Introduction to web 2.0: content for teaching/ learning foreign languages

Today the Internet finds way into all spheres of social life. In the conditions of world globalization, information technologies development leads to formation of new ways of the Internet using [18; 1]. Nowadays in many countries there is a tendency of consecutive and steady movement to prepare information society which is urged to create the best conditions for the maximal self-realization of every learner. The main reasons of this process are intensive development and telecommunication technologies and creation of developed information and educational environment. The Internet technologies are less expensive in use, high-speed, resource-saving, and also allow providing extensive access of a vast number of users at the same time. Moreover, the changes in access and speed of connection are accompanied with computer programming management and development. In this regard it is possible to note that transition to information society presupposes deep connection between three components: information, information technologies value and social and structural changes [19; 2]. Besides, there is one more constituent of globalization process. As Tsui and Tollefson mentioned “globalization is effected by two inseparable mediation tools: technology and English to respond to the rapid changes brought about by globalization" [17; 5]. Put it differently, information technologies and English are two paramount aspects of modern life that influence on societal and political changes.

These factors create the need of joint use of the Internet resources. So Web 2.0 technologies favor the development of new version of the Internet usage which motivates users to upload their information to network. The opportunities of the Internet in language instruction are defined by its possibility to imitate people’s speaking and mental activity, to convert text information and to reproduce particular aspects of professional activity. Web 2.0 technologies remind one of a big corporation of knowledge which gets involved users from all over the world. However, the technologies do not only the way of furnishing with information, they also propose collaboration of interested users to form informational and communicative resources [19; 2].

For further investigation of Web 2.0 phenomenon it is necessary to learn the background of this notion. The first mention of this term was in January 1999. Darcy Di Nucci, a consultant on electronic information design, first wrote in her article called "Fragmented Future": “The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screen fuls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screen fuls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will [...] appear on your computer screen, [...] on your TV set [...] your car dashboard [...] your cell phone [...] handheld game machines [...] maybe even your microwave oven.” [5]. She believed that in future web will be concentrated on how the structure of main information and mechanism of hyperlinking applied by HTTP would be used by a vast of platforms and devices. The term of Web 2.0 refers to the next variant of the web that does not connected with the pre-

sent definition of the notion. Until the year of 2002 there is no any evidence of it. Some scientists studied the concepts associated with the term where, as Scott Dietzen maintained, "the Web becomes a universal, standards-based integration platform"[5]. Jоhn Rоbb wrote: "What is Web 2.0? It is a system that breaks with the old model of centralized Web sites and moves the power of the Web/Internet to the desktop.”

In 2004, the popularity of this notion in creased because of O'Reilly Media and Media Live hosted the first Web 2.0 conference. In their introductory speech, Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle highlighted their definition of the "Web as Platfоrm", where software aapplications were created upon the Web as opposed to upon the desktop [14]. The only cause of this transition, they said, is that users are creating their business by themselves. They asserted that the activities of customers producing the content of a programme by adding audio and video files, photos, or articles could be applied to make it fuller and more substantial. So in 2005 the term became well-known as a joint project or environment in which customers have the chance to contribute to an increasing knowledge base, take part in online communities, and also contribute in the evolment of web-based tools. Michael Gorman, former president of the American Library Association, decries the movement towards a usercontrolled Internet as “a world in which everyone is an expert in a world devoid of expertise” [2; 14]. Furthermore, O'Reilly and Battelle compared Web 2.0 technology with its “predecessor” named Web 1.0 [5]. There are evident differences between the very notions and undoubted supremacy of Web 2.0:

Furthermore, these more developed groups of applications are easy to handle and emphasize user participation. These Web 2.0 applications share the following characteristics:

Power to the user. Web 2.0 technologies are fully related to users. о Whereas Web 1.0 applications were prevailed content presented by static pages, Web 2.0 has popularized the web by prioritizing user-generated content, a ownership and social connectivity. In an interview with Stephen Reiss of Wired magazine [13] on News Cоrp's acquisition of Mу Space, Rupert Murdoch stated that “to find something comparable, you have to go back 500 years to the printing press, the birth of mass media…I Technology is shifting power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, and the media elite. Now it’s the people who are taking control.”

  1. Harnessing collective intelligence [13]. Web 2.0 apps recline on interactivity and user-generated content. According to James Surowiecki's approach called 'wisdom of crowds', Web 2.0 applications can be concerned as “foothold” for public power. One of the examples of this can be del.icio.us, a system of collective bookmarking online, which is possible to apply for user-made metadata, so called 'folksonomies', to organize the web.
  2. "Web as a platform" [13]. Instead of useless and pointless using the web as source data, Web 2.0 users can start various Internet applications in their browsers. These applications, such as wikis, blogs, and aggregators, have a involved feature, which induce users to edit, add or just rehash content (mashups). The

main point is microcontent. It contains microblogging such as twitter, blog posts, podcasts, wiki edits, news feeds, photos all of which can be modified using web feeds (RSS, Atom) or AJAX-based apps. The common examples are Facebооk applications (permitting users to import data into their profile), and dedicated aggregators, for example Pageflakes or SuрrGlu.

It's important to note that the today’s students will be settled down to Web 2.0 applications. These 'digital natives' are likely to use an email, social networking accounts, instant messaging, mobiles, VOIP, blogging and virtual identities, systematically, without any difficulties. Nevertheless, many 'digital immigrants' can also be very active in social networking sites, blogging communities and virtual world. Language instructors can motivate using these increasingly familiar tools, those are networking, blogs, podcasts, wikis to grant access to authentic language sources. These sections will find out how these technologies can be applied improving the process of language-learning.

Whereas language learning websites using Web 2.0 may provide great promise for second language education, there is a lack of research on how nowadays people use these sites for both learning and social interaction purposes. A lack of research may be also observed on the pedagogical and technical usability of these sites and how future learners could use these sites to develop their own language learning abilities. Lomicka and Lord claimed that research investigating foreign language acquisition through the use of Web 2.0 technologies is only initial stage to emerge, and research is lacking both from theoretical and empirical perspectives [11].

Not only users are given more alternatives to participate at a developed level, the quality and even the survival of Web 2.0 tools such as wikis, blogs, social networks, and mashups, are largely dependent on the quality and authenticity of the contributions of the users. Blogs are considerably made up of usercreated content, wikis allow multiple users to contribute to a base of growing knowledge, and social networks permit users to develop online communities of shared interests.

Many instructors are discovering how Web 2.0 tools could provide students with opportunities for greater learner control, active construction of knowledge, and access to collaborative learning environments. Using Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom may give teachers different way of achieving the latest generation of learners who are already heavily involved in the Web 2.0 world outside of the classroom. The Web 2.0 may provide essential connections between the learning resources and materials and students, as well as give power to students to simultaneously develop educational knowledge and content [12; 9].

The Web 2.0 is starting to play a role within the more formal learning environment of foreign language classrooms. The writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills and needs of language learners may need a specific type of pedagogical design of educational tools. Interactive, user-developed content within Web 2.0 tools may provide real speaking and listening skills not provided by static Web 1.0 learning tools. For instance, a university survey of multiple disciplines was conducted to rate the students’ satisfaction with their course websites [7; 15]. The learners had the lowest satisfaction with their traditional course website. Some students had a reason for the low scoring as “A Web site can’s answer questions like “How do you pronounce…?” [7; 3]. The course website was not meeting the language learners’ need for feedback and interaction in a new language. Possibly this will for input and the associated need for access to aspects of the foreign culture may be addressed by a more collaborative environment provided by Web 2.0 technologies.

Godwin-Jones refers to specific example of teachers using the Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom to facilitate language learning; instant messaging tools are being incorporated for interaction based on texts with native speakers and downloadable podcasts are being created at the disposal of students for listening skills and recognition of words. Web-based gaming environments can provide a space for students to assume an online identity and interact with others in the foreign language. Many of these tools are just in the starting stages of classroom integration, but foreign language instructors are beginning to find a use for Web 2.0 tools within the classroom [3]. Further research is needed on how to evaluate these types of tools usage for language learning purposes.

Usability testing is a method of evaluation commonly used to check the general ease of software and websites usage for final users. Recording and observing the way users interact with a website allows researchers to discover issues that help or prevent users’ attempts to achieve specific individual goals [9]. Many researchers are discovering the usage of some techniques to determine how usable a site is for learners could be also be used to determine learn ability of an educational site for learners [13]. Out of this interest in usability, as it could apply to educational websites and software, has grown the notion of “pedagogical usability,” as distinguished from “technical usability” [13]. Technical usability is known as the general usability of a tool for a user, that is how easily users can complete a task with the least number of obstacles. Pedagogical usability applies specifically to how usable and learnable the website is for students. Non-educational websites and software are expected to assist users do tasks as quickly as possible. Educational websites should also provide a way for learners to learn during the task, and the quickest route may not always be the best way for students to learn the content. Providing users with a direct solution to an obstacle may not be the preferred outcome when users must learn during the process [13]. A website that is technically usable may not be pedagogically usable. However, both pedagogical and technical usability are very important for language learning environments because of easy way of website using may be just as important as the effectiveness of its learn ability [12; 3-8].

In conclusion, Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, blogs, RSS, social networking, podcasting, tag-based folksonomies, and peerto-peer media sharing enable interoperability and make it easier for students to connect with and learn some information from one another. “Learner-produced content” is a reminder that with the help of such supporting tools, appropriate activities empower participants and allow them to display their creativity, simplify collaboration and the production of shared artifacts. Most of the user interaction in “Web 1.0,” characterized by technologies such as bulletin boards, chat rooms, and email, was centered on conversation or dialogue, which images the participation metaphor of learning. With Web 2.0 tools the contributions of the community play a focal role, and many Web sites exist exclusively as vehicles for supporting those contributions. Educational technologies which include those that are part of Web 2.0 and outward, are best used to provide support and scaffolding for learning and reflection within the authentic, real world contexts in which knowledge construction naturally occurs. A range of learner-centered pedagogies should afford learners a real sense of agency, control, and ownership of the learning experience, and the capacity to create and distribute ideas and knowledge. To deliver such this, we should leverage the available technologies to extend and transform current practices, while keeping students and the social dimensions of learning at the foreground [8; 11].

 

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Year: 2013
City: Almaty
Category: Philology