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I must first state that I will be using individualization and differentiation interchangeably. I see nothing in the literature that substantially distinguishes one from the other. Why Individualize?
• The norm is to plan for classes and not for students. The rationale for this model is that all students will have accomplished the required learning objectives by the end of the semester and will, therefore, be ready to advance to the next grade level. This, however, is often not the reality seen in the classroom. • All classrooms are heterogeneous. Learners bring different backgrounds, experiences, and understandings to the classroom, which requires different types of approaches/interventions to educate these learners. • Unique Students = Unique Needs. By planning for student rather than students we are able to address the unique needs of each learner. Individualized Content • While most people agree that individualization is a good thing, it is extremely difficult to carry out. There are many types of individualization, including the modification of curricula, methods, resources, learning activities, and student products (Tomlinson, et al., 2003). We’ll focus on resources and learning activities in this presentation (though teachers really should go well beyond this.) • Individualization can be done for both groups (Henry, 1975) and individuals. Groups can be easier to differentiate for. Often used to address common remediation needs. This requires less time, but does not necessarily address individual needs. This is why we need individual differentiation. This can be very time consuming for both the

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Individualization of resources and (some) activities is the rationale for the approach that I will talk to you about today

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• Coined in 2001 (O’Reilly, 2005) to describe post-bubble technologies. • Web as platform • Harness the collective intelligence of users (crowd-sourcing) • Applications are run on data. Data is king. • Applications are never finished (perpetual beta) • Keep the programming simple • Applications run on multiple devices • Rich user experiences • These technical insights are important to understand the foundation of what Web 2.0 means to developers, but does little for users and even less for educators.

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• Web 2.0 is more of a social movement than a technology. • From closed systems to open systems • From individual to social • From consumer to producer • Arguably a change in our perception of the world in which we live and our place in it.

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• There are as many definitions for Web 2.0 as there are mentions of it in the rags. There is no good definition of what Web 2.0 is (Clark, 2006) • General consensus is that Web 2.0 technologies enable users to: • Produce and consume content • Comment on content • Share content with others • Syndicate content for easy distribution

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• There are as many definitions for Web 2.0 as there are mentions of it in the rags. There is no good definition of what Web 2.0 is (Clark, 2006) • General consensus is that Web 2.0 technologies enable users to: • Produce and consume content • Comment on content • Share content with others • Syndicate content for easy distribution

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• Syndication and Aggregation are at the heart of Web 2.0. While not all technologies have them most do. • Syndication, as popularly practiced, is in the form of XML documents (or feeds) that are “marked up” to provide valuable metadata about the content of the document. This metadata can include things like title, URL, content type (text, audio, video), time/date posted, keywords (tags), and so forth. The two most popular types of feeds are RSS and Atom. • Aggregation uses an application (an aggregator) to store links to these feeds. The aggregator then regularly goes to check these feeds for updates. When one has been updated, the aggregator pulls down the newest information and presents it to you as something new that needs to be checked (kind of like what email applications do) •

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• This these technologies are the means for organization and delivery of content in the approach that I will talk about today.

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• This approach uses free, online services to organize and distribute targeted content to learners. While expensive, school-funded, software applications might give you a similar product, most teachers don’t have this funding available. If teachers’ can’t fund it themselves, it likely won’t be used. Also, these online services are accessible to learners at any time. They are not dependent on school networks to access these services, nor are they constrained by course schedules. Learners can take these services with them as they progress through, and even out of, school. • This approach encourages flexible, responsive practice. Students are the only ones with time constraints. Teachers are bound by class schedules. When the bell rings, the class is over. With this approach, teachers can provide individualized support at any time. More importantly, they can do it at a time that works best for them. • This approach encourages students to take control of their own learning.

Particularly in language learning, the Web is simply a gold mine of content. The amount of content on YouTube alone could occupy a learners time for at least 20 years. These are the kinds of media that learners are going to in their free time. We can use this approach to harness the power of online media by having learners process it, organize it, and analyze it. Don’t subject these poor learners to boring instructional videos produced 20+ years ago or de-contextualized reading passages in cookie cutter language workbooks. Let them get out there and find something that interests them.

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• First, teachers will have to use a service that provides syndication (or RSS feeds) for individual tags (or keywords). This means that each posting with a particular tag will be logged on a feed for that tag. We’ll be using del.icio.us to do this. As I stated briefly when listing popular Web 2.0 applications, del.icio.us is a social bookmarking service that enables users to save links to websites. Each of these links also have fields for description of the site and tags. • Teachers then need to populate del.icio.us with resources. It’s a good idea to put some in prior to using this with a class, but not necessary. You can just add resources as you go along. The approach will be easier and easier as your list grows. • Tag each posting for optimal distribution. The more descriptive the tags, the better. • Standardize tags when possible: • Class name • Skills areas • Types of content being linked to • Student names or pseudonyms

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Demonstrate the use of this either with a video or live (depending on available connection)

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• Students must use a kind of aggregator. For this example, I will use a start page service called Netvibes. This enables users to easily add and organize feeds. However, I encourage you to let them use whatever aggregator that they want to. The less they have to change, the more likely they are to take to this approach. • Next, they need to load their aggregators with feeds. Teachers can start them off by providing an OPML file, which is a list of feeds readable by most aggregators (you can likely export this file from your aggregator). They can also manually add these feeds, which might be the easiest for all involved. Lastly, the teacher can provide a “shared” tab in Netvibes for students to start off with. • Some of the feeds that I suggest starting with (if available) are the class blog feed, the class del.icio.us feed, students’ personal page feeds (make sure to have at least one resource tagged for each student before introducing this process), and basic skill area feeds (i.e., writing, grammar, listening, etc.). • Don’t limit users to the feeds that you supply. Enable and encourage them to add feeds themselves. Encourage them to start a del.icio.us account or to subscribe to their favorite blog, podcast, and so forth. Encourage them to use this tagging system as well. They can be a resource for other learners in the course. This encourages active participating in the course and encourages learners to interact with each other to create their own learning network. • Students must use a kind of aggregator. For this example, I will use a start page service called Netvibes. This enables users to easily add and organize feeds. However, I encourage you to let them use whatever aggregator that they want to. The less they have to change, the more likely they are to take to this approach and run with it.

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Demonstrate adding and organizing feeds to Netvibes either with video or live depending on Internet connection

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• Use it Don’t make this a side or extra activity. Use this as your main form of communication from the first day of class. Be consistent in its use throughout the course. If learners have an expectation that they will have to follow these feeds, they will. • Record it We let too much good stuff go in one ear and out the other. How many instructional materials (games, lessons, worksheets, etc.) have you forgotten over the years? What if you had all of these easily available? Wouldn’t that help you in your every day practice. Sure it would. So start recording it. You don’t need a big filing cabinet, you just need to post it. Post it anywhere online then catalog it with del.icio.us. It’s made my life a lot easier and I think it will help you too. • Enforce it Again, this isn’t optional. Make it clear that students will be responsible for information you post. This doesn’t have to be the case for every tag. You might just consider having one tag for assignments. Make that the default for things they have to do (activities, quizzes, etc.) and I also suggest that they be responsible for anything that comes directly to their individual feed. Whatever you do, make sure that you use it regularly, so they get into the habit of using it.

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• Extremely flexible approach. • Not bound to any one product or service. • Most new products/services come with the ability to syndicate. The sky is the limit. I really have to emphasize here that I merely scratched the surface on the potential of this approach. If you’d ever like to talk about this is more depth, please contact me.

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• Focus on the functionality (technology) offered by the services, NOT the services themselves. This approach can be using many, many different services. The focus must remain on the general functions that I described. Variations can be carried out with different services, for example: del.icio.us can be replaced with Blogger, WordPress, or other blogging applications/services and Netvibes can be replaced with PageFlakes (or other start pages) or with Google Reader (or other aggregators). There is no lock-in here. The most difficulty you would have is moving resources from del.iciou.us to another service, but this is getting easier all the time. Moving from Netvibes to another aggregator is easy. You can just export your feeds in an OPML file and load it into another aggregator. • Focus on the concept of developing learning networks through connecting with content and people. Empower your students to move beyond the classroom. Encourage them to go our there and build their own connections with both content and people. Encourage them to explore language through the purposeful use of language as used when interacting with content and people. Ideally, your school or department officially supports this in all classes. There’s nothing worse than trying to encourage autonomy in your students when it is not valued in other courses. • Focus on the fact that the more you grow and tag your repository, the easier it gets to find, process, and disseminate that information. This approach will change the way that you use the Web. The more that you do it, the better you will understand how making connections to content and people is valuable for both your students and yourself. Connecting with others on a

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Thank you very much….Any questions? I’d like to point out the link below to my blog, IUCALL, at http://iucall.blogspot.com. I will post this presentation as well as some how-to videos on using the services used in this presentation. You may also contact me through a chat widget on all of my Web pages. If I’m not online, you can use this to leave me a message.

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