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  • Classrooms without Borders: Content Syndication and Social Tagging in Foreign Language Learning Esperanza Román-Mendoza George Mason University eromanme @ gmu.edu http:// eroman.wordpress.com http://www.slideshare.net/elearningxxi/eurocall09pres EUROCALL 2009 Universidad Polit écnica de Valencia Gandía, Spain September 11, 2009
  • Contents
    • Social Web: a new mentality?
    • RSS / Content syndication
    • (Social) Tagging
    • Integration in the FL curriculum
    • Challenges, actions and RSS-based projects
    • Sources
  • Social Web: Tools and Mentality
    • Known fact I: Constant launching of services, applications and tools, which results in data overload.
    • Known fact II: More opportunities for exposure to authentic language use.
    • Unknown fact I: What are we using the social web for?
      • Are we (educators) competent social web users? Do we blog/twitter/interact in social networks? Do we use wikis for our professional, collaborative projects? Do we share information in ways other than through the traditional ones?
      • Are we asking our students to do something we are not yet doing ourselves? Wouldn ’t it be easier for our students to use the social web in meaningful ways if we were more active prosumers of information?
      • What type of proficiency in social web tools is required from us to build a real classroom without walls?
  • More than ever, we are integrating IT tools in our students’ learning processes, while still trying to figure out how those tools can be useful in general and in our professional lives
  • Let’s Focus on a Few Skills
    • Finding relevant information
    • Reusing information (as it is or repackaged)
    • Sorting out relevant information
    • Categorizing resources
    • Sharing information
  • RSS / Content Syndication
    • Content syndication is the process by which a reader chooses to periodically receive content published by a given source by means of a subscription.
    • Markup language: XML
    • Two leading XML dialects ATOM & RSS
    • Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication or RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary
    • Content syndication has been around since 1997. RSS since 1999.
    • Documents enabled for syndication via XML are called feeds , news or news feeds
    • News aggregators: Google Reader, Bloglines
    • Start pages: MyYahoo, iGoogle
    • Social personalized start pages: Netvibes & Pageflakes
  • RSS Sources
    • Blog posts and comments
    • Wiki edits and discussions
    • Podcasts and videocasts
    • Microblogging updates
    • Lifestream entries
    • News and other regularly updated information
    • Results of queries performed in repositories, search engines, directories, and databases
    • Tags and favorites created by users (for instance in Delicious, Amazon, Flickr, Gmail, YouTube, Google Reader)
    • Almost anything, by converting it previously with tools such as Page2rss or Feedity
  • Aggregators / SPSPs
    • Easy to manage
    • Share with friends/groups
    • Comments
    • Favorites
    • Stable platforms
    • High learning curve
    • Tools to create personalized start pages and share them with the Internet community or with a group of people.
    • Not necessary to create a personal profile
    • Not necessary to provide information about followers and friends.
    • Collective editing
    • Widgets
    • Technical glitches
    Aggregators Social personalized start pages
  • Google Reader subscriptions
  • http://www.pageflakes.com/eroman/27725257
  • Information Management
    • Using tags/folders to categorize feeds or posts.
      • Your own tags [based on Rimm-Kaufman (2007)]
        • -always, -often, -seldom, and -usedto.
        • _teacher, _friend, _researcher, _institution…
        • Tech, lessonplans, materials, searches…
        • SPAN461S09, SPAN476F09…
      • Tags chosen by students. Select a few tags or make students make a list of tags to be used in a given course.
    • Just click on the RSS icon and the subscription window will appear.
  • Without aggregator Teacher checks blogs Comments directly on blogs
  •  
  • Teacher’s aggregator Teacher doesn’t visit blogs (wikis, etc.) Notes may be private or public
  •  
  • Course Social Personalized Start Page : All students can see teacher’s comments Students can post comments Students can be editors and add flakes
  • Accessing/commenting student blogs from course Pageflakes http://www.pageflakes.com/eroman/26088536
  • Students’ Social Personalized Start Pages : Students work independently Students present projects to class/teacher
  • Learning Challenge I: Working with content while still struggling with the language
      • Students are still struggling with learning the language but need to cover a lot of content with which they may be not very familiar.
    • Actions
      • Do not rely on data memorization
      • Provide opportunities to apply language skills to real communicative practices
      • Design activities in which learners learn from each other
      • Assign projects that produce useful, publishable deliverables.
  • Learning Challenge I: Working with content while still struggling with the language
    • RSS-based sample project
      • Each student is in charge of studying a particular subject, for instance a comunidad autónoma , and is required to post a blog entry with the answers.
      • By using a Pageflakes-based course web site, students can check other students’ projects, provide feedback, and see teacher’s feedback to all blogs on just one page.
  • Learning Challenge II: Addressing ALL students’ needs
      • Students represent a wide range of linguistic and academic backgrounds.
    • Action
      • Provide opportunities for self-paced learning.
      • Monitor individualized learning.
      • Students and teachers negotiate curriculum (Schwarzer & Petrón, 2005) and project topics.
      • Use alternative methods of assessment (Schwarzer & Petrón, 2005).
  • Learning Challenge II: Addressing ALL students’ needs
    • RSS-based sample project
      • Students choose 4 or 5 feeds (blogs, twitter updates, delicious accounts, etc.) they are going to follow throughout the course and publish and share comments on their aggregators, on their individual SPSPs or on the course SPSP.
  • Learning Challenge III: Writing in a Foreign Language
      • Students need more opportunities to write in the TL.
    • Action
      • Assign written exercises for real audiences.
      • Use “student-vernacular” environments for written exercises.
      • Provide opportunities to learn and use new vocabulary.
      • Introduce reading materials that are meaningful to students.
  • Learning Challenge III: Writing in a Foreign Language
    • RSS-based sample projects
      • Students build their own public pagecasts using a social personalized page service (e.g., as a semester-long individual project).
      • Students integrate into their pagecasts a simple blog widget to publish comments.
      • Students pagecasts include widgets of popular social Web services.
      • Students are given a set of feeds to subscribe to according to their interests, language knowledge and specific cultural background.
      • Students are asked to comment on peers’ blogs.
      • Students develop a list of relevant terms and use them as tags to create feeds.
  • Learning Challenge IV: Creating new learning materials
      • Commercial teaching materials for certain languages and courses (such as for heritage speakers) are scarce and very limited in scope
    • Action
      • Use authentic materials.
      • Take advantage of community resources.
      • Integrate different types of literacy.
  • Learning Challenge IV: Creating new learning materials
    • RSS-based sample projects
      • Students subscribe to and comment on authentic Web-based materials. Course pagecast compiles all these comments for an easy access to online work performed by students.
      • Students are required to put together a group or an individual pagecast and go beyond the traditional text and use as sources of information all types of media.
  • Learning Challenge V: Addressing affective needs
      • Students who feel comfortable in a class and know their strengths have more opportunities to continue learning the TL.
    • Action
      • Provide opportunities for students to feel confident about their language skills.
      • Provide opportunities for students to track their progress throughout the course (learning portfolios).
      • Expose students to real examples of language use by other speakers.
  • Learning Challenge V: Addressing affective needs
    • RSS-based sample projects
      • Students subscribe to and follow their peers’ blogs, with the goal of realizing that they are part of a big community that can use its language skills for real written communication. Students have access to those blogs using the course pagecast.
      • Students put together a digital narrative that includes most of their course online work (for instance, using a pagecast). By doing so, students can easily go back to their first contributions and reflect on their progress.
  • Final Remarks
    • Both teachers and students need new skills to access, filter, and repack data of all sorts. The sound use of tags and RSS technologies can be of great help for both teachers and student (in the teaching/learning process but also in their daily lives).
    • RSS-based activities provide opportunities for best practices in e-language learning--as defined in Chinnery (2008):
        • productive, informative, collaborative, communicative, aggregative.
    • 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.
  • Final Remarks
    • 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.
    • 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 their native languages.
    • RSS-based 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.
  • References, Sources and Bibliography
    • Chinnery, G. M. (2008). Biting the hand that feeds me: The case for e-language learning and teaching. CALICO Journal, 25 , 471-482. https://calico.org/page.php?id=5
    • Downes, S. (2002). An introduction to RSS for educational designers . http:// www.downes.ca/files/RSS_Educ.htm .
    • Kirpatrick. M. (2009). How to backup and search all your friends’ tweets in Google Reader. http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_backup_and_search_all_your_friends_tweets_i.php
    • O’Neil, M. (2009). Is Google Reader the Next FriendFeed? http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/is-google-reader-the-next-friendfeed/
    • Richardson, W. (2006): Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful Web tools for classrooms . Thousand Oaks, CA, Corwin Press. [RSS chapter also available at http://weblogg-ed.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/05/RSSFAQ4.pdf .
    • Rimm-Kaufman, A. (2007). Tagging Scheme for Organizing Feeds in Google Reader. http://www.rimmkaufman.com/rkgblog/2007/05/13/google-reader-tags/
  • References, Sources and Bibliography
    • Román, E. (2008). Manual del Módulo “Tendencias Actuales del e-learning 2.0. Madrid: UNED. http:// www.ciberuniversidad.com/elearning /
    • 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.
    • RSSCloud.org. (2009). OPML for Twitter subscription lists. http://rsscloud.org/twitterSubscriptionlists.html
  • Cited Tools and Services
    • Blogger. http:// blogger.com
    • Delicious. http:// delicious.com
    • Edmodo. http:// edmodo.com
    • Facebook. http:// www.facebook.com
    • Feedity. http:// feedity.com
    • Flickr. http:// www.flickr.com
    • Friendfeed. http:// friendfeed.com /
    • Google Reader. http:// www.google.com / reader
    • iGoogle. http:// www.google.com / ig
    • MySpace. http:// www.myspace.com /
    • MyYahoo. http:// my.yahoo.com /
    • Netvibes. http:// netvibes.com
    • Ning. http:// www.ning.com /
  • Cited Tools and Services
    • Odeo. http:// odeo.com /
    • Pageflakes. http:// pageflakes.com
    • Page2rss. http:// page2rss . com
    • PBWiki. http:// pbwiki.com /
    • Podomatic. http:// podomatic.com /
    • Scribd. http:// scribd.com /
    • Slideshare. http:// www.slideshare.net /
    • SurveyGizmo. http:// surveygizmo.com /
    • Twitter. http:// twitter.com
    • Twitter Search. http:// search.twitter.com
    • Wikipedia. http: //wikipedia.org
    • Wikispaces. http:// www.wikispaces.com /
    • Wordle. http://wordle.net
    • Wordpress. http:// wordpress.org
    • YouTube. http:// www.youtube.com /