New Learning Environments Blog

Having in mind my context and learners: Preschool students, designing New Learning Environments implies changes…

–  From F2F to Online

Click on the following link to see a ppt on the topic

 It is  challenging to design New Learning Environments for early childhood and preschool development  (3 to 7 years old preschool learners)

The following are examples of activities I have designed that include web 2.0 tools:

–  Preschool big girls  social network

Click on the following link to see it:


Happy faces [online image] (n.d.) Retrieved from

– The  Comics Project

Click  on the following click to see it:

Comic [Online Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from:

June 13, 2010  

     Coping with emerging technologies and keeping up-to-date, is a matter of:  

– Becoming active participant in own relationship with technology.  

– Adopting social software tools/networks, techniques and ideas that refer to emerging technologies in general and in supporting education.  

– Being connected to networks of people, data and services that emerge around the new tools.  

As stated at Becta’s document: ” The ‘always on’ culture of internet access resulting from broadband adoption, combined with the fact that more and more people are now sharing ideas through blogs, wikis, messaging and other online tools, is creating a critical mass of connectivity that is driving information.” ( Becta, n.d.) This phenomenon is a key aspect to cope with emerging technologies and to keep updated.  

Tweeting is, for me, a good way of keeping track of people who is always updated with emerging technologies.  

RSS usage is also a good way to keep track of sites and blogs devoted to emerging technologies in education such as networking and wireless, hardware, multimedia, software and internet. e.g.  

Connecting and socializing about the use of computing through CoPS, is also a way to get information about emerging technologies and their uses in education.  

The project Dalia and I are proposing to the school: Collaborative Virtual learning Resource center, might have a page and a forum devoted to emerging technologies, to keep up-to-date information and ideas on how to use such emerging technologies in our educational context.  


Becta. (n.d.)Emergign techonologies for learning. Retrieverd from   

June 6, 2010  

      DGBL (Digital Game Based Learning) is  a theory  that games offer an adequate and appropriate model for learning in the 21st century. Implementing DGBL has also educational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as follows:  

     DGBL Swot

DGBL StrengthsTangential Learning   EngagementMotivation Contribution to education Immersion in practicePromotes procedural knowledgeTeacher plays a strong supportive role and orchestrating practice. Help develop new skills and competencies.  DGBL weaknesses   Some students might not understand the idea that it is not only about just “playing the game” which is not a successful strategy. Game identity vs. learner identity.
DGBL opportunities   Potential roles for communication, listening, reading directions. e.g. Mario Bros party games used to read written directions, I putted a tutored to play with Mario Bros party game. He had to keep reading all instructions. He did not like the idea at the beginning, but suddenly, he started to notice the advance in performance when reading the instructions.Problem solving. Participation in community. Collaboration – Collaborative learning.Offers a  model  for personalized learningEnable articulation and reflection about knowledge and principles.Creation of opportunities for reflection.Offers development of balancing of multiple discourses and languages.Games are rich and complex environments that allow immersion for exploration of action and decision strategies. DGBL Threats Game introduction into the classroom without learning objectives.Children having trouble to distance themselves from the game.

     Game based learning has been of my  interest since I became a teacher. Educators have always been interested on the potential of games to teach. In the last years some have been studying the potential of computer games to support learning, Facer, Ulicsak & Sanford (Cited by Becta, n.d.) state that educational practices should be radically reconfigured in the light of children facility with computer games, I agree with them in the sense that children learning styles , and children learning interests (such as using digital games), must be configured as educational practices that suit new digital era.  

     Game based learning is a must, when teaching youngsters and preschoolers, since they learn naturally about life by playing. Some of students’ main needs are to have fun and laugh, to play and explore, and to receive feedback; game base learning fulfills all of these. As an industrial designer I was formed to observe and find peoples’ needs in order to set design determinants accordingly to target users, to come up with a useful and successful design. Children need for entertainment and playing beyond being child’s needs are child’s rights.  

     The use of computer games for education, for me,  is direclty related to Child’s rights to play, to meet and share views with others,etc. See some videos of such rights.  

Article 39: Children have the right to play  

Article 15: Children have the right to meet and share views with others  

     How to teach with technology such as digital games? Is a question all teacher have nowadays.  

Some tips to have in mind when implementing Digital game based learning  


1. Having clear objectives for using it, including a realistic learning outcome.  

2. Teacher must have had training and preparation of the game use before class.  

3. Teacher and users must be aware of the hardware and software needed.  

4. Teacher mus be aware of the appropiateness of the game theme for students. (Parental permission might be needed when teaching elementary and preschool students.)  

Article 1: Children have the right of appropriate information

Games useful and successful designs might suit different contents and learning activities needs. Prensky, (2001) designed a chart of types of learning and possible games styles, which is a useful guide to implement DGBL with diverse types of learners for various learning needs.


     Prensky’s chart of types of learning and possible games styles con be seen at   

     DGBL fosters learners’ and teachers’ creativity, promotes thinking new things. Therefore  is is necessary that teachers “make innovation a systematic habit.  

Making creativity systematic in education, as a human literacy.”  “Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value”  

(Sir Ken Robinson, Retrieved from: 



     Second Life  

“Is a free 3D virtual world where users can socialize, connect and create using free voice and text chat.” (Linden Research, Inc, 2009)  

    Here are two videos that explain the educational uses of second life and give ideas…  

– Second Life use in education promotes autonomy, self-responsibility and self-monitoring.
– Learners are goal-directed. They know what is expected from them, and they are aware about what they want.
– Learning is self-initiated, usually involved in long-term learning experiences.
– Collaborative and cooperative learning are promoted strategies.
– Discrimination of process and connectivism are fostered too.
See  more information about Second Life in education on the following link


     M-learning/Mobile Learning  

Is a learning process that occurs when the learner uses the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies, in a non-specific location. It is the possibility of learning with the mobility of general portable devices such as mp3, mp4 players and Ipods, notebooks, and mobile phones.  

     M-Learning features are:  

– User / Learner mobility opportunities  

– Access and process of information outside the classroom in a real-world context.  

– Devices’ interaction & applications possibilities.  

– High with in reach education at not so high, rather low costs.  

– Non fixed  learning spaces  

– Collaboration enhancement  

– Autonomy developlment  

–  Different learning styles support.  



Anderson, C. (2010). Learning theories and Second Life. Retrieved from  

Becta. (n.d.). Emerging techonologies for learning. Retrieved from   

Linden Research, Inc.(2009.  Second life. Retrieved from  

Prensky, M. (2001).Types of learning and possible game styles. Retrieved from  

Shuler, C. (2009). Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning [pdf document], New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney.  

May 30, 2010  

     Micro blogging  

Micro blogging is the practice of posting small pieces of digital content, which could be text, pictures, links, short videos, or other media on the Internet. It is a way of blogging which main characteristic is about its size, it only allows short sentences with meaning allowing users to be informed about the status of other people such as followers, friends or visitors.  


     Social Networking


Social networking is grouping  people into a social network who have common goals, interest, hobbies, etc.  It is done through the use of blogging platforms that allow users to have their own profile page that displays their latest updates. It  allows users to become virtual friends with one another, to be a follower as well as to read another person’s profile page, an user can also receive others’ updates through different applications such as SMS, RSS, and IM.  









Social networking is a useful strategy to meet people, share experiences, find professional contacts, know about other cultures, find employment, make business, etc in a collaborative way.

Here are my insights about microblogging and social networking advantages, disadvantages and potential usage in my context:

  Advantages Disadvantages Potential usage in my context
Microblogging It fosters direct reliable and fast communication with students that brings the concept of blogging into a really direct and immediate mode”. The text needed to communicate has to be condensed, giving the students opportunities to practice creative and critical writing. When combined with cel phoning allows to receive responses in minutes rather than the hours it would take using e-mail or blogs”  Students might more engaged and connected overall with the course. 

Teacher is able to know more about the students’ understanding and progress throughout the course. ( David Parry 2008, cited by Reynard) 


It enhances synchronous communication in learning. “While conventional distance education has explored the uses of chat tools in this regard for several years and particularly the benefits of synchronous communication over asynchronous communication in support of specific learning goals, this level of immediacy is faster-paced and more direct”” (Reinard , 2008). 


It is an individual learning space within the larger group that offers opportunities for individualized  and shared  learning, increasing the sense of accountability to everyone in the group and also to the instructor. “ 


It has the potential of keeping students always connected and always participating, increasing the sense of ongoing learning for the students. 


Topics discussed within the class might have direct and immediate relevancy outside the classroom. Therefore, students can be anywhere at any time and faced with study information, that keep them connected to the class no matter what. 


It offers the benefits of taking the learning outside the classroom with the use of online instructional tools. 


It is relevant, information is provided to students in a meaningful way, the students may  really grasp or understand the intention of the instructor, 


It might engage students’ interest for course information, assignments, and concept building actions. 



It requires time. Does everyone know about the technology?, Is everyone interested in such technology?  Is everyone willing to access such technology? 


not all students may have a cell phone. Therefore, it is needed to make sure  students have access to the same information and the same communication from the teacher . 


Is this technology recommended for 4 to 5 years old students? 


To simply add this as a way to keep connected with students without using it to enhance the community of learning would diminish the potential of the technology in instruction. 

As a professional development strategy to communicate with other designers and Art & Language teachers around the world for information sharing. As a learning space for my Prekindergarten students’ parents, since PK students cannot write. As a reinforcement space for Kindergarten level students and parents, Kindergarten students are starting the writing and reading acquisition process and they might explore the tools.  As a continuum learning –reinforcing space for Transition students who have started the reading writing process,  to keep on practicing and keeping a track of their performance by socializing, sharing interests, gaps, needs… 
Social Networking A way to have a site that allows you to connect with other people and make a net of friends, co-workers, co researchers, learners it is the basis of a CoPS. 

 Note: The important and key factor, however, is to keep the learning outcomes of the course as the foundation for all instructional design and content delivery methods, including the communication tools of the course. As students are aware of the connections with their learning, the tool becomes invisible, so to speak, and the learning remains central in their focus. 


     CoPs/Community of Practice


Community of practise refers to a  group of people that act as a living curriculum for the apprentice,  

in  a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor. 

CoPs usefulness:

Professional Development Language Learning
Engage in joint activities and discussions,Search & Share information.Search for help to solve problems and help others to solve their problems too.Build relationships.Learn from others. Seek for experiences. 

Share and reuse assets. 

Coordination, documentation and synergy of projects and processes. 

Developmental discussions. 

Project sharing. 

Arranging meetings and visits. 

“Mapping knowledge and identifying gaps” 

For analytical purposes. 

Informal learning. 

Global connections and relationships. 

Look for new horizons. 

Be aware of cutting edge technologies, tendencies – trends. 

Improving performance. 

Develop computer based learning skills, such as mouse training and key board training. (Having in mind my 6 and 7 years old students – Parental involvement is required)Generate need to use the target language.Promote language skills (Listening , reading and writing)Enhance creative and critical thinking skillsFoster language use in context, communication and interaction. Enhance collaboration 

Foster learning 

Enhance reflection on practice. 

Explore language learning resources. 

Favor student’s interests and learning styles. 

CLIL usage. 


 EDUCASE. (2009). 7 Things you should know about Microblogging. Retrieved from 

Reynard. R (2008). Microblogging and Relevancy. Retrieved from 

 May 15, 2010  



–          It “liberates people to participate in innovation and wealth creation in every sector of the economy,” ( Tapscott & Williams, 2008). Wikinomics, Portfolio.and schools are one sector of economy. On the other hand let’s talk about people’s participation in the renewal of the education paradigm in which teachers were source of the knowledge for students (like a knowledge holder and dealer) to a new one in which education can rely on other sources of knowledge and information: Parents, teachers from different schools, administrators , students, the whole community active role as co-creators of  education resources, through their collaborative capabilities. 

–          Schools can reach information and activities beyond their walls. Wikinomics open  school’s local education to a world of education. 

–          Help people do public-spirited things. 

–          “Mass collaboration can empower growing cohort of connected individuals and organizations to create extraordinary wealth and  reach unprecedented heights in learning discovery.” 

–          Collaboration: with peer production to harness human skill, ingenuity and intelligence more efficiently and effectively. Collective knowledge, capability and resources embodied with in a within broad horizontal networks of participants can be mobilized to accomplish goals. The ability to integrate talents if dispersed individuals and organizations to engage and co create. 



BEING OPEN: Transparency , flexibility, expansiveness, freedom, engagement access. 

PEERING: New mode of production. Engages a pool of people in the process of getting solutions to problems, or produce goods. 

SHARING: Focus on intellectual property, bandwidth and scientific knowledge 

ACTING GLOBALLY: Awareness about globalization as well as abilities to ignore physical and geographical boundaries taking into account corporate and individual level. 

     Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is a method of teaching and learning in which students team together to explore a significant question or create a meaningful project (Concept to classroom, 2004). Collaborative learning creates interdependence among the members of a learning community in which the teacher’s role shift from transmitter of knowledge to designer of meaningful learning experiences where the learners have an active role in discussing, negotiating and building knowledge.

Collaborative learning has been studied for years and its early roots come from the year 1798 when the Russian psychologist Vygotsky explored the relationship between social interaction and individual learning. Then, in the year 1929, Piaget said that collaborative learning and cognitive development are paired in one single process: Learning. 57 years later, Bruner stated that learning is an active and social process where learners construct knowledge based on what they already know. Since then on, many researchers have stressed the importance that collaboration has in the learning process.

The implementation of collaborative practices allows learners to “extend and deepen their learning experiences, test out new ideas by sharing them with a supportive group, and receive critical and constructive feedback” (Palloff, rena and Pratt, Keith, 2007) Furthermore, it promotes creativity, critical thinking skills, dialogue and initiative. 

Tools to teach collaborative skills:

Google Docs: enables multiple people in different locations to collaborate simultaneously on the same doc from any computer with Internet access. When the collaborative make changes to the document they are working on, the rest of the group can see them in real time and respond to them immediately. All of them work on the same docs, so there’s no need to go back and forth, comparing and consolidating individual files. is a free web application for brainstorming on line. It allow learners create, work, and share colorful mind maps. It fosters collaboration since it is an appealing and different way to organize the information.

WiZiQ is a Web-based platform where teachers and students can use to teach and learn. Collaborative work is evident since users can create and share online educational content and tests and connect with people who share similar interests. The application offers two-way audio, text chat, whiteboard, PowerPoint, and PDF document-sharing capabilities.
All these strategies aim to foster collaborative work since it benefits all learners, while at the same time provide scaffolding for learning English. They are good for developing sustained shared thinking, and also help retention of information through appealing and engaging activities and tools. Hence, these strategies strengths the learner-center focuses.

     Transformative Learning 

Aims at changing students’ role after participating in a course, it is important to consider that teachers are partly responsible to make this happen because it depends on how objectives, strategies and activities are drawn; however, as it is know it also depends upon students since they are responsible of their own learning gain through reflection and self study. It means that through empowering students to take part of discussions and the supportiveness provided by tutors and classmates a meaningful performance from participants can be expected.


     Web 2.0 tools

Web 2.0 tools  Advantages 

E-folio or a web site where texts or articles are collected periodically. The texts are updated by different authors that are interested on the topic of the blog. Blog are useful to create journals about a research or an activity that are in continuo changing, and it is collaborative because it has the possibility to allow users to write their comments and relevant information useful for the development of the topic that is being developed in th 

– It allows you to publish and archive data.
– It allows comments and observations.
– It can be kept as a journal.
– Data is organized cronologically.
– It can have links.
– It is easy to use.
– Users can edit and update new entries.
– Users can upload multimedia.
 – Easy to create.
· Expensive software are not required.
· Learners can be users only by signing up to blog providers (Blogger, wordpress, typepad , and others.).
· The steps to follow in order to create and update blogs are understandable for the whole population.
· Blogs are easy to maintain even online.
· Instructions are clear to create a post, edit post, change blog template, customize your blog and change blog settings.
· Blogs automatically move your newer posts at the top and the organization is easier.
· Blogs allow teachers to interact with their students and give them feedback.
· Blogs are for free.

A web site that offers much information about different topics for different navigators and interests. The pages of a wiki can be updated and edited by multiple voluntaries through the web navigator. Participants of a wiki can create, modify or delete content of a shared text or article. Besides wikis offer the possibility to collaborate with members of a community to write clear and complete information about a specific issue and also to create link to useful webpages that can provide relevant information 

· Fosters collaboration.
· Everything is saved on the web
· You only need internet access
· You can add links
· You can share information
· Easy to edit as many times as it is wanted.
· You can add multimedia. Many users can post, edit, and publish.
 · Learners and teachers can organize information online.
· Learners as well as teachers have access to all the information from anywhere just with a computer and internet connection.
· Wikis are good for project where collaboration is a key aspect to develop it.
· Wikis are useful to archive information and put it to the disposition of several learners that need access to the same information.
· Wikis can connect learners of a specific educational institution that work in different departments but that are interested in the information provided in the wiki.

A site in which users can reuse or combine existing digital media sources and data (video, audio and text) and different web 2.0 tools. 

Multiple authorship responsibility.
· It helps sinthezise multiple disciplines and perspectives.
  • Share your bookmarks and access other people´s bookmarks.
  • It helps us to save our favorite sites, web-pages, blogs, etc.
  • Access what we saved from any place with internet conection.
  • It allow us sharte with other people, having a broader bank of resources.

It is easy to handle. 

  • It has a network sharing option in which you can share your bookmarks with others in your network.
  • Possibility to create communities and share resources.
  • Bookmark web-pages.
  • It allows us to highlight any part in a web page.
  • The highlited part and annotation can be share or kept private.
Wall wisher 
  • You can add images, video and links to other websites.
  • It is useful to make announcements.
  • It allows colaborations.
  • It can be public or private



Downes, S. (2004) Educational Blogging, Educause Review. Retrieved from or [Available as an E-resource]
Lamb, B. (2004) Wide Open Spaces. Wikis Ready or Not, Educause Review. Retrieved from [Available as an E-resource]
Palloff, R. and Pratt, K. (2007). Promoting Collaborative Learning. Building Online Learning Communities. San Francisco: Wiley.
Tapscott. D & Williams, A. (2008). Wikinomics, Portfolio.







February 23, 2010

Concepts and ideas about 21st century education.

Educations’ effects shall help learners face education’s  evolution embbeded when  new technologies  generate new literacies. Nowadays literacie’s implications and effects and other general implications of 21st century literacy are:

  1. “Understanding new ways of communication including layers of meaning not accessible for traditional language skills only”,
  2.  “the ability to articulate and create ideas using such forms”,
  3. “ learning new grammar with its own rules of construction” ( The New Media Consortium, 2005).
  4. Developing 21st century skills such as interactive communication,
  5. Developing multiple intelligencies in a personalized & autonomous learning process.

Understanding the net generation requires  brain processing information, guide lines to attract and engage young talent and workforce and

Guide lines for educators.

February 21, 2010

Comment on videos 

The videos “Did you know 3.0” and “21st century educational reality” lead to reflectioning and questioning…
Will teachers be able to do enough to prepare students to face the future reality and solve the future problems?
Watching these kind of videos help understanding different points of view of the situation in order to create innovative ways to face and deal with reality. 


 February 16, 2010

My Expectations about  New Learning Environments.

Thinking about New Learning Environments makes me go into a dim imagery of an attractive site,  designed to fulfill Language learning needs (or any other area’s learning needs), a virtual  learning environment (supported by  one or more different F2F environments, when thinking about schools) full of appealing and entertaining activities and materials, related to the different knowledge areas and connected to the learners’ interests, learning styles and needs, to engage them in developing all kinds of skills in an autonomous way – with an emphasis in autonomous learning skills development.

This blog has been created to publish notes taken and reflections made along the New Learning Environments course. 
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