Creating a Multi Lingual world through Learning to Collaborate in New Web Spaces

David Barton, Lancaster University and Carmen Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Looking at Flickr and how images and text work together.

Selected 30 active Flickr users in Chinese and Spanish.

Multi lingual nature of Flickr- people take pictures in one language and put comments in another. Use different languages in profiles for different purposes. People participating in a global culture via Flickr. Some people use English only on the computer.

Dynamics are different for comments. Comments might be in languages the photographer might not understand. Generally respond in language of comments or English.

For tagging, people use many different languages so can appeal to greater number of people. Chinese users other different Chinese characters to appeal to more people.

Language choice on Flickr shaped by

  • Where people are from –situated language ecology
  • Photo itself –some images very particular to certain languages
  • Imagined audience –could change over time

People weren’t asked about learning ii interviews but it came up often. Learning by sharing photos and learning through looking at others photos. Learning via feedback on photos. Demonstrate situated view of learning- learning with this, self-motivated and problem solving by doing.

Other platforms such as twitter and Facebook are converging. Multi modal in that have areas where can upload images and enter text. Again people enter text in different languages. People using facebook by imitating others.

Examples of situated learning and learners are participating which enables them to learn. People are participating in a broader range of practices and communicating with others  is central to this learning. As technology changes so does participation. Very deliberate and self-motivated participation.

Experiences that would have been private are now public and people are projecting a global identity and aware of themselves as global citizens. There practices are vernacular or local but simultaneously cosmopolitan.

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