Introducing Web 2.0 Resources for Arranging Collaboration among Students Learning English as a Second Language

Irina Malinina
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Moscow, Russia

Arranging collaborative work with the help of Web 2.0 resources is a contemporary trend in educational environmens (Laal, Laal, & Khattami-Kermanshahi, 2012; West & West, 2009). The purpose of this article is to present the results of research on introducing Web 2.0 resources into the learning process of Year 3 students in the Economics Faculty who were studying English as a second language. The aim of this research is to assess whether using Web 2.0 resources improves communication and fosters collaboration among students. The main objectives of the project are to (1) select Web 2.0 resources aimed at collaboration to suit the educational programme; (2) identify the collaborative learning backgrounds of students and their attitudes towards online collaboration; (3) examine the studentsí participation in collaborative work; and (4) scrutinize the influence of Web 2.0 resources on creating a collaborative learning atmosphere and studentsí readiness to collaborate. The main methods employed in this project are a survey questionnaire, interviews and observation of studentsí collaborative work. The project showed a rise in studentsí involvements in collaborative learning activities; shifts towards more positive attitudes to using Web 2.0 resources for educational purposes; and (3) an increase in studentsí readiness to collaborate online. Among the main advantages of Web 2.0 identified by students were more ideas (88%), discussion (74%) and convenience (64%). Also, the Web 2.0 resources implemented (Tricider.com, MeetingWords.com, TodaysMeet.com) helped teachers to evaluate each studentís contribution to collaborative work and, thus, avoided unfair assessment.