Saturday, December 5, 2009

New learning environments

New learning environments are spaces that allow people interact with others and work in a collaborative way. These environments bring innovations and new forms of learning.

These spaces allow students to work on many activities; but the most important thing is that they are part of an online community where they can find support at any time.

The following are the most important aspects of these environments: Creativity, innovation, critical thinking, interaction, collaborative work, peer correction, learning.


Education is one of the fields that request the use of technology. Every day, students are asking for innovations in the classroom and we as teachers need to cope with their needs. New classroom technology include the use of blogs, wikis, twitter, digital games, and other educational sofwares which we can use to practise speaking and many more and different activities. These are just some examples of how we can improve our classes and bring variety by using a tool the students like.

Web 2.0

The web 2.0 is known as the social networking because it refers to work with other people in a collaborative way. The web 2.0 gives the participants the possiblity to interact, learn or have common or individual benefits within the community.

In education these tools are very useful because they allow students to develop their skills in learning. Besides, while the learners are using technology, they explore new ways of searching for information and obtaining a final product at the end. Two examples of them are blogs and wikis.

Communities of practice

Communities of practice for knowledge management and language learning involve interaction with other people. So, the social aspect is relevant in these types of communities because these relationships are a requierement to participate in the online environments. Both of them have benefits, learning, practice, communication and knowledge.

The Net Generation

Our students belong to the Net generation, and the teachers need to parallel them, need to learn how to use technology in the classroom. Teachers are facilitators who encourage the students to search, analyze and develop their own needy learning activities and use their imagination for academic purposes, too. This generation is very skillful in technology; so, we need to take advantage of it and help them explore and learn by themselves, allow them to work with others to develop and express ideas with the necessary freedom to interact with others, help each other, socialize, share communication and grow up bringing collaborative work to their human spaces. Bearing this in mind, our children need to be in contact with the world; globalization is here and we cannot close our eyes to this reality.

Transformative learning

Transformative learning has a learner’s centered instruction. As this is a process, it needs to be guided all the time in order to avoid subjectivity and frustration and to keep going in the process.

On the ohter hand, it allows students develop their creativity and critical thinking.

Factors in online environments

The 30 most important factors in managing and moderating the online learning environment in order of priority

1. To have trained and knowledgeable teachers on the use of new technologies
2. To have clear policies on the copyright and use of sofwares
3. To make sure if the students know the system management
4. To plan the activities in advanced
5. To have clear guidelines to work
6. To give the deadlines clearly
7. To give clear objectives for each one of the activities
8. To provide a weekly agenda
9. To give students a reasonable amount of homework
10. To provide variety of activities
11. To provide variety of sources and resources
12. To let the students work autonomously
13. To respect students’ ideas and tutor’s suggestions
14. To promote teamwork
15. To facilitate discussion
16. To ask for work where the students will develop critical thinking
17. To provide examples or models on how to do homework
18. To assign specific duties to students to hold a forum or discussion
19. To work with nettiquete rules
20. To To provide a feedback on time
21. To provide opportunites to make corrections
22. To promote a friendly and nice online environment
23. To provide opportunities for individual work
24. To promote students’ peer correction
25. To promote tolerance and pacience for forums or discussions
26. To guide the students’ answers if they are wrong
27. To call for technological help when necessary to check the equipment
28. To create an space for free participation
29. To motivate the students
30. To provide activities according to the students’ needs and interests.