Emerging Technologies: Blogs and Wikis: Environments for On-Line Collaboration

By Godwin-Jones, Robert | Language, Learning & Technology, May 2003 | Go to article overview

Emerging Technologies: Blogs and Wikis: Environments for On-Line Collaboration


Godwin-Jones, Robert, Language, Learning & Technology


Language professionals have embraced the world of collaborative opportunities the Internet has introduced. Many tools--e-mail, discussion forums, chat--are by now familiar to many language teachers. Recent innovations--blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds--may be less familiar but offer powerful opportunities for online collaboration for both language professionals and learners. The underlying technology of the new tools is XML ("extensible markup language") which separates content from formatting, encourages use of meta-data, and enables machine processing of Internet documents. The latter is key in the ability to link automatically disparate documents of interest to individuals or groups. The new collaborative opportunities this enables have led some to consider the growing importance of XML as the signal of the arrival of the second-generation Web.

FIRST-GENERATION WEB

Asynchronous Tools

First-generation tools are far from disappearing from the Internet landscape. E-mail continues to be a viable tool for tandem learning and classroom exchanges. Now that most e-mail programs support formatted text and graphics, e-mail is more attractive and versatile than in the days of plain ASCII. Multimedia can now be embedded directly in messages and non-Roman characters are more easily supported. However, many instructors have increasingly turned to discussion forums as the principal tool for written exchanges among class members. Compared to e-mail, discussion forums facilitate group exchanges, and they maintain automatically a log of all messages in a threaded, hierarchical structure. Some instructors find that students consider language structure somewhat more in contributing to discussion forums (as a form of semi-public display) than in writing e-mail (a quick and easy private and informal system). Discussion forums are often seen as an equalizing tool, which encourage universal participation in discussion compared to face-to-face dialogue. It will be interesting to see whether new voice-based forums such as Wimba change that dynamic.

Of course, it is the encouragement of peer-to-peer networking and buddy learning, so central to a constructivist learning approach, which has made discussion forums the mainstay of Web courses in most disciplines. Language teachers have found that students at many different levels benefit from the extra writing done in discussion forums and from its use to communicate meaningfully in real contexts. While dedicated software for creating discussion forums exists (such as WWWBoard), many instructors have access to built-in forum creation in a learning management system (LMS) such as WebCT or Blackboard. Features across the different systems are very similar, although the look and feel may differ significantly. Some dedicated products, such as WebCrossing, offer additional add-ons such as polls, live messaging, and enhanced monitoring. Although most commonly used as part of a class, there are certainly uses of forums outside that setting as well, as in learner participation in native speaker forums. For commonly studied languages, there are on-line forums available on a wide variety of topics, often organized by media outlets or interest groups. As one recent study of their use by language learners points out, students need to approach such forums with a good understanding of the conventions used and of the cultural dynamics at work.

Synchronous Tools

Language learners face even more the issue of knowing rules and conventions when entering chat rooms, whether they be a variation of a MOO or just a generic, text-based chat. Often there are shortcuts and etiquette, which can prove confusing and frustrating to new users. Nevertheless, some language teachers have embraced the use of chat as an effective communication tool. The speed of chat exchanges forces short, spontaneous messages, which more closely mimic spoken exchanges than is the case in discussion forums. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Emerging Technologies: Blogs and Wikis: Environments for On-Line Collaboration
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.