The Use of Weblogs in Language Education

The Use of Weblogs in Language Education

Thomas Raith (The University of Education Heidelberg, Germany)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-190-2.ch015
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This chapter explores in how far Web 2.0, Weblogs in particular, has changed foreign language learning. It argues that Weblogs, along with Web 2.0, have created new genres for which users need new forms of literacy. A qualitative study on the relationship between the online audience of Web 2.0 and learners’ writing processes is presented and the findings are discussed. The study supports the assumption that learners are aware of the social interaction taking place through weblogs and that this awareness of audience influences the writing process. The author’s intention is to point out that Web 2.0 has created new communities of language practice and that foreign language learning is happening in these discourse communities through social interaction. The challenge in foreign language education is to integrate these communities of practice into the foreign language classroom.
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Web 2.0 And The Transformation Of Language Learning

O’Reilly (2005) sees, among others, two key features that distinguish Web 2.0 from Web 1.0: the platform-based usage of the Internet and harnessing collective intelligence of Internet users. The Web is the platform on which users work collaboratively and on which they store and exchange data. Rather than installing and using software on the PC, services are used online to create blogs, documents and wikis. These features can be seen as the basic principle of all social software devices which link users for collaboration and social interaction. However, the phenomenon of collaborative projects, like Wikipedia, and the rapid growth of the blogosphere, to name only two, is not only a consequence of new Web 2.0 technology. As Alby (2007) points out, these phenomena go hand in hand with faster Internet connections via broadband and flat rates that are affordable for the masses.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blogosphere: The term relates to the perceived network that joins all weblogs on the Internet together in one community.

Sociocultural Approach to Language Learning: This approach derives from sociocultural theory that sees learning as the mediation of higher forms of mental activity through interaction. A central means of mediation is verbal interaction by creating situations in which novices can negotiate meaning and thus participate in their own learning. The expert can function by providing support in order to help the learners reach the next level or understand a certain language structure they need for interaction.

Community of Practice (CoP): A group of individuals who engage in and contribute to the practices of their communities through active participation and therefore share a common identity. The term community of practice was created by Etienne Wenger and Jean Lave in 1991, who positioned learning in the context of social interaction. One substantial part of knowledge acquisition in communities of practice is the construction of knowledge through participation in a community.

Multiliteracies: The term deals with the complexity of language in two major aspects: first, the multimodality of texts through the increasing importance of the written word as part of visual, audio and spatial patterns, and second the cultural and linguistic diversity through global connectedness.

Collective Intelligence: A form of intelligence that emerges from a community of individuals who collaborate together. It is an approach to working on products such as texts, documents, codes, decisions with no centralized hierarchy. One central idea is that the collective product of a community is more than just the sum of the individual parts.

Electronic Literacy: The ability to read and write in an electronic medium and to find, organize and make use of information in the context of a hypertext environment. Electronic literacy combines texts and other media, has a focus on collaboration and includes the use of online sources.

Discourse Community: This term connects the notion of discourse (typically relating to numerous forms of communication) with a group of users, usually on a specific subject or area of interest. A discourse community might be used to describe a particular group where members meet to discuss topics of specific interest to them.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Mark Warschauer
Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas
Chapter 1
Michael Vallance, Kay Vallance, Masahiro Matsui
The grand narrative of educational policy statements lack clear guidelines on Information Communications Technology (ICT) integration. A review of... Sample PDF
Criteria for the Implementation of Learning Technologies
Chapter 2
Mark Pegrum
This chapter discusses the application of a range of Web 2.0 technologies to language education. It argues that Web 2.0 is fundamentally about... Sample PDF
Communicative Networking and Linguistic Mashups on Web 2.0
Chapter 3
Bernd Rüschoff
Current thinking in SLA methodology favours knowledge construction rather than simple instructivist learning as an appropriate paradigm for language... Sample PDF
Output-Oriented Language Learning With Digital Media
Chapter 4
Infoxication 2.0  (pages 60-79)
Elena Benito-Ruiz
This chapter reviews the issue of information overload, introducing the concept of “infoxication 2.0” as one of the main downsides to Web 2.0. The... Sample PDF
Infoxication 2.0
Chapter 5
Margaret Rasulo
The aim of this chapter is to discuss the effectiveness and the necessity of forming a community when engaged in online learning. The Internet and... Sample PDF
The Role of Community Formation in Learning Processes
Chapter 6
Tony Mullen, Christine Appel, Trevor Shanklin
An important aspect of the Web 2.0 phenomenon is the use of Web-embedded and integrated non-browser Internet applications to facilitate... Sample PDF
Skype-Based Tandem Language Learning and Web 2.0
Chapter 7
Gary Motteram, Susan Brown
Web 2.0 offers potentially powerful tools for the field of language education. As language teacher tutors exploring Web 2.0 with participants on an... Sample PDF
A Context-Based Approach to Web 2.0 and Language Education
Chapter 8
Lut Baten, Nicolas Bouckaert, Kan Yingli
This case study describes how a project-based approach offers valuable new opportunities for graduate students to equip them with the necessary... Sample PDF
The Use of Communities in a Virtual Learning Environment
Chapter 9
George R. MacLean, James A. Elwood
Prensky (2001) posited the emergence of a new generation of “digital natives” fluent in the language of cyberspace and familiar with the tools of... Sample PDF
Digital Natives, Learner Perceptions and the Use of ICT
Chapter 10
Steve McCarty
In a cross-cultural educational context of TEFL in Japan, the author sought to enhance the integrative motivation of students toward the target... Sample PDF
Social Networking Behind Student Lines in Japan
Chapter 11
Antonie Alm
This chapter discusses the use of blogs for foreign and second language (L2) learning. It first outlines the suitability of blogs for language... Sample PDF
Blogging for Self-Determination with L2 Learner Journals
Chapter 12
Revathi Viswanathan
Training ESL students in soft skills and employability skills with the help of Web 2.0 technologies is the current trend in Indian educational... Sample PDF
Using Mobile Technology and Podcasts to Teach Soft Skills
Chapter 13
Andy Halvorsen
This chapter looks at the potential use of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) for educators and second language learners. It views SNSs broadly through... Sample PDF
Social Networking Sites and Critical Language Learning
Chapter 14
Nicolas Gromik
This chapter reports on an ongoing project conducted at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. A mixed group of seven advanced EFL learners produced... Sample PDF
Producing Cell Phone Video Diaries
Chapter 15
Thomas Raith
This chapter explores in how far Web 2.0, Weblogs in particular, has changed foreign language learning. It argues that Weblogs, along with Web 2.0... Sample PDF
The Use of Weblogs in Language Education
Chapter 16
Nat Carney
This chapter gives a comprehensive overview of blogs in Foreign Language Education (FLE) through reviewing literature, critically analyzing... Sample PDF
Blogging in Foreign Language Education
Chapter 17
Pete Travis, Fiona Joseph
In particular, this chapter looks at the potential role of Web 2.0 technologies and podcasting to act as a transformational force within language... Sample PDF
Improving Learners' Speaking Skills with Podcasts
Chapter 18
Volker Hegelheimer, Anne O’Bryan
The increasing availability of mobile technologies is allowing users to interact seamlessly with a variety of content anytime, anywhere. One of... Sample PDF
Mobile Technologies, Podcasting and Language Education
Chapter 19
Jenny Ang Lu
This chapter aims to investigate how podcasts can be made to fit into the repertoire of resources utilized by teachers, especially in language... Sample PDF
Podcasting as a Next Generation Teaching Resource
Chapter 20
Matthias Sturm, Trudy Kennell, Rob McBride, Mike Kelly
Web 2.0 tools like blogs, Wikis, and podcasts are new to the vocabulary of language acquisition. Teachers and students who take full advantage of... Sample PDF
The Pedagogical Implications of Web 2.0
Chapter 21
John Paul Loucky
This study describes a task-based assessment (TBA) approach to teaching reading and writing online. It then analyzes key factors emerging from the... Sample PDF
Improving Online Readability in a Web 2.0 Context
Chapter 22
Jaroslaw Krajka
This chapter contrasts the use of corpora and concordancing in the Web 1.0 era with the opportunities presented to the language teachers by the Web... Sample PDF
Concordancing 2.0: On Custom-Made Corpora in the Classroom
Chapter 23
Darren Elliott
This chapter looks at the ways in which teacher training and teacher development are taking place online. It seeks to address the ways in which... Sample PDF
Internet Technologies and Language Teacher Education
Chapter 24
Sarah Guth
This chapter discusses the potential of social software and Web 2.0 tools to enhance language learning in a blended learning context. It describes... Sample PDF
Personal Learning Environments for Language Learning
Chapter 25
Shudong Wang, Neil Heffernan
This chapter introduces the concept of Mobile 2.0, a mobile version of Web 2.0, and its application to language learning. The chapter addresses the... Sample PDF
Mobile 2.0 and Mobile Language Learning
Chapter 26
Euline Cutrim Schmid
The first part of this chapter discusses the transformative potential of Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs), by analyzing the opportunities of using... Sample PDF
The Pedagogical Potential of Interactive Whiteboards 2.0
Chapter 27
David Miller, Derek Glover
This chapter summarizes the work underway to chart, critically evaluate, and systematize the introduction of interactive whiteboards (IWB) into... Sample PDF
Interactive Whiteboards in the Web 2.0 Classroom
Chapter 28
Samuel Holtzman
The process of technological inclusion begins with an analysis of the features and functions of the specific tool in consideration. Pedagogy should... Sample PDF
Web 2.0 and CMS for Second Language Learning
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