Choosing an App for your lessons with the Padagogy Wheel

How can instructors evaluate the quality and appropriateness of apps to support language learning?  It can be a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process.

TESL Ontario blogger John Allen  may have the answer. In this brief blog post he describes the Padagogy Wheel, developed by  Allan Carrington of Teach Thought and intended to help educators to evaluate apps based on the intended learning outcome. Underpinning the Padagogy Wheel is  the understanding that pedagogy should drive the technology and not the other way around.

In this post the author  outlines the process and describes his own experience in using the Padagogy Wheel to design a vocabulary lesson.

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Blended Learning Adoption in an ESL Context: Obstacles and Guidelines

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:

  1. Do participants in the study use BL? How is use different across different ESL settings?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

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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).


Blended learning and the language teacher: a literature review

Mendieta Aguilar, J. (2012). Blended learning and the language teacher: a literature review. Colombo Appl. Linguist. Journal, 14(2), 163–180.

The author argues that there is a lack of information about instructors’ perceptions of and roles in blended learning environments resulting in difficulties in creating effective models of blended learning. This article sets out to examine the views and perceptions of ESL instructors in relation to the integration and use of technology and blended learning and to point to the need for future research about how instructors manage the new demands presented by the online learning component in blended learning programs.

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Teacher and student perspectives on a blended learning intensive English program writing course

Larsen, L. (2012). Teacher and student perspectives on a blended learning intensive English program writing course (Ph.D.). Iowa State University.

Although this dissertation investigates the use of blended learning with ESL writing students in an intensive English program, there is much that will be of interest to adult settlement language programs as well. The author notes the immaturity of blended learning within the area of language learning and also that blended learning is considered separate from CALL. One of the author’s points is that CALL research does not mention blended learning theories, but blended learning researchers often rely on CALL research when making arguments. The author provides a table (Table 2, p 38) showing blended learning studies and the variables identified or investigated in blended learning environments. These include areas of interest to adult settlement language programs such as student computer literacy skills; teacher attitude, training and support and positive effects on learner autonomy. The writer stresses “the paucity” of research in blended learning implementation in language learning environments. He also states that a review of the literature from CALL indicates that teachers are generally not sufficiently prepared to teach using technology which may also be significant in adult settlement language training.

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Web 2.0 and Four Paths Beyond

Hubbard, P., P. (2011, March 18). Web 2.0 and Four Paths Beyond. PowerPoint Slides presented at the TESOL Conference, New Orleans.

A presentation about Web 2.0, emerging technologies and the critical importance of incorporating technology and learning with technology deeply in language teacher training in order to support teacher flexibility, to prepare teachers for long careers in language teaching during which they are likely to continually encounter new technologies, new technological modes, and in which they will need to have the confidence and skills to approach these technologies successfully. The presentation also highlights the importance of situated learning theory in ensuring that teachers learn in the same environment in which they will teach.

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Digital Mindsets: Teachers’ Technology Use in Personal Life and Teaching.

Tour, Ekaterina (2015). Digital Mindsets: Teachers’ Technology Use in Personal Life and Teaching. Language Learning & Technology, 19(3), 124–139.

This study looks at the relationships between teachers’ everyday and professional uses of technology and explores the assumptions that lie behind their practices. The findings of the study identify the impact of teachers’ digital mindsets and assumptions on the potential they see for digital technologies. The author reports on other studies that explore teachers’ personal experiences with digital technologies to see what they might reveal about what prevents teachers from seeing the learning potential of technologies, and making connections between their working use and their personal use. The study looks at how differently study participants considered seven interrelated affordances of digital technologies and whether they recognized their potential. The author concludes that professional development and learning needs to take into account teachers’ everyday practices, experiences and digital mindsets as well as provide opportunities for critical reflection about them.

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The Evaluation of Computer-Mediated Technology by Second Language Teachers: Collaboration and Interaction in CALL.

del Puerto, F. G., & Gamboa, E. (2009). The Evaluation of Computer-Mediated Technology by Second Language Teachers: Collaboration and Interaction in CALL. Educational Media International, 46(2), 137–152.

In this multi-country European study, language teacher respondents reported that they used computers for personal use more than for teaching. It reveals that despite teachers’ belief that interaction is the most effective method for language learning teachers are more likely to use basic tools to produce grammar exercises and individual work, than to work with computer applications that encourage interaction e.g., forums, text chat, web chat, video chat. New versions of Moodle do provide these types of activities, but there is a need for teachers to be comfortable using them. Del Puerto ends by saying that no matter what new collaborative and interactive elements are developed in platforms like Moodle, teacher training and teachers’ attitudes towards technology will be the most important factor influencing whether they are used in the language classroom. This point is also stated clearly in the TESOL Standards (2011) in the Technology Standards for Language Teachers section. For example, Goal 2: Language teachers integrate pedagogical knowledge and skills with technology to enhance language teaching and learning (p.213).

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