lunedì 18 maggio 2009


Hi guys!
In this post I want to reflect with you on a concept I've probably already mentioned without talking about it: the Personal Learning Environment.
You all know that this blog is part of the toolset for my PLE, that is the system of sources, environments, activities, interactions that let me keep on learning. We, students of languages well know that as soon as one stops keeping in touch with a language, one starts missing it.

But why PLE might be useful or indeed central to learning in the future?
The idea of personal learning environment directly derives from the changing technologies and thus, from the pressures for changes in the present education system. PLE believes that learning is ongoing, so it takes place in different contexts and situations. Moreover, it is based on the increasing recognition of:
- the role of the individual in organising his/her own learning;
- the importance of informal learning.

I found the idea of mapping my own language path extremely original and interesting: concentrating on my current PLE made me reflect on myself! Including both formal education and anything outside of it, I made a list of the different activities, sources of information and tools I use to improve my level of knowledge and to set my future goals; I tried to categorize them and to make them systematic; then, I mind-mapped it out. Reflecting on what I do to learn was extremely useful, as it made me realize my current knowledge, think about my strengths and weaknesses, the way I work and organize myself, my endeavours (and also my laziness!), what I've learned so far and what I still need to learn. As far as English is concerned, I realized that during this year I made some good improvements in fluency, accuracy and clarity. However, I still need to work to eliminate my "bad habits", and to achieve my language target, that is to feel more self confident in communication and interaction. I want to be able to use the appropriate language in both formal and informal contexts. I will devote 30 minutes to 1 hour per day practising my English in any possible way: reading books, newspapers, magazines, watching movies, listening to online radios, listening to music, etc... (As Sarah suggested, a useful and interesting exercise is to compare the different pronunciations listening to different radios of England, Australia, Ireland, America. I am curious to see it!!).
Here is my mind map.

lunedì 11 maggio 2009



Hello all!
in our last lesson we discussed the risks of using the Internet. The main problems you might encounter in surfing the net are:
  • privacy violation;
  • cloning;
  • identity problems (distinction between real- and virtual world and the so-called "second life") ;
  • copyright infringement;
  • viruses/trojan horses;
  • hackers;
  • addiction;
  • false information;
  • scams.
We all know that the web space is huge and therefore diffucult to control. There are always new tools,technologic systems and services which increase the potentiality of the Internet but also the risks. The use of the Internet has risen exponentially in these last years; doing things online such as booking, buying or selling, can be faster and more practical, but also problematic. In most of the cases, indeed, you are required to give your personal data, your sensitive information, or your account. The problem is that someone can have access to your data and use them improperly or even to criminal purposes. The key to avoiding scams is AWARENESS. You need to be aware of what online service you are using; be careful when giving sensitive information (such as, your credit card number, PINs, passwords); be aware of your rights; always read before clicking; be acquanted. Knowledge and awareness are always good safeguards against frauds.
I am curious to read what you think about it.
See you soon!

domenica 3 maggio 2009



Hi all!
Do you know what Google Docs is? Well, this week I learnt something more about what it is and how to use it.
Let's think about the main characteristics of this web tool and the advantages you can have in using it.
First of all, it is a free online tool which allows users share and collaborate online; that means that you can create, share and edit online documents, spreadsheets and presentations while collaborating in real time with other users. The main advantage of Google Docs is that you can access to your files from any computer, at any time. It simplifies the system by putting the data on the Internet: that makes sharing and collaborating on documents much easier. Furthermore, it is a close system, so you have control on whom can view and have access to your documents. That's extremely important in order to protect your data and to prevent plagiarism. If the old way attaches a file to an e-mail, this new way inverts the system by attaching e-mails to a file. Indeed, you simply invite who you want to collaborate on the document you shared. In this way you can work with other people on the same document and edit at the same time. That makes it extremely simpler and convenient when working, commenting, editing and reviewing your and your collaborators' drafts. Another important aspect of Google Docs is that it allows all collaborators to make changes while giving the possibility of going back to previous versions and checking them by clicking on "History". It's a system that makes editing more organized, precise and secure. I think that this new tool will be very useful for my next tasks as student but also for the future as worker.
See you soon,
Have a nice Sunday!

lunedì 20 aprile 2009


APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association) are two of the most commonly used guidelines for citing sources and formatting research papers. While reading some basic information about them my first impression was that APA style is much more constraining than MLA, but let's see what the main similarities and differences are:

Both style

  • require that whenever you use a source you provide in the text brief parenthetical references mentioning the author and page number(s);
  • recommend that at the end of your paper you provide an alphabeltical list of the works you used and consulted for your thesis listing the complete citation for each work referred to parenthetically in the text;
  • prefer a language clear, concise and plain (so, minimize the figurative language).

  • gives very precise and detailed instructions of both the major paper sections and the specific formats to be used in the text (headings, stylistics, in-text citations, quotations, references etc.);
  • your essay should include 4 major sections: Title page, Abstract, Main Body and References;
  • suggests you make the References list by: capitalizing all major words in journal titles, italicizing titles of longer works (books and journals), not italicizing underlying or putting quotes around the titles of shorter works (journal articles or essays in edited collections).
MLA style
  • gives precise but more general rules;
  • recommends always underlining instead of using italics: it is more distinctive and recognizable for material that is to be graded or edited;
  • recommends using a more descriptive heading such as Works Cited, Works Consulted, or Annotated Works Cited;
  • when you have more than 2 authors, it suggests you provide all names, separated by commas with and before the last (not &, as APA suggests).

domenica 19 aprile 2009


We all are working on searching, evaluating and filtering information. As we've learned so far, being critic is an important step to gather ideas in order to create the own one. So let's apply our critical approach on what I have written so far.
Are my blog posts well structured? logical, cohesive, clear and concise?
Going back to what I've made I can have an idea of my mistakes, my bad habits but also my improvements. While rereading my posts from the very first to the last one I noticed a difference in organizing information. The more recent posts seem to follow a more precise structure. However, my bad habit persists! I've always been long-winded, made loong sentences, complex periods.. I wonder if even the nuns of my nursery school told me to be MORE CONCISE!! It's really an effort to me to be clear. I always have to skim and scan my own ideas before writing clearly. It's a characteristic of mine: I'm complicated.. Anyway, I realized I've also made improvements: I try to be precise and accurate, to find the appropriate words following a logical structure.
We are here to learn in order to correct ourselves and to improve. So I will do my best.