On “You’re not studying, you’re just…”

Purushotma (2005) examines the effect of the entertainment-focus media on our language studying with some novel approaches. Different from previous research, the author believes interesting entertainment materials with digital technologies could improve people’s foreign language proficiency stress-freely.



The sims can create a real-life foreign language context for language learners to play games and the experience of taking foreign language as mother tongue. The more frequently a learner uses the target language, the more familiar he can be with it. Only if a learner plays the game everyday and spends enough time, he/she could achieve learning outcomes.  



You can reconfigure the layout and design of the browser interface, inserting online flashcard system of vocabulary and translation. So when you are browsing the Internet you can memorize words in short term. Furthermore, the long time exposure of vocabulary can help your memorization but with just a quick glance. The premise of this approach is you would share a lot of time surfing the internet and thus you would meet this approach with adequate time.



Typing tutor programs provide students model sentences and grammar knowledge in front of computers. It help students to access so many correct and standardized sentences and memorize sentences repeatedly. On the other hand, because the large amount of material has to be memorized, students might be unwilling to practice. To solve this problem, teachers should combine sentences and grammatical points with bi-lingual games or songs lyrics to motivating students.



Songs of foreign language can share foreign culture with students and students perhaps would listen to these songs during free time with the purpose of listening comprehension and vocabulary learning. But there are some shortcomings of just listening to music: firstly, musical tastes are different; secondly, song lyrics could be difficult for language learners to understand or recognize accurately; and thirdly, it’s hard for teachers to give instructions when a song is playing. However, with the new digital technologies and the popularity of MP3 player and cell phone, students can get foreign language songs easily and in line with their love. In this case, students tend to listen more frequently. As for the second shortcoming, online communication with native-speakers can help explain cultural barrier and even translate difficult lyrics to foreign language learners. Spatialized translation allows language experts put their instructing contents within target songs. Learners can listen to a song and explanations at the same time.



Simon and Schuster Corporation: the Pimsleur series. the exclusive use of auditory materials on cassette or CD. Downloading the listening materials on cell phones and then you can listen to it stress-freely when you are walking to a language class. The interest level of content and step-by-step instructions determine the frequency of practicing the target language.



Content Based Instruction (CBI) offers authentic target language context to learners practicing language. Considered there exist much more popular media forms that learners would independently be interested in than before, learners could find better ways of integrating them into the foreign language learning process.



Purushotma, R. (2005). Commentary: You’re not studying, you’re just… Language Learning & Technology, 9(1), 80–96.


On “Mobile Learning: Small Devices, Big Issues”

Sharples, Arnedillo-Sanchez, Milrad, and Vavoula (2009) studied what’s mobile learning and the way to design and evaluate it. The article title Small Devices, Big Issues implied that the importance of digital devices for daily life and education. Here mobile digital devices included phones, MP3 players and PDAs.
First of all, the authors stated that “mobile learning is the study of how the mobility of learners augmented by personal and public technology can contribute to the process of gaining new knowledge, skills and experience, it examines how learning flows across locations, time, topics and technologies”. Secondly, conversations and contexts are the keywords of mobile learning. In order to promote conversations and integrate mobile technologies to education practices, specific learning objectives are important and thus people need to 1.Create quick and simple interactions; 2.Prepare flexible materials that can be accessed across contexts; 3.Consider special affordances of mobile devices that might add to the learner experience (e.g. the use of audio or user anonymity); 4. Use mobile technology not only to “deliver” learning but to facilitate it, making use of the facilities in current mobile devices for voice communication, note taking, photography and time management (Naismith & Corlett, 2006). However, learners get distracted easily during studying; besides, mobile learning process may out of designing purpose. From this section, students’ understanding of how to use digital devices and connect new knowledge to real life leads to the success of mobile learning. Thirdly, evaluating mobile learning may encounter challenges such as the unpredictability of the learning process, unpredictability of the mode of use, and looking beyond the “wow” effect. Mobile learning can be measured from individual devices users’ outcome, educational value and overall impacts of technology on long-term learning.

Three activities of mobile learning showed the applications of mobile learning in and out of classroom and pedagogical outcomes. The first example My Art Space: Learning with Phone Technology on Museum Visit conducted among over 3000 school students in a year time. Students used devices to record and produce their own art project related to museums. In museums, they found out specific items and collect data by multimedia phones and the GPRS phone network; back in classrooms, they checked the data and combined it to materials provided by museums and other students to answer the questions asked by teachers. Through interviews, video observations and surveys, this activity was considered successful in pedagogy and motivated students learning more than teachers required. But it’s difficult to some students identifying items collected when into the classrooms and the payment of this activity was uncertain since digital devices were not cheap. Like other two examples the AMULETS Project and the Mobile Digital Narrative, mobile learning encouraged students to get new knowledge through continues SMS conversations within certain contexts.

However, these mobile courses really took time and relied too much on learners; meanwhile, projects related to mobile devices need supports from the public services and probably government fund. Mobile learning was not “mobile” enough.

Considering course achievements and a far-reaching impact on learners, mobile learning should be valued. Teachers might provide various interesting tasks for students to complete, such as trending topics, current affairs, group work. Students can share their mobile-learning outcomes, stories, or tips with their classmates in the classroom. The design of mobile learning courses need not only teachers and schools’ detailed planning, but also students, their parents and the public’s approval.




Naismith, L., & Corlett, D. (2006). Reflections on success: A retrospective of the mLearn conference series 2002-2005. In Across generations and cultures, book of abstracts (pp. 118-120).

Sharples, M., Arnedillo-Sanchez, I., Milrad, M., & Vavoula, G. (2009). Mobile learning: Small devices, big issues. In N. Balacheff, S. Ludvigsen, T. de Jong, A. Lazonder, & S. Barnes (Eds.), Technology-Enhanced Learning: Principles and Products (pp. 233-249). Netherlands: Springer.

On ““Bridging activities,” new media literacies, and advanced foreign language proficiency”

Thorne & Reinhardt (2008) hold “bridging activities” as the main teaching approach linked to new literacies for the communicative practices of advanced foreign language learners. Under a teacher-mediated language awareness framework and with teachers’ guidance, language learners should choose new literacies text which they are interested in and then analyze and compare it to traditional text with the same topic from the aspects of grammar, genre, or stylistic features. In the journal article of Thorne & Reinhardt in 2008, they examine the application of bridging activities in the course curriculum, including instant messaging and synchronous chat, blogs and wikis, remixing, and multiplayer online gaming.


University students collect data from wikis, blogs or conversation with native-speakers. Then they hand in texts to their teachers. Teachers do discourse analysis and explain the texts to students, so students can learn a lot from information-collecting and information analysis.

The first application of bridging activity is the use of wikis. Wiki technology provides average people with the possibility for collaboratively creating and editing textual production; and with this action also comes the booming of various online resources. The proof is the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. If a teacher asks her/his students to create and edit one new article collaboratively after the instructions of how to research information, hyperlinks and publish one’s work, students might take an active part in the building of this assignment. In the process, students could refine the writing, formatting, citation, evaluation of information sources and even communication skills by discussing and communicating with their classmates and other wiki visitors. In addition, language learners design a new identity online and become a part of the target language society. It’s good for learning confidence.

But teachers should notice that without detailed procedures and instruction all the time for online surfing easily erodes students’ concentration and causes inefficiencies on the course. Meanwhile, it would be time-consuming to make the article excellent or even solely completed.

Another example is the introduction of online gaming in the classroom. To teach sea animals, a teacher could firstly create a list of key words about an online game and teaching goal together for students, and then instruct guidance on how to play the game and drawing animals from the game as well as ask students pay attention to the movement of an animal and do a description of it. In this way, students could have more direct feelings of the animal species and appearance from the game than that of printed books or pictures. Games usually associate with sounds, letters, pictures and dialogue tools that can arouse learners’ interest and enjoy learning through entertainment. This activity makes use of course procedures and fulfills course tasks within limited time. Here the point is to find a certain online game which is right for teaching objectives. After this effective lesson, students might even be willing to learn something from other games and understand what new literacies can bring to our life.

Therefore, the two applications of bridging activity show that new literacies could excite atmosphere of classroom and improve teaching effect and activate students’ class participation and learning outcomes. Unlike the viewpoint of Thorne & Reinhardt (2008), I think bridging activities are applicable to beginners as well, not restricted to the proficiency of advanced language learners. Every level takes its own way to achieve learning success with digital literacies pedagogies.

Thorne, S. L., & Reinhardt, J. (2008). “Bridging activities,” new media literacies, and advanced foreign language proficiency. CALICO Journal, 25(3), 558-572.

On “Productive pedagogies: Play, creativity and digital cultures in the classroom ”

Marsh (2008) aimed to test the effect of digital literacies on children’s productive pedagogies. There are four dimensions of productive pedagogies: intellectual quality, connectedness, supportive classroom environment and engagement with difference. Specifically, the author focuses on “connectedness” and examines a case study of a blogging project from this dimension. Connectedness dimension focuses on “how far work undertaken in the classroom is connected to competences and concerns beyond the classroom”. In order to examine the effects of blogging, two primary school teachers, and one was in UK and the other in the United States, planned a collaborative project which children developed blogs on the topic of dinosaurs and responded to each other’s blog posts within two years.


The effects of productive pedagogies are showed through the case study of blogging: though students located in different countries, they communicated with others via blogging and commenting and even owned additional blogs on other study topics; they connected study topics to the everyday literacy lives beyond the classroom and began to learn independently and creatively; learners could deepen their mastered knowledge and try digital literacies practices at home, that means they were willing to spend time on learning in- and out-of-school spaces.


Nevertheless, it should be noted that these participants were in first language environment and they had already know how to use computers and smart phones before the project started. As for foreign language learners who might be reluctant to use non-native language to write blogs and look for relative information. Similarly to fanfiction writing approach, blogging also involves prolonged immersion and the effect isn’t obvious.



Marsh, J. (2009). Productive pedagogies: Play, creativity and digital cultures in the classroom. In R. Willett, M. Robinson, & J. Marsh (Eds.), Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures (pp.200-218). New York: Routledge.

On “Language, Culture, and Identity in Online Fanfiction by Rebecca W. Black”

This article talks about how networked technologies & popular culture help an English Language Learner succeed in English language learning and writing. Nanako is a Chinese girl who immigrated to Canada when she was 11 and without knowledge of English.


Black (2006) defines that “fanfiction is writing in which fans use media narratives and pop cultural icons as inspiration for creating their own texts”. The love for anime makes Nanako begin to write anime-based fanfictions in English on www.fanfiction.net. This site provides a safe, supportive and meaningful “virtual space” for language learning and writing development.


Nanako’s readers give her gentle feedback and comments on improving her writing skills and background knowledge mistakes. The online interactions between she and her readers make both of them learn more about multiple languages, social discourses, & popular culture knowledge in socially and linguistically appropriate ways.


By mention this; I really regard online writing & intercommunication as a helpful way to improve English. Because in this case, Nanako pays attention to writing technique and polish so she naturally applies English in both online and school life. Such globalized networking technologies do offer EFL opportunities of communicating to native speakers and language teachers, particularly in a casual way—students can learn language at ease.


However, unlike Nanako who is in English-speaking country, most of Chinese students are lack of internal motivation speaking & writing English as much as possible. What’s more, parents don’t care about children’s speaking skill only if kids can get high grades in examinations.


Interest is the best teacher. Besides fanfictions, on the platform of the internet, fans could learn English from pop musicians’ lyrics; they could do translation on foreign stars’ interviews; they could study lines and background knowledge from TV series and movies; they could communicate with native speakers on the idols they both love; to name just a few.


Recommendation: useful e-journal for our dissertation

Firstly, thank you Jade for such a long comment~ It remines me to do this post & hope it can help your guys for finding full-text researches related to your dissertations.

Here we go!

This e-journal is in our library  located in the same list of e-database,

steps like: e-resources—e-journals—for cityu main campus–title:system—begins with—-Go—the first one called “system journal”—input a year—enter—-do research!

This “System” provides lots of full text of articals, some of them cannot be found in the database.

Online Learning: My Experience

For me, online learning can be an amazing way to both pick up the learning materials I need and acquire new knowledge I will need in the future. Since the advent of the Internet, it has become much easier to look up information.

For academic purpose, I use the e-database of our university, Google Scholar and experts’ blogs to collect reliable data on my reading and writing. As for online database, digital journal articles are much more comprehensive and fast-changing than printed ones. Here I can easily get something related to my particular topics and key words without looking up printed texts that might be a huge workload. Besides, Google Scholar is also a useful tool when searching the Internet for an article or a research, and sometimes feedbacks and critical reviews about the article are accessible thus helping my understanding. What’s more, it is an important means to get information about an expert in the field concerned. In the last semester, preparing for the group presentation, my partners and I got in touch with the writer of the book which we were discussed through her own official blog; we asked her questions in email and she offered helpful suggestions with pleasure. It is hard to imagine that students are able to contact an unknown writer directly without the Internet!

On the other hand, for informal language learning, I really have visited lots of blogs and forums to learn new internet slangs and conversational expressions in daily life. There are always people willing to share their experience and knowledge on foreign language learning, such as detailed analysis of wording and phrasing in a drama, procedures of a PowerPoint talk, and tips of foreign college applications. I am interested in learning more about the culture and history behind the language. The more I understand the cultural background, the better I can use the language.

Online learning plays a rather important role in my English language learning for both formal and informal proposes since it has been providing opportunities for me to sharpen my language skills and higher language proficiency.

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