Social networking, virtual worlds, and digital literacies
By: Lucia Arredondo
“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we robour children of tomorrow.” -John Dewey
LearningLearning is not only happening in the classroom. Students areactively engaging in learning outside of our classroom. They arelearning through their peers and in ways that we have not yetintegrated into our teaching.
Technology and EducationLearning is an active, collaborative, and reflective process.We must encourage students to use the tools they have as a way tomotivate them in their learning and to foster creativity andcommunication amongst themselves.
Networking and Virtual WorldsThe use of social networking and virtual worlds in ourclassrooms can help students engage in learning in ameaningful, challenging, and motivating way.
Technology Tools and ESOL Education According to Claude Goldenberg, “ all students benefit from clear goals and learning objectives: meaningful, challenging, and motivating contexts; a curriculum rich with content; well-designed, clearly structured, and appropriately paced instruction; active engagement and participation; opportunities to practice, apply, and transfer new learning feedback to correct and incorrect responses; periodic review and practice; frequent assessments to gauge progress, with reteaching as needed; and opportunities to intact with other students in motivating and appropriately structured context.” (Goldenberg, 17) Aside from engaging our ELL students in these practices we must also provide other opportunities to expand their understanding in meaningful and engaging ways. These meaningful and engaging ways can happen through the use of technology tools. Goldenberg Claude (2008). Teaching English Language Learners: What Research Does – and Does Not- Say. American Educator.
Expanding Student’s Knowledge ESOL teachers face many challenges when working with ELL students. ELL students come from distinct backgrounds including language, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds. Teachers must embrace their prior knowledge and find ways to expand their understanding in a way that extends outside of the classroom walls.
Virtual Worlds and ESOL Education Learning is not only happening in the classroom. Virtual worlds such as second life are online communities that allow students to participate in learning in a fun, creative, and engaging way. Through virtual worlds students to take trips to place they are learning about, they can create artifacts, engage in dialogue, debate, and collaborative with other residents. Virtual worlds can help ELL students to practice their language with other native English language speakers in the comfort of their home or classroom. ELL students can practice language in meaningful settings and in ways that can be applied to real life situations. Limitations: Virtual worlds is available for adults and teens. They cannot be easily be integrated with elementary age children.
Social NetworkingLearning is a social process. Knowledge is constructed by engaging indialogue with others.Social networking tools such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter are toolsthat students are actively using in their daily lives. These tools can be usedin the classroom setting to extend conversation. Students are encouraged toexpress their opinions, thoughts, and emotions through these means ofcommunication. Students are empower by collaborating with one anotheras they receive immediate feedback from their peers. These tools can beused to inform, persuade, influence, and even to organize collective actions.ELL student’s can be encouraged to practice their literacy skills bycommunicate with their peers through these tools.
Protecting Our Students Before attempting to use these tools in the classroom it is important that teachers have experience using these tools in their own lives. Teachers need to show students how to safely use these resources for learning. These tools have privacy settings that can be changed when you log on so that your work is being shared with people you trust. Set expectations and clear objectives that help students with their time management while using these tools. These tools are very engaging and they may at times become a distraction. It is equally important for the students to learn check for the accuracy of the information they are receiving online. Encourage critical thinking.
New Literacies and ESOL EducationThese online tools help to expand our definition of learning.Literacy is about communicating our thoughts, ideas, opinions, andfeelings. These tools make communication possible outside of ourclassroom walls.
As our ideas of technology and our resources grow our method ofteaching needs to stay current with what is happening in our students daily lives.