E-Literacy: Exploring online tools

This task has been designed around the concept of e-literacy skills that is the skills needed for efficient use of online tools. The students work in international groups, choose one of the pre-selected tools (e.g. a blog, wiki, ning, a forum) and analyze it on the basis of two sets of guiding questions. Moreover, a list of competences by M. Pegrum (2009) is attached for reference. Students’ reactions are then posted in a respective forum (or recorded) and commented upon by their partners.

Institution reporting the task:


Language of task instructions:


Target Group:

Foreign language teachers



References and acknowledgements:

Teachers College, NY Open University (GB)


Comparison & analysis

Estimated Duration:

2 sessions







Language Configurations:

Lingua Franca

Language(s) that the task can be used in:


Dominant language production:

Writing/reading asynchronous

Target Competences:

Media literacy

Specific pedagogical objectives:

Development of students awareness of the importance of various semiotic resources

Suggested Communication Tools:


Suggested Resources:

Multiliteracy competences (step 2) have been compiled on the basis of:

Pegrum, M. (2009). From blogs to bombs: The future of digital technologies in education. Perth: University of Western Australia Press.


Due to its complexity, the task should be split into four steps:

Step 1: Introduction

Please, choose a tool/application from the list below and post to the appropriate forum. Please cover step 2: E-Literacy Skills and step 3: E-Professional Skills in two separate postings.

forum for the analysis of a wiki

forum for the analysis of a social bookmarking tool

forum for the analysis of a blog

forum for the analysis of a ning

forum for the analysis of a chat

forum for the analysis of a &quot forum”

Step 2: Which of the following competences (see attached document) are required to use the tool you chose and which of them can it help develop?

Step 3: Analysis

Use the following questions to analyze the tool you have selected

1. Have you already used the chosen tool yourself

a. in private contexts? If yes, explain briefly.

b. in teaching contexts? If yes, explain briefly.

2. In what way(s) does this tool allow you to have access to, understand and interpret texts, sound, images, etc. from users of other cultures?

3. In what way does this tool allow you to communicate information about your own cultural context(s), presenting your ideas, thoughts and personal identity?

4. In the process of ” negotiation of meaning” learners assist one another in order to achieve mutual understanding. In which way(s) does this tool support this process?

Which one of the communication modes (written, visual, oral, aural) provided by the tool facilitate points 2 to 4 in the most efficient way?

6. How can this tool be combined with other tools to extend the possibilities of creating a space for online exchange and collaboration?

7. In what ways have other teachers you know used this tool? Where can you find support from fellow teachers or mentors on the Internet?

8. How do you define your role as a teacher with regard to implementing this tool in your teaching? How is this different from face-to-face teaching?

Step 4: Follow-up

Please respond to at least two other contributions:

one in
your own Forum and

one in
another Forum

Commenting on the choice of tool by the other groups. Your response should be substantive in that you need to keep in mind the same evaluation criteria you used for your own choice of tool.

  1. Do you agree with the other groups’ evaluation? Why or why not?
  2. How could you use this tool to promote the development of multiliteracy skills in your own teaching practice?

Learner Texts:


Document related to the task:


Criteria for Completion:

By the end of this activity the students should have become aware of the different competencies that the chosen tools require. They should also be able to reflect on their own e-literacy. Moreover, since the focus of the task is on teacher training, the students should be awakened to the teaching potential of selected online tools.

Comments and suggestions:

In its original version the students used a Moodle discussion forum. However, students’ comments can be also recorded and published as podcasts


Carolin Fuchs (Teachers College, NY), Mirjam Hauck (Open University), Andreas Müller-Hartmann (University of Education, Heidelberg)