Friday, 30 November 2007

Don't judge a site by the cover

Reading the three web pages that Sarah suggested us (1, 2, 3) I realized that the criteria with which I decide which webpages are useful to my research are not strict enough!

The very first thing I value is the lay out, how easy to read and to "handle" it is. That's basically because I don't like to waste my time, and because even though I'm quite skilled at Internet, I'm not exactly an expert, thus I need pages easy to navigate through. But perhaps this is not the only thing to consider...

The other thing I realized is that in the last five years I did very few researches in a library, and many on the Web, without thinking that it is quite different! When you pick up a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or anything similar from a shelf, you're automatically sure that what you're reading is reliable, and you don't need more proofs! But when you open a webpage looking for information, you should ask yourself who's providing you it. And you should also decide what kind of information you need, if you need facts and find opinions... well, it could be a problem when you then go and write what you found out...

Reliability of your sources is a serious matter when you're writing your thesis, or even anything you want to publish on the Web, stating something you don't know where it comes from could create more problems than what you imagine...

What I found interesting in the pages I read about it is that when I have to search some information for a paper or an essay the only place I look in is the Web, and I never ask myself "Where would be a likely place to look?". The other think I never pay attention to is the updating of information, I'd never take anything from an encyclopedia printed in 1990, or at least I'd take it reminding that the information is not particularly updated (which could be of no importance for some matters, or of great importance for others...), but when I open a webpage I never go and see ths kind of think!

There are several things we don't consider properly when we're using the Web, different tools need different reguards...

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Go and see on YouTube

I'm not here to explain what YouTube is! Just try to see if it can be a useful tool to learn English.
Well, I don't know... I spent a lot of time looking for a video (that's why I'm late with my post!!) that could show that YouTube could be useful to learn a language, and I didn't find that much... Anyway it's almost obvious that providing many English videos it can be used to learn a language, but what is the difference with watching a film in its original language? I was looking for a deepest reason to use YouTube instead of a normal dvd...

Well, eventually I found those "Did you Know" video (I'll post one of them...) and I realized that some kind of communication are more effective than other! In this way YouTube can be a great advantage, because when you need to explain something a video can be very impressive (Think about the Web 2.0 video that Sara showed us...). But that's not learning a language, maybe it's teaching...

Well, probably we need to practice a bit more these new tools to understand how to use them properly, so...

Go and see on YouTube!

Why should you learn English?

Really funny!! Don't mind if you don't understand few German words in the beginning... You'll clearly understand all the rest!

Friday, 16 November 2007

Listen and Learn

Before doing our latest activity I had a vague idea of what a podcast is, now I even know how to use it in order to improve my English! I spent a couple of hour navigating and I found many interesting site that provide these files, some were of no interest to me, because the level was for beginner, or the topics were not interesting...

There are several thing you can improve in your language-learning thanks to podcasts, first of all your pronounciation, but you can also enlarge your vocabolary. In one of the sites I visited I found some everyday-life dialogue that could teach me many words of common use in English.

Once you found what you're interested in you can easily download these audio-files, and then it is quite easy to bring them with you wherever you want!

The podcasts I chose are:
Introduction to podcast
Free English Lessons

I chose these because they provide example of everyday life in their dialogue, and also some explanation of particular terms used.

I must confess there is something I don't like that much in all this technology... When you listen to them you suddenly realize that they are somehow "fake", if you see what I mean... The way people speak, it is slowly and clearly, which obviously help you to understand every single words, but which does not resemble a real situation! I mean, nobody speak so slowly! Anyway, to solve this problem, you just might look for an intermediate level podcast, or for something that is not created for learners, but the thing then is to find something interesting...

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Social Bookmarking

That is one of those tools you can obviously say "It is helpful", because it helps you to find quickly exactly what you are looking for. When I look for a particular website or web page I usually go to GOOGLE, but sometimes I spend a lot of time checking in the huge amount of results that google provides, without finding what I was searching. Using, I can see how many people have chosen that site, how they labelled it, and I can read some description of it before even seeing it! I spare a lot of time!

Searching for websites that could help us to learn English, I chose dictionaries and particularly slang dictionaries, because it is something that must be updated continuously, and the web gives you the opportunity to update information, and consequently to find updated information!
Many of my mates chose websites similar to mine, or the same as mine, and that's of course because we're interested in the same kind of things!

Some of course were different, and I particularly appreciate one where you can test your level of English, or another where you can see some typical errors. Serena marked a very "peculiar" web page about Beowulf, I found it strange because I don't relate it immediately with language learning, but of course literature, and culture, are part of it! Laura chose one about quotations, it could be useful when you're translating from Italian to English, if you are supposed to render a particular expression.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

And finally I succeded!!

I spent a lot of time to understand what a feed aggregator is and how to use it (and still now I'm not sure of it!). There are mainly two reasons:
the first is that I didn't attend our last lab lesson;
the secon is that I don't like to read instuctions!

I know what you're thinking, if I don't want to read the instructions properly why am I complaining? But the point is that even when I decided to read the instructions I found some words that had no meaning at all to me!!

Anyway I eventually decided that I couldn't be overwhelmed by a machine, and exploring the site after my registration I managed to do it!!

What is the moral? Next time first read the instructions, then turn on the computer... (but the instructions are on the blog, well, I'll think about it next time!)

Friday, 2 November 2007

Should Halloween be imported to and celebrated in Italy or not?

I cannot stand those little boys and girls going around, shouting in the streets, pretending to know what Halloween is! I know that it could be unpopular as a position, but we're not importing and celebrating Halloween, we're just looking for another excuse to waste some money...

I think that importing tradition is a completely different matter. The reason why a culture usually import someone else's tradition is that two different culture share the same ground (not only physically), and they obviously begin to share part of their culture.

I perfectly understand that those people who came to live in Italy from that Anglo-saxon world that feel Halloween as a tradition continue to celebrate this day! But all those Italians who want to dress strange clothes to resemble someone else should remember that we do have our own traditional celebration of Carnival in Februar!