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Final Written assignment - Essay about output language learning with digital media

Final Written assignment - Essay about output language learning with digital media

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  • 1. Rossino, CarolinaAplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2011Written Assignment for Final Exam OUTPUT – ORIENTED LANGUAGE LEARNING WITH DIGITAL MEDIA The development of the digital media has changed the way we, common people, actupon the world that surround us; not only by changing our ways of communication, butalso changing the way we learn and the way we educate other people. In a better or worseway is a subjective matter, but it has definitely change our way of living. The chapter I am about to discuss is called “Output – Oriented Language Learningwith Digital Media”. Here, Bernd Ruschoff, the author, highlights the importance andpotential that the digital media represents when trying to generate not only comprehensiblebut meaningful output from the learners, or when trying to create the so important authenticenvironment that the learners need. His hypothesis and studies are based on Swain’s outputhypothesis (1985), which states that “learners engaged in negotiating meaningful andcomprehensible outputs […] are very much engaged in learning experiences which fosterlanguage learners’ cognitive and linguistic growth by means of processes of reflective andcollaborative learning”(Swain, 1985, p. 42). So, starting from this point and taking intoaccount two very important words such as “Meaningful” and “collaboration”, the authormakes a connection between the use of the tools and platforms available on the web and thepossibility the concepts previously mentioned give us to create true authenticity, which is,as the author states, “a crucial issue in language learning methodology” (Ruschoff, 2006, p.43-44). Ruschoff believes that true authenticity necessitates “the provision of learning 1
  • 2. Rossino, CarolinaAplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2011Written Assignment for Final Examexperiences which include authenticity of language, authenticity of task, authenticity oflearning situation and authenticity of interaction” (Ruschoff, 2006, p. 44 ). From thisdefinition of authenticity derives another key term, which is very important in thehypothesis, because it has a close connection with the use o the digital media, and it is theterm “Agency”. This term has been explained by different authors and researchers, butaccording to Ellis (1985, p. 44), the concept “addresses the fact that any kind of successfullanguage learning should be based on the principle of language learning as language use”;although not explicit but embedded, the concept of authenticity appears in this definition,giving the learner not only the possibility of construct their own knowledge in an authenticenvironment, where language is used in authentic situations , but, as the author says, it“empowers the learner with skills and competencies needed to interact and communicate ina meaningful and appropriate manner in a given context” (Ruschoff, 2006, p. 44). Oncemore, in a not explicit way, the term places great importance in the role of the learner whenconstructing their own knowledge; there is an important combination of authenticenvironment and the learner, as an “active, creative and socially interactive participant”(Harper, 1996, p.48), just like in Vygotsky’s theory of learning (1935). And, if we intend tofollow this path, we may need the tool(s) the learner might need in order to constructknowledge; in this context, Digital media, as the author states, may be the tool we need. Although the Internet may not be something new in our lives, the current 2.0 systemprovides opportunities for us to become learners and producers at the same time. During theearly years of the Web 1.0, the creation of projects necessitate a lot of effort and technicalknowledge, what is more, we were not able to modify our work and the products of the 2
  • 3. Rossino, CarolinaAplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2011Written Assignment for Final Examactivities were rarely published. In the author’s words, the web, for most people, “was not acreative space” (Ruschoff, 2006, p. 46). Nowadays, the Web 2.0 has become a“participatory platform […] where […] anyone can contribute to an ongoing ‘conversation’in which knowledge is both discovered and constructed as it goes on” (Freeman, 2006, p.47). This new concept not only has changed our attitude towards our idea ofcommunication and knowledge construction, but has also ‘created’ a new generation ofpeople: the so- called “digital natives”. This generation and the different characteristicsthey share have played an important part in the inclusion of the digital media in thecurricula and the use of the internet in order to create the authentic learning environmentwe have discussed before. However, as Ruschoff (2006) states, “authenticity cannot be limited to replacing thetextbooks with a sample of real language”. But if there is not only a sample of real language(a text, an audio or a video) but also tasks the learners can both identify with and relate totheir experiences in life, we can say there is true authenticity. As a conclusion of this chapter, we are able to say that there must be a purpose andurgency for the agency of the learner to take place into the authentic environment we areintended to create; in the author’s own words : “Learners need to feel the need to becomeactively involved in learning scenarios they consider […]valid and purposeful in theirlives”(Ruschoff, 2006) and, more important, they need to share this experience, to get afeedback and to “expose” this learning that is taking part. By producing and publishing“radio- clips” or other kind of broadcasts, we may be able to see the output and they maybenefit from the feedback the listeners or viewers often provide. 3
  • 4. Rossino, CarolinaAplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2011Written Assignment for Final Exam There is one last challenge, “to find models for how to connect various webapplications […] into coherent learning experiences” (Purushotma, 2005, p. 55); becauseusing Digital media is not a challenge any more.References: • Ruschoff, B. (2006) Output Oriented Language Learning with Digital Media. In Thomas, M. (2009) Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning (pp. 42-59). Japan: Nagoya University of Commerce and Business. • Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. • Harper, B. (1996). Using cognitive tools in interactive multimedia. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from http://www.auc.edu.au/conf/Conf96/Papers/Harper.html • Purushotma R. (2005). Communicative 2.0 — foreign language education learning with video games and authentic web media. Retrieved April 1, 2008, from www.lingualgamers.com/thesis/ 4
  • 5. Rossino, CarolinaAplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2011Written Assignment for Final Exam • Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In Gass, S., & Madden, C. (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 235-256). New York: Newbury House. “THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY IN ELT” Technology is playing an important part in our lives, and as our lives includeeducation in all the senses, we can find technology shaping us as learners and educatorstoo. According to Dudeney and Hockly (2007), the term distance learning has referred to“traditional paper-based distance courses delivered by mail”. Nowadays, this has beenreplaced by the use of the Internet, and the term is often used as a synonym for E-learning,which includes other types of learning, such as open learning, online learning and blendedlearning. This is the way the digital natives construct their world, by using tools that aredifferent from the tools digital immigrants were able to use. And this use of the technologyhas lead to what Sharma and Barret (2007) called “normalization of technology”; it is partof our everyday life and we have to adopt it and adapt it to our needs; always bearing inmind that it is only a tool and not a replacement for the human factor. 5
  • 6. Rossino, CarolinaAplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2011Written Assignment for Final Exam As a conclusion, we can say that technology is part of our lives and its playing animportant part on them, becoming almost ‘invisible’, but changing the way we constructour world and changing the world itself almost continually.References • Dudeney, G. & Hockly, N. (2007). E- learning: Online Teaching and Training. In How to Teach English with Technology (pp.136 – 147). Malaysia: Pearson Education Limited. • Sharma, P. & Barret, B. (2007) Blended Learning: Using technology in and beyond the language classroom (p. 132) Great Britain: MacMillan Publishers Limited. 6