Friday, 5 September 2008

Françoise speaking on the development of new competencies

I just attended a very interesting talk by Françoise Blin entitled "The computer as a functional organ: the development of new competencies for successful language teaching and learning in a VLE". After a brief description of Activity Theory, Françoise talked about VLEs as semiotic vs technological spaces emphasizing that the dialectical relationship between nodes of the two spaces can result in contradictions which, however, can be mediated by means of functional organs.  To create and use functional organs, Françoise suggested three types of competencies: tool-related, task-related and meta-functional. She argued that the three competencies are required for learners to move smoothly between semiotic and technological spaces. 
In the second part of the talk, Françoise demoed an electronic glossary implemented in Moodle. The co-construction of the electronic glossary can be seen as a sub-activity of the main language learning activity and its activity system can be represented in the usual way. She cited preliminary data that suggested that the glossary sub-activity unfolded as planned although a number of problems, disruptions, conflicts and transformations of the initial components of the activity system occurred.

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