Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Web: first steps and evolution (Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0).

We use the Web on a daily basis, it has become part of our lives, specially for new generation of students. However, some of us do not have really clear what the Web is. In this post I will expose a little bit about the terminology and evolution of the Web. Let’s start from the basic terminology:
  • What does “The Web” mean?
Web is the acronym for World Wide Web. Basically, is a collection of interconnected documents or content which works on the basis of the client and service relation: the web client requests the use to the web service, the main purpose is facilitate the exchange of information between people and computers.

The World Wide Web was created by Tim Berners-Lee. He presented his first proposal on 1989, but it wasn’t until almost 20 years after that the web was establish on the Internet. When he came up with the idea of exchange information though computers, he was working as a software engineer at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research. He observed many scientists participating on CERN experiments and then returned to their laboratories to work by themselves. After the individual research, they had problems exchanging results. Berners-Lee could observe their necessity to connect and exchange content via their computers. Seen this opportunity, he presented his firth proposal, but it was rejected. (World Wide Web Foundation, "History of the Web")

In 1990, he had created the first web page editor, browser and server. From those first steps until now, the Web has evolves rapidly, changing our communication and lifestyle.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web 
  • Web 1.0
At the beginning, the main purpose of the Web was to serve as a cyberspace that allows people to share information. Thus, Web 1.0 works primary as a source of information, were the users could only read it. The Web was static and mono-directional, this means that the service provides information to the user, but he couldn’t modify it or contribute, therefore the websites were not interactive. Its main clients were business and companies that want to publish their catalogs and services, so people could read about it.

  • Web 2.0
This web allows users to read and write information, it was bio-directional because the web service presents information to the user and he could also add information to it, thereby allows interaction.  For example, the web 2.0 technologies and services include blogs, wikis and tags. 
Facebook was born as a platform to share, upload and comment information; in the beginning, its users were primarily university students who exchange content about their social live. 

  • Web 3.0
Also know as the “semantic web” because its main purpose is to be readable to machines and humans, using information in the way computers can read it. It’s a web of documents, compared to a global database, were the information (or data) is decoded first by computers, and then by people.  One of its attribute is the “mobility” characteristic, thus you can find the web in everything at any time: in computers, mobile devices (such as smart phones) and even in appliances. Another feature is that it can anticipate the user preferences.

According to "History of the Web" (World Wide Web Foundation), since 1989 “the Web has changed the world. It has arguably become the most powerful communication medium the world has ever known. (…) the Web has changed the way we teach and learn, buy and sell, inform and are informed, agree and disagree, share and collaborate, meet and love, and tackle problems ranging from putting food on our tables to curing cancer.”

As we saw, the Web evolves continuously changing how we communicate and our interaction with each other. From Web 1.0 to Web 3.0, education has also changed according to the technology evolution. Nowadays, teachers and students can share information transcending time and borders, taking advantage of the new technology.


- Ghazal, H.  Detail History of Web 1.0 to 3.0:

- International Journal of Web & Semantic Technology (IJWesT) Vol.3, No.1, January 2012. “Evolution of the Word Wide Web: from Web 1.0 to Web 4.0)”:

- World Wide Web Foundation, "History of the Web":

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pros and some cons about ICT in education

What is ICT?

ICT Is the acronym for Information and Communication Technology, according to the webpage, it “refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications (…). (It) focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.”

People from all over the world use modern communicational technologies daily since all types of works and any professional field can take advantage of it. Education is also changing faster because of the new technology influence

In order to understand the impact that ICTs has had in the learning process, is important to know the following basic concepts of ICT used in education

E learning: refers to the use of electronic, information and communication technologies in education. Technology enriches the learning environment providing information and resources to find, understand and create knowledge.
E learning implies a broad spectrum, from using a C.D-rom for a listening comprehension exercise to a complete online course; from an audio recording to webinars. The main characteristic is the use of technology in the learning process.

Regarding the use of technology on English Learning Teaching (ESL), I have experienced:
  • Listening comprehension exercises using a CD.
  • Using of intelligent boards.
  • Interactive grammar exercises on the Web.
  • Creating Sites about English and sharing information through it.
  • Using Power Point Presentations on the classroom
  • Using email as a communication tool with my students.

Distance Education: it refers to educational process through distances, started in the 19th century with correspondence courses by mail.
It requires huge amount of compromise and motivation from students and teachers. It can be done using digital technology or not, or mixing new technology with traditional educational ways, e.g. online sessions in adition to face to face classes.
 Nowadays, the distance learning supply and demand has been increasing, but is important to consider that not all offers are legitimate,  frauds are frequent, especially in superior education.

Online or virtual educationrepresents a whole new challenge for the face to face traditional class paradigm. Virtual education allows taking courses, semester and even entire careers without actually going to a physical setting. Nowadays, first world universities are facing the challenge of mixing traditional classes with virtual education. From this necessity, appeared  Blended courses as an excellent alternative that allows maintaining personal human contact, the guidance of teachers, colleages and friends, plus benefits represented by the fast changing digital technology.  

This is my first experience in a Blended course, taking an ICT course from my Master program. It has been challenging, because I used to be digital illiterate. However, I perceive that, actually, I’m learning much faster than I had thought. Is rewarding being aware of  how fast I can improve by using technology.

On the other hand, Mobile learning is based primarily is sharing and creating information using any type of mobile device (e.g. cell phones, smart phones, iphone, etc.). New generations, and specially teenagers, are using mobile learning daily: it could be by sharing a video about a class, or receiving an email on their smart phones about homework.

Definitely, education is changing faster than ever thanks to technology, and it does bring great advantage and convenience. However, we should think about the consequences for our mental and physical health. Even though I appreciate the benefits of technology, I'm afraid we might be overusing these recourses. As a consequence, we are putting behind real human contact. I’m concern about the amount of time that we are spending in front of computers or any other type of digital device. From my personal experience, when I’m working (or “distracting”) in front of my computer, I completely lose the awareness of time, and I can spend an entire night working, just to realize at one moment that the sun has risen, it is 6:00 am, and I haven't had any rest.

Technology has invaded our life too much!!! Of course, it is an excellent source of information and education, but on the other hand we must learn how to use it in a healthy and proper way. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Understanding the concepts behind Digital Literacy

I have always liked wordsmeaning and roots. To understand what Digital Literacy means, I started searching for definitions on different dictionaries. Knowing basic terms has always helped me to understand more elaborated concepts. So, what does -digital and -literacy mean? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary:
  • Digital (adj.) from the Latin digitalis, means pertaining or related to fingers. Related to the Latin word digit, meaning the use of numerical digital below 10. After 1945, this definition was associated to the use of numerical digital, especially on computers.
Digital and digit are related by the Latin word digitus, which means “finger or toe (also with secondary meaning dealing in counting and numeral)". The numerical sense is because numerals under 10 were counted using fingers.
Digital is related to finger and numbers, because one primary way of counting was –and still is- by using our fingers. Is associated to the first computers, primarily used as calculators.
  • Literacy (n.), “formed in English from literate+cy, related to Literate.
  • Literate (adj.), from the Latin literatus/litteratus, it means “educated, learned”, one who knows the letters. In the early 15c., the term expressed “educated, instructed”.
How do these terminologies relate to the Digital Literacy concept that we use nowadays

The first logical option is to search on dictionaries that explains the regular use of the words, e.g. Cambridge Dictionaries Online, which defines:
  • Digital, “showing information in the form of an electronic image”.
  • Literacy, “the ability to read and write: knowledge of a particular subject, or a particular type of knowledge”.
Now that I know the basic terminology, these are my ideas about what Digital Literacy might be:  
  1. The ability to read and write information available in electronic tools?
  2. One that is educated about computers?
  3. A person who has been trained or educated on computer language?
One could say that Digital Literacy is the ability to effectively research, choose, read, comprehend, analyze and interpreting digital information. It also involves analytical and creative skills. For example, just posting an article on Facebook, requires the following competences:
  • Knowledge: about how to use a computer, the web, have an email and a Facebook account.
  • Research: you look for different articles on the Internet, e.g. Google.
  • Evaluate information: you deference the articles that you liked from the ones that you don’t, and choose you favourites. 
  • Analyze: you analyze the possible respond or effect caused by your post. This means that you will post certain articles or image according to your digital environment, e.g. you won't post your gramma's photo if your using Facebook as an working tool.
  • Creativity: posting, editing and add comments about the article. 
Once that you use a computer and the Web your way through digital literacy starts! As in all educational or discovering process, the knowledge can go deeper according to the person's interest. Digital Literacy means much more than just using a computer:  you can experience a continuous learning process.

The final question is how can I improve and become more digital literate? 
One important step is practicing, practicing and practicing… You will improve as you use it, understand it and practice it! As in any skill we want to develop!


- Izquierdo, E. (2009). Digital Literacy.

- New York City Department of Education

- Online Etymology Dictionary

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hello World!


This blog is one of my first experiences applying Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as part of my academic and professional roles. 
You will find basic concepts about ICT, posts related to the use of technology in teaching and learning environments, and some articles regarding to English as a Second Language.
I’m learning how to take advantage of new technology and improve my work by using it. This is why I named my blog ICT journey, because is a new chapter in my live which I hope it will be great!
I invite you to do this journey with me, so we can learn a little bit more about technology!