Twitter. Using microblogging for educative & research purposes.


What is Twitter?
What are Hashtags? Working with #hashtags
What is a Retweet?
What is a list? Creating a list
Followers and Followed
@Replies
References to the lists of our course

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social network based on microblogging. It allows you to post entries, as in blogs, but the particularity is that they cannot be longer than 140 characters. These micro-entries are called tweets, and the act of writing and publishing a tweet is called tweeting, which explains why Twitter’s symbol is a bird. Tweets can also contain different types of media, such as pictures, videos, and GIF images.

Given the very limited extension of the entries, you need to compact information so that you manage to tell something interesting and important, otherwise nobody would follow you. Because this is one of the most interesting features of Twitter: you can follow people you like in order to receive their tweets in your tweet feed, that is, your Twitter homepage. Usernames begin with @, like @apps_tic_ei, and you can tag people in a tweet so as to share it with them, acknowledge them as its source as well as engage in discussion.

What are Hashtags? Working with #hashtags.

Another important feature of Twitter is hashtags, which allow users to identify their tweets as relevant to a topic or an event. Their name is self-explanatory: a tag beginning with a hash. Anyone can invent their own hashtags, but they are more likely related to a topic, such as #lylitadistancia, the one we use most in Aplicaciones TIC. Thus, you can use the search tool in order to find all the tweets that contain a specific hashtag. Besides, if many people are using the same hashtag at the same time, it will become “trending topic” and it will be featured prominently on Twitter’s homepage. They are equally useful for the live broadcasting of events: if you are attending a conference or talk, you can post tweets explaining what is going on and adding the hashtag chosen for the event, as it was done during the X Seminario TIC-ETL: Recursos para la investigación en Tecnologías de la Lengua, for which the hashtag #XSeminarioTICETL was used.

What is a Retweet?

It is usually abbreviated as RT, and it is used on to show you are tweeting content that has been posted by another user. The format is RT @username where username is the twitter name of the person you are retweeting.

Features of retweets:

Retweets have the same features of a tweet but with the twitter name of other profile.
For instance, if someone you follow writes in a tweet something that you consider important or hilarious, that would be a great time to retweet it. Thereby your followers will read it too.

How to retweet?

These are the steps to follow:
1. Hover over a Tweet.
2. Click the Retweet icon.
3. A pop-up will show you the Tweet you’re about to Retweet.
4. Click the Retweet button.
5. The Tweet will then be shared with all of your followers as a Retweet!

From https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169873

What happens when one retweets?

As we read in the official web page “Retweets look like normal Tweets with the author’s name and username next to it, but are distinguished by the Retweet icon and the name of the user who retweeted the Tweet.

If you see a message from a stranger in your timeline, look for retweeted by info in the Tweet — the retweeter should be someone you follow.”

Where do Retweets appear?

⌑ Tweets retweeted by other people: You can see Retweets your followers have retweeted in your home timeline.

Retweets, like regular Tweets, will not show up from people you’ve blocked.

⌑ Tweets you have retweeted: If you retweet someone you follow, it will be visible on your profile timeline.

If you retweet someone you do not follow, it will be visible on both your home and profile timelines.

⌑ Your Tweets that others have retweeted: Go to Notifications in the top navigation bar. In the Notifications section you will see all activity concerning your Tweets — including which have recently been retweeted and by whom.

From https://support.twitter.com/articles/77606

Benefits of retweeting:

We can find a lot of information on the internet about benefits of retweeting due to the importance of it in the marketing area as well as other fields as media.

⌑ A Retweet may provide valuable information to your followers:

If you can provide value to your followers you will not only make your fans or followers happy, you will most likely attract more followers. Providing quality content is always a great way to provide your followers with value. The first thing that comes to mind is sharing a link with interesting information that is from you or another person.

⌑ A Retweet can benefit your personal brand both on the internet and in your career:

Retweeting will help build your personal brand as well as your fans´ loyalty. If you point a follower to an external source that is truly relevant and beneficial to them, the amount of trust that person has in you will increase. The next time you post a link, whether it’s to your website or to an external source, the chances of that person clicking that link are higher than before.

⌑ A Retweet can help you build relationships with other members:

Retweeting someone else’s content is an act of kindness, and others are likely to do the same for you. This doesn’t mean that you should expect someone to retweet your content just because you retweet theirs. Remember, retweeting is all about providing value to your followers, typically people will not retweet a post of yours unless it’s perceived as important or helpful.
If you retweet sending Spam, this can actually hurt your personal brand and future traffic. If done right, a retweet can provide value to your followers, improve your personal brand, increase the number of followers, and build relationships with a lot of people.

From http://twitterwatchdog.com/2009/06/07/3-benefits-of-retweeting/

From http://parallelfraid.weebly.com/blog/benefits-of-retweeting-on-twitter

@Replies

When you want to reply to someone, you hit the little reply arrow in your client or on the web. The client will insert that users name with an @ sign, like @shanselman. It will also populate some hidden metadata indicating which tweet you were replying to. It’s helpful to reply to specific tweets as it makes the conversation easier to follow later. Often newbies reply to the most recent tweet, but then make reference to tweets from days before.

For maximum social-ness, the first setting you should change when you sign up for Twitter is your @replies setting. Set it to show replies from anyone rather than just the replies from people you follow. Otherwise you’ll miss out on a lot of the conversation.

I can see your replies even if I don’t follow you. You don’t need permission from me or anyone to reply and jump into a conversation.

From http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HowToTwitterFirstStepsAndATwitterGlossary.aspx

What is a list? Creating a list.

A list is a supervised  group of Twitter, A person can create His/her own list or subscribe to a list which has been created by others. These lists are only used to read Tweets from users on that list and you can not send a Tweet to the members of a list.

For building a list, you have to go to your Profile clicking on your Photo, scroll to Lists and there, on the right side, you can click on Create new list. In the appearing window you introduce a name and a description and, after saving, you can introduce in your new list any Twitter user as a Member which you want (yes, even without their permission).

The advantage of doing this is that you follow all the Tweets of the List members from that moment. All of it without becoming a direct Follower of any user. As it has been said previously, one cannot send a tweet to the list members at once.

How lists work: functions and use.

First of all, you have to create a list with a name and a short description. There are two possibilities: make your list private or public.
Once you have a list, you can do different functions:
Remove or add people from your list. You only have to select ” Add or Remove from list” and people that you add, they should appear when you select “Members”.

Share a list with others in three steps:

-Go to the list you’d like to share
-Copy the URL that appears in your browser’s address bar
-Paste the URL into a message to anyone that you want to share the list with.

Look at Tweets from a list in two steps:

-Click on the lists tab on your Profile Page
-Click on the list you’d like to look at and you will see all the Tweets of that list.
-Edit or delete lists

Differences between followed and followers.

Followers are people who follow you because they want to read your Tweets when you post them. Thus, when you have followers you are followed. For instance, if you subscribe to a company’s Twitter account, the company is “followed” by you, whereas you are its “follower”.

References to the lists of our course.

For our course, Professor Jordano has established several lists, with a lot of specialized-in-our-field Twitter users as Followed @Connect’s (List Members). Students like us can include themselves in the different lists as Followers (Subscriptions’ List).

For doing this you have to go to the @Connect you wish, for example, @apps_tic_ei, there you can see in upper side: Lists, you click on this and all the list names appear, you click on that you are interested in and a button appears on the left, indicating Subscribe to the list. When you click on it, you become a member of the list and in Tweets you can see all the Tweets of the List Members (no the list followers’). For @apps_tic_ei, the lists are Unit 1 to Unit 5.

Aplicaciones de las TIC Group 3: Becerra D., Muñoz A., Núñez-Lagos B., Rebollo J., Sanjosé A. Supervisor & Reviewer: Borreguero L. Coordinator: Jordano M.

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Three Tools for Creating your Mind Maps

Impressions about MindManager, FreeMind and CMapTools

I have not tried these tools before, neither their computer version nor the mobile one. However, in order to learn a little bit about them, I have downloaded them to my mobile and I have worked with them during this week. These are my impressions about them:

  • MindManager:

This tool has more than one million downloads and a score of 4 points out of 5 in Google Play. Nowadays it is one of the best values tool for mind maps. However, there are many comments on the net that say that Mindjet doesn’t goes very well when working with the mobile version. It seems that there are some problems with the templates and the synchronization with Dropbox.

My experience is that it is a very intuitive app. I found it simpler than the computer version and it is faster to learn. You can create a simple map in just 5 minutes.

Mind

However, when I try to recuperate the project that I have written before with the normal version, there were many problems. It spent a lot of time, and when I got to open it, it was all wrong. The connections weren’t correct, the colours had changed and everything was a mess. There were warnings saying that some features are only supported on Mindjet Web accounts.

MINDJET

So, I coincide with the comments I read: the mobile version, although simpler, it’s not good when opening Dropbox files.

  • FreeMind:

Freemind is an open source mind mapping tool built in Java, and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It has a wide variety of features, including location-based mind mapping, collaboration tools, restore session support and more.

It can be used to keep track of projects as a knowledge base, and as a powerful mind mapping tool for complex diagrams with numerous branches, including embedded links and multimedia. You can export your map as HTML, PDF, OpenDocument, SVG or PNG. FreeMind auto-layout makes searching clean and useable.

First, I downloaded the computer version http://sourceforge.net/projects/freemind/files/freemind/1.0.1/FreeMind-Windows-Installer-1.0.1-max.exe/download?use_mirror=netcologne&download=

Then I made a simple map about some of the databases that appears in unit 2 and exported to other formats: .jpg, .pdf…

When I downloaded the mobile version I have some difficulties. The first one was that in Google Play there were two apps available: FreMind Reader and FreeMind Viewer Free. I tried the first one. I accessed my Dropbox (you can also use your Drive), selected the file and I could see it in my phone. This app is used only to visualize.

FreeMind.jpg

After that, I downloaded the second app. This app is used to create your maps, but it is very simple. I hasn’t got many options although it is easy to learn.

The worst part of all: it is full of advertisements (as you can see in the pictures I attach).

  • CMapTools:

I downloaded this tool and started to try it. One of the things that I like is that I could access to many models that people share on the net. This way it is easy for me to have a global vision about the kinds of maps that you can create.  You can also share your maps and upload them to the Cloud, and other platforms.

CMapTools.jpg

The difference with respect to other tools is that you can add web links, so it is more useful because you can access directly to those resources easily and from wherever you are. It is simple to use. However, I could not find a mobile version. When I tried to download this tool it always said that it was not possible to open the file. It seems that this app is only available for Windows Mac, Linux and Solaris, not for Android.

Now it is your turn to decide. Which one do you prefer? Do you know other tools? Thank you in advance for sharig your comments.

The LION in the library (AKA Activity 1.2)

Thanks for sharing your blog!

Mis TIC - Ruth

I am back again to show you a great bibliographic database, quite intuitive. Ladies and gentlement… welcome to Literature Online (LION).

LION Literature Online (LION) http://literature.proquest.com.ezproxy.uned.es/

What is LION?

In this case it is specially important to be logged in to Campus UNED. UNED pays the subscription fee, otherwise you would only see a login page (like this one)

As I am studying American Literature II right now, I wanted to see some information about  ‘The Great Gatsby’, and there were 1530 results.

LIONSearch LION – Search The Great Gatsby

As you can see, the information can be filtered by content type on the left hand bar.
My choice was this document, in ‘Reference Works’: The Great Gatsby  from KnowledgeNotes™ Student Guides

Please, if you love literature in English, visit this database and search your favourite author or book! And let me know if you found what you were looking for 😉

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LANGUAGE LEARNING TOOLS ONLINE: WHICH ONE IS THE BEST?

I have always thought that the best way of learning a foreign language is going to the country and speaking with the native people of that language. That’s the reason why I went to Canada when I was only 16, and I decided to study a degree in London after I finished the secondary school. However, something that it wasn’t planned at all, it was meeting my Italian ragazzo in London. I laughed at my friend Louise when she first showed me her new app Duolingo. She started dating her Italian boyfriend a month before me, and after months teaching him English she decided that she wanted to learn the Latin language. I also thought about downloading the app, but instead I printed the list with all the Italian verbs following the methods I was taught in school… Anyway, my list is still on my phone and I have probably used it once. The way I have learnt Italian is listening and throwing in the air the most absurd sentences in Italispanish which, for some reason, all of them understood. Now, I’m very fluent talking but I’m very frustrated since I cannot answer any of my what’s app or facebook messages in Italian. Therefore, I’m looking for a fast and fun way of learning how to write in this language and I would like to try with modern methods this time.

I had a look to some of the language learning tools online and this is what I found:

Duolingo

OKAY, SO WHAT MAKES IT GREAT? Duolingo is a crowdsourced text translation platform designed so that, by learning a new language, users inadvertently provide translations for documents. Because of this, Duolingo is completely free! It helps with the translation process as well: along with practicing your reading and speaking comprehension, by re-typing translations, it forces you to use proper spelling. Like Mango Languages, grammar is also subtly integrated into the learning process.

AND THE DOWNSIDE? Unfortunately, Duolingo only offers five languages to study at the moment: Spanish, Italian, French, Brazilian Portuguese, and German. Users are also unable to be judged on their speaking skills, and although you can create a profile for yourself, there seems to be little to no community to practice with.

LiveMocha

OKAY, SO WHAT MAKES IT GREAT? LiveMocha is the most-used of the three programs, and it shows through its extended abilities and large community. Users can choose from over 35 languages and a variety of styles to study: vocab, reading and writing, reading and speaking, listening and writing, listening and speaking, etc. What really sets LiveMocha apart is its huge community – users are encouraged to help one another practice, which rewards them with points.

AND THE DOWNSIDE? Since we’re on the topic of points… it’s LiveMocha’s biggest issue. While users can do many activities for free, unlocking new lessons costs “points.” You can purchase points if you need, but by correctly answering questions or helping others, LiveMocha rewards you with free points to use. It’s a bit confusing, and rather unnecessary, considering how easy it is to achieve points. As for the learning style, it felt a little quick, which was a struggle at times. Another problem is communication in the new Livemocha is very limited and the lessons are min-numbingly dull. The technical bugs and errors in their lessons are frequent too.

Mango Languages

OKAY, SO WHAT MAKES IT GREAT? Mango Languages offers over 50 languages to choose from, many of which are available in ESL format as well. The system is beautifully designed and easy to navigate. Students are introduced to both grammar and cultural notes as they study. Mango also uses colors to distinguish words in sentences, which proved to be helpful when learning terms for the first time.

AND THE DOWNSIDE? MangoLanguages is not technically a free service, although many can access the program for free through their local library. (You can check here!) In addition, although users can record their pronunciation, you are speaking to a computer. Many language programs provide communities for users to speak with native speakers, which Mango cannot offer.

 

CUT TO THE CHASE: WHICH SHOULD I CHOOSE?

All three are excellent programs, but if money isn’t an object, we have to recommend LiveMocha first. Being able to talk with native speakers is a huge benefit when learning a language, and LiveMocha’s large community is something to take advantage of. However, if you’re casually studying, consider DuoLingo if your language is one of the few they offer. Otherwise, if used through a local library, MangoLanguages is a great, free language tool, as well.

 

 

 

Sources: Information taken from http://blog.dynamiclanguage.com

Best Platforms to Create a Blog for Your Class

Blogs have become one of the most used tools among teachers. They have many benefits for teachers, students and their families. If you are planning to create a blog for your class, here is a compilation of platforms that you can use.

Not only blogs, but also webpages. This is what Weebly offers. It uses a simple widget-based site builder that you operate in the web browser. All the elements are drag-and-drop so it is really easy to configure. This tool generates also a mobile version of your blog automatically.

You can have your personal domain by paying an annual fee. If not, the default domain is .weebly.com

Storage through Weebly is unlimited. However, the service restricts individual file sizes.

By using education.weebly.com you can administer your students’ accounts, create online tasks and inform their parents.

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Easy, safe and secure. It allows you easily create & manage student and teacher blogs, quickly customize designs and include videos, photos & podcasts.

However, if you want to manage your students’ accounts you have to upgrade to a “pro” version. This has a cost of about 40$ per year. This “pro” version also allows you to have multiple authors, which is forbidden with the free account.

It is a shame that the free version offers so little: you cannot neither include videos nor custom HTML to embed items into posts. You are allotted a free space of 32.00 MB.

Edublogs-2k7t2ct-1oe30zf

If you are not an expert, this is one of the simplest platform and it is absolutely free. In less than 15 minutes you can create your first post by using some of their templates. If you don’t like any of them, you can download millions of free templates that are on the net and adapt them to your necessities.

It supports 100 users, so you can have many publishers: colleagues, friends, students’ families… And it is possible to have a mobile version too.

It hasn’t got any advertisement, although if you want to insert them the only thing you have to do is to create an account on Google Adsense and generate the kind of ads you want to show. But… don’t expect to be rich instantly.

The price of having your own domain is about 15$ per year.

blogger

It is one of the most popular blogging platforms nowadays. This is a little more complicated than the previous one but it has plenty of options. When you sign up you can set up the blog on your own server or on a WordPress-hosted blog. The number of array of configurations is so big that you may be lost at first, but after watching some tutorials and examples it is easy to manage too.

It supports multiple authors and you can use your own domain by paying around 25$ per year.

Unfortunately, if you want to remove the ads that appear on your blog, it is necessary to pay a fee and, even if you want to have them, it is very difficult to obtain any money for publicity.

índice

 

 Now, take your time and start to publish!

 María Pérez Navarro

Advantages of Using Blogs for Teaching

Blogs had a great potential for students learning when tasks are developed to align with course objectives. A blog allows anyone (from pre-primary to post-graduates) to publish information online. Pupils use technology constantly so why not use this in our favor? Let’s see some their advantages!

  1. Writing skills improvement: students (and people in general) write better if they know that someone is going to read what they are creating. Blogs allow us to write to an authentic audience, even bigger than we could think. Our articles can be read all over the world and this creates great expectations. Students pay more attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation because they know it. Teachers, friends, family, other people around the world can see our creations.
  2. Anytime, anywhere: there are not frontiers. Internet accesses allow pupils to engage with other students and teachers instantly, so they have the chance to discuss questions as they arise providing significant learning. Furthermore, we can access to this knowledge whenever we want. It is always available.
  3. Reflection time: as we have this availability we also have plenty of time to sit down, write and reflect on what we have learned while learning to create an emotional connection to that information. Instead of putting contents into our brains (as if into a bin) we can relax, think about our learning and establish meaningful connections.
  4. A place for everyone: if we think about it, we can always remember the typical shy boy/girl who sat at the other side of the classroom, as if hiding himself from the teacher. Blogs break this kind of barrier allowing students to communicate their inner thoughts and maybe we get astonish when a student who never wants to participate in our activities, writes in our blog and expresses himself/herself. This is a great opportunity to know them more and a starting point to practice social skills.
  5. Creativity: a blog is a great tool for improving our creativity and personal iniciative. As part of our reflection we can create things using other tools (videos, podcasts, pictures…).
  6. People learning from other people: we can share our ideas, feelings, questions, experiences… to others. Students can add to and edit content written by each other. They can communicate and receive feedback almost instantaneously. They are no longer confined to a class groupings or techers within a classroom. Maybe a student from New Zealand can solve our doubts. Our audience: the entire world. This may result in a net of interconnected knowledge with no geographical borders.
  7. Parents’ availability: each year more and more parents are not available to attend the school meetings because they work full-time. Blogs helps them to see what their children are doing in class, so they can bridge the gap in the home school connection.
  8. Motivation: all these reasons motivate our students a lot. Using ICT in class generates expectations and a great feeling of innovation. Our pupils have fun with this kind of activities while learning without even noticing.
  9. Interconnected knowledge: art, technological skills, writing skills, maths, geography, foreign languages… we can work on every subject and even integrating them.

Do you know more advantages of blogging for teaching? Then make a comment. I would really appreciate it.

María Pérez Navarro.

Interview to a Uned Librarian

Librarian interview

  • What are the requirements for becoming a librarian? Which are your tasks in the library?

You need to study a degree in Library and Information Studies, a fluent level of writing (English, French, or German) and to be successful in a public competition. In my case, as that degree didn´t exist, I studied Philology and some courses about cataloguing (monographs, magazines and file documents) in different formats (paper and CD-ROM).

My tasks in this very position are: process and cataloguing of reference works, as well as doctoral thesis. Management of databases, advice to researchers and teachers about electronic resources provided by the university, advice about evaluation tools for the research, classroom learning about databases, etc.

  • How many years have you been working as a librarian? How much has your work changed since you started working on it?

I have been doing this job for 18 years. It has changed a great deal, given that there were no computers in the library at the beginning. Cataloguing was done on cards, using a typewriter and sometimes by hand. You had to come to the library if you wanted to consult a book or an article.

  • Over the years, ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) have been progressively introduced in our lives. To what extent do they affect a librarian?

It has had an impact on virtually every aspect of our work, from the cataloguing process to the way we communicate with the user, including literature searches.

  • What courses have you done in your work to adapt and better meet the needs of users?

I have taken courses dealing with assessment tools for research and with publications with a high impact factor.

  • How can a librarian support online users to prepare well-structured research or to do other tasks?

Through tutorials or video-tutorials development.

  • For you, which are the advantages of using either databases directly, metasearchers or platforms for research purposes? What search tool would you advise for undertaking the end-of-degree project?

Everything will depend on the degree of deepening that you need. In order to do the end-of-degree project, it will be enough with the search of a “metasearcher” or “discovery” such as Linceo+.

If you are writing a thesis or a further investigation, I would recommend you a database lookup.

  • Is it usual to call upon other libraries for the lending of books? Which are the procedures to follow?

Yes, it is. In almost all libraries, there is a service called Inter-library Loan. The procedure to follow will be to address you to the librarian (face-to-face or virtually) and you have to request the book or magazine that you are interested in. The librarians will be in charge of locating the book and indicating when the book is available. In the case of a magazine article, they send it to you digitally by e-mail.

  • What tools do you know that are better in making full texts searchable than Linceo+?

I don’t know any one better

  • When searching for information from different sources, which strategies can we use in order to avoid duplicities in the results?

You can use a reference manager such as Refworks which locates and deletes the duplicate records.

  • Do you think the librarian role (and profile) is in risk due to the technological advances? What will be its role in the mid-term?

I don’t believe this profession is in danger as information always needs to be managed… Although,  the format of that information will change and will be especially electronic. We will become the supervisors of the contents instead of the owners of the information, due to the fact that there will exist more electronic books than paper ones. 

Aplicaciones de las TIC Group 3: Becerra D., Merino L., Muñoz A., Núñez-Lagos B., Rebollo J., Sanjosé A. Supervisor & Reviewer: Borreguero L. Coordinator: Jordano M.

 

Livemocha: tool for learning

 Livemocha web as a tool for CoP ( http://learn.livemocha.com)

The Livemocha community is made up of language enthusiasts: teachers, language experts, other language learners, and native speakers proud of their language and heritage.  Community members help each other learn in a myriad of ways: they leave comments in response to practice exercises, build mini-lessons within exercise feedback, have practice conversations via text, video or audio chat, provide language practice and culture tips, and give much-needed encouragement.

It is universally agreed that conversational proficiency in a language is most effectively acquired and retained through immersion. The Livemocha community provides learners with a convenient and safe environment for language immersion and is an essential component of the Whole-Part-Whole methodology that makes Livemocha’s language courses effective.  After a learner has observed how the conversation is performed and learned the vocabulary and grammar components, they can then engage in a series of exercises with the native speakers in the Livemocha community. They practice, learn, and actually communicate.

Beginners or learners who like a bit more structure can connect with native speakers in the community to practice conversations using a set transcript. Practicing speech production in real time with a native speaker and receiving immediate feedback on your skills is a fun and effective way to develop comfort and confidence with synthesizing the components of a language for use in a conversation.

Language is not just an academic subject but also a performing art – something that must be actively practiced in order to master. A learner can watch people speak a new language, memorize all of the grammar rules, and talk about the language ad nauseam. But to truly speak a language, a learner must actually try it out with a partner. Real conversational fluency takes good instruction, a dose of courage, and a lot of real-life practice.

Whole-Part-Whole is a proven structure that allows learners to observe, learn, and then practice new language concepts. Consistently used in skills training, Whole-Part-Whole breaks down learning situations into three parts:

  • Demonstration: The learner watches and/or listens to native speakers engage in a conversation. The situation includes new language skills and is presented to learners in a complete real-life setting that helps with the construction of a mental model. For example, the learner may watch a video of people ordering coffee at a café and then complete a short exercise to gauge their own comprehension.
  • Deconstruction: The situation represented in the conversation is broken down into its vocabulary and grammar parts. This allows learners to fully understand the components of the new situation and to learn how those components can be applied to other situations as well.
  • Practice: Finally, the components are reassembled and the learner is given the opportunity to practice via a series of interactive activities.  These activities focus on written and spoken production and all involve interaction with and feedback from real native speakers of the language.

Livemocha’s learning materials are all made up of Activity Sets.  The building blocks of each course framework, one Activity Set represents a single Whole-Part-Whole deconstruction of a concept or scenario.  Activity Sets can be combined into Sequences that, when completed, allow the learner to do a specific task. Sequences are then combined into Courses, which deliver a specific learning outcome tied to the proficiency level a learner will achieve upon completion – for example, English Mastery for Business. Each Course is created to meet the needs of a particular Persona – the target learner for the Course, who has an assumed set of competencies including knowledge, age, skills, etc.

There is a chance to learn 35 languages, in a free online learning way, and with a worldwide community of native-speaking language learners. Hailing from every country in the world and speaking over 260 languages, the Livemocha community represents a rich blend of languages, cultures, and nationalities. Learners, teachers, and content creators—all equal members of the community—come together to learn, share, and connect, building each other’s language skills and expanding each other’s worldview.

Livemocha’s blog is very useful and is divided into entries from teachers and students. Submission exercises—in which a learner writes a passage or records him or herself speaking and then submits that exercise to the community for feedback—are found in all Livemocha courses and are also available as standalone activities.  In a lesson, they provide learners with the opportunity to practice writing and speaking, which synthesizes the vocabulary and grammar components of a conversation.  Learners who complete practice exercises are encouraged to submit them to the community for review and get the full benefit of the whole-part-whole structure of Livemocha’s courses.  Repeated practice and feedback from the community helps a learner develop the skills and confidence to eventually participate in a conversation in the new language.

The submission exercises are submitted to native-speaking members of the community at large for review.  Learners can also request feedback from specific members of the community to whom they are connected. As soon as their exercises are reviewed, learners receive notification and are able to view the feedback for their work.  All exercises and the associated feedback are saved for the learner to review as much as he/she wants.

Learners who submit their exercises to the community for review receive a rating for their work, a written comment and frequently, an audio comment as well.  The Livemocha community is made up of language enthusiasts who are teachers, language experts, native speakers proud of their language and heritage, and other language learners so getting comments specific to practice exercises is just the start. Learners can get feedback that includes detailed mini-lessons that extend beyond the subject of the exercise, language practice tips, culture tips and much-needed encouragement (after all, learning a new language is not easy!).

When you login for the first time, you get 50000 points and you get more if you help other users. Each advanced lesson in English is 7000 points, so you have enough points for 7 advanced lessons if you don’t help. Of course, you can buy more points, if you like it.

If you need special features for learning, Livemocha’s resources are related to Rosetta Stone (http://www.rosettastone.es/), a very interesting and complete learning method.

This content has been extracted taking into account public data from the Livemocha’s web published general information.

Javier Rebollo

Aplicaciones de las TIC

Duolingo – CoP

Do you know a community that  teaches you languages for free and at the same is easy to manage? Are you clumsy with technology? Do you have little time to spend with your computer?

I have recently discovered Duolingo. This community offers a funny way to learn a language, does not require sleepless nights in front of the computer, it is super easy to manage and the most important thing, it is free.

It is based on gamification, the icons and the way to play around, makes this website simple and accessible for any age and less challenging for those who are not feeling fully confident with technologies. It is a very intuitive website, it focuses on teaching, you forget about how to manage the program, because the deal here is learning.

From the beginning, you already know how to surf this website and how to handle its tools. These days, time is highly valuable, Duolingo knows it and focuses on that. Do you have five minutes during your day? Then do something productive for today, achieve a lesson!

Nowadays, it has been always said that: ‘ for learning a language you have to invest a lot of money!’ Heaps of them. But once again, Duolingo knows exactly that and gives you teaching for free.

Passionate about translation studies? Help to translate a text, step by step. Comment on that, feel part of a community. Learn from others, teach something, leave your comments. Remember the aim of this community: learning.

Share your thoughts, join one of their discussion forums. Know-how… Once again, learn.

But how to start using Duolingo? Sign in with your Facebook or Google account or create in just two minutes a new account with your email. Forget about installing a program, there is no need for users to download it, as you can work online.

You choose your source language and then the language you want to learn or improve.  At the beginning, you have the possibility to carry out a level test, if you conclude it, the system will assign you the level in which roughly you belong to. Lessons consist of translations from target/source to source/target language, listenings and pictures’ matching. They are so much fun!

Moreover, after completing your daily tests, you can pick the option of ‘Strengthen skills’ where you will have a sump up test about all your lessons taken until that very moment.

To become more challenging, you have a leaderboard that you share with your friends and you can see who is accomplishing their goals during that week or month! Independently of the language selected, the score between you and your friends will be related with your goals. So, there is no need to pick both the same language, you can be enrolled in German and your friend enrolled in English course and both check your progresses in languages. Do not forget that individually, you set your own goals from relaxed to intense aim, that is from 5 minutes to 20 minutes a day!

Aside from the lessons Duolingo offers, the following sections are available from its home screen:

  • Words. It indicates which words you should practice more.
  • Activity. It displays the history of your account (levels, friends, messages, discussions, etc.)
  • Discussion. It shows you different online discussions from groups within the same language community.
  • Immersion: Documents’ translation. When you reach a certain level, you can help others to translate documents. You can also upload a file for being translated.

Immersion filters available:

  • Fields of your interest.
  • Level: Easy to hard.
  • Status of the translation. Untranslated, unchecked or finished texts.

You might just want to translate two sentences or the whole document, but this is up to you!

After comparing it with other communities, as Livemocha, it stands out for its free and easy learning within a friendly community. Do you feel great? Join to more than one course language at a time!

Awesome discovery! But be careful! You will get addicted (in a good way) to it!

Any new discovery within this community? Please, feel free to post your comments! I want to learn!

Edmodo: Introducing the virtual classroom

Oxford University Press

Girl on sofa with laptop and papers Image courtesy of Alessandro Valli via Flickr

Sean Dowling, an Educational Technology Coordinator, looks at using Edmodo as an alternative to blogs for running web-based English language courses.

In my previous post, I discussed how blogs could be used to design, deliver and manage a complete English course. However, using blogs for this purpose has a number of potential weaknesses.

First, blogging platforms don’t have in built assessment tools. Second, while the comment/reply feature of blogs does allow for some interaction between course participants, it can get a little unstructured if there are a lot of learning activities. Finally, student privacy is a concern. Fortunately, there are some free, web-based learning management systems (LMS) that help with these problems. One such LMS is Claco; however, my favourite, which I have been using for about four years, is Edmodo.

Edmodo allows teachers to set up private, online…

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