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Paula Ledesma - Web 2.0 Tools in ELT

Paula Ledesma - Web 2.0 Tools in ELT



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Published by Classroom 2.0 Book
Chapter submission for the Classroom 2.0 Book Project
Chapter submission for the Classroom 2.0 Book Project

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Published by: Classroom 2.0 Book on Jul 16, 2012
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Creative Applications of Web 2.0 Tools in ELT
Paula Ledesma
Creative Commons License:
Author contact:
Author Biography:
Paula Ledesma is an onlineinstructor and Learning Technology Consultant atHelping North. She currently resides in Argentina.
Activity Summary
This paper examines a variety of Web sites and services that provide important tools for teachersengaged in English Language Learning.
Class or subject area: Language teachingGrade level(s):
Specifc learning objectives:
Teachers will learn about several web sites that can be used with students to facilitate Eng-lish language instruction, particular for ELT
One of the alternative ways in which educators could apply some Internet applications to their teach-
ing practice is by resorting to some simple tools at rst. There is a large number of alternative Web
2.0 websites to be considered. These include all the websites that allow the creation of multimediamaterial such as audio visuals and which can eventually be used in combination with social networks,blogs or wikis. Although there are not many studies that show how instrumental these Web 2.0 toolshave been to more effective educational processes, there are numerous websites and articles thatsuggest several possible uses to be considered and possibly adapted to curricular needs.Some of the websites that can be useful for teachers who need to apply technology in a creative wayare suggested by Peachey (2009) in his e-book Web 2.0 for Teachers. Peachey (2009) suggests, for example, tools that require students’ production of interactive material online that can then be sharedin different websites. One of the tools suggested is the movie maker website Dvolver (http://www.
dlm.com/live/mm.html). In his description of this website Peachey (2009) states that:
Dvolver Moviemaker is a simple tool that enables you to create your own animated cartoons byselecting from a range of characters backgrounds and scenarios and adding your own dialoguetext bubble. The movies can then be sent by email or embedded into blogs or websites for others toenjoy (p.16) As Peachey (2009) sees it, this kind of websites fosters students’ motivation and enhances learning.The kinds of dialogues students can create may easily be adapted to different school content and,thus, cater for different curricular needs.In a similar fashion, there are websites where students can create video presentations based on im-ages. Websites such as Animoto (www.animoto.com) allow users to upload images they select and tocreate short video presentations accompanied by text and music. In other words:Users ... upload the photographs, graphics or images they plan to use in their video... [T]hey maychoose background music that is already stored in the website and add it to their creation. Once allthe images and music have been chosen, the video is automatically created by the application and
users get the chance to download their creation as a video le or add it to their You Tube account if 
they have one (Ledesma, 2010. p. 270).Barns (2010) also considers that “Animoto is extremely user-friendly and empowers teachers andstudents to create movie-quality videos in a few easy steps”. Besides, when students are required toapply these tools to their school activities they have the opportunity to put several skills into practice,including those 21st century skills which were listed in the previous chapter.Interactive posters are also considered instrumental for some educators who have applied them todifferent projects. Rockwood (2010), for example, describes the use of a virtual poster maker espe-cially designed for educational purposes which is called Glogster Edu (www.edu.glogster.com). Ac-cording to Rockwood, this tool allows educators to implement projects using technology in computersin which students have to research and develop posters related to a topic associated to some con-tent they have been studying in class. One of the suggested projects is the creation of an interactiveposter associated with a book that students have read in class. The tool allows users to combine dif-ferent multimedia elements such as images, audio and even video which can be placed on the poster template and which can also be accompanied by text bubbles or text boxes whenever needed. The
nal product is then a poster which can be shared online. Besides, as the tool offers a special account
for educators where all students may post their work, this allows the teacher to control content as
students are creating their products. Further benets of the use of this tool have recently been listed
in an article published by Business Wire (2010):Glogster EDU has quickly morphed from just a “tool” to a digitally relevant, 21st century multi-me-dia learning platform that goes beyond the teacher-student classroom relationship into a scalableschool system network for educational communities across the world.That is to say, the new characteristics of this tool allow interaction and collaboration, which makes ita true Web 2.0 tool. Storytelling and story writing also play an important role in education and theycan now be combined with Web 2.0 tools. Nowadays, stories do not necessarily follow the classicalmodel of linear development. In fact, since the creation of hypertext, narrative is “often nonlinear andincreasingly media-rich” (Bryan & Levine, 2008).
Strahovnik & Mecava (2009) explain the benets of storytelling when combined with technology,
especially with Web 2.0 technology. As they see it, storytelling can help students develop communica-tion skills as most of these tools facilitate the creation of user-generated content and its publication.Cao et al (2005) also refer to the possible combination of storytelling and Web 2.0 stating that:Non-linear storytelling has been an effective means of knowledge sharing and learning in organiza-tions and societies for a long time. With the advent of the Web 2.0 user generated content like digi-tal videos in YouTube and digital images in Flickr.com have become particularly interesting (p.1).There are different ways in which a story may be created using Web 2.0 tools. Some of the applica-tions described so far, including Animoto and Dvolver, may well serve this purpose. Besides, there areother tools where stories may be built based on photos and other media. A good example to consider is Penzu (www.penzu.com). This application allows educators to upload different images to a blanktemplate in the website where students will eventually write a story based on the images chosen. Thewriting techniques may vary but the tool is seen as instrumental by numerous teachers who have
used it. Peachey (2009) refers to the benets of using this tool when he says:
What’s great about using a tool like this is that it makes students written work much more acces-sible, they can integrate high quality images with the work and it remains as a tangible record of their progress and achievements. It’s also very content focused and there is no fuss with formattingor different fonts. It’s just about the writing (p.7). Another software program that can be applied to storytelling is worth mentioning, Sketch Cast (www.sketchcast.com), which combines the use of oral language and visual media. In fact, users may re-cord their voice at the same time they draw or sketch on a blank background. This work is recordedin the form of a video which can be shared online in different websites. This application may be ben-
ecial to foster students’ creativity and to encourage an alternative way to communicate content.
 Akcaoglu (Cited in Fryers, 2010) refers to Sketch Cast as “podcast with a whiteboard”, but it is actu-ally much more than that as it effectively allows for the development of all the possible kinds of storiesinvolved in storytelling, ranging “from personal tales to the recounting of historical events, from ex-ploring life in one’s own community to the search for life in other corners of the universe, and literally,everything in between” (UH, 2010)Crating animated avatars may also be a useful alternative when applying Web 2.0 tools to teaching.
Mitchell (2010) denes avatars as “a graphical representation of a user … (which) can include user 

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Marco Meduranda liked this
María José Fontana added this note|
Many thanks for sharing this selection of Web 2.0 tools. They are very useful to us to interact and increase participation in class. Very interesting!
Maria Bossa added this note|
Bravo Paula! I loved it! Smiles, Maria :)
Paula added this note|
MIND YOU, the author's profile still does not mention that this chapter was originally written as part of her dissertation presented at UTN University, Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information about the author check her full profile at http://ar.linkedin.com/in/paulaledesma
Mary Ziller added this note|
This nice selection of Web 2.0 tools will surely make the classroom more interactive and interesting.
Paula added this note|
Thanks a lot for your comments and support!!! If you create an account in Scridd you should be able to download it easily Noureddine. Let me know if you can't. Paula
Nina Liakos added this note|
Great job, Paula. I will recommend it to my colleagues. Thanks for your work! Nina (University of Maryland, USA)

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