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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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New LearnIT2Teach Learner Support Features for Blended Learning.

Allan, J. (2013). New LearnIT2Teach Learner Support Features for Blended Learning. Contact Magazine, November 2013(26-30).

This 2013 article provides an update on resources available to federally funded LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) adult settlement language programs in Ontario and a number of other Canadian provinces from the LearnIT2teach Project which began in 2010. It outlines new help that is available to learners in blended courses and what is available to instructors and administrators. It also describes just-in-time help for learners. An appendix in the article provides definitions for terms and thumbnail descriptions of key resources.

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LearnIT2teach: Free CALL PD for LINC and ESL Professionals.

McBride, R., Fahy, P., Edgar, J., O’Brien, K., Allan, J., Sturm, M., & Gillespie, M.E. (2011). LearnIT2teach: Free CALL PD for LINC and ESL Professionals. Contact, 37(3), 30–32.

This article describes the LearnIT2Teach project, supported by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Since 2010 the project has developed and offered tools and training to LINC and ESL instructors to support them in integrating CALL in their instruction. The project includes a web portal, learner courseware, a learning object repository and four stages of mentored instructor training.

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LearnIT2teach: Scaffolding Instructors’ Online Training Skills.

Edgar, Jim, Johnson, K., & McBride, R. (2011). LearnIT2teach: Scaffolding Instructors’ Online Training Skills. TESL Ontario.

This document presents a scheme for training in Online Training Skills as part of TESL Ontario’s Post TESL certificate. The Framework is based on an understanding of the ubiquity of digital technologies and devices in our lives and the opportunities that these technologies provide for language learners to bridge time and distance, to have more flexibility in where and when they learn and to have access to high-quality and cost-effective learning activities. Through the proposed modes, that is, the inclusion of LearnIT2Teach in the Post TESL certificate, instructors will learn how to develop online student activities using CALL authoring software and share the content they create on Tutela. ca, Canada’s online community for current and future ESL/FSL professionals across Canada with a focus on language training for adult newcomers.

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The LearnIT2Teach Project: Modernizing Settlement Language Training through E-Blended Delivery.

Edgar, J., & McBride, R. (2012). The LearnIT2Teach Project: Modernizing

Settlement Language Training through E-Blended Delivery. INSCAN Special Issue on Settlement Language Training, (Spring), 28–30.

This article provides an outline description of the LearnIT2Teach Project, launched in 2010. The project provides four stage of mentored training to LINC instructors and justin-time training resources accessible through a project portal to enable them to integrate technology in the language training classroom. In addition, a manual and workshop are available for program coordinators. LINC courseware and learning objects are made available for LINC 2-LINC 7 classes (Canadian Language Benchmarks 2-8) The LINC courseware is designed to supplement face-to-face in-class delivery in a blended learning environment.

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ESOL and EFL: An unhelpful distinction?

Williams, E., & Williams, A. (2007). ESOL and EFL: An unhelpful distinction?

This review of the current state of ESOL in the UK and brief historical overview of the development of ESOL and EFL, outlines the distinctions between these two terms and points to the need for convergence and/or integration of ESOL and EFL to meet the current needs of students in the UK. The report also provides an outline of the authors’ understanding of ESOL provision in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, tracing the historical, policy-related and ideological strands in each country that led to the current model of provision.

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A road to understanding: A qualitative study into why learners drop out of a blended language learning (BLL) environment.

Stracke, E. (2007b). A road to understanding: A qualitative study into why learners drop out of a blended language learning (BLL) environment. ReCALL, 19(01), 57–78.

The paper reports on the reasons that a small, highly motivated group of students disliked a blended learning class enough to drop out within a few weeks and explores what is needed to avoid this happening. Although this paper reports on only three students, the reasons they dropped out are discussed elsewhere in this bibliography and can be seen to reveal fundamental issues that programs need to be aware of when implementing blended language learning initiatives. The reasons identified by the students for dropping out of the class included lack of support, e.g., guidance, sequencing, review by a teacher; prior beliefs about learning, e.g., the need for printed materials, and learning styles out of synch with the teaching style of the course; lack of connection or integration between the selfstudy portion and the classroom; difficulty and dislike working with the computer for one participant who didn’t realize ahead of time that the course was blended and an inability to relate to the computer as a medium for language learning. Stracke concludes by suggesting that more research is needed to understand why individual students like or dislike such a course and how to ensure that all students receive the support they need to succeed in similar language learning environments.

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Exploring the Feasibility of E-Learning in Ontario ESL Programs.

Lawrence, G. et al (2014). Exploring the Feasibility of E-Learning in Ontario ESL Programs. Contact, 40(1), 12-18.

A report of a study in Ontario examining the feasibility of integrating e-learning in Adult ESL programs. This multi-phase research study included a comprehensive review of global trends in e-learning in ESL and an extensive online survey and focus group consultation with ESL students, instructors and program administrators. The researchers also conducted a review of how ESL programs are currently using e-learning. The research findings show that a blended learning approach is favoured by a majority of the stakeholders. Those surveyed reported that they recognize and are enthusiastic about the potential of a blended learning approach to expand and extend learning opportunities. However, as with similar studies, respondents identified a range of issues and challenges related to technology infrastructure, connectivity and technology support, as well as the need for appropriate training and professional development and the need to ensure that students have the necessary computer skills. These issues must be addressed for the successful implementation of a blended learning approach.

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Power within blended language learning programs in Japan.

Gruba, P., & Hinkelman, D. (2010). Power within blended language learning programs in Japan. Language Learning & Technology, 16(2), 46–64.

This study focuses on EFL programs in two Japanese universities and examines and interprets issues that influenced their blended language learning environments: facility design (online vs. face-to-face), human resources and materials authoring (publisher-based vs teacher-based authorship) and software designs (proprietary ownership vs distributed teacher initiatives). Implications of the study suggest the concept of technology in blended environments needs to be expanded from a focus on integrating electronic tools to configuring classrooms. Second, blended learning is not only a descriptive category of technology use in education, but also an interventionist strategy of iterative change in integrating face-to-face techniques with computer-based techniques. This study reports on important questions for adult settlement language training programs, including facilities, educational resources, instructor time, and attitudes towards technology.

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Technology-enhanced blended language learning in an ESL class: A description of a model and an application of the Diffusion of Innovations theory.

Grgurovic, M. (2010). Technology-enhanced blended language learning in an ESL class: A description of a model and an application of the Diffusion of Innovations theory (Ph.D.). Iowa State University.

A doctoral thesis examining technology-enhanced blended learning in an ESL classroom through the lens of diffusion of innovations theory. Using a case study approach, producing both qualitative and quantitative data, the author concludes that the use of technology represented an innovation and that the stages of innovation were observed. The thesis provides useful data to support the effective planning and implementation of blended learning in an ESL setting.

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Implementing E-Learning components with adult English language learners: Vital factors and lessons learned.

Coryell, J., & Chlup, D.T. (2007). Implementing E-Learning components with adult English language learners: Vital factors and lessons learned. Computer-assisted Language Learning, 20(3), 263 – 278.

This study explores how instructors and program directors in ESL or ESOL programs determine the right approach to choose blended elearning components for their programs and learners. The surveys and focus groups took place in 11 American states with 15 instructors and four program directors. The findings are grouped under four themes that encompass preparation, readiness, support for students and instructors, technology and funding.

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Teaching Workplace Cultural Communication (Online).

Nawaz, M. (2014). Teaching Workplace Cultural Communication (Online). Contact, 40(1), 24–28.

This article describes the Workplace Cultural Communications (Online) course offered by Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS) to new and pre-arrival immigrants who are at Canadian Language Benchmarks 7/8. The course, on the Moodle platform, consists of 10 modules offered over a 10-week period. Each module focuses on a specific workplace cultural value and focuses on language, interchange and social norms in the Canadian workplace. Participants complete written and audio-recorded assignments in each module and also participate in a discussion forum where they can interact and share information about their current locations, professional background and workplace experiences.

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Innovations in learning technologies for English language teaching.

Motteram, G. (Ed.). (2013). Innovations in learning technologies for English language teaching. The British Council.

Each chapter in this British Council publication includes case studies and a list of references. The educational settings include the primary and secondary sectors, and a number of settings for adult teaching. The editor includes both general language teaching and second language and ESL. Chapter 3: Technology and adult language teaching includes an ESOL case study in the UK, where there is substantial pressure and support to use technology and a blended approach in the program. Chapter 4: Technology integrated English for Specific Purposes lessons looks at real-life language, tasks and tools for professionals. This chapter describes the importance of context in choosing the right tools. It also includes information about mobile learning. Chapter 6 looks at technology enhanced assessment for English language teaching, including language portfolios, e-portfolios and open source tools. The editor concludes by discussing how technologies allow teachers to address more than immediate language needs and to engage students in ways that would have been difficult in the past. He also maintains the centrality of teachers in the classroom.

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Web 2.0 Technology Meets Mobile Assisted Language Learning.

Min Jung Jee. (2011). Web 2.0 Technology Meets Mobile Assisted Language Learning. The IALLT Journal, 41(1), 161–175.

This paper presents an introduction to Web 2.0 and mobile technologies in the context of foreign and second language instruction. The paper includes a review of a number of Web 2.0 technologies, for example, blogs, wikis and social networking, and discusses their potential applications to language pedagogy and possible uses in the language classroom, within the context of theories of second language acquisition. The author discusses the benefits of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and Web 2.0 technologies which include enhanced motivation, learner autonomy and responsibility for learning and increased flexibility in learning preferences and styles. The author recommends further action research in the use of these technologies and encourages second language instructors to explore and to take advantage of the potential of these technologies in their instruction for the benefit of learners.

Retrievable from: – A New Canada-wide Online Resource and Community of Practice.

Ko, N., & St-Jean, P. (2012). – A New Canada-wide Online Resource and Community of Practice. INSCAN Special Issue on Settlement Language Training.

This article describes, a pan-Canadian online repository and community for ESL and French as a Second Language (FSL) practitioners across the country. The repository holds a wide range of language training resources from Canada, including lesson plans, assessment materials, classroom materials, learning objects and audio and video resources. also functions as an online community of practice to share resources, and to access information about best practices. Users have access to discussion forums, special interest groups, information about job opportunities and resource recommendations and reviews. Within the context of this bibliography, provides an essential resource to support practitioners to learn and share information about blended learning models, experiences and resources.

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Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Mobile Learning.

Kim, D., Rueckert, D., Kim, D.-J., & Seo, D. (2013). Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Mobile Learning. Language Learning & Technology, 17(1), 52–73.

This study looked at how a group of graduate TESOL students perceived the use of mobile devices to create a personalized learning experience outside the classroom. The study found that mobile technologies provide opportunities for new learning experiences and encourage students to engage in learning activities outside the classroom and that this group of students perceived the usefulness of mobile technologies in teaching and learning and based on their positive experiences are more likely to use these technologies in their own teaching practice. This study has implications for the settlement language field, particularly in relation to teacher training and ongoing professional development to support instructors to explore the feasibility and potential of mobile technologies in their language instruction.

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(Re)conceptualizing design approaches for mobile language learning.

Hoven, D., & Palalas, A. (2011). (Re)conceptualizing design approaches for mobile language learning. CALICO Journal, 28(3), 699–.

This paper reports on an exploratory study at a Canadian Community College, between 2007 and 2009, looking at the potential of mobile devices to enhance English for special purpose (ESP) learning by providing opportunities for students to continue working on listening and speaking skills outside of the classroom. The findings of this preliminary study pointed to the need for further investigation and the critical importance of developing design principles for Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) materials to support effective instruction. The authors note that the development of design based principles will be the major focus of an ongoing Design Based Research (DBR) study at the college.

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