Digital Native Students and Digital Immigrant Teachers? Teacher and Student Roles in the New Communication Models Using Moodle

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Can students transfer skills acquired through the communicative use of social networks to virtual learning environments (VLE)? Today’s society is assisting to the spread of new forms of communicative interaction, and the educational context is not alien to these changes. Today, whether by individual interest or student or institutional pressures, it is common to introduce VLEs in university contexts. In the past century the roles of the active agents in the teaching-learning process were clear. That is, it was the teacher who imparted knowledge, managed learning activities, evaluated student progress, managed the classroom environment whereas the students’ job was to passively receive that knowledge, carry out the activities and wait for the teacher’s assessment. However, in the 21st Century, thanks to the expansion of VLEs, it seems that these roles are undergoing some changes.

This research was conducted at the University of Barcelona, in the context of language training for future teachers, and it discusses the changes that have come with the introduction of Moodle, a VLE, to support teaching. The hypothesis is that students, digital natives and users of social networks of communication (such as Facebook, photoblogs, etc.), can transfer their communication skills acquired in these environments to the Moodle platform. Thus, their maturity allows them to take on the roles of manager and content creator. Teachers, who hold this belief, and who are still in the process of digital literacy, assign these roles to students. Furthermore, the teacher status of digital immigrants also prevents them from using all the applications that the platform offers. The data analysis, however, shows that students are immigrants in the use of the possibilities of communication and collaborative learning that the platform offers: on their arrival at the university, they are not ready to take on roles traditionally played by teachers.


Keywords: Virtual Learning Environments, University Context, Teacher and Student Roles, Teaching-Learning Spanish
Stream: Technology in Learning; Maths, Science and Technology Learning
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


María Ángeles García

University Teacher, Departament de Filologia Hispànica
Facultat de Formació del Professorat, Universitat de Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

She is a teacher of the Department of Spanish Philology at the University of Barcelona. She teaches Spanish Language for Academic Purposes in the Faculty of Education, and Journalistic writing in the degree programme in Audiovisual Communication Studies. She collaborates in two master degrees on training teachers of Spanish as a foreign language, and she is also an author of Spanish as a Foreign Language materials. Her research focus on two areas: the teaching of Spanish in virtual learning environments and using web 2.0 tools, and Gender Theory (mass media genders, with emphasis on audiovisual and digital genders). She is about to read her doctoral thesis.

Dr. Vicenta González

University Teacher, Departament de Filologia Hispànica
Facutat de Formació del Professorat, Universitat de Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain


Dr. Ramos Carmen

University Teacher, Zentrum für Sprachen
Stellv. Geschäftsführerin/Spanish als Fremdsprach, Universität Würzburg

Würzburg, Germany


Ref: L09P0950