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Applying blogs to a language learning context Tríona Hourigan Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society University of Limerick.

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Presentation on theme: "Applying blogs to a language learning context Tríona Hourigan Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society University of Limerick."— Presentation transcript:

1 Applying blogs to a language learning context Tríona Hourigan Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society University of Limerick

2 AULC Conference 2009 Introduction Blogs: Background and Definition Blogs and Foreign Language Learning Integration: Examples of Single-authored Reflective Blogs Concluding Remarks

3 AULC Conference 2009 Part I Blogs: Background and Definition

4 AULC Conference 2009 Blogs: Background and Definition Website ‘consisting of dated entries typically listed in reverse chronological order on a single page’ (Kolari et al., 2006:92). Wide variety of forms: free flowing; notebooks of ideas; platforms for presenting alternative viewpoints; diary entries; links to the unclassifiable (Blood, 2000) Global phenomenon: textual; audio; video formats Also exploited by advertisers; media; politicians

5 AULC Conference 2009 Web 2.0 tools : - blogs; wikis; video/photo sharing sites; social networking platforms Impact: -communication -creativity -personalisation -secure file sharing -collaboration Blogs: Background and Definition

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11 Amorphous Blogosphere Murray and Hourigan (2008)

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13 Generic Features -free; easy to use interface; customise template; -add photos; videos; mobile posting; -applications/gadgets for example ‘ilike gadget’ Development of community: feedback from other users; group/team blogging; Multilingual: available in 41 languages

14 AULC Conference 2009 Part II Blogs and Foreign Language Learning

15 AULC Conference 2009 Blogs: Advantages for the L2 classroom Quite easy to set up The software is readily accessible and free of charge Blog hosting sites are multilingual Content is instantly publishable on the web Interaction and commentary from the teacher and fellow class members are facilitated by the ‘comment’ function Learners can develop a wide range of generic transferable skills Target language (“authentic”) blogs exist which may provide content for discourse analysis (Murray and Hourigan 2008)

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18 L2 blogosphere: Useful reference guide for learners Google Blogs Search Engine: multilingual Access to authentic examples of blogs written by native speakers Need for learners to develop blog content assessment skills

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22 Considerations for task design Embrace the flexibility of this tool Choose suitable blog format: nominate specific skills (written/aural) which match appropriate type of blog (textual/audio visual) Define type of blog task required, for example group-based blog or an individualistic reflective blog Define nature of the task itself, for example reflective learning

23 AULC Conference 2009 Examples of potential L2 blog tasks (adapted from Murray and Hourigan 2008) Group blogs Collective dissemination of knowledge Peer discussion Collaborative processing and application of data Single publication: plurality of authors Single-authored blogs Author’s individual voice Creativity Reflective Vanity publishing factor Potential collaboration between student and teacher

24 AULC Conference 2009 Part III Blogs and Integration: Examples of single-authored reflective blogs

25 AULC Conference 2009 Student Profile Second year MFL students Language and Technology module Aim: to introduce students to the major pedagogical, professional and research applications of technology in modern languages and to enable students to integrate these into their studies

26 AULC Conference 2009 Reflective Language Learning Task Blog on language learning activities only over the course of the semester Freedom to blog in L1 or L2 Possibility to collaborate if desired Submit end of semester essay: analysis of this personalised task Aim: to guide learners with regard to personalising their language learning experience Worth 20% of the overall mark

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30 Comments from essays  Blogging was a struggle, a task, one that did not come easy and was being carried out because the work schedule required it and because it kept me focused on the job at hand.  Writing a blog on this topic allowed me to reflect on how I could use Skype for language learning, and also in what ways could I consider it suitable to my personal LL methods and preferences.  I began to read blogs on various topics in order to broaden my experience and learn more about blogging and its relevance in other areas as well as the variety of styles and structures being utilized which helped

31 AULC Conference 2009 After reading back through my blog entries I found the results did not entirely adhere to my aims  For some reason unknown to me I prefer putting pen to paper and letting the ideas and thoughts flow onto the blank canvas  I personally am not one for deep introspection; I feel I know myself well enough by now.

32 AULC Conference 2009 Concluding Remarks Blogging is a viable L2 activity Rich blogosphere: useful if exploited appropriately Moving from the generic to the specific Choice of appropriate task is key Establish an appropriate assessment framework -L2/L1? -Content: reflective; group discussion -Acceptable level of blog postings? -ICT skill development

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