Academic Exchange Quarterly Spring 2012 ISSN 1096-1453 Volume 16, Issue 1
To cite, use print source rather than this on-line version which may not reflect print copy
format requirements or text lay-out and pagination.
This article should not be reprinted for inclusion in any publication for sale without author's explicit permission. Anyone may view, reproduce or store copy of this article for personal, non-commercial use as allowed by the "Fair Use" limitations (sections 107 and 108) of the U.S. Copyright law. For any other use and for reprints, contact article's author(s) who may impose usage fee.. See also electronic version copyright clearance
CURRENT VERSION COPYRIGHT © MMXII AUTHOR & ACADEMIC EXCHANGE QUARTERLY
Web 2.0 and
Part-of-Speech annotation in
Gloria Branca ITIS “E.Fermi” – Fuscaldo (Cs) - Italy
Gloria Branca is an
The field of education technology applied to language
pedagogy has witnessed an increasing number of interactive web-based
applications made available by the second-generation web (Web 2.0). These
resources offer opportunities to enhance learner motivation and language awareness through a recreational approach,
which is impossible to adopt in traditional classroom settings.
Classroom experimentation was
conducted to engage a group of
applied to language pedagogy have offered English as Second Language (
In this respect, social software applications, such as
recreational folksonomies, which rely on tagging activities in web 2.0 social
environments, can be introduced to promote motivation in
Following these considerations, this paper describes
how Web 2.0 and
According to the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985), there are two general types of motivation: one based on intrinsic interest in the activity per se and the other based on rewards, extrinsic to the activity itself. Intrinsic motivation (IM) refers to motivation to engage in activity because it is enjoyable. By contrast, extrinsic motivation (EM) refers to actions carried out to achieve some instrumental end. Following Vallerand (1997), IM is divided into three types: 1. intrinsic motivation to know (IM-Knowledge); 2. intrinsic motivation toward accomplishment (IM-Accomplishment); 3. intrinsic motivation to experience stimulation (IM-Stimulation).
In the field of education technology applied to
language pedagogy, teachers, who integrate their didactic practice with digital
task-based activities, commonly experience how this integration can foster student’s
IM-Stimulation based on the sensations stimulated by doing attractive tasks, i.e.
fun and excitement (Carreira, 2005). Web 2.0
technologies now offer
Moreover, these tools offer opportunities to implement a recreational approach, besides a global emotional involvement as an important factor of the affective approach in language learning (Balboni, 2002). Web-based applications further support some neurolinguistic aspects involved in SLA. In particular, the neurological bimodal approach (Danesi, 1988) claims that effective language learning engages both the left and the right hemispheres of the brain, and requires the use of their respective perceptual modalities. This approach encourages bimodal processing, which has been found to stimulate analytical and holistic cognitive styles (Danesi, 2005). “Bimodal presentation of content involves visual and auditory channels receiving sensory inputs from the environment simultaneously” (Lundsford 2007: 50). Bimodal processing is fostered by Web 2.0 through its multimedia organization of interactive content (text, video, audio), and therefore, language learners may benefit from its use. However, the risk of any naïve pedagogic adaptation of teaching techniques to new media needs to be avoided when in introducing a recreational approach. Web environments, in fact, represent very rich and complex semiotic universes, and they can produce a cognitive overload for students (Calvani, 2009). Therefore, a continuous development of self-reflection, control and analysis of language in use is required in using web 2.0 tools. For this reason, it is better to adopt an integrated approach by mixing different digital tools and cognitive processes with motivational activities and data-driven learning.
Tagging Web 2.0: folksonomy vs. taxonomy A tag is any user-generated word or phrase applied to an object on the web to label content and help organize it following users’ choices. Tagging items with self-chosen labels, or personal markers, which provide description, in fact, creates a stronger identification of the content. Tagging is used for sorting, as a hook for aggregating as part of the collaborative nature of Web 2.0. It is very common on the web, and popular in social networks such as Flickr and Delicious.
Tagging deals with the key aspect of folksonomy, a term which combines taxonomy and folk to indicate the result of personal free tagging, collaboratively generated, open-ended labels that categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and Web links. Folksonomy defines a user-generated and distributed classification system, emerging through bottom-up consensus (Vander Wal, 2004). Folksonomies are simply classifications based on tags. Users can search content by tags, which differs from traditional keyword searches. The value of this external tagging is derived from people using their own vocabulary, and adding explicit meaning in their own understanding: every person is an expert in their own vocabulary (tags). Thus done by users and not by professionals, a folksonomy is most notably contrasted from a taxonomy, which is the technique of creating classifications, using a controlled vocabulary. It is hierarchical in nature, and represents information controlled by a scientific community of experts and professionals. Unlike taxonomy, folksonomy uses a collaborative method to categorize content, where freely chosen keywords are used instead of a controlled vocabulary.
Moreover, tagging is related to the process of categorization, but differs in that it has a lower cognitive cost (Ramshi, 2005). Tagging initially involves the related category of activation, followed by the computation of similarity between the item and candidate concepts. The semantic association is free and depends on individual experience. No filter is needed, so that as many of those associations as wanted can be noted. On the other hand, categorization is often based on cultural knowledge and shared ontology, and needs a step of decision in the choice of the right one following the ontology structures (Schmitz, 2006). Conversely, tagging eliminates the decision and can include all users’ free semantic association.
Overall, the difference between folksonomy and
taxonomy is fundamental for students, who are reflecting on language at
semantic and grammatical levels. Through the activity of tagging,
The Classroom Experimentation Classroom experimentation was carried out based on two main assumptions:
1. the use of Web 2.0 tools in the
Aims and participants
The main aims of the experimentation were to: 1. carry
out a motivating recreational activity, such as tagging users’ content in web
2.0 social environments; 2. integrate this activity with a reflective activity
of labeling English language items, such as grammar categories through online
Participants in the experimentation were 24 Italian secondary-school students (17 males, 7 females), who were attending their first year at a technical High school in Southern Italy in 2010. Their language proficiency level had been previously diagnosed through curricula entry tests, and resulted at the CEF A2 level (Council of Europe, 2001). All students agreed to participate in the experimentation, and their willingness was understood to be related to the use of the web.
Method and Tools A quantitative and qualitative approach was used to measure and interpret the small-scale findings, key processes and outcomes. Classroom data were collected through a semi-structured interview and a set of three short tests: 1. an essay-writing task to elicit free-production data; 2. a translation task; 3. a blank-filling task to elicit accuracy of use of English location verbs. Textual materials for the tests were selected from online descriptive texts of places by official tourist boards, and measures were based on the appropriateness of the chosen verbal items.
Moreover, the tool used for tagging was wikimapia, an
online editable map allowing everyone to add tags and information to any
location on the globe.  The online
The experimentation was conducted for a total of 22 hours in five phases:
1. Preliminary: based on the discovery of some
key aspects of folksonomy through the collection of textual tags on places in wikimapia. Students were asked to collect textual tags
created by users of some famous locations in
2. Noticing and investigation: this phase
was targeted to make
Students discovered that the tagset for all English verbs include only a 5 category system as follows: be marked as VB, have marked as VH, do marked as VD, modals marked as VM and lexical verbs marked as VV. To annotate all verb tenses the system adds only a letter to the previous symbols as shown by tense annotations related to the verb be: VBBase form,VBD past form,VBG ing form,VBI infinitive, VBN past participle, VBZ –s form;
4. Production: students were engaged in writing their own tags in wikimapia on the places where they live. In this phase, students collaborated in groups to carry out the activity;
5. Comparison and evaluation: data collected from the same 3 tests administered in the pre- and post-experimentation stages were compared and treated as evidence of both language proficiency and of grammar competence in the use of location verbs. Semi-structured interviews on the learning experience, which were run at the end of the experimentation, were also evaluated.
Comparative findings of pre- and post-tests showed an
improvement of learners’ language proficiency level (87.5%). This outcome was
the direct result of their involvement in a deep analysis of the tagging
process and semantic associations. Significant
results from the interview showed that learners perceived the benefits of
working with web 2.0 and
Conclusion Classroom experimentation with web tools can be conducted in simple, but
effective ways to motivate learner-centered discovery learning. The wealth of
web resources available can be exploited for a number of pedagogical purposes
 Flickr is an online photo sharing managing system: http://www.flickr.com
Delicious is a social bookmarking service http://delicious.com/
 Wikimapia is a web 2.0 collaborative digital environment that combines google maps with a wiki system. It works as an online editable map allowing everyone to add information to any location on the globe. http://wikimapia.org
 CLAWS web trial service is available online : http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/claws/trial.html
, , World Congress on Computer Science and Information Engineering, 631-635. 2009.
Balboni, Paolo. Le sfide di Babele. Insegnare le lingue nelle società complesse. Torino: UTET Libreria, 2002 .
Calvani, Antonio. Teorie dell’istruzione e carico cognitivo. Modelli per una scuola efficace. Trento: Erickson, 2009.
Carreira, Josè Maria. “New framework of intrinsic/extrinsic andintegrative an/instrumental motivation in second language acquisition”. The Keiai Journal of International Studies, 16, 39-64. 2005.
Cheng and Dorneyei. “The use of motivational strategies in language instruction: the case of EFL teaching in Taiwan”. Innovation in language learning and Teaching, 1, 153-174. 2007.
Council of .
Common European Framework of Reference
for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment.
Danesi, Marcel. “Neurological Bimodality and Theories of Language Teaching”. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 10, 1, 13-31. 1988.
Danesi, Marcel. The conceptual basis of syntax. An introduction to cognitive linguistics. Roma: Aracne, 2005.
Deci, E. L., Ryan, R.M. Intrinsic Motivation and Self Determination in Human Behavior. New York: Plenum Press, 1985.
Psychology and Second Language Learning: The Role of Attitudes and Motivation.
Gardner, Robert, Lambert ,Wallace. “Motivational variables in second language acquisition”. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 13, 266-272. 1959.
Lundsford, Philip. “Implementing an Open Source Conferencing System for Distance Education”. Distance Learning, 4, 2, 20-53. 2007.
Plass, J. L., Chun, D. M., Mayer, R. E., Leutner, D. “Cognitive load in reading a foreign language text with multimedia aids and the influence of verbal and spatial abilities”. Computers in Human Behavior, 19, 3, 221-243. 2003.
Prensky ,Marc . “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”. URL: http://www.scribd.com/doc/9799/Prensky-Digital-Natives-Digital-Immigrants-Part1. 2001.
Ramshi, Sinha.” A cognitive analysis of tagging”. URL http://rashmisinha.com/2005/09/27/a-cognitive-analysis-of-tagging. 2005.
Schmitz, Patrick. “Inducing ontology from flickr tags”.
Collaborative Web Tagging Workshop at
Vallerand, Robert. “Toward a hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation”.
Advances in Experimental Social Psychology.
Vander Wal,Thomas. “You Down with Folksonomy?” URL http://www.vanderwal.net/random/entrysel.php?blog=1529, 2004.