Due to design reasons, the content of the proceedings had to be modified, some of the tables, figures, abstracts etc. had to be removed. The printed version is available here.
Day I Session II Thème 2
The Effect of Pedagogical Agents on Distance Education Students’ Achievement and Attitude.
Pr. Figen Unal, Faculty of Communication Science, Anadolu University, Eskisehir.
Ozlem Ozan, Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskisehir, Turkey
Integrate Social Networking Technology to Facilitate Online Community Learning: EMI Special Issue Experiences.
Pr. Chih-Hsiung TU, Pr. Michael Blocher, Joshua Ntoruru, Educational Technology, College of Education, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, United States
Day II Plenary Session thème 3
Transforming Knowledge and Learning through Digital Technologies and Modalities.
John Hedberg, Peter Freebody, Kim Nichols, Wilhelmina van Rooy, Georgina Barton, Eveline Chan, and Penny Van Bergen, Macquarie University, University of Sydney, and University of Queensland, Australia
ICT’s in Chilean schools.
Nibaldo Gatica Zapata and Didier de Saint Pierre Sarrut, Enlaces, Ministry of Education, Chile
Audiovisual Literacy in Argentina.
Roxana Morduchowicz, National Media Education Program, Ministry of Education, Argentina
Day II Workshops thème 4
Virtual Reality and Computer Games as Characteristic Digital Environment.
Csaba Komló, Zoltán Hauser, Lajos Kis-Tóth, Eszterhazy Karoly College, Hungary
Research-based Design of Effective Game-based Learning: Lessons from Literature.
Cheng-Chang Pan and Michael Sullivan, University of Texas, Brownsville, United States
Students Perceptions of Customized Visuals in Web-Based Learning Environments.
Cengiz Hakan Aydin, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey
Appreciating Visual Aesthetics in Online Learning Environments.
George Veletsianos and Charalambos Vrasidas, University of Nicosia, Cyprus
Day III Plenary session theme 5
New Educational TV Channels in a Digital Age / Les nouvelles télévisions éducatives à l’ère du numérique.
Gaétan Cambra, WebTV TéléSavoirs, France
Serious Games and the Situated Learning Paradigm: a Methodogical Proposal.
Dr. Antonio Santos Moreno, Universitad de Las Americas Puebla, Mexico
A Tour of Digital Art in Europe / Un panorama des arts numériques en Europe.
Dominique Moulon, site Nouveauxmedias.net, Ecole de communication visuelle, Paris, France
The Visual literacy movement has been in place for about two decades. Using the internationally award winning TV program “Do not underestimate me” as a lead, this presentation will first give a introduction to the development and current status of media literacy education in Taiwan, and then will focus on a new model proposed by the author that combines teachers, librarians and parents working together under the general concept of resource-based learning.
Media education has been in place for many decades in Taiwan. However, the general focus has been on the use of media in school teaching, or “teaching with” media. Less interest has been give to “teaching about media”. It is not until the mid-1980s that the field of educational technology and the field of mass media have stated promoting the need for media education that focus on media or visual literacy. One of the leading pioneers is the Center on Media Literacy in Taiwan, based at National Chengchi University. After about a decade of effort, the government and television industry begins to recognize such a need and sponsored the first television program that focuses on teaching young children as well as the general public about “media”. This TV program is aired in the Public Television Channel in Taiwan and
has won many national as well as international TV programming awards. Soon after the broadcasting of this television program, Taiwan established our Media Literacy Education Association and in 2002, the Ministry of Education of Taiwan formally announced the White Book on Media Literacy and insisted that media literacy education be integrated into elementary as well as secondary school curriculum.
Aside from the interest of communication scholars, teachers and educators in promoting media and visual literacy education, librarian has long been interested in promoting information literacy education. They see themselves in a collaborative role with school teachers in such an effort. This is evident in the joint publication of
American Association of School Librarians and Association for Education Communications and Technology on Guideline for School Library Media Programs titled Information Power (1988, 1998). The more recent edition of that guideline is subtitled-Building Partnerships for Learning, which promotes a collaborative model between teachers and librarian in helping student learn information literacy based on the concept of resource-based-learning..
Traditionally, people in visual literacy focus on mass media such as film and television media as they teach about media literacy, while librarians focus mainly on books and other printed media. With media going electronic and digitized, and the internet going multi-media and going into families and daily lives as well as for information seeking purposes. Both media educators and librarians has turned to internet as one of their focus of interest and many has focused on issues of how the internet is affect our children. The Web Awareness Canada Project promoted by Canadian’s Media Awareness Network in 1999 is an example of such concern. The project involves schools, teachers, public librarians as well as parents in a collaborative effort to concern for children and the web.
Based on rationale given above by AASL and AECT and the projects like Web Awareness Canada, the author proposes the need for collaboration of media professionals and librarians in joining efforts of media (visual) literacy and information literacy into an unified theme, and also propose joint effort of teachers, librarians and parents working together under the general concept of resource-based learning in helping our students learn how to learn in an richly mediated information society. Follow-up discussion will be provided with the possibility of implementing such a model in the current Taiwan education infrastructure and social-economic background.
1. Divide class into pairs.
2. Assign each pair a pre-chosen short (2 minute) dialogue from a soap, film, real-life web media (Youtube etc.)
3. Students transcribe the dialogue, building a “script”. (Teacher scaffolds with difficult lexis)
4. Students learn dialogue.
5. Students work intensively with the film media to mirror the exact movements of the actors in the media.
6. Students work intensively with the film media to mirror the exact intonation of the actors in the media.
7. Students put it all together and demonstrate to peers.
8. Peers compare the film and the class actors, and give feedback on authenticity. Each pair gets its turn. No need for shy students to perform in front of class, as teacher has scaffold and accompanied the making of.
9. Rotate scenes between pairs. Change sources.
Introduction / background
The use of video media combined with kinaesthetic learning is an innovative approach to language learning. It seeks to exploit inherent human “mirroring” behaviour in second language acquisition by using video film sequences. This mirroring seems to act as a learning amplifier, and may hold strong ties with
tenants of activity theory. The learning is technology enhanced for the following reasons:
1. The teacher (normally the only authentic speaker of L2 in the classroom) can draw upon many different types of authentic target language individuals, intonations and body language: the teacher has many protagonists in the film-clips which diversify and brighten the language learning experience.
2. The teacher relies upon the class beamer/smart board/promethean board to introduce and teach new scenes.
3. The teacher places individual scenes in Blackboard/CT-Vista on the online course site, and is able to release scenes for individual students, at appropriate times, using the “student view” function. ,
4. Students use their laptops to view the scenes, making them independent of labs and rooms, meaning they can practice in their own time, in free rooms at college.
Firstly it is necessary to ground the area under study in relevant theoretical frameworks, whilst demonstrating a critical understanding of research methods used.
Kinaesthetic learning itself is a relatively new coining of an old and informal approach to learning. In the past, there was little scientific literature on the subject (Asher 1965). Currently, two fields (in separate modes) are worth mentioning. Literacy difficulties with actual touching of letters, moving with sounds, etc. (Oakland et Al. 1988, Carbo 1986, Johnson 2002), and medicine with computer generated virtual reality of simulated surgery (Dede et Al. 1998, Wang et Al. 2004). In the lesson to be researched, language usage is taught with particular onus on intonation, habitus and hexis, Bordieu (1977). In explanation, the sociologist Pierre Bordieau developed the concepts of
Habitus and Hexis. Habitus refers to a person’s entire presentation of themselves: lifestyle, language, clothing, and tastes. A person’s status or rank is socially interpretable by a person’s habitus. If habitus is the macro of identity in expression, then hexis is the micro. Hexis is the gestures, mimic, and bodily movements that define a person’s identity, and are immediately related to language, Bordieau (1977).
Students act out scenes from 2 minute clips, learning the EXACT movements which accompany words and phrases. This follows a structured build up, starting with group exercises and ending with couples working in twos on their scenes. Students thereby learn to copy the movements and gestures associated with a particular native-speaker. They learn this in liaison with the language. They effectively re-enact the mirroring process adopted in
childhood learning. They are placed in a position similar to that of an individual, seeking entry to a social group (community of practice). In such a case it has been identified that it less aspects of clothing and personal taste (habitus) but more importantly; lexical choice, gesture, mimic and intonation (hexis), which allow entry into the group, Mercer (2006). These are the more salient individual traits that gatekeepers of social groups look for, and those that individuals seeking to belong aspire to.
In example, a skater (a member of the youth community of practice based around the activity of skateboarding) may have a dress code and manner corresponding with his group identity. However, it remains possible for a skater to identify another skater who might be wearing a suit (for a job interview) after exchanging a few words, hearing the skater-typical lexical choice, intonation and seeing the gesture and mimic. Similarly, a language learner embedded in a family in the country of the target language will - in keeping with sociolinguistic theory (Buchholz 2003) - implicitly pick up
language from the family as he/she attempts to fit in linguistically1. However,
as the skater example above illustrates, it is the intonation, gesture and mimic which are key to the facilitation of language itself. The use of film media
simply seeks to exploit this aspect of language to amplify the learners’
language learning experience.
1 This is the explanation for the common knowledge assumption that people only really learn a language by living in the target country, and interacting with the people.
A side-effect of using video media and construction “acting” (mirroring) lessons is the motivational bonus which is apparent in almost all students – lessons become fun, whilst remaining target oriented and structured.
Lightbrown and Spada (2003) point to three pedagogical processes for motivating students, which are:
1. Motivating the students
2. Varying the activities, tasks and materials
3. Using cooperative rather than competitive goals.
Previous (unpublished quantitative questionnaire) research carried out by the researcher on motivation in such a pilot-class demonstrated that students felt highly motivated as a result of the multisensory teaching methods used. It is felt that the kinaesthetic learning approach is facilitative of the above for many reasons, grounded in the theory discussed below.
Kinaesthetic pedagogy follows a situativist (Oliver et Al. 2007) approach to learning through observation, interaction and work on the identity itself. Physical imitation is recognised as perhaps the most important facet of learning psychology, Tewarthen & Colwyn (2005). Building on this theme, newer research shows the existence of a “mirror neuron”. This is situated in Broca’s language area of the brain Arib & Rizalotti (1998), already associated with recoding phonological information of visually presented information, Knight & Hynd (2004), and is said to be fundamental in communication the importance of language learning.
"This mechanism provides the neural prerequisite for development of inter- individual communication, and finally of speech," Arib 1998
"For communication to succeed, both the individual sending a message and the individual receiving it must recognize the significance of the sender's signal. Mirror neurons are thus the missing link in the evolution of language. They provide a mechanism for the sharing of meaning.
The importance of this new element underlines the effectiveness of mirroring as a (language) learning tool, one that is apparent, if implicit, and leads us to the function of tools.
Crook and Dymot (2005) point to the use of new tools being a cognitive accelerator. Jonassen and Rohrer-Murphy (1999) that activity must precede learning (activity theory). A marriage of these two concepts seeks for a new tool involving activity, and so the activity of acting out (mirroring film scenes) can be seen as such a new classroom tool. Indeed, this is in essence interactivity and socially constructive.
In the socio constructive communities of practice model Jones & Preece (2006) state that it is important to know what audience is being addressed (sociability), and then to understand what is needed for successful human interaction with a computer interface (usability). Or, it may be ventured, with the tool of educational media and kinaesthetic practice. In the case of this research, groups would certainly form a community of practice and not the less formal community of interest. As with the use of wikis and blogs, usability is an issue. It is for this reason that during the course design, the decision was made to incorporate the selected two-minute film clips as streamed media in the course site on Blackboard/CT-Vista. The rationale for this was not only to use a form of Ed. Tech. with which the students are already familiar, (although it could be argued that all students are already familiar with film), but also to expand and develop the usability of Blackboard. To ride the popularity of film media – and to remain within a structure familiar to the students.
Laurillard et Al. (2000) state that texts should be clearly structured and navigable as “Cognitive costs accumulate for learners using interactive media because the narrative impulse is thwarted.” In the method under investigation, the narrative is embodied in the “story-line” of the film-clip. Laurillard et. Al. argue that course designers must provide opportunities at the discursive and
interactive levels, thereby providing affordances for students to learn. As already discussed, the interactive level is very evident in the kinaesthetic model. The discursive can then be found in a structured framework (such as that outlined by the conversational framework), which is part and parcel of the feedback and interaction process taking place in class2. Laurillard et Al. points out that the cognitive costs paid by students involved in the course are lessened due to a narrative. It would be fair to deduce that the structure of learning is facilitated on a conversational level through student-teacher-peer interaction. Hence it is the affordances related to the
1. kinaesthetic use of film media
2. use of familiar software delivery tools,
combined with the sociability of the group as an established community of practice that point towards a favourable usability.
The above theory would have us believe that this favourable usability is a guarantee for a high interaction. The researcher’s own findings from the earlier unpublished research on motivation bear witness to the salience of this theory in practice.
Further, Jones & Preece’s (2006) framework goes into detail on such matters as empathy and trust, policy and etiquette which while important in the web, are crucial in this particular setting, and will be outlined further in Limitations.
Tolmie (2001) points to data being collected from actual use in real contexts. Crook and Dymot state that “Distributed Learning” is a form of participation in “mediated activity” (Crook & Dymot 2007), mediated by “Cultural Artifacts” Vygotsky (1978); Hence data collection could profit from being collected in situ, (during class time). The mode of kinaesthetic language teaching can be
transported via the recognised cultural artefact of acting, which is mediated by
2In explanation: students perform their “scene” before the class, the teacher then enters into a dialogue with the students as feedback, and students subsequently reflect with peers on their “performance”. This process is repeated several times, and can be seen as a true form of a conversational framework.
the teacher, and distributed thanks to the independence of learners using portable laptops. Learning will take place at home, in breaks and “distributed” and mutually constitutive (Crook and Dymot 2007), amongst learners. The contact and reflection (discursive and interactive) with the teacher, coupled with this mode of learning brings us full circle to with Laurillard et Al, and the conversational framework.
The future Research Problem
The future research problem is whether or not kinaesthetic learning with video media can actually deliver educational goals on a par with curriculum demands. Previous research covers many fields of the multisensory in language teaching. Previous library searches, web-searches and academic web-searches have trawled a modest amount of quantifiable work on kinaesthetic learning in L2. There are also instances of Drama in L2, however, the focus here is usually in facilitation of literature, not language. The instance of actually coupling applied linguistics with movement is not new, but what is a first here is the idea of mirroring movements with language using educational technology. There is no previous published research here.
Significance of the study
Currently, (and previously) the focus in this field has been on motivation, and now the focus has been shifted. As already mentioned, some research was already undertaken earlier this year, on motivation, which was conclusive in proving that the methods used in class were motivational in and out of the classroom. This established, the next logical step is to see whether these motivational classes can actually teach the students any “hard” skills. Approaches such as the one under investigation are often viewed as being “easy options”. A course in “drama” or “shouting and screaming” is often viewed with scepticism. Educationalists may readily accept that they are motivational, but not that they are an effective learning tool. Future research would seek to provide data showing that that this methodology is, or is not facilitative of amplified language learning.
The first question is whether to use research methods of the non- interventionist, semi-interventionist, or interventionist type.
The previous research was semi interventionist, using the method of asking question in a questionnaire. This served the purpose of identifying students subjective perceptions on motivation. With this development of the earlier study, a different approach is needed in order not to affect the validity.
We start with the non-interventionist type of research methods. Observation remains a key form of data collection in this setting, and was used to good effect in the previous study involving kinaesthetic learning and motivation. However, it is stated that “The intention is to be detached and not affect the phenomenon being studied” (Table 1.1). In many ways this is what the researcher does as teacher, yet (as stated in the literature review) the teacher is also the interlocutor in a conversational framework, and as such actively seeks to modify behaviour. This fact alone moves the observation into the realm of the interventionist. It is the experimental, or the quasi-experimental methods which influence or affect people’s behaviour. Indeed, the
kinaesthetic learning methods aim to affect intonation, habitus and hexis in the target language. The dialogue with teacher and mirroring activities all aim to introduce a new facet of identity. Hence observation can only play a subsidiary role supporting more objective research methods. It is most likely that the setting of the study sets the researcher in the role of an interventionist, using experimental methods. Data collection is affected by
this, and can also profit from this. An easy way to measure student’s progress in the English language is to pre- and post-test students on speaking. Interestingly, many students intimated in the previous research questionnaire that even their written, reading and listening English had improved as a result of the kinaesthetic course. This would be an opportunity to quantify this student observation. Hence, pre- and post-testing in all four language skills can serve as primary data collection source.
In order to achieve valid comparative results it will be necessary to involve two other groups in the foundations cohort in the testing sequence. Luckily the cohort of Diploma foundations3 already has extensive pre- and post testing included in the curriculum. These can be easily modified upon approval from the foundations supervisor.
The most interesting from of data collection for the mirroring of habitus hexis and the production of exact mirrored intonation is video recordings of students over the course of practicing one structured conversation mirrored from the video clip. This coupled with video recording of the pre and post Speaking tests will be most illuminative.
The central intention of this study is to measure the student’s learning. The learning taking place is of a specific type, and the research methods above aim to produce data showing what “knock on” effect the kinaesthetic learning may have on conventional skills. It is the aim of these methods to discover if there is a causal link between the kinaesthetic course and English language learning.
Limitations, ethics and setting
Observation is limited as above. Adopting the role of “complete observer” (Hammersly 2007 p. 102), is not viable. Covert observation is rejected outright in this study as both the setting and the researcher’s role of teacher will not allow for any infringement of privacy or deception. However, using data from the previous questionnaire for more informed observation can surely yield pertinent data. Hammersly points to the advantages of using interviews
stating that they are an “extremely important source of data”. As Hammersly puts it, “… there are distinct advantages in combining participant observation with interviews … the data from each can be used to illuminate the other.”
The collection of video data is unfortunately not possible due to ethical considerations. It has been included in the methods section, because it is felt that this mode of data collection will provide a rich source of data in other settings where the ethical situation is not quite so sensitive.
The setting is a Muslim women’s college with very strict rules concerning the modesty and integrity of the students. Taking a picture of a woman in this setting is considered a great insult to the lady in question and the family in general. It is unfortunate but this signifies a serious ethical problem. In fact, the British Educational Research Association (BERA) prohibits the use of research methods when these in any way disrespect the person, or endanger Vulnerable you people and Adults (BERA) causing potential detriment from participation in research, and most significantly from the viewpoint of the students, being exposed to public view in film media. Although BERA ethical guidelines see, The confidential and anonymous treatment of participants’ data is considered the norm for the conduct of research, it is impossible to reassure students of this condition, as the cultural association is fixed. As a result, the researcher is reliant on the other excellent methods of data collection, which despite the difficulty of the situation, are ethically viable, and present no threat to students privacy through participation.
The pre- and post testing strategy provides an overview of student’s progress in the course. In comparison with the control groups’ results, one might be able to deduce a causal link between kinaesthetic methods and language facilitation. However, the limitations of this study lie in the relatively small sample. It is conceivable that other factors such unrelated to kinaesthetic learning may influence the data. These might include the teacher, the students, and the “newness” of the course. A larger sample with several kinaesthetic courses, and more control groups would provide a more secure sample. This is beyond the scope of this study, as are the use of video methods. It can oly be hoped that in future research on this subject may be undertaken in a less ethically delicate situation, where data may be more easily obtainable.
The study has yet to be implemented. However, the following is what is expected from the data collection.
Informed observational data based upon the interview data from the previous study should be helpful in tracking students progress, not only in movement and intonation, but also in interaction with each other. The observations take the place of video, in effect setting the research back by 50 years, using older data collection methods. Based on observation for one semester of a prior group, and the data collected in questionnaire and interview, it is felt that observation will show the following: 20% of students take to the medium immediately with excellent results. +75% will find the methods novel and interesting, and will make progress in their own way, and a small minority will be resistant to the methods.
It is expected that results from tests will constitute a mixture of two components. The interactivity contusive to the kinaesthetic approach is deemed near equally as important to the facilitation of language learning as the kinaesthetic methods themselves. Yet, it is the kinaesthetic methods coupled with the interactivity that effectively combine two learning amplifiers. As a result, those with the best ability to “mirror” will probably be those who already possess a good degree of language performance (Chomsky 1965). However, those with best learning progression will be those who used the kinaesthetic methods to interact positively with the language and each other, and enter into a conversational framework with the teacher.
Discussion / Conclusions
It must be said that the scope for using the full research methodology (including video media) is a solid base from which to harvest data. This data in turn would provide an accurate statement in answer to the research question. However, the ethical issue of the setting has always been an issue, as anyone who has followed my work in this cohort will appreciate. The potential study is a continuation of previous research, and has been relatively
long in the making. Nevertheless, the researcher feels that the challenges posed by the setting should not discourage from an attempt to put research into action.
Language learning is facilitated through interactivity and communication. Key to the concept of both is a sense of personal and group identity, and the typically human trait of fitting in. Mirroring techniques using the media of video are both instrumental in developing a repertoire of essential hexis (and therefore identity) in the target language, but also represent a motivational
plus to any lesson. The following quotations illustrate the importance of identity, the associations with language learning are clear.
“Identity refers both to how one sees one’s own position and meaning in the world, and also how one is identified by others.”
“We develop a sense of our own identity in relation to the social world around us and through interaction with other people.”
Goodman et al. 2004
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Visuals can convey concepts to learners in simple and straightforward ways. The development of instructional technology, with its myriad forms of presenting visual information to the student, offers unique opportunities for the educator to present information that can be grasped quickly. Signs and symbols are the most obvious visual representations, but visuals have been used to explain complex concepts as well.
Students often prefer to learn visually, and creative teachers have successfully integrated visuals into many of the new learning platforms they are using. Drawings, charts, graphs, photographs, video clips, and simulations are just some of the ways that visuals can enhance instruction. Digital images, photography and video, can be integrated into instruction using image storage and manipulation software and platforms such as Picassa, Utube, Flickr and others.
There have been many changes in the way we deliver instruction. We might say that learning has become an “alphabet soup”. There are many examples we could cite, but for the moment we will focus on four letters that represent current teaching and learning environments.
• E- learning (electronic learning)
• B- learning (blended learning)
• M- learning (mobile learning)
• U- learning (ubiquitous learning)
E-Electronic Learning. Electronic learning includes the learning students do online, at a distance or in the classroom using a computer or other electronic device. The development of laptops, handhelds, PDAs and other portable digital devices has enabled teachers to incorporate these tools into their teaching. The use of the WorldWide Web has accelerated the speed with which information can be retrieved, and has challenged teachers to introduce into the classroom the use of electronic tools for gathering information and doing research. Classes that are taught in an electronic learning mode are generally taught online, at a distance, where students and teachers are not gathered in one location. All course materials, resources, assignments, discussions, and grading are done through well-stuctured online learning plaltforms.
B-Blended Learning. Blended learning combines traditional face-to-face classroom instruction with support from online electronic platforms that may contain the class syllabus, resources, interactive discussion boards, and course support materials. These materials are often in the form of visual resources, photographs, video clips, interviews and demonstrations. Blended learning is designed to make use of current information and communication technologies in the on-site classroom. Teachers are being encouraged to use these multiple resources in the classroom and to become “information technology literate”.
M-Mobile Learning. Mobile learning has captured the imagination of educators who want to take advantage of the portable technologies being used by students outside of the classroom. Cellphones, PDAs, cameras, MP3 players, mutimedia mobile phones and video recorders are used by students on a regular basis. The ubiquitous use of mobile devices has caused educators to design learning materials for these handheld devices.
MALL, or Mobile Assisted Language Learning, reflects the usefulness of handhelds in language instruction. In Japan, at Tokyo Women’s Medical University, students in an English Language Learning class downloaded short video clips of the news in English to watch on their mobile phones. In an early study in language learning and handhelds, Thornton and Houser (2005) provided language and vocabulary instruction in short mini-sessions via SMS. They found that the students who learned via SMS had over twice the number of vocabulary words as the students who learned from Web instruction. The scores of SMS students were 100 percent better than students who had received paper and pencil lessons.
Similar work is being done with podcasts. Podcasts provide high quality sound and video in compressed, downloadable format. Students can watch, listen, record, respond to verbal quizzes, submit assignments, record audio journals and receive oral feedback. The growing interest in serious games on portable handhelds adds a new dimension to the opportunities present in mobile learning.
U-Ubiquitous Learning. Ubiquitous Learning takes into account all of the above learning environments and refers to the kind of learning that occurs throughout our daily lives using computers. This term comes from the work in the 1980s, ubiquitous computing that identified computers as becoming an integral part of our daily lives. In 2003 Harvard University launched its HDUL (Handheld Devices for Ubituitous Learning) project to determine how Wireless Handheld Devices (WHDs) could enhance learning at teaching at universities. They identified WHDs as cellphones, personal digital assistants, handheld gaming devices, and portable music players. There are five common features of WHDs: 1) Connectability – they connect to the Internet wirelessly via wireless fidelity, or WiFi, 2) Wearability – they are wearable and therefore always at the fingertips of the user, 3) Instant Accessibility – they turn instantly on and off, 4) Flexibility – they can collect data by accommodating a wide variety of peripheral extensions, and 5) Economic Viability – they have much of the computing capability and expandable storage capacity of laptops at a fraction of the cost (Dieterle, 2004). They provide improved potential for anytime anyplace learning.
Each of the above four learning environments can enhance opportunities for visual learning through the use of well designed course materials. The challenge is to design and produce high quality interactive educational materials using current Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Students currently prefer social interaction, multiple forms of learning and flexible learning environments. These students have been referred to as the “Net Generation”, and some of the best examples of the interactivity they engage in can be found in online social networks.
THE NET GENERATION
Students who were born during 1980-1984 have been called the Net Generation. They entered college at the turn of this century and they have also been referred to as the Millenials. Because of their mastery of new technologies they are also known as Digital Natives. Whatever they are called, they are the children who grew up in a digital culture. They were at ease with computers at an early age and they accomplished complex computing procedures through trial and error. They are not afraid to experiment, and they can listen to MP3s, talk on their cellphones and do homework on their computers at the same time. They use portable electronic devices every day and rely on them for information.
Their activities define multitasking.
Students today prefer active learning. They receive and process information quickly, and they prefer flexible learning environments. Successful educational activities have incorporated handheld devices so that students could extend their learning environments outside the classroom. Students learn visually as well as verbally and the use of cameras, cellphones, and MP3s allow them to capture and receive information, construct their own knowledge and share their knowledge with others. They prefer animated, image-based and interactive information resources, and they want teachers who are not digital immigrants.
ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS
Students have become involved in online social networks to meet friends, find information, share common interests, and exchange ideas. They share photographs, videos, and collaborate on projects. Educators have used networks to promote learning activities. Science experiments are conducted between classrooms gathering climate data in various parts of the world. Foreign language lessons online provide the opportunity for students to practice speaking
with a native speaker.
Facebook. The rapid rise in the use of online social networks is phenominal. In just four years Facebook, the free-access social networking website that connects users by common interest, workplace, city, country and nationality, has grown to over 100 million users.
Many educators have joined to share their teaching experiences using Facebook. Some of the groups are:
• Facebook Education Applications
• Best practices for educators using facebook
• Facebook to teach
Photo Sharing with Flickr and Picassa
Flickr is an online photo system that allows people to share photos with family and friends. Photos can be tagged, browsed and stored.
Picassa is a quick and easy application from Google that is linked to Facebook and allows photo sharing, resizing and storing. Students have photo projects and share images easily this way.
The YouTube phenomenon. The moving image has more appeal and activity that engages the viewer. This is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips that they have made. The user generated feature of this website has encouraged sharing a wide range of videos, from the witnessing of criminal acts to political demonstrations, sports events, creative arts and individual video journals. As of April 9, 2008, YouTube reported having about 83.4 million videos and 3.75 million users. The social dimension and potential uses of this medium for education is huge. There are many examples of videos pro