ML2 – Second Language Literacies

A blog for the Second Language Literacies course from the MA in Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages (ML2) at UPB-Medellín

Profiling Alternative Literacy at Federico Ozanam School.

Edin Enrique Lemos M

María Isabel Marin L.

Rubén Darío Palacio M.

English Language II

Professor: Raúl A. Mora, PhD.

Semester II – 2013


Profiling Alternative Literacy at Federico Ozanam School.

      Luke and Elkins (1998) argued that the most useful component of the tool kit for all literacy educators may not be a mastery of a particular method, but rather a vision of the future of literacy, a picture of the texts and discourses, skills and knowledge that might be needed by our students as they enter new worlds of work and citizenship, traditional and popular culture, leisure and consumption, teaching and learning.

The teaching-learning process of English, through the application of ICT technological tools, consists of a few main themes to comply: listening, speaking, reading comprehension and writing. Therefore, to successfully achieve these guidelines, the aim of this project is to describe in detail the implementation of virtual assistance, such as social networks and other Internet applications, which support the development of new methodological and pedagogical strategies so the student can acquire knowledge with a motivating and engaging attitude through playful training workshops.

It is expected the outcome of this project to contribute on improving the process of acquisition of English for the students of the Educational Institution Federico Ozanam, located in Buenos Aires neighborhood of the city of Medellin, between 45 and 47 street and the 35 and 36 Carrera, with the address No. 35-19. Students are pretended to develop critical reading, textual competences, and argumentation, listening and oral production. The items of knowledge of English are composed by: language as communication, language and its rules of use, understanding and writing of texts and the literary delight. The theoretical approach is semantic communication with an emphasis on significance. The evaluation criteria are constructed on the basis of the processes that underlie the competences. The area of English aims to provide the solution of problems and needs in the field of communication, in order to form a complete and competent citizen, and a transformer of the social conditions in which he performs.

Beavis (2004a) claimed that in the 21st century, new technologies, in particular interactive multimedia and the internet, challenge many aspects of our teaching practice and assumptions. What counts as knowledge, what counts as literacy, the way we teach and even the relationships we form, need to be considered anew, colored and reshaped as they are by changing cultural practices brought about by global commerce and ICTs.

pic 2


Young students base their thoughts and attitudes on motivation and learning, likewise, on environmental, cultural, professional and communicative requirements and its relation to the second language acquisition; it generates in teachers the specific need of designing and implementing new methodological and pedagogical strategies that will bring the student to the acquisition of knowledge. Since the discovery of these attitudes series of strategies have been developed including ICT as the main tool to bring the student to learn a language, this design of strategies thus becomes the main objective of this project.


Based on a research carried out by three professionals in the area of second language (English), in which some scenarios that were considered as adverse agents for learning a second language (English) were analyzed. It was discovered then, that in those scenarios it was possible to develop diagnostics that served as a starting point for the development of effective and efficient strategies.

The development of such strategies is based also in adjusting to the reality of the youths, and it is, therefore, necessary to redesign and to rewrite a new style of education that is attractive to the youths, which motivates them to take an interest in all the elements that are being offered in the educational field, elements that will help them achieve the objectives proposed and allow the professor to face situations such as: motivation, lack of responsibility, low interest in the activities proposed and other series of misfortunes, including the nature of attitude, which becomes the principal obstacle to the development of the educational and recreational activities that enable the acquisition of a second language (English). One cannot deny the tremendous influence information and communication technologies are having on the world today. Carrington and Marsh (2008) claimed that learners will have access to a wider range of multimodal forms of representation both within and outside of the classroom and these forms will become increasingly powerful as cultural practices. It is possible to affirm that all the spheres of human life are permeated by these technological tools. The youths, as it could not be otherwise, are one of the sectors where ICT has more impact, in order to facilitate an easy access to information, entertainment and communication. In contrast, one can see the indifference on the part of young people to carry out their learning activities. As stated by Carrington and Marsh (2008), print literacy and heritage text will always be culturally significant. However, to be truly literate in the next twenty years will require skill sets and attitudes that go beyond those associated with static print.

The young average person has already responded to their academic responsibilities with the only purpose of obtaining a good grade, downplaying the process of obtaining relevant knowledge. Similarly, this proposal intends to make use of all the possibilities offered by the practice of different digital literacies, to implement them in the learning of English, thus in this way responding to the growing lack of motivation among students starting from the implementation of certain activities that have as their basis the use of technological tools.

According to Kist (2000) this technology is increasingly multimodal (New London Group, 1996) with the combinations of graphic arts, music, drama, cinema and others, so this would mean that students would read and write using a variety of media with different forms of communications, then the media would become merged with a daily practice (Bruce & Hogan, 1998). In this classroom students would also be free to “read and write” in these languages of the mind. Learners are free to interact with teachers and their peers (John- Steiner; 1997).pic 1

A series of three activities are proposed to develop in the classroom, each of which has a theoretical foundation that serves as an epistemological support. According to Kist (2010) Web sites like Facebook and Twitter have transformed the way young people interact and communicate. With appropriate guidelines, students’ social networking skills can be harnessed to develop new literacies and deepen teaching and learning in the 21st century.

For instance, the first activity consists in login into any social network (Facebook, Twitter, Sonic, etc.); where one creates a group and invites all the students of the course.  The teacher assigns a chain-activity that is being rotated each time and the students will develop it and send it to other students. But, what is a social network? It is a website that collects certain features that enable communication and interaction between different people. Given the creativity such functionalities handle, young people are easily attracted by them, this is clearly manifested in the large amount of time devoted to them.

The professors Swapna Kumar and Maija Tammelin (2008), contend that such websites constitute a “motivating opportunity for learning languages”, in which, given the virtual, quiet and spontaneous environment, the student “can practice not only the uses of writings, but also conversation and pronunciation, without fear of making mistakes.” The student, away from the pressure and inconvenience of their own academic atmosphere, develops the activity proposed by the teacher with greater motivation, and finds out in the interaction with their other classmates within the social network a great incentive to carry out their learning process, thanks to the use of these networks, they “are motivated to communicate and collaborate among themselves and to produce common products” (Kumar & Tammelin, 2008).

The second activity is to read a text in English by repeating with a text reader. A text reader is a speech synthesis application that serves to create a spoken sound version of the text that appears on the computer. It is usually used by people with visual disabilities, but can also be used as a tool for learning a language. This is the use that is given in this activity, where the student reads a text in English, while listening to the text reader, in such a way that one practices the pronunciation in a kind of simultaneous conjugation of reading and listening.

SAM_0471 (1)

The last activity is to enter on a website with interactive images to learn English singing. A clickable image is any image that has instructions in it, so that clicking on it initiates some kind of action or result. When the student interacts with a music video, they will acquire more knowledge and improve the pronunciation in the second language without leaving aside the incentive generated by the melody of the song.

SAM_0460 (1)

Student’s motivation is essential when undertaking a process of meaningful learning. These types of seductive activities become innovative alternatives for the study of a second language. Finally, these activities also awake its readiness to proceed toward the acquisition of relevant knowledge and as Kist (2000) roughly said, the new literacy classroom would use multiple ways of representation, students would read and write using a variety of media on a daily bases and there would be a combination between solitary and collaborative work.

Construction of Meaningful English Learning by Means of ICTs.


This project has as its main objective to identify the 11th grade students’ conceptions from the Educational Institution FEDERICO OZANAM located in Buenos Aires neighborhood of the city of Medellin, between 45 and 47 street and the 35 and 36 Carrera, with the address No. 35-19, on the little use of technological tools ICT for the construction of meaningful learning in the area of English.

The members of this group face in their everyday lives a series of misfortunes, including of attitudinal and academic nature on the part of students, as a consequence, the members decide to inquire the “WHY” of this situation. It was decided, then, to select the E. I. FEDERICO OZANAM, given the fact that a member of this group carries out his educational work in such institution, and he expresses repeatedly the interference of an academic and attitudinal nature from the students’ side in the English learning.

The current project aims to make a diagnosis of how students at the time to learn Spanish or English express a series of technological interference affecting the academic and attitudinal that prevents them from the acquisition of the language. The idea then is to present a useful work for the teachers who face this problem in their teaching work and although you may think that the problem of interference only covers the linguistic stadium, i.e. of communicative competence, it also has to do with affairs of the general competencies of emotional or attitudinal type, which in turn can lead to a spectrum of understanding of the population much more comprehensive to the teacher to take this into account when preparing the strategies and classroom activities.

The institution has a good condition physical plant comprising classrooms, laboratories, bilingual classrooms, computer rooms, library, secretarial, Principal´s office, sports hall, school store, academic and disciplinary coordination, Teacher’s room, medical units, coliseum and multi sport complex.

People of this context are in a medium social status condition, they do drugs, liquor and some students also belong to gangs. The neighborhood is close to the city center, so people usually walk to get there.

Academically, it is possible to say that the institution has grown, because the Institute has established itself as one of the official institutions with higher scores in the following projects:  Olimpiadas del conocimiento, where the school got the first place among the top 25 schools in the city of Medellin.

In ICFES Testing: in 2005, 3 of the 4 scholarships were awarded to the institution. In 2006, 4 students obtained the highest score in the institution and they became creditors of 4 scholarships to study in any private or official University of the city.

Additionally, the institution gives students the opportunity to participate in Student Social Service, for instance at Pilot’s Public Library, the Politécnico Jaime Isaza Cadavid, Eafit University and Escuela del Maestro among others.

FEDERICO OZANAM High School has well distributed staff members: A Principal, 5 Discipline Coordinators, An Academic Coordinator, 78 educators, 2.500 Students, also it has 5 secretaries, 1 Academic Library assistant , 6 General Services employees and 5 Security Guards.

Inside the Institution, one can feel a great working and studying environment and the students are respectful, teachers and staff members are very responsible for their academic duties. The parents are integrated with the institution in different acts of the community such as: Parents’ council, High School Staff members, Parents Association, and so on.

Culturally, our students have a great ability for different artistic expressions related to their surroundings, some of them enjoy dancing  from folk music to break dance; they also like painting not only pictures, but also graffiti, likewise, they love  playing musical instruments as well as singing in Spanish and in English. Together with these artistic expressions, they are very fond of board skating, skating, BMX, motor racing and obviously soccer, baseball and basketball.

Apart from all of these activities, they are very fond of new technological devices and they make use of them on a daily basis, for example tablets, smart phones, laptops and I phones, to interact among them in Spanish and in English too. Since some of them do not have access to these technologies at home, it comes to be a very appealing tool.

In the following pages, the three guides designed for each one of the activities proposed earlier are presented.

logo fo            Institución Educativa Federico Ozanam  

      “Por el esfuerzo a las  cumbres”                                          

         Creada por Resolución Departamental Nº 16275 de 2002


Guide Nº1: Sharing Information


Use a social networking site as a tool to work in class time


Generate methodological strategies where social networking sites are used as a starting point for academic activities.


A task will be assigned to each student and in ten minutes they must post an activity on the social network site. This activity is designed to be carried out during two class sessions depending on the number of students.


Students of eleventh gradeº


Bilingual room computers


English language teacher


Enter the social network site that has been selected by both teacher and students. Here the most common social networking sites are shown. (See images 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6)

Image 1 –FACEBOOK:



Image 2 – TWITTER:



   Image 3 – MY SPACE:



Image 4 – LINKEDIN:



Image 5 – Hi5:



Image 6 – SONICO:



Once the social network site has been selected, a group is opened and each one of the students is added to it. The activity starts at 6:00 am and finishes at 8:00 am. The first student on the list will receive the information about the activity and he has about ten minutes to make the activity and send it to the rest of the group. The rest of the group will see what each student is doing in order to plan what he will do when it is his turn. If any student does not accomplish his task, the next student will know it and will be in charge of continuing the activity.


The teacher plans a written activity, a composition based on the parameters that include specific vocabulary and verbal tenses. Each student is asked to write a specific number of words about a common story that each one is going to correct when he notices any mistakes in the moment he has to participate. If the teacher wants he can split the group in two and do the same activity with two subgroups. Also, the teacher will be able to give any feedback when the activity is being developed and will give any suggestions in case the activity is deviating from the original objective.

logo fo               Institución Educativa Federico Ozanam  

                                                   “Por el esfuerzo a las cumbres”                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                            Creada por Resolución Departamental Nº 16275 de 2002


Guide Nº 2: Reading aloud following an example


Reading and repetition aloud of a text in English, by means of Text To Speech (TTS)


Identify what motivates the students to use technology in second language learning.


Two hours block: 15 minutes to recognize the Text To Speech program, 20 minutes practice and then reading aloud in front of the group.


Students of eleventh gradeº


Bilingual room computers


English language teacher


Enter the web page

Recognize different applications on the main page: translator of texts in different languages, compare translations with 4 different on line translators (PROMPT – GOOGLE – BABYLON – MICROSOFT), Spell checker, text to speech and connections to social networks: Twitter – Facebook – Blogger.

Image 7– Main page



Click on the Text to Speech icon on top of the page (Image 7)

–Here, it is displayed another page where various commands are shown. Each command needs to be recognized (Image 8).

Image 8 –Text to Speech main page.


 A.     Speed – The program can be changed to read texts at seven different speeds: +3, +2, +1, 0 -1, -2, -3 (Image 9).

Image 9 – Speed to read the text.



B.  Language – language in which the text is going to be read is chosen. If the text is in English or any other language, you have the option to listen to male or female voice reader (Image 10).

Image 10 – Language selection to read the text



C. The white rectangle is the place where the text is copied in English. It is important to know that the program has a 500 words limit (Image 11).

Image 11 – Text in English



D. In the upper right part of the program, one can see the icon SAY IT. One clicks on it to start the program to read the text in the selected language and the desired speed. The program has displayed another page where one can see the commands of an audio player: Stop – Forward – Rewind – Pause – Play all (when the text is extensive and it is divided into two, two tables appear with the numbers one and two respectively, in that way one can read in two parts) (see Image 12).  While reading the text the spoken words are being highlighted in red. The student has the possibility to hear the text as many times as necessary using the commands of Play, Forward, Rewind, and Pause.  Remember that one can vary the speed and the voice whether male or female.

Image 12 – Reading the text and application icons




Choose some students randomly and listen to them reading the text aloud and check their pronunciation.

logo fo

                                                Institución Educativa Federico Ozanam  

                                             “Por el esfuerzo a las cumbres”                                          

                                   Creada por Resolución Departamental Nº 16275 de 2002

Guide Nº 3: Learn English Singing


Learn English Singing


Identify what motivates the students to use technology in second language learning.


Two hours block: 15 minutes to recognize the commands of the page, 40 minutes to practice songs and the rest of the class to perform in front of the group and the teacher the learning of pronunciation, vocabulary, expressions, idioms and phrases in English.


Students of eleventh gradeº


Bilingual room computers


English language teacher


Enter the web page (image 13) – there it is displayed a web page with songs and lyrics.

Image 13 – Main page


Recognition of icons on the top: Start – songs – singers – games – the most viewed (songs and videos) – theory – search (singers and favorite songs) (images 14 – 15 – 16 – 17 – 18 – 19).

Image 14 – Songs



Image 15 – Singers in alphabetical order



Image 16 –Games (only three)



Image 17 -The most viewed



Image 18 – Theory (grammar topics)



Image 19 – Grammar topic focus.



Recognize the icons at the bottom of the video: Stop (for the video) – Translation (displayed on the right of the screen) – Karaoke (words are highlighted in two colors to follow the song) – Fill in the blanks (the lyrics of the songs with some blanks for the student complete the songs while listening) – N (Put the lines of the songs in the correct order) – Triangle (hide the lyrics) – and two commands more to perform the song. At the same time the video is playing, the lyrics of the song are highlighted. (Image 20 – 21 – 22 – 23)

Image 20 – Song with blanks and translation.



Image 21 – Video plays and highlights the words of the song.



Image 22 – Karaoke – the song is displayed verticality and words change colors.


 In image 23, it is possible to see two more icons when the song is being completed: Correct – Solve. Through these, it can be verified if the exercise was right and additionally you can see the full lyrics of the song.

Image 23 – Song with blanks to complete




Students are asked to perform different activities of vocabulary and grammatical tenses. It is an activity that serves for all levels of English courses.


     Everyday teachers are faced with the need to design and implement new methodological and pedagogical strategies that bring the student to the acquisition of knowledge, starting with their needs, thoughts and attitudes.

The medium has made the learning of a second language (English) a necessity, and in order to respond accordingly, the teacher takes the interests of young people to design proposals based on their needs, desires and requirements of their surroundings.

The activities, the methodological and pedagogical strategies the teacher performs in their daily work, the interaction with the students, and the evaluation that makes these aspects, let the teacher redesign new learning strategies that contain elements appealing to the youths, that awakes their motivation and interest in order to support the students in the furtherance of their objectives with regard to the acquisition of a second language.

To comply with the purpose to generate methodological strategies to motivate the use of appropriate technology resources in the process of meaningful learning of students in a second language (English) the different possibilities related to ICT are used, promoting meaningful learning and allowing the student to get closer to its own knowledge; providing a motivating environment, quiet and distant from the academic spaces.

One more of the benefits when including social networks as one of the trainers and constructive environments of meaningful learning are the approach, contact, and dialog between teachers and students. Similarly, these social networks provide the ability to learn and build the learning by means of reciprocal relations with their peers.

The virtual tools offered through the web allows students to take a proactive stance on the construction of their learning by taking advantage of their talents and previous knowledge, equally it allows them to support and rely on their peers for the acquisition of new knowledge.

The digital world should become a major ally of education giving a restructuring of the traditional roles teacher – student. This duty invites one to change the idea of sociological education – learning and aims to boost students with commitment and interest to build new educational paradigms. In these new paradigms, the individual becomes producer and constructor of learning as well as one transforms one’s own knowledge.

Thanks to the inclusion of ICT in the teaching practice the new generations assimilate naturally these new tools into important elements they use for their own social and cognitive benefit.

In spite of the few experiences related to the meaningful learning through the use of ICT in relation to the study of the languages it is proposed to apply psychological principles to improve the teaching practice, using the network to recreate spaces and real life situations in which the student participates in an active way.

In conclusion the teachers should encourage learning spaces with meaningful and constructive basis in the use of ICT and the tools that they provide.


Albright, J. J., Purohit, K.D. & Walsh, C. S. (2002). Louise Rosenblatt seeks for LTR: Using chat rooms in interdisciplinary middle school classrooms. Journal of Adult and Adolescent Literacy, May 2002; 45 (8), pp. 692-705.

Albright, J. J., Purohit, K.D. & Walsh , C. S. (2006). ‘Multimodal reading and design in a cross-disciplinary curriculum theorising’ in W. D. Bokhorst-Heng, M. D. Osborne, & K. Lee (Eds.), Redesigning pedagogy: Reflections on theory and praxis, pp. 3-18, Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Beavis, C. (2001). ‘Digital culture, digital literacies: expanding notions of text’ in C. Durrant and C. Beavis (Eds.), P(ICT)ures of English: Teachers learning and technology. Adelaide: AATE/Wakefield Press pp. 145-161.

Beavis, C. (2004a). ‘Good game’: text and community in multiplayer computer games, Doing literacy online: teaching, learning and playing in an electronic world, pp. 187-205, Hampton Press, New Jersey, USA.

Beavis, C. (2004b). Critical perspectives on curriculum and ICTs: the 3D model, literacy and  computer ,games, Interactive Educational Multimedia, Vol 9, pp. 77-88, University of  Barcelona, Spain.

Bruce, B. & Hogan, M. (1998). The disappearance of technology: Toward an ecological model of literacy. In D. Reinking, M. McKenna, L. Labbo, and R. Kieffer (Eds.), Handbook of literacy and technology:  Transformations in a post-typographic world (pp. 269-281). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Carrington, V. & Marsh, J. (2008). Forms of Literacy.  University of South Australia and University of Sheffield.

Facer, K. & Williamson, B (2002) Designing Technologies to Support Creativity and Collaboration. Bristol: Futurelab. <> Downloaded 12/10/2013.

John-Steiner, V. (1997). Notebooks of the mind: explorations of thinking. (Rev. ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

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Kist, W. (2007). Basement new literacies: Dialogue with a first-year teacher. English Journal, 97(1), 43-48.

Kist, W. (2010). The socially networked classroom: Teaching in the new media age. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Kumar, S. & Tammelin, M. (2008). Integrating ICT into Language Learning and Teaching A Guide for European Institutions. Linz, Austria: Johannes Kepler Universität.

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2002) Do we have your attention? New Literacies, digital technologies, and the education of adolescents. In D. E. Alvermann (Ed.), Adolescents and literacies in a digital world. New York: Peter Lang.

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This entry was posted on October 17, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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