Volume 7 [Issue 2], 2015


Pre-service teacher perceptions about the use of Facebook in English language teaching

Abdulvahit Çakir & Çağla Atmaca


This study aims to find out student teachers’ perceptions about the use of Facebook in English language teaching and their preferences on how to integrate Facebook into English classes. This study, which is based on a mixed method research, consisted of written and oral interviews with 221 student teachers in the English Language Teaching (ELT) program at Gazi University during the fall semester of the academic year 2012-2013. Of the 221 student teachers, 38 (18%) were male and 173 (82%) were female. 146 participants (69.2%) were in favour of Facebook integration into English classes while 58 participants (27.5%) were against and finally 7 participants (3.3%) were neutral. In terms of age and level of learners, adolescents were preferred as the most appropriate age group to be taught English on Facebook; intermediate level was the mostly preferred language level to be enhanced via Facebook. Furthermore, self -study was seen as the most important type of Facebook use. These findings show us how student teachers’ educational preferences can be changed in line with the education they receive and how they should be trained according to the current educational moves and communication tools


Acceptability of a mobile smartphone application intervention to improve access to HIV prevention and care services for black men who have sex with men in the District of Columbia

Matthew E. Levy, Christopher Chauncey Watson, Leo Wilton, Vittoria Criss, Irene Kuo, Sara Nelson Glick, Russell A. Brewer & Manya Magnus


Eliminating racial HIV disparities among men who have sex with men (MSM) will require a greater uptake of HIV prevention and care interventions among Black MSM (BMSM), yet such strategies generally require meaningful engagement in a health care system that often does not meet the unique needs of BMSM. This study assessed the acceptability of, and correlates of having favorable perceptions of, a mobile smartphone application (app) intervention for BMSM that aims to remove structural barriers and improve access to culturally relevant HIV prevention and care services. An Internet-based sample of 93 BMSM completed an online survey on their perceptions of the app using 14 items measured on a 100-point visual analogue scale that were validated in exploratory factor analysis (alpha=0.95). Among the sample, perceptions of two sample app modules were generally favorable and most BMSM agreed that they would use the modules (81.2% and 87.1%). Correlates of having favorable perceptions included trusting medical advice from social networks, lacking private health insurance, and not having accessed a primary care physician in the last year. Our findings warrant the further development of this app and point to subgroups of BMSM for which it may have the greatest impact


Collaborative onscreen and offscreen play: examining meaning-making complexities

Lisa Kervin, Irina Verenikina & Maria Clara Rivera


Playing with toys has been an established part of early childhood education for many years. Educators and theorists agree that opportunities to engage in make-believe play provide a wide range of avenues for enhancing literacy practices in the early years as children make meaning of their surrounding contexts. The increased availability and accessibility of mobile digital technologies has seen children more frequently engage in screen-based or “digital” play, sometimes leaving behind traditional forms of make-believe play with physical objects in physical spaces. However, when combined traditional make-believe and digital play complement each other in providing a rich texture for making meaning. An instance of onscreen and offscreen play is deconstructed to show the meaning-making complexities for child participants. This paper examines four propositions associated with meaning making - space, mediation, materiality and embodiment (Burnett, Merchant, Pahl & Rowsell, 2014) to discuss the complex and diverse relationships between the immaterial and material experience in a literacy episode which combines onscreen and offscreen play. Reported herein are the ways that imaginative play and literacy practices are enriched in the environments which blend physical toys and digital experiences.


Teaching in an age of ubiquitous computing: A decelerated curriculum

Leanne McRae


Ubiquitous computing describes the current conditions of our interactive, screenbased habitats where movement between screens has become a defining trope of everyday life. As students and teachers increasingly deploy screen-literacies within the education process where laptops, tablets and mobile phones become the mechanisms by which education is accessed and activated, new ways of thinking about and through attention, learning, and scholarship need to be deployed. The possibilities of a decelerated curriculum offers opportunities to re-encode the structures and styles of learning students engage with to enable them time to absorb, ponder and problematize the processes of their learning. By asking students to slow their interaction with texts, interfaces, digital and analogue environments teachers are able to engage with digital technologies and ubiquitous screens in meaningful and challenging ways via course content and assessment strategies that enable new technologies a critical and relevant space within their teaching and learning landscape. In this paper, the example of a staged assessment structure is used to demonstrate the ways in which multiliteracies can be activated via deceleration but in ways that permit screen-based interactions while creating a space for critical reflection on the networks of attention that flow across screens.


3D printing and university makerspaces: Surveying countercultural communities in institutional settings

Robbie Fordyce, Luke Heemsbergen, Paul Mignone & Bjorn Nansen


This article reports on an investigation into two experimental “Digismith” workshops held at an Australian university’s School of Engineering that aimed to provide open source education in 3D printing to university students and the general public. The research employed semi-structured interviews and surveys of participants that mirrored previous work on 3D printing communities, while our discussion develops assessments of the political economy of the course curriculum and practice. We suggest the social practice of 3D printing arises from a twin tradition of industrial design and countercultural garage-workshops. As 3D printing becomes a more common subject for tertiary and secondary schooling, educators can take lessons from these histories to flesh out curricula. The Digismith workshops were informed by both classical lecture-discussion-application based models of learning as well as problem-based learning and more radical forms of peer-to-peer learning. We found the tensions between these sometime competing pedagogies to illustrate a peripheral, but fluid space interstitial to the teaching philosophy common to tertiary institutions and the more radical hacker maker spaces that the course attempted to emulate.

When in Ghana, do as sexual minorities do: Using Facebook to connect gay men and other men who have sex with men to HIV services

Benjamin Eveslage


In Ghana and other countries, heightened social stigma and discrimination towards gay men and other men that have sex with men (MSM) is compounded by the criminalisation of homosexuality. These are factors that influence them to avoid in-person peer-networks and settings where HIV prevention and care services are available. Yet in Ghana, and more globally, these same populations are increasingly using online social media networking practices to connect with people and information. This is because it is perceived to be safer and more anonymous. From an HIV prevention and care perspective, this makes online social media—particularly Facebook—uniquely well suited for connecting these at-risk populations to sexual health interventions and services. Drawing on findings from an ethnographic study, I outline how CBOs and NGOs delivering sexual health services could possibly improve HIV prevention and care outreach within these subpopulations of gay men and MSM by mimicking how they use social media. Such an approach entails ambitious and undercover methods for leveraging these subpopulations’ use of social media networks in order to connect them to localised HIV prevention and care services. However, the approach of mimicking how sexual minorities use social media presents new ethical dilemmas. I consider these ethical dilemmas. Then I outline a number of logistical considerations and specific methods sexual health CBOs and NGOs could implement using social media for HIV prevention and care, arguing they have the potential to improve outreach to under-served subpopulations of gay men and other MSM in contexts where discrimination, fear and stigma prevent them from accessing these vital resources.


Increases in Japanese EFL Learners’ Motivation, International Posture, and Interest in Foreign Language Activities after Skype Exchanges

David Ockert


This paper reports the survey results of a group of students at an elementary school in Japan, who engaged in a computer mediated communication exchange with native speaker of English elementary school students in Australia. The schools collaborated to provide the students an opportunity to introduce each other and conduct various activities using Skype. The self-report measure was administered to an experimental and control group before and after the Skype exchange. The results show that the experimental group had statistically significant increases in their desire to engage in foreign language activities (p < .01); international posture (p < .01), motivation (p < .01), and desire to visit foreign countries (p < .05). In addition, the Glass’ Δ effect size measures for the experimental group are: Foreign language activities = .83; International Posture =1.06; Motivation = .80; and Desire to visit foreign countries = .54. These results are very encouraging. The efficacy of including multimodal computer mediated communication exchanges in foreign language learning contexts is discussed.