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Maria's WK 10 discussion prompt

Sanchez-Serano (2008) talks about the difficulties in distance learning, and some of us may have experienced some of these difficulties in our last class. Many of these problems dealt with the technology itself. However, Sanchez-Serano mentions a more ethical concern dealing with the digital divide, and asks how this divide affects distance learning, in particular foreign language teaching. So, my question is have you seen first hand the effects of the digital divide in distance learning - foreign language? If not what do you think are the effects? What are some ways teachers and/or ELLs can overcome the digital divide?


Mar. 27th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
I have not seen the effects, but after tonight's class (Second Life), I think it depends on the program it is being used for teaching. According to this week's reading, technology can have an effect on people, and one could be that the student may experience anxiety, may not feel comfortable working in groups, and apparently the quantity of material for learning is greater.

I am not experience in distance learning but I think that the class would have to be very well planned and designed in order to motivate the whole class. Instructions would have to be given prior to the class, this way time won't be wasted. The student should have some basic knowledge in computers. And as Sanchez-Serano says, Time management, task delivery, would have to be well planned.

Regarding the third question, I would say that teachers need to get more knowledgeable about computers and realize that technology is popular. A good training would help when schools find mentors and train not only on the technical part, but also how to teach online. The teacher has to make sure that the interaction is positive. Online foreign language teaching is growing according to Sanchez-Serano. This methodology is different, students like it (especially the new generation), it can be flexible and people like that.

I don't think one can compare this type of learning with face-to-face learning. The goal is for the student to learn the target language and for the teacher to make sure they get the right tools and material. And if both parties like online classes, the interaction should be comfortable and positive.

Apr. 2nd, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
You mention some very good points about distance learning. It does take a lot of work from both the teachers and the students to have a successful learning and teaching experience. I also agree that distance learning is very popular with the younger generation, but do you think this is the case only in developed countries? What do you think?


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