Godwin-Jones, R. (2018). Chasing the butterfly effect: Informal language learning online as a complex system. Language Learning & Technology, 22(2), 8–27
This intriguing and thought provoking article provides a comprehensive review of how the multiple opportunities for students to engage in informal language learning, outside of the classroom or institutional settings, using digital technologies and social media platforms has the potential to impact second-language (L2) development. The author discusses the efficacy of a complexity- theory perspective in developing our understanding of the many variables at play in second language learning, and that of a learning systems perspective in recognizing the classroom, and the formal language learning environment are only one “learning space” in a learners “personal learning system” as they pursue second-language learning.
A brief post from the Illinois Digital Learning Lab outlining how instructors and ESOL students are experimenting with the use of voice recognition technology, specifically, Google Home Mini. The instructor describes how she and her students are using the device and the potential for such devices to build engagement, and help students in developing language skills such as pronunciation. The instructor also shares a list of questions that students draw on in working with the device and some issues to consider when planning to introduce voice recognition technology (either voice assistants like Google Home or smartphone voice assistants in the language classroom.
Retrievable from: https://edtech.worlded.org/experimenting-google-assistant-esl-classrooms/
Dooly, M. (2018). “I do which the question”: Students’ innovative use of technology resources in the language classroom. Language Learning & Technology, 22(1), 184–217.
Although this study isn’t about adults in settlement language programs, it contains a number of examples in the Discussion section that are relevant to any learning situation in which adults are working in groups with technology to learn and practise their communication skills. This study of two middle school classes in Spain and Sweden working together on English language projects using technology provides some good analysis of what can lead to students branching out on their own instead of following task instructions, not working in the collaborative way the teacher intended because of top-down task instructions, seating arrangements and classroom setup that are frustrating for group work and discussion, being able to wait for others to finish and then copy their answers, and a lack of student accountability for the assignments. The detailed descriptions of the technology used, the project questions asked, the student responses are a fascinating look at a classroom using technology. in addition, the author describes how the students managed to engage in genuine communication between the two classrooms using tools that were outside what were assigned to them.
Retrievable from: http://www.lltjournal.org/item/3024
Rosell-Aguilar, F., (2018). Twitter: A Professional Development and Community of Practice Tool for Teachers. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2018(1), p.6.
This research report begins with a literature review of Twitter for Education, Twitter as a learning environment for teachers and teacher use of hashtags for professional and community development.
The research questions explore who uses a specific hashtag (#MFLtwitterati), whether there is evidence that using Twitter can contribute to Continuous Professional Development and whether the hashtag can be described as a community of practice. The author looked at this specific hashtag, but also mentions language learning hashtags which may be of more interest to instructors in settlement language learning programs. Language learners use Twitter because they encounter authentic language in tweets, can practise language skills and access resources such as text, audio and video in the target language.
The author concludes with a discussion of the results and notes that the study brought the under-researched issue of mobile learning among teachers to the forefront and demonstrates how teachers are using up to the minute tools like Twitter to take charge of their professional development in the absence of funding for PD in their institutions.
.Jaramillo Cherrez, N. (2018). When at Crossroads of L2 Tasks and Technology: A Critical Review of Implementing Technology-mediated Task-Based Language Teaching. In E. Langran & J. Borup (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 876-882). Washington, D.C., United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
This article focuses on the interconnections between Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) through a critical review of the relevant literature. The review examines how second language instructors currently use technology in the TBLT environment. While the literature indicates that there are clear benefits for language learners in implementing technology mediated task-based language teaching there are potential implications and challenges that need to be addressed in relation to access to technology, professional development, and identifying learner needs and capacity in relation to the use of technology. The article offers a useful starting point for instructors and program designers in the second-language sector as they consider, plan and work to maximize the potential of impact of technology mediated TBLT in their programming and teaching.
Available for purchase ($9.95) USD at: https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/182623/
Kartchava, Eva, Chung, Seunghee. Studies in English Language Teaching. Vol 3, No 4, 2015.
This Canadian study includes a literature review of research on beliefs regarding technology and learning using three interrelated influences of previous learning experiences, professional development and teaching context. The study identifies age as an additional influence. It then describes a study in Ontario of pre-service and in-service ESL teachers. The study gathered participants’ background information, used open-ended prompts at the beginning of the study to discern their actual use of digital technology and their views on ideal ways to use it in the classroom and followed these with closed questions. These are included in the report, categorized by Experience/Importance, Expertise and Context. Researchers collected additional information through follow up interviews. There is a discussion of the benefits, limitations, concerns and possibilities that were identified for teacher educators, administrators and teachers themselves at the end of the report.
Retrievable from: http://www.scholink.org/ojs/index.php/selt/article/view/405/389
Hosman, L. Cvetanoska, M. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT), 2013, Vol 9. Issue 3, pp.28-49.
This article looks at the importance of teachers as stakeholder-change agents in the adoption of innovation in schools. It offers recommendations for improvements to address teacher concerns in programs like the computers-in-the-schools program described in Macedonia. It presents and uses a theoretical framework for adoption of innovation that looks at the stages of concerns experienced by teachers about their teaching skills and abilities.
Retrievable from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1071378.pdf
Tritch Yoshida, M. (2018). Choosing Technology Tools to Meet Pronunciation Teaching and Learning Goals. The CATESOL Journal, 30(1), 195–212
This article evaluates a range of technology tools and sites to support the teaching, learning and development of pronunciation. The comprehensive evaluations are based on research and classroom practice and examine each of the tools based on the following criteria: Quality and accuracy; Practicality of use; Ease of use and Cost.
The article offers a practical review of technology tools and sites for computers, laptops and smartphones from the perspective of language instructor and also offers a model of technology tool evaluation that could be very useful in other areas of language teaching and learning.
Godwin-Jones, R. (2018). Second language writing online: An update. Language Learning & Technology, 22(1), 1–15.
This timely article on second language writing reflects the increasing interest in L2 writing in the digital age. Digital technology offers new tools and opportunities for language learners to build their writing skills through authentic writing activities in social media, computer-mediated communications, such as texting, and in online communication with peers as well as collaborative writing using tools such as Google Docs. The author provides a comprehensive review of recent research in this area and an accessible introduction to digital tools for evaluating writing such as digital annotators and automated writing evaluation (AWE) software. The author contends that given the proliferation of digital tools and new writing environments for language learners there is a need for enhanced teacher training to enable the effective use of these tools.
Retrievable from: http://www.lltjournal.org/item/3025
María Dolores Castrillo, Elena Martín-Monje & Elena Bárcena Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain. 10th International Conference Mobile Learning 2014.
This report on a six-week study with 85 volunteers explores the use of WhatsApp, an instant messaging application for smart phones in a second language writing class. The application allows mobile-based chatting and collaboration in the negotiation of meaning in the student volunteers’ exchanges. WhatsApp is a tool the students already used on their phones and allowed the researchers to explore its potential for collaborative language learning for “distance learners on the move”.
The report describes the initial lack of activity on the application and the dramatic change in the quantity of messages within a short time. The researchers provide information on average numbers of messages and patterns of use by day and time. As far as the aim to look at WhatsApp’s usefulness in negotiating meaning, there are numerous extracts that show how students provided feedback to each other and collaborated to clarify and correct each other’s writing. They did this both in relation to the tasks they were working on and to ask each other about syntax, all the while building group solidarity. The study showed that the students, who all spoke the same first language, used the target language almost exclusively in their written exchanges. Some of the other observations include use of paralinguistic features that are available on the application.
The report details the changes in the teacher’s role from being the main corrector of written errors to one of guide to the various topics to be discussed and types of discourse. She did more eliciting of awareness of language than correction of student mistakes.
Retrievable from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED557212
Godwin-Jones, R. (2017). Smartphones and language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 21(2), 3–17.
According to the 2016 General Social Survey from Statistics Canada 71% of the population own a Smartphone. We carry these powerful little devices with us everywhere even in our classrooms. The ubiquity of the Smartphone begs the question of how they could be used to support and extend language learning.
This timely article offers an overview of, and provides a useful base of information about the potential of Smartphones for language learning. The author contends that smartphones have the potential to support students in more effectively integrating their language learning in the classroom and the incidental language learning that they may engage in using mobile devices. One major challenge relating to the use of smartphones and mobile devices in the language learning environment is how to support students to develop skills and knowledge to enable them to become informed and engaged online learners.
The author surveys recent research in Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and makes the case for the need for further research to examine the actual use of mobile devices by students outside of the classroom. Such research would support a better understanding of how these devices can be effectively deployed in the language classroom to support informal and ongoing learning and the development of critical digital skills.
[i] (2016). Statistics Canada. General Social Survey.
Retrievable from: http://llt.msu.edu/issues/june2017/emerging.pdf
Jones, A., Kukulska-Hulme, A. & Brasher, A., (2017). Editorial Special Collection on Migrants, Education and Technologies. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2017(1), p.5. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jime.441
This special collection of articles includes these themes:
- Social integration and language learning
- Contextually sensitive learning for migrants
- Smart Cities’ support for migrants
- Overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers
- Informal learning
- Learning in different contexts – inside and outside the classroom
The editorial heading up the special collection acknowledges that smartphones have saturated society, that they represent new possibilities as mobile language learning tools, but also that the Internet can be expensive and isn’t always accessible. One of the featured reports looks at a project that supports language development in daily life – without access to the Internet as learners are on the move. You can also read the blog from this project: SALSA.
Other articles in the collection include refugee experiences learning language in Canada, Australia, England and Sweden.
The SALSA blog postings from August 2014 to March 2017 on the site below describe a project involving a group of English language learners who used 27 beacons in their town to trigger different language learning scenarios. The results of the project are described in the post “Fitting in versus learning”.
The beacon activities were designed to motivate students and help them continue their learning between face to face classroom sessions.
Retrievable from: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/salsa/
Norris, L., & Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2017). Teacher training and professional development in mobile pedagogy for English language teaching. In R. Power, M. Ally, D. Cristol, & A. Palalas (Eds.), IAmLearning: Mobilizing and supporting educator practice. [e-Book]. International Association for Mobile Learning. https://iamlearning.pressbooks.com/part/ch-4-teacher-training-and-pd-in-mobile-pedagogy-for-english-language-teaching/
The chapter describes the four pillars of the authors’ Pedagogical Framework and how they highlight the teacher’s role using mobile devices for language teaching and learning. The Framework considers teacher wisdom, device features, learner mobilities and language dynamics. The authors describe using the Framework in professional development workshops in Europe for teachers from several countries. They faced both resistance and enthusiasm from participants and they describe the anxiety teachers felt as they used technology in the workshops.
Retrievable from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/52264/7/52264.pdf
Lai, C. & Zheng, D. (2017) Self-directed use of mobile devices for language learning beyond the classroom. ReCALL p.1-20
This article is based on a study conducted with language students in a university in Hong Kong, exploring their self-directed use of mobile devices for language learning outside of the classroom. The study revealed that the students used mobile devices to personalize their learning, rather than for communication, and that their use was determined by their own understanding of the affordances of the devices. How the students used mobile devices for language learning was also determined by their habits of use of these devices in their daily lives, and by the types of learning tasks they were engaged in. The authors suggest that these factors, based on a deeper understanding how students use mobile devices, should be considered when designing mobile learning activities. The finding of this study echo those of Trinder, R. (2017). Informal and deliberate learning with new technologies. ELT Journal, 71(4),402-412 (see annotation below) and underline the importance of learning how mobile devices are being used by students in daily life to shape the development of appropriate mobile language learning activities
Available for purchase ( $25.00 USD) at:
The Cambridge Guide to Blended Learning for Language Teaching. Edited by Michael McCarthy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK. 2016.
This book is divided into five sections: Connecting (including Second Language Acquisition) Theories and Blended Learning, Implications for Teaching, Rethinking Learner Interaction, Case Studies and the Future of Blended Learning.
One of the case studies describes a language teacher education program that gradually transitioned from a traditional format to a blended one and moved from a behaviourist model to a more constructivist one in the process.
Available for purchase ($70.00 CDN) from Cambridge University Press.
Elizabeth Colucci, Hanne Smidt, Axelle Devaux, Charalambos Vrasidas, Malaz Safarjalani and Jonatan Castaño Muñoz; Free Digital Learning Opportunities for Migrants and Refugees. An Analysis of Current Initiatives and Recommendations for their Further Use. Joint Research Centre (JRC) Science for Policy Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2017.
This report contains a snapshot of the current (2016) field for free digital learning for migrant/refugee settlement in Europe with a few examples from the Middle East and the Southern Mediterranean. The study’s objective was to assess the extent to which free digital learning is an effective and efficient way to develop needed skills for migrants/refugees. The study includes a literature review, a searchable website, and a SWOT analysis based on interviews with key informants.
One of the findings of the study was that migrants/refugees believe that free digital learning should be a complement to face-to-face formal and informal/non-formal learning. Those who were interested in higher learning saw recognition of credits and degrees as important and were interested in blended learning that involved social interaction.
Retrievable from: https://ec.europa.eu/education/news/20170516-free-digital-learning-opportunities-migrants-and-refugees_en
New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report: 2017 Higher Education Edition. Austin, TX.
This annual report profiles six time-based key trends, significant challenges and important developments related to technology adoption in higher education. The 78-member 2017 Expert Panel includes Canadian representatives from the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Ottawa, Conestoga College and Niagara College. One of the 10 highlights from the report states that online, mobile and blended learning are “foregone conclusions” necessary for an institution’s survival. This highlight emphasizes the importance of measuring how these approaches affect learning outcomes.
Retrievable from: https://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2017-higher-education-edition/
Jurate Matulioniene, Boston ESOL Academy, UK; Daiva Pundziuviene Bytautas Magnus University, Lithuania; The Potential of Blended ESOL Courses: Attitudes and Practices Among the UK Immigrants. Sustainable Multilingualism. Volume 10, Issue 1 (May 2017)
This research study looks at a small group of recent immigrants’ experience and attitudes to learning and opportunities and barriers to speaking English in the United Kingdom. The study provides background suggesting that language competences may be an important factor that influences immigrants’ progress in their new country. Their findings include information on the individuals’ use of information and communication technologies (ICT) on a personal level, at work or for learning. These could include mobile and smart phones, email, digital cameras, scanners, social network etc.
The study examines these immigrants’ willingness to take part in blended language training and the barriers they see to doing that. The study asked if they would be interested in taking part in blended English classes that originated from their home countries, thus providing the support of their first language and at the same time help them keep the connection with their native countries.
They also present important considerations such as ensuring participants in such courses have the technical proficiency required to participate effectively in a blended course.
Retrievable from: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/sm.2017.10.issue-1/sm-2017-0006/sm-2017-0006.xml
Kukulska-Hulme, A. and Viberg, O.(2017). Mobile collaborative language learning: State of the art. British Journal of Educational Technology, September 2017.
This review article looks at studies in mobile,collaborative language learning conducted between 2012-16. The review aims to provide a better understanding of how mobile technologies are being used to support collaborative learning for second and foreign language learners. The article provides an overview of the findings of these studies which indicate that mobile collaborative language learning allows a range of affordances such as “flexible use, continuity of use, timely feedback, personalisation, socialisation, self-evaluation, active participation, peer coaching, sources of inspiration outdoors and cultural authenticity ” (p.1). In addition, the studies reviewed found that learners engaging in mobile collaborative language learning benefit from increased motivation and engagement, and were less nervous and embarrassed in their language learning. The authors conclude that the studies provide a credible case for mobile language learning.
Available for purchase ($6.00 USD for 48 hour access – article can be printed) at: