SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES ANDCRITICAL LANGUAGE LEARNING, A SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE? ANDY HALVORSEN ICT Course Paula Rojas & Diana Ceballos 2013
WHAT’S THE CHAPTER ABOUT? This chapter addresses the possibilities of integrating SNSs (social networking sites) and CLL (critical language learning)for the purpose of enhancing language proficiency among Japanese English learners.
ASSUMPTIONS The growth of CMC (computer mediated communication) allowed for SNSs to become popular and this phenomena inspired teachers across the globe to think of it as a tool for educational purposes.
ASSUMPTIONS As a result of this process, new technologies contributed to the development of CALL (computer assisted language learning) taking into account behaviorist, communicative and integrative aspects of learning.
ASSUMPTIONS In the field of CALL, Web 2.0 becomes a popular concept that holds all the applications that allow users to take advantage of the variety of possibilities offered by internet to interact with each other.
SNSS: SOCIAL NETWORKING PHENOMENON As as result of CMC (computer mediated communication), social networking has spread through sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Mixi, which allows users to create and recreate their own identities (p. 240)
SNSS AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOLBecause SNSs givesusers the possibility to: Interact with each other by chatting, blogging, messaging, and file-sharing. Build peer groups based on others’ recommendationsEducators startedconsidering the possibilitiesto include theseapplications in theiragendas.
SNSS’ BENEFITS FOR LANGUAGE LEARNERS1. Learner motivation2. Collaborative learning environments3. Social constructivist approaches to education4. Critical language learning
A CASE STUDY INTEGRATING SNSS TO CLLRESEARCH QUESTIONS1. Can the MySpace SNS function effectively as a platform for second language learning and acquisition by Japanese university students?2. How would their use of MySpace throughout the semester impact and relate to the issues of learner autonomy, identity formation, student empowerment and critical literacy in the two groups?3. What factors seem to impact the students’ interest, or lack thereof, in the process of using MySpace for second language learning?
A CASE STUDY INTEGRATING SNSS TO CLLPARTICIPANTS 27 Japanese students learning English (14 female and 13 male) from two separate coursesTIME They spent 14 weeks using MySpace SNS in and out of the classroom.CHARACTERISTICS Students had mixed English proficiency ranging from high beginner to upper intermediate. Six out of the 27 students reported being “good” or “very good” with computers; seven students reported having “very poor” computer skills.
METHOD Students were scaffolded on the use of the basics of MySpace platform. Discussions were held as to the potential of MySpace to students’ improvement of English. Explanations were given as to how to use the page’s tools. The remaining time was spent on training students on how to blog and use Audacity software for adding sound to the pages.
DATA COLLECTION Students were required to write comments on both their blogs and their peers’ on a regular bases. They were asked to create audio files by choosing the content and topic of the files. At the end of the project, a questionnaire along with some interviews were carried out by the students.
HOW CLL WAS EVIDENCED ALONG THE PROJECT?IDENTITY FORMATIONThrough the project, students were able to: Develop a sense of ownership of the second language Portray their personalities along the pages as they used the tools to customize them. The lack of computer skills did not prevent students from learning about the others’ identities.
HOW CLL WAS EVIDENCED ALONG THE PROJECT?COLLABORATION ANDSTUDENT EMPOWERMENT Peer support was evidenced in the project face to face in the classroom and through the website. Students were able to take the role of educator of their classmates de-emphasizing the role of their instructor. A strong sense of community was built within the group as they devoloped the project together.
HOW CLL WAS EVIDENCED ALONG THE PROJECT?LEARNER AUTONOMY Autonomy was questioned along the work for students had to be guided with computer literacy skills. However, they reported to enjoy the semi-autonomous nature of the work (p.249). Autonomy was evidenced in students’ awareness of language learning and acquisition processes along with their own roles as learners.
CONCLUSIONS This research study intends to lay the grounds for future research in the area of SNS’s The project empowered students to express themselves in a variety of meaningful ways. The study left remaining questions as to the degree of autonomy that students really reached through the project. The students level of motivation in the learning of the target language was high as they were able to interact with native speakers throughout the process.