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