Using Web 2.0 in an ESOL classroom

The latest edition of Reflect, published by NRDC*, contains a practical article on the use of web 2.0 tools within an ESOL** classroom. 

The author Liz Boyden (http://lizboyden.wordpress.com) outlines the tools she uses which include:

  1. Twitter (http://twitter.com) – micro blog i.e. short messages/posts
  2. Tumblr (http://tumblr.com) – multimedia focused blog i.e. text, photos, sound and video files
  3. pbwiki (http://pbwiki.com) – collaborative space for adding/editing content

This is a good example of how students are using web 2.0 social networking tools to assist with their learning and as a result improve their media literacy skills.  Liz also offers some wise advice on using such tools under Hints and Advice.

Full Article: ICT within and beyond the ESOL classroom

* NRDC: National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy – dedicated to conducting research and development projects to improve literacy, numeracy, language and related skills and knowledge.

Website: http://www.nrdc.org.uk
Previous issues: Reflect Online

** ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages

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Don’t Stop Me Now!

‘Don’t Stop Me Now!’ is a research report compiled by Aontas (The National Adult Learning Organisation) on the lifelong learning needs of older people in Ireland.  The report sets out to map service provision in Ireland for older learners.

In addition to the research statistics, the report contains a number of case studies.  The first, ‘Exploring the New World of Technology’, describes the ‘Embrace IT’ programme which enables senior citizens to learn about emerging technologies.  This is a good example of how ICT is enabling media literacy and social inclusion – summed up well by the following quote:

“We also promote the use of ICT as a tool for enhancing citizenship and social rights for older people by enabling them to access government information. The consortium perceives this to be especially important as more and more government information is becoming more readily available on the internet, while paper based documentation is becoming hard to find. Also we work with older people to develop our website, producing web content and information about their communities that counters negative or absent commentary in the mainstream media”

(Don’t Stop Me Now!, p.49, Aontas)

The full report can be found here

OU goes Web 2

The recent edition of Sesame (Autumn 2008 Issue 238) outlines how the Open University is continuing to embrace Web 2.0 technology and ideals.

They have outlined two launches:

  • An extension of their YouTube presence with a new channel named ‘OUView’ featuring over 300 videos
  • A brand new web community for students, alumni and more named Platform.  This new social media website will allow user-generated content such as blogs, videos, forums etc.

Ian Roddis, Head of Online Services at the OU, said:

“The social web is changing the way people interact and learn online.  We’ve always used technology to help our community connect, but now they are able to make their own connections…”

The digital edition of this issue of Sesame can be found here (pdf 8MB) 

In the previous post I noted how the Open University is making resources available for free download through Apple’s iTunes U, thus facilitating learning on the move. Read more on their website.

iTunes U

Most of us will be familiar with or will at least have heard of Apple’s iTunes music store, especially if you own their iPod mp3 player.  It’s a computer program that enables you to buy and download digital music and other content.

In this digital store Apple has a service named iTunes U which makes available audio and video content from many universities across the world.  A few local contributors are Trinity College Dublin and the Open University.  The content includes lectures, seminars and interviews on a range of subjects – all freely available to download.

This is a move that facilitates mobile learning through digital devices such as mp3 players; a trend that appears to be becoming more common among learning providers as they continue to embrace the digital and Web 2.0 worlds to distribute their content and connect with learners.

As a result, the need for media and digital literacy among adult learners is becoming increasingly more relevant and important.