Saturday, April 23, 2011

Week 15: Networks of Personalized Learning

Social networking may be a very important part in learning foreign languages. By talking to other people who can speak the language that I want to learn, I can practice and at the same time I can make friends. In this sense, “Live Mocha” is very interesting site where people can learn and teach different language each other.

According to Naone (2007), Live Mocha is “designed to emphasize conversation with partners found through the site’s social network.” When a user registers for the site, he/she is required to provide information of their native language and the language that they want to learn. And, there is a search function in the site that users can search and contact native speaker of their target language so they can chat with each other. By doing so, users teach and learn different language through natural conversation.

In addition, users can practice writing and speaking in their target language. For example, after a users writes about one of the topics that Live Mocha provides, he/she submit it and get personalized feedback from Live Mocha certified tutors or even he/she can get feedback from other users who use the language as the first language. Also, he/she can help others who want to learn their native language by reviewing their submissions. I think this is quite an eye opening exercise; I can help others and I can get help from others with free of charge but with valuable social networks.

After reading Naone (2007)’s article, I visited and registered for Live Mocha and actually used some of the functions that they provide and I could see this site was very good to learn every day language and build new social networks. I already have two friends form the site by reviewing their Korean writings and giving some feedback that I could provide. It was very interesting experience!


Erica Naone. “Learning Language in Context: Startup Live Mocha Leverages Social Networking to Teach Foreign Languages,” Technology Review (October 5, 2007),

Week 14: Podcasting, Webcasting, and Coursecasting

According to Lane (2006), many universities all over the world have been paying attention to using technologies such as podcasts to meet students’ needs. This article is about how course podcasts help students learn better. Some of key findings are as follows:

  • Students are inclined to listen to podcasts on their computers rather than using MP3 players.
  • Students are using podcasts along with other online resources, such as lecture notes or PowerPoint slides.
  • Podcasts assist students to catch up when they miss class, to understand difficult concepts that discussed in class, or to fill in gaps in their notes by providing students access lecture content.
  • Many students and instructors expressed concern that providing course podcasts would lead to higher rate of absenteeism; however, most students reported that the access to podcasts had no impact on their attendance.
  • It is difficult to catch visual materials or class discussion by listening to podcasts.

It was interesting to see the result indicating that mobility is not the most important factor for student to choose device to listen to podcasts. This may be because most students used podcasts as supplementary tool to catch up class, to define difficult concepts or to prepare for assignments or exams; they would take notes by listening to podcasts on the computers rather than listening to podcasts using MP3 players while they are walking or moving.

Now, we can listen to lectures from Stanford University or UC Berkley or many other universities through podcasts. It may benefit many people who want to take courses but cannot or students who are taking those courses for better understanding of course content.


Lane, Cara (2006). UW podcasting: Evaluation of Year One. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from

Friday, April 22, 2011

Week 13: Educational Blogging

Choi (2006) talks about “Cyworld” which is the most popular personal blog sites in Korea. I have read a Korean news article a few days ago and it was about a survey conducted in Korea regarding the use of SNS among Korean Internet users. The results of the survey reveled that 75 % of Internet users are using Cyworld and 31.9 % use Twitter and 31.8 % use Facebook. 76 % of respondents said that the main reason why they use SNS is to socialize with others and 39.8 % said that they use SNS to gain and share information.

Choi (2006) states that participants of the study indicated some advantages and disadvantages of Cyworld. Below is a summary of it.

   • To enrich users’ existing social networks.
   • To provide an opportunity users for better understanding of their friends by seeing their self-expression occurring within a Cyworld.
   • To offer a ““therapeutic” experience by expressing their feeling, thoughts, personality, or opinions.

   • Constant sign-in to upload content such as video or audio. It would be time-consuming.
   • Cyworld is mainly used to maintain and enhance of existing social networks rather than to build new social ties. Thus, users tend to jus focus on a limited number of friends.
   • Superficiality of representation of users themselves.

I agree with Choi (2006)’s argument that Cyworld is facilitating sustaining and improving existing social networks rather than creating new social networks. This was my concern when I was using Cyworld in Korea; I always went to blogs of my best friends not visiting strangers’ blogs. And, I did not want to open my blog to anyone, only my friends who I invited could see my blog. I think it may be related to the nature of Korean people; usually, they are too shy to express their feeling or opinion in public place that anyone can see and hear their thoughts. However, I think, as many young people are using Facebook or Twitter recently, they has become more comfortable to express themselves. I think if Cyworld add more social networking aspect in it that allows users can establish a new social tie, it will make Cyworkd even more popular among young Korean people.


Jaz Hee-jeong Choi. (2006). “Living in Cyworld: Contextualising Cy-ties in South Korea,” in Uses of Blogs, eds. Axel Bruns & Joanne Jacobs (New York: Peter Lang. 2006), 173-186,

Week 12: Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning

The ‘Pocket School’: is the project that involves
designing, implementing and evaluating mobile learning technology to provide underserved indigenous children in Latin America with equal opportunity to learn basic literacy skills.  In their report, Kim et al. (2008) emphasized eight factors that should be taken into account for designing a mobile learning device. They are:
situation specificity and cultural sensitivity, practical usability, theoretical applicability, phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, reading fluency,  economic scalability, viable sustainability.

According to the article, learning should be enjoyable, meaningful and rewarding and those elements should be incorporated into the learning environments and culture of students in the right balance. In relation to ‘practical usability’, the article says that because there are not enough qualified teachers or literate parents in many rural regions who can direct students to learn using a mobile learning device, it is very important to make simple, easy-to-use and user-friendly interface letting students can learn themselves with a device, especially at the early stage of literacy development. Even if, mobile learning devices are given to indigenous students, if they can operate it, it will be meaningless. In addition, the content of mobile learning should meet needs and academic curiosity of indigenous students.

There still are so many indigenous children who cannot have an opportunity to have formal education in a formal school with qualified teachers; a mobile learning can be a good substitute of formal education in those regions. However, careful and deep consideration of content, students’ abilities, and contextual/cultural conditions should be given when designing a mobile learning program to maximize the effectiveness of mobile learning.


Kim, P., Miranda, T., & Olaciregui, C. (2007). Pocket school: Exploring mobile technology as a sustainable literacy education option for underserved children in Latin America. International Journal of Educational Development28(4), pp. 435-445.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Week 11: Alternate Reality Learning: Massive Gaming, Virtual Reality, and Simulations

According to Coffman, T. and Klinger, M. B. (2007), Multi User Virtual Worlds (MUVW) such as Second Life is beginning to gain more attention as an educational tool. With in Second Life, users keep creating new objects, investigate new places, or interacting with others, by doing so, users can construct their own knowledge and build a meaningful relationship between them and the environments. Through those experiences, users can utilize their creativity in the learning process and have opportunities to apply newly gained knowledge into their real lives. Therefore, it is very important to provide authentic problems and settings within Second Life in order to help student make a meaningful connection between virtual life and real life.

As other Web 2.0 tools, MUVW such as Second Life provide a learner-centered learning environments. Users can experience, understand, and resolve real-world problems by interacting with their peers in the virtual worlds. Within these kinds of Multi User Virtual Worlds, instructors/teachers play a role as a facilitator to assist students to build new knowledge and skills. As Coffman T. and Klinger, M. B. (2007) mentioned, however, it is very important to provide a clear goal and objectives for students to understand what they should achieve by experiencing a virtual world.  

I think Second Life can be used as a valuable educational tool in some subjects. For example, Second Life would be a useful tool in geography. Students can visit other centuries without actually flying to there, and experience other centuries’ unique geographical features or famous places. In addition, Second Life can teach students economic concepts: students can make money or buy lands or island within the virtual world with relatively few physical limitations compared to the real world.

We need to study more about the impact of Multi User Virtual Worlds as an educational tool to find out the best way to effectively use MUVW in education.


Teresa Coffman, Mary Beth Klinger (2007). Utilizing Virtual Worlds in Education: The Implications for Practice, International Journal of Social Sciences, Volume 2 Number 1. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 10: Interactive and Collaborative Learning

When I read the article written by Zhao, N. and McDougall, D (2008), I felt like Chinese students’ perceptions toward online courses in the study were very much similar to mine when I took online courses at IU.

I have taken three online courses at IU until now. When I first attended an online course I thought it was very strange type of class. I was not familiar with asynchronous online discussions or interaction with peer in the online environment. However, as time went by, I felt online courses were very beneficial for me. First, I liked online courses because I felt less language barrier than face-to-face classes. I could have more time to think, reflect, and read others’ postings before I post my threads. However, sometimes it was difficult to understand the meaning of others’ postings when they talked about the details of North American culture and use colloquial language. Second, I liked that I could have more chance to talk in online environments while I barely talked in traditional face-to-face classes. Third, I enjoyed online discussion because I could hear others’ ideas. I could have ‘real’ interaction with other students by giving and receiving each other’s feedback every week. And, I felt that students in online classes showed more thoughtful and reflective ideas than who were in face-to-face classes. Finally, online learning was very attractive to me because it was very convenient and flexible. I could attend classes whenever and wherever I want to, if I am with my laptop. Also, I could manage my study schedule by studying at my own pace.


Naxin Zhao & Douglas McDougall (2008). Cultural influences on Chinese students’ asynchronous online learning in a Canadian university. Journal of Distance Learning, 22(2). 59-80.
Retrieved on Apr 5, 2011 from  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week 9: YouTube, TeacherTube, and the Future of Shared Online Video

One of this articles this week, ‘Video Use in Higher Education: Options for the Futuer’ gave me a general idea of using videos in lectures sucha as why instructors use video resources, what kinds of videos are used, how the instructors get the resources, what are challenges using videos in classes, etc.

While I was reading this article, I was thinking about my personal experiences. I have remembered that often instructors was using video (especially movie) in the class to help students understand a course-realted concept or an idea. Based on my personal experiences, I found that a related movie helped me a lot comprehend an ambiguous concept, see how a movie dealt with an issue that I learned through a class or draw some issues that students can discuss about in the class. In addition, vidoe could be very useful to introduce content of a course at the first day of the course instead of explaining it verbally.

For example, one of the courses that I am taking this semester is about research methods. One of the topics for one day was objectivity and subjectivity of a resercher. One week before the class, the instructor asked students to watch a Japanese movie called “Rashomon”. The movie indicated that a truth can be vary from person to person and every fact can be affected by different perspectievs and each person’s subjectivity. This movie was very related to the course content, which was the role of objectivity and subjectivity in research. The movie gave me an oppurtunity to think about the topic before the class and the theme of the movie helped students have a great discussion in the class. I think this was a very good example of using video as a educational tool. However, movie can be useful only when they are closely connected to the course contnet. Otherwise, it would be just a waste of time.

Week 8: Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

In their study, ‘How today’s college students use Wikipedia for course-related research, Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg revealed that 30 % of the participants said that they always use Wikipedia and 22 % of them said that they frequently use Wikipedia during the course-related research process. I found that this finding was very interesting but expected results. For me, if I have a topic to write about, I usually start with searching for it in Wikipedia to have a general understanding of the topic and get an idea about a direction. As Alison and Michael stated, Wikipedia can be a very useful tool to preview a topic in the beginning stage of a research process. While I was reading articles and tidbits this week, I was wondering if Wikipedia could be an academic or a primary resource for a course-related research or paper. I think Wikipedia could be a good starting point but students should not solely rely on information from Wikipeida. Because Wikipedia is a free-open-online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, there can be a misleading or subjective information especially in a controversial issue such as history. Thus, it is very important for students to verify information from Wikipedia by reading other articles, books, or journals. This is the teachers’job to educate students how to effectively use Wikipedia as a supplement tool to their classroom activities and course-related research projects.

In addition, I have been fascinated by the fundamental concept of Wikipedia that anyone can contribute and anyone can share their knowledge so they eventually help others. I think this could be connected with the stream of OER or OCW in education. Increasing number of people are participating in the movement of knowledge sharing and at the same time increasing number of people are benefiting from it beyond the the borders.  

Week 7: Connectivism, Social Knowledge, and Participatory Learning

‘Future Learning Landscapes: Transforming Pedagogy through Social Software’ was one of the articles that I have read this week. This article pointed out that current society and education has been affected by the attributes of Web 2.0 such as its connectivity, the function of knowledge sharing, or interactivity: As McLoughlin, C. and Lee, M. stated, many colleges and universities are developing new teaching and learning models to keep pace with this trend. Many higher education institutions are providing students more opportunities than before to employ their autonomy or be engaged in social networks in learning processes within the context of Web 2.0.

I cannot agree more with the argument in this article that teachers should embrace Web 2.0 into their classrooms to meet students’ needs in these days. Teachers should study how they can integrate Web 2.0 into their teaching process in a way that they can satisfy students’ desire to create content themselves, share the content, utilize their creativity, learn from others’ views, socialize with their peers, interact with them, work collaboratively, learn from an authentic task, etc. Students’ needs’ have become changed. They no longer want to be just consumers of knowledge but they want to be producer of new content as well. Also, they want to be connected with others to share their unique views and learn from others’ different perspectives. Teachers should be aware of new needs of students and try to meet them by integrating Web 2.0 in their teaching. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 6:Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)

One of the articles that I have read this week was “Giving knowledge for free: The emergence of open educational resources”. I found an interesting part in this report:

The article pointed out that there is a significant imbalance between the “provision of OER and its utilization”. It said that most of OER is composed of English and based on Western culture. Accordingly, developing countries have limitation of using OER as consumers of it. However, the article also noted that some developing countries are constructing an increasing number of projects to build OER based on their own languages and cultures.

After reading this part, I was suddenly curious that if there were some kinds of OER available to anyone who needs it in Korea. So, I searched for open educational resources in Korea and I found three official sites regarding OER.

The first one is known as Korea Open Courseware (KOCW): Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) is running the KOCW site. This site is offering a number of free educational resources from colleges and universities in Korea and even other countries. The second one is that SookMyung Women’s University has a web site called ‘Open Knowledge Share Dreams (SNOW)’:, which offering free lectures and free educational resources from universities in Korea and around the world. The last one is University of Ulsan: They are providing their own institution’s lectures for free via World Wide Web; it is about 5-6 courses in a semester.

I could see that Korea has realized the importance of OER and developing it. I was very excited about that. I hope more colleges and universities will participate in OER in the near future and give opportunities to students who cannot afford expensive higher education but want to benefit from it.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Week5: The Movement Toward Free and Open Source Software

I read the article ‘How Is Open Source Special?’ in this week. The article says that open source projects are decentralized and transparent. The author means by ‘transparent’ is that all of the information of the software is available to anyone who wants to know about it.

In addition, the author quotes a passage from Bill Joy, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, “no matter what your company is, most of the smart people in the world work somewhere else.” By mentioning this statement, the author is trying to say that open source is a way of employing those smart people. The author states that even though open source project takes a huge amount of time, and someone who works in the project is not getting paid, he/she will still participate in the project because the project helps him or her establish his or her reputations for better jobs.

I somewhat agree with the author’s point. However, I don’t believe that is the only reason for someone who works in open source projects. As the author mentioned, participating in the open source project will take a lot of time and efforts. I believe somebody who joins a project not only expect to be personally benefited from the project such as building reputations or getting a good job, but also purely appreciate his or her endeavor to make change for a software, create improvement, and distribute enhanced version to help others and make the world better. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week 4:The Continued Expansion of Blended and Fully Online Learning

I would like to talk about pros and cons of online education.
First, there are several positives in online education: its collaborative learning processes, flexibility, expanded learning opportunities, convenience, and asynchronous/synchronous learning activities. More students can learn in online learning environment through collaborative interaction with the instructor and peers at their pace using discussion forums, emails, and whiteboards. Therefore, developing effective collaborative strategies is the key to successfully utilize online learning tools. The instructors should assist student to clearly communicate and interact with each other. Students construct knowledge by reflecting on their exiting knowledge and building new knowledge and perspectives through active interaction with their peers and the instructors in online learning environments.
Second, there are also negatives of online education. They are a sense of isolation, delay in feedback/responses from the instructors, communication problems with time zone differences or communicating via writing rather than face to face, and unclear communication between students and the instructor. In addition, a major problem with online learning is the lack of professional support for the instructors who teach online classes. Most of the instructors who are currently teaching online classes are not trained to teach online courses. The successes of many online programs and courses are impeded by instructors’ lack of knowledge of how to best employ online learning tools to facilitate students’ acquisition of as much knowledge as possible in effective and efficient ways. Training for the instructors could be either formal or informal. This training should be focused on professional development within the capacity of the instructors or support staffs, but varying based on learning context. Formal instruction includes courses, workshops, and other official development opportunities. Informal instruction is indicated by unplanned or undocumented professional development experiences, often structured through the mentorship of other faculty, or through generalized support provided by an entire department/university. Also, informal instruction can be carried out in an informal apprentice role, mirroring the strategies of current successful online instructors. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Week 3:The Sudden Explosion of E-Books and E-Book Readers

Until a few months ago, I was not much interested eBooks or eReaders. I definitely preferred paper books to electronic ones. For example, whenever professors upload articles for the classes in Oncourse, I always print that out and read it in paper version. However, about two months ago, I had an opportunity to change my personal preference for eBooks.

In the middle of the semester, I had to visit Korea because of a family issue. Because I did not finish my courses, I had to continue doing coursework via email and Oncourse while I was in Korea. I had two final papers to write and I needed resources such as books or articles for my references. However, it was not that easy for me to buy books in English in Korea because of its availability and expensive costs. All of a sudden, it came to remembrance that I could buy eBook in Amazon site with much lower prices. So, I directly went to the Amazon site, and I purchased several books that I needed to read to write final papers, which was the Kindle version. Even though, I had no Kindle device, I could open the files with my MacBook, and it was pretty convenient and its costs was much cheaper compared to buying the original paper books in English in Korea. Afterwards, I realized that eBooks are very useful because I can read texts whenever and wherever I want to with only my laptop, smartphones, tablets or eReaders. I do not know for sure if eBooks will completely replace paper books, but I have to admit that eBooks are very good substitute for paper books. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 2:Digital Literacy Skills

Even though, I am one of the ‘natives of cyberspace’, when I face new kinds of digital technology, I oftentimes struggle to be familiar with. For example, I used one of the social web sites called ‘Cyworld’ in Korea, but I came to America, and I get to know other kinds of social web pages such as ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’; these were totally new to me. I didn’t know how to post things, and how to be friend with other users, or how to communicate with them. However, as times goes by, I gradually get used to those things, and now it is very comfortable for me to interact with others through ‘Facebook’, ‘Skype’, and so on. Of course, I have to admit that young people are more easily adjust to new digital technology than older people, but it is not true that they are born digitally savvy people. This is why education about digital literacy for both young students and older people should be provided to assist them to be quickly adapt to rapidly changing digital technology.

During I was reading articles for week2; there was an interesting comparison between digital/visual literacies and language acquisition in the article ‘Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century’. The author of the article mentions, “Children learn these skills as part of their lives, like language, which they learn without realizing they are learning it. Adults who did not grow up with technology continue to adapt from iteration to iteration. The senior population approaches the new literacy like a foreign language that is complex and perhaps of questionable use.(Jones-Kavalier R. B. & Flannigan L. S., 2006)”.

Barbara R. Jones-Kavalier and Suzanne L. Flannigan (2006). Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century. Educause Quarterly, 29(2), Retrieved on January 24, 2011 from

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week 1:Neo Millennial and Web 2.0 Learners

          In recent years, there is a big change regarding e-learning and Web 2.0 as a social learning tool. Many educators and administrators have been showing the tendency of thinking out of the box that education should occur in a classroom and they are trying to use social media as learning tools.

         One of the biggest changes made in few years is that young students have been using social web sites such as Twitter or Fackbook using their computers or smart phones or tablets to communicate with their friends. They are not just absorbing information that is portal sites are providing, but rather they create something and post it in their blog and they listen to others feedback and respond back to it. Twitter or Facebook does not have their own content in it, but they provide an environment that user can make their own content by themselves and interact with others. By communicating with others, users can obtain new knowledge and deliver it to others effectively. These activities can be one of the forms of learning and education. But, we need to know it that the Internet is still changing and Web 2.0 will be evolved into 3.0 and 4.0, therefore, educators should care about the change of the e-learning environments to keep up with it and adjust to it to provide effective learning opportunities to young learners.