice and Implementation Guide. </li></ul><ul><li>Román, E. (2008). Manual del Módulo “Tendencias Actuales del e-learning 2.0. Madrid: UNED. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Rom án-Mendoza, E. (2009). “RSS and Social Personalized Start Pages: Optimizing E-language Learning through Content Syndication, in Anderson, L & Lord, G . The Next Generation: Social Networking and Online Collaboration in Foreign Language. CALICO Monograph Series. </li></ul><ul><li>Solis, B. & JESS3. The Conversation Prism http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Van Harmelen, M. (2006). Personal Learning Environments Community. </li></ul><ul><li>Wilson, S. (2006). PLE Workshop. </li></ul>
  33. 34. Cited Tools and Services <ul><li>Blogger. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Delicious. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Edmodo. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Feedity. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Friendfeed. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Google Reader. http:// / reader </li></ul><ul><li>iGoogle. http:// / ig </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>MyYahoo. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Netvibes. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Ning. http:// / </li></ul>
  34. 35. Cited Tools and Services <ul><li>Odeo. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Pageflakes. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Page2rss. http:// page2rss . com </li></ul><ul><li>PBWiki. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Podomatic. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Scribd. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Slideshare. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>SurveyGizmo. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter Search. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Wikispaces. http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>Wordle. </li></ul><ul><li>Wordpress. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube. http:// / </li></ul>