Digital Literacies

Dudeney, Gavin, Nicky Hockly and Mark Pegrum. Digital Literacies. Harlow, England: Pearson, 2013.

This book is organized in four chapters:

  1. From research to implications – you’ll find a framework of digital literacies.
  2. From implications to application – you’ll find a digital activities grid, descriptions of activities and a number of worksheets. worksheets can slso be obtained online.
  3. From application to implementation – you’ll find information about how to integrate digital literacies in your teaching practice depending on your context and the syllabus you are working with.
  4. From implementation to research – you’ll find suggestions about how to continue your own learning about digital literacies as you work through challenges that arise. There is detailed description of building and maintaining a personal learning network (PLN).

 

NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment

The NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment was developed by the St. Paul Public Library and the St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium. Through a set of online and interactive assessments users can identify skill gaps in Basic Computer Use, Internet, Windows Operating System, Email, Word Processing/ Microsoft Word, Spreadsheets/ Excel, and Social Media.

The NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment is widely used in the U.S.  and by some organizations in Canada and South Africa. As of March 2016, over 150,000 assessments had been completed.  Although the NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment was developed for the adult basic education community it is appropriate for ESL learners – the developers note that, “A mid-level English-speaking ability is needed to complete the assessments.”

Retrievable from:  https://www.digitalliteracyassessment.org/

Using action research to explore technology in language teaching: international perspectives

Burns, A. & Kurtoğlu-Hooton, N. Using action research to explore technology in language teaching: international perspectives. British Council. (2016).

This publication is an extensive report of a virtual action research project undertaken by the British Council in 2015-16. The project was designed to introduce international language teachers to action research, to investigate the teachers’ experience of an action research approach, and to collect and disseminate insights for the effective use of technology based on the action research projects undertaken by the teachers.
In all, 12 English language teachers, with the support of academic researchers conducted small action research projects examining the use of specific technology tools in their programs and classrooms. Each of the participants produced research summaries outlining their experiences. These are included in the report.
Although the focus of this project is English language teaching internationally, it provides an interesting model for virtual action research on technology use for language teaching that could be applied in settlement language programs. Such a virtual action research project could support valuable collaborative learning and information sharing for language instructors.

Retrievable from: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/28313%20ELTRA%20Report%20WEB.PDF

Integrating Digital Literacy Into English Language Instruction: Issue Brief

Harris, K. Integrating Digital Literacy Into English Language Instruction: Issue Brief [nd].

Digital Literacy, the ability to use digital devices and to participate in our digital world is now recognized as a fundamental skill in our increasingly digital world. This issue brief  from the U.S. is part of the LINCS ESL Pro suite of resources on Integrating Digital Literacy into English Language Instruction.

This short article provides an overview of digital literacy within the context of English language teaching and learning, highlighting its critical importance for students and providing a straightforward introduction to four aspects of digital literacy: (1) using basic digital skills, (2) creating and communicating information, (3) finding and evaluating information, and (4) solving problems in technology-rich environments. In addition the article provides practical advice on how digital literacy activities can be included in English language instruction.

Retrievable from: https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/ELL_Digital_Literacy_508.pdf

Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services and the Role of Nonprofit Service Providers

Shields, John, Julie Drolet & Karla Valenzuela. (2016) Ryerson Centre for Immigration & Settlement. RCIS Working Paper No 2016/1. Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services and the Role of Nonprofit Service Providers: A Cross-national perspective on Trends, Issues and Evidence.

This paper compares the contexts for settlement and integration service delivery and the role of nonprofits in working with government to provide a wider context within which to reflect on the situation in Canada. The paper looks beyond the United States, Australia and New Zealand to UK/England, Ireland, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Italy and Spain. The study provides a number of definitions of settlement and settlement work which help explain the environment in which settlement language training occurs. Government immigrant settlement policies vary depending on the model of integration that operates within each country. Canada’s settlement policies involve formal programs and general policies assisting immigrants. Language training programs are one of these formal programs. In fact, language acquisition is a core area of settlement services for all 13 countries in the study, along with labour market programs. The report provides information about fees, curricula, integration courses, pre-arrival services and settlement plans.

The report provides a wide-ranging discussion of current trends and changes in immigration, newcomer settlement and integration and citizenship in the countries in the study.  One of the trends presented is the increasing role for nonprofit agencies in immigrant settlement and integration and the privatization of some aspects of the settlement service sector.

Retrievable from:

http://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/rcis/documents/RCIS%20WP%202016_01%20Shields%20et%20al%20final.pdf

 

Becoming Blended: A case study in teacher identity

Renteria Navarro, Victoria. Becoming Blended: A case study in teacher identity. Plymouth St Mark and St John University. British Council ELT Master’s Dissertation Awards: Commendation. (2015-16).

This case study is set in an English Blended Program in Mexico. The author’s aim was to discover how a teacher’s educational and cultural background as well as their experience and knowledge play a role to promote or hinder agency, their capacity to critically shape their responses to problematic situations, such as those they would encounter teaching in a blended language learning program.

The study takes as a given that the internet and web applications have provided options and responsibilities that have seriously influenced teachers’ outlooks, encouraging them to change their practice. This will impact the institutions that provide professional development for teachers. One of the elements the author suggests will help to guide them is teacher identity.

The author provides evidence that experiences in one’s own educational past will have an impact on one’s approach to teaching, e.g., how to be successful teaching in a new blended language learning program with little technological support, how to cope with constantly changing technology, how to work with dependent students, whether to take on a formal or informal guise in the online component, etc.  The author also describes the teachers’ professional development and examines how it has helped each of them to evolve or change their preferred practices in the blended environment. The examples of each teacher’s Moodle pages provide further insight about this dynamic relationship.

Retrievable from: http://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/attachments/dissertation_for_publication_2016_st_mark_and_st_john_plymouth.pdf

Exploring ESL Students’ Perceptions of Their Digital Reading Skills

Gilbert, J. (2014). Exploring ESL Students’ Perceptions of Their Digital Reading Skills. Ed.D. University of Nottingham.

A doctoral thesis exploring ESL students’ understandings of their own digital reading skills.  The study included  three sources of data: reading workshops created for the participants; interviews with participants; discussions with participants and analysis of participants’ reading journals. The study concludes that while the participants had the capacity to randomly search the internet they lack the information literacy skills to productively research and evaluate information online.  The study also found that the participants’ reading strategies varied when engaging with print and web-based text. Finally the research points to the need to consider teaching digital literacy skills in tandem with language instruction and to provide instructors and instructors-in-training with the means to develop robust digital skills to enable them to support students to develop these skills alongside their language learning.

Retrievable from: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/14080/1/Gilbert_Re-formated_Thesis_Draft.pdf

 

 

 

 

Enhancing the Digital Skills of English Language Learners Studying at a Distance

Vanek J.  & Johnston, J. (2015).  Enhancing the Digital Skills of English Language Learners Studying at a Distance. AEIS Newsletter March 2015.

Based on interviews with instructors  who work within the IDEAL consortium the article  outlines the components of a successful distance learning program for second language learners.  The authors argue that given the ubiquity of digital technologies and the multiple demands on learners to use digital technology in the workplace, distance learning instruction should not be limited to the academic content typically found in online distance learning curricula. Rather, learners need to have access and exposure to a range of digital technologies for learning and problem solving facilitated by an instructor.

Retrievable from: http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolaeis/issues/2015-03-04/5.html

 

Digital Literacies in Foreign and Second Language Education

CALICO Monograph Series Volume 12. (2014). Digital Literacies in Foreign and Second Language Education.

This volume from CALICO is made up of 12 chapters that look at digital literacy in language learning from many different perspectives. Among others, there is a challenge to Prensky’s characterization of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, a description of a survey-driven study of the use of digital tools for language teaching and learning, a framework that proposes how to close the digital divide, and an exploration of the affordances of digital social reading using the example of an open source tool called eComma. In this last example, in chapter 9, author Carl Blyth looks at some of the ways that e-readers can enable users to annotate a text and share their annotations with others. This new practice, called digital social reading, is similar to the way that readers of print text can write in the margins or meet as a book club to share their thoughts. Blyth presents and then addresses some of the opposition to this practice using examples from four case studies.

Retrievable from: https://calico.org/bookfiles/pdfs/DigitalLiteracies.pdf

Defining Essential Digital Skills in the Canadian Workplace

Chinien, Chris, and France Boutin. (2011). Defining Essential Digital Skills in the Canadian Workplace: Final Report. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

This study reports on a proposed digital skill framework for Canadian workers. The proposed framework includes four skills clusters, three of which are foundational skills, technical digital skills and digital information processing skills. This report is of interest because it provides information about the types of skills adult learners who attend settlement language training will be expected to be able to demonstrate in the workplace. The report points out that prosperity from the digital economy will not depend only on specialists and advanced users of digital technology, but on general workers as well. This has resulted in an increased interest for all workers to possess essential digital skills for both technical systems skills and for everyday tasks so that they can work efficiently and effectively. At the time of the writing of the report, there was no consensus on a definition of digital literacy, as indicated in a chart of definitions of concepts, but attempts were being made to standardize, these while maintaining some adaptability to reflect emerging technologies, in the EU, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S and through UNESCO’s member states. The report provides short reviews of the digital literacy frameworks in each of these jurisdictions and goes on to propose such a framework for Canada.

Retrievable from:

http://en.copian.ca/library/research/digi_es_can_workplace/digi_es_can_workplace.pdf

 

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Blended Learning Project Report

National Adult Literacy Agency.(2014). English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Blended Learning Project Report.

The report describes the findings from a research project carried out in Ireland in 2013 over a ten-week period with 41 learners. Learners in the ESOL program used a web site www.writeon.ie in conjunction with face to face classes. The study documents how they used this blended approach. The report provides a description of the two learning methods, a profile of the learners involved, and highlights the benefits to the various stakeholders of a blended approach for adult ESOL learners. The Write On site is open and accessible to users.

NALA acknowledges that there is not one agreed-upon definition of blended learning and sets out the one they have adopted: “Blended learning is about facilitating learning using a variety of approaches, best determined by the needs of the learner and the capability of the provider. It may or may not involve computers. It is simply a way of creatively matching different approaches to learners, content and contexts.”

Retrievable from: https://www.nala.ie/resources/english-speakers-other-languages-esol-blended-learning-project-report

Keystone Concepts: Guiding Principles and Components of Program Planning

Toronto Catholic District School Board. Keystone Concepts: Guiding Principles and Components of Program Planning. (2015).

The Keystone Concepts document lays out the foundation of the Curriculum Guidelines for the Ontario Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program. The Curriculum Guidelines are delivered through Quartz, an interactive web-based planning application for language training programs. Quartz aims to assist French as a Second Language and English as a Second Language instructors in planning courses, lessons, units and assessments based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks. The Concepts document lays out the browse and build components of Quartz. Quartz requires an authorized log in to access. Key Concepts sets out a framework for program design and delivery by identifying and describing eight guiding principles and four key components. These guidelines are significant for the bibliography because they highlight the importance of a principled approach to program planning, rather than an ad hoc approach that might be used to add online activities to a program. All of the guiding principles set out here also apply to determining how to incorporate online and face to face activities to create a blended approach to instruction.

Retrievable from: https://www.quartzon.ca/documents/keystoneConcepts-Nov27.pdf

 

 

IDEAL Distance Education and Blended Learning Handbook

IDEAL Distance Education and Blended Learning Handbook, IDEAL Consortium (2016).

The 5th edition of the IDEAL Distance and Blended Learning Handbook is intended as practical guide for educators to support the delivery of distance education, including blended learning. Each of the six chapters of the Handbook focuses on a single aspect of planning and delivering distance education:

  1. Recruitment: Identifying and Recruiting Students
  2. Screen: Determining Who is Ready for Distance and Blended Learning
  3. Orientation: Setting Up Learners for Success
  4. Instruction: Models and Strategies Supporting Involved Instruction and Communication
  5. Assessment: Student Participation and Progress
  6. Administrative Issues: Getting Started with Distance Education

Informed by current research and the work of educators and administrators in the IDEAL program in the U.S. since 2002 this handbook is an invaluable resource to support planning and delivering effective distance and blended learning programs

 

Retrievable from: http://ideal.worlded.org/pdf/IDEAL_Handbook.pdf

 

 

 

Technology and the Four Skills

Blake, R. (2016). Technology and the four skills. Language Learning & Technology, 20(2), 129-142.

The report looks at technology-mediated task-based language learning’s ability to integrate the four skills while recognizing that evaluation of language proficiency has not reached the same level of complexity and  continues to evaluate the four skills in isolation.

The author provides examples of asynchronous and synchronous tools that provide opportunities to move between skills while working on tasks. One example of this is an app that transcribes learners’ speech into the second language; whenever there is an error in the written transcription, the learner knows their pronunciation has deviated from the norm and can analyze the transcription and correct the original utterance so that it transcribes correctly. The author emphasizes the importance of planning activities such as these, including pre-activities, making sure all students know what is expected of them, providing instructions for any digital tools required and balancing conflicting needs where necessary. He also presents some of the concerns about how computers and computer screens affect communications and urges readers to be aware of possible miscommunication that may occur.

Retrievable from: http://llt.msu.edu/issues/june2016/blake.pdf

Understanding the Digital Capacity of Newcomer Settlement Organizations

Understanding the Digital Capacity of Newcomer Settlement Organizations

Open North presented this webinar on the responses from surveys sent to 657 Canadian Service Provider Organizations delivering Settlement services through IRCC’s Settlement Program. IRCC defines Digital Capacity as “the ability to use digital tools within an organization to enhance service delivery, communication, and coordination. The digital capacity of an organization may be the function of skills and training (e.g., staff digital literacy), infrastructure (e.g., accessible internet, mobile hardware), applications (e.g., software, cloud computing) and processes (e.g, data analytics, data management, social media use).”

The slides from the presentation are available on the site along with recordings of both the French and English presentations.

The research objectives of the study are as follows:
1. Gain a deeper understanding of the digital capacity and needs of service provider organizations (SPOs) that serve newcomers in Canada

2. Help to inform and recommend options for future consideration to support the digital capacity of the settlement sector

3. Help to fill a gap in evidence significant to policy development in the digital capacity area

4. Support improvements to digital capacity among SPOs

Retrievable recording of webinar: http://www.amssa.org/resources/videos/other-video-resources/understanding-the-digital-capacity-of-newcomer-settlement-organizations/

Digital Literacy: An Essential Skill for ESL Literacy Learners

Bow Valley College. (2015). Digital Literacy: An Essential Skill for ESL literacy Learners.

A short and lively  account of an innovative “Laptop Lending” program in the Bridge Program for  ESL learners  (ages 19-24) at Bow Valley College in Calgary. Through this program learners are each given a laptop to use while registered in the program and are encouraged and supported to use the laptops to develop digital literacy skills and to pursue their language learning using the online platform, Desire2Learn.

Instructors in the Bridge program are committed to helping learners to develop essential digital literacy skills to  increase their chances of success in further education and in the world of work. As one of the instructors says,  “Being able to read and write also means being able to read and write online, there’s a lot more involved in it than just simply pen and paper.”  

In this article the instructors provide an overview of the background to the laptop lending program, their  experiences with the program and they share some of the successes they have witnessed as a result of the program.

Retrievable from: https://centre.bowvalleycollege.ca/blog/english-language-learning/digital-literacy-essential-skill-esl-literacy-learners

MALL: The Pedagogical Challenges

Burston, J. (2014). MALL: The Pedagogical Challenges. Computer Assisted Language Learning,  27 (4) 344-357,

A comprehensive review of the use of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) over the past 20 years or so, highlighting a range of innovative programs. The article argues that MALL has been constrained not only by issues of access, affordability and lack of standardization of devices but also by an approach to pedagogy which the author describes as a “behaviorist, teacher-centered, transmission model of instruction” . The author makes the case that a constructivist/learner-centred “collaborative, task-based learning both within and outside of the classroom.” is more appropriate to teaching and learning with mobile technologies and ultimately supports better learning outcomes The article concludes that the technological and financial constraints that have limited the use of mobile technologies in language teaching and learning will likely be resolved by market forces, and that the realization of the potential of mobile technologies for language teaching and learning is “a matter of pedagogy rather than technology.”

Cost: $USD 41.00

Retrievable From:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09588221.2014.914539

The LearnIT2teach Administrator’s Manual: Integrating & Managing Blended learning.

The LearnIT2Teach Administrator’s Manual: Integrating & Managing Blended Learning, Moodle 2 Edition (2014).

The Administrator’s Manual was developed specifically for administrators in federally funded Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) programs. Because the manual contains a broad introduction to a variety of methods, social media and tools, a social constructivist approach and best practices for teaching and learning, it will be of interest to a wider audience as well. The manual also outlines the evaluation approaches that have been used during the LearnIT2Teach project. The manual introduces the LINC courseware that is available to LINC instructors and provides checklists and tools to help manage language labs as well as a bibliography, glossary, list of professional development sources and an ICT Health Check to assist administrators to diagnose their readiness for using technology in their centre. There is an inventory of videos on the project’s YouTube channel. The Administrator’s manual is an essential tool for LINC administrators whatever stage of readiness they are at in using technology as part of their program. This is the second edition of the manual and reflects changes that were implemented to the learner courseware and teacher training concurrent with the migration to Moodle Version 2.5.

Retrievable from: http://learnit2teach.ca/wpnew/moodle_2_5_manual/LIT2T_Admin_Manual_2014_WEB.pdf

 

Fast Forward: An Analysis of Online and Distance Education Language Training.

Kelly, M., Kennell, T., McBride, R., & Sturm, M. (2007). Fast Forward: An Analysis of Online and Distance Education Language Training – Settlement at Work. New Media Language Training.

This research report provides a review and analysis of online and distance education language training in Canada, as of 2007. The report also provides a set of recommendations for the implementation of online and distance education language training, including the need for increased access to online and blended learning opportunities, the need to address integrating culture in language learning, the need to provide robust learner orientation and professional development for instructors, ongoing and multi-modal communications, technical support and the development of a centralized repository of learning objects.

Retrievable from: http://wiki.settlementatwork.org/index.php?title=Fast_Forward:_An_Analysis_of_Online_and_Distance_Education_Language_Training

 

Learning English with Modern Technology Student Survey Results.

Fahy, P., & Sturm, M. (2012). Learning English with Modern Technology Student Survey Results. New Media Language Training.

Results of an online survey of 176 language students (98.8% enrolled in LINC classes and 1.2% enrolled in ESL classes) in Ontario, and a related questionnaire by teachers in the surveyed programs conducted as part of the evaluation of the LearnIT2Teach project. The majority reported that they use portable digital devices, e.g., laptops and mobile phones. Most use these devices in the home, in the language lab and in local libraries. The major uses are email (90%) and staying connected with friends and family. Respondents thought that technology is helpful for learning English. Ninety-three percent of the students thought that newcomers should use technology to learn English; over half of the students surveyed reported a preference for a blended learning approach which they described as online learning with the support of a teacher. Barriers to technology use for English language learning, identified by the respondents, include lack of connectivity, poor English skills or lack of computer skills. The authors conclude that these results point to the need to ensure that students are comfortable in an online environment, and can profit from a blended learning approach. They recommend that programs leverage existing technology, integrate social elements since the majority of students use technology to stay connected and that funders and programs collaborate to remove accessibility and connectivity barriers.

Retrievable from: http://learnit2teach.ca/wpnew/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/LearningEnglishWithModernTechnology-19Aug2012.pdf