Al Tawil, R. (2019). Nonverbal Communication in Text-Based, Asynchronous Online Education,International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20 (1), 144-162.
This article describes the findings of a research project conducted to better understand the role of non-verbal communication in an online, asynchronous, text-based learning environment. The article identifies four factors to be considered in relation to non-verbal communication in the online environment:
- Chromenics, that is the study of time in non-verbal communication.
- Use of 2D visuals to indicate social presence, e.g. emoticons, profile pictures, photographs, graphics.
- eSets, which the researcher describes as resembling paralanguage, and which include, writing style, tone, structure, layout and format.
- Lack of communication, i.e., if a student does not receive acknowledgment or response to a post s/he is feels ignored and this may decrease motivation and engagement.
Overall the research points to the critical importance of social presence in the online learning environment.
Retrievable from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/3705/4984
Martin. J. (2019). Building Relationships and Increasing Engagement in the Virtual Classroom. Journal of Educators Online, 16 (1), 232-238.
One of the challenges of teaching in an online environment is how to address the sense of disconnection and isolation that many online students report, and which tends to be de-motivating and to undermine engagement in learning.
How can instructors build relationships with students and foster a sense of community which supports student engagement in an online environment? This article provides quite simple and practical strategies using digital technology tools and simple videos to help to bridge the “social gap” in online learning environments. The author describes how instructors can use screen recording, videoconferencing software and social media platforms to connect with students in a more personal and immediate way. These tools can also be used to provide personalized feedback to encourage engagement and to enable students to connect with one another, to share photos, interests and ideas , and so reducing isolation and increasing engagement.
Retrievable from: https://www.thejeo.com/archive/2019_16_1/martin
Baralt, M., & Morcillo Gómez, J. (2017). Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers. Language Learning & Technology, 21(3), 28–43.
This article provides a guide for teachers who do task based teaching using real time video, recognizing that online language courses should not simply be face-to-face courses moved online. It discusses how the authors have adapted Willis’ (1996, 2012) task-based methodology framework to address modifications needed for an online context. The authors review the criteria for language-teaching activities to be considered tasks and also how to implement them successfully. They provide a teacher’s plan to illustrate the framework to implement a task along with video examples. The authors conclude by considering aspects of online teaching that are unique, e.g., potential problems with connectivity and how to foster an online community. They also emphasize the value of online classes in providing language learning opportunities regardless of geographic location and its contribution to developing digital literacy skills.
Retrievable from: http://www.lltjournal.org/item/3008
Kukulska-Hulme, A. 2018. “Mobile-assisted language learning [Revised and updated version].” In The Concise Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, edited by Chapelle, Carol A. New York: Wiley.
This article provides an overview and up to the minute discussion of the potential of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). In the article MALL is defined as using smartphones and other mobile technologies, including tablet computers and e-readers, to enable extended learning opportunities for language learning.
The author describes how MALL can support skill development in reading, listening, speaking and writing and shows how mobile devices can be used to increase accessibility and to open opportunities for language learning, formally in classroom-based, and informally outside classroom settings, as well as providing the means to bridge the two.
The author reports that it is estimated that the number of users of mobile technology will reach 5.9 billion or 71% of the world’s population by 2025 (GSMA 2018). The author argues that as a result many language learners who currently have limited access to language learning opportunities and materials can be enabled to use their mobile devices to engage in learning on demand and will have ready access to learning resources and materials.
While it is not yet clear what impact this may have on current models of learning, it is very likely that those models will be affected, even to an extent transformed by the ubiquity of mobile technologies. However, the author argues that this potential change provides an opportunity to refresh language learning systems and to enable more flexible models of learning which will benefit language learners.
Retrievable from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/57023/
Shebansky, W. (2018). Blended Learning Adoption in an ESL Context: Obstacles and Guidelines. TESL Canada Journal, 35(1), 52 – 77.
This report looks at the factors that influence adult ESL instructor opinions about implementation and use of blended learning in a federally-funded Canadian LINC program(Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) (24 instructors), in an ESL program in a mid-sized Canadian community college (5 instructors) and in an EFL program in a large Korean university (19 instructors).
The author acknowledges that digital tools are available and accessible, but are not being widely used to implement Blended Learning.
He references several conceptual frameworks and extends two that are used in higher education to a part-time LINC context to inform and guide his investigation into the low rate of technology adoption at his LINC program.
The research study asks these questions:
- Do participants in the study use BL? How is use different across different ESL settings?
- What institutional strategy (design-related issues), structure (issues related to facilitation of the BL environment) and support (faculty implementation and maintenance of its BL design) factors most influence whether instructors will adopt BL? Is this different across ESL settings?
- Why do those factors affect adoption of BL in a LINC context?
He reports on these factors that influence instructors’ decision whether to adopt blended learning:
- Ability to quickly upload and download materials
- Availability of professional development in a face-to-face group or one-on-one
- Availability of technical support
- Availability of pedagogical support
He then reports on these findings to explain why this list of factors influenced instructors’ decisions.
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
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
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
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
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:
Trinder, R. (2017). Informal and deliberate learning with new technologies. ELT Journal, 71(4),402-412.
This article is based on an empirical study exploring Austrian university students’ perceptions and practices related to the usefulness of online informal and incidental learning of English when they are using digital technologies in their daily lives. By and large the students indicated a preference for media (films and television), email, online dictionaries as being most useful for their language learning.
Although the study was conducted in a university setting the findings are applicable to a range of language learning settings. Given the ubiquity of digital technologies it is likely that students are accessing information and using technology for communication in daily life. As the author concludes, knowing more about how language students actually use digital technologies to support their learning outside the classroom can help instructors to incorporate the preferred technologies in instruction, where feasible, to validate informal language learning and to support students to evaluate digital tools to support their language learning outside the classroom.
Dudeney, Gavin, Nicky Hockly and Mark Pegrum. Digital Literacies. Harlow, England: Pearson, 2013.
This book is organized in four chapters:
- From research to implications – you’ll find a framework of digital literacies.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
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/
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
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
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
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
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.