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.
Caidi, N., Allard, D., & Dechief, D. (2008). Information Practices of Immigrants to Canada – A Review of the Literature (Research Contract Commissioned by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Metropolis). Faculty of Information Studies University of Toronto.
This review of the literature on the information practices (broadly understood as the information needs and information seeking strategies) of immigrants to Canada focuses on the importance of those practices in reducing the social isolation and exclusion and how lack of access to reliable information can be a barrier to successful integration. In the context of this bibliography the issue is whether digital and information literacy development can be supported in a blended learning environment which would provide newcomers with digital skills and information literacy skills alongside critical language skills.
Caidi, N., C., Longford, G., Allard, D., & Dechief, D. (2007). Including Immigrants in Canadian Society: What Role do ICTs Play? – Draft Report (Submission to the Strategic Policy Research Directorate of Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC)). Faculty of Information Studies University of Toronto.
This report examines how and why immigrants to Canada make use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) as they move through the stages of immigration. The focus of the report is the public library sector, since public libraries offer a free and accessible venue for the use of ICTs for information gathering. However, the report points to the need to incorporate ICTs in federally funded Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) training to help immigrants to become more adept at using technologies in the settlement process generally and for employment and integration. In that context the report points to the importance of providing online/blended learning opportunities in settlement language programs as a means to enhance language and ICT skills.
Lupasco, S. (n.d.). Developing an ESL Literacy Blended Online Course for LINC Learners. Contact Magazine, November 2013, 31–35.
In this article Lupasco describes an assignment for Post TESL accreditation for which she develops e-Materials for Language Training. As she walks the reader through the different sections of the blended ESL Literacy course that she created, there are echoes of the theory and examined practice that appear in other resources included in this bibliography.
Retrievable from: http://www.teslontario.net/uploads/publications/contact/ContactFall2013.pdf
John Daniel, O.C (2016). Making Sense of Blended Learning: Treasuring an older tradition or finding a better future? Contact North.
Retrievable from: http://teachonline.ca/sites/default/files/tools-trends/downloads/making_sense_of_blended_learning-eng.pdf
Martha Young-Scholten,. (2015). Issues emerging from the pilot of an online module on vocabulary learning by low-educated adult immigrants. Language Issues: The ESOL Journal, 26(2), 41–45.
A report of an international pilot of online learning module for second-language instructors in North America and the European Union, conducted over a 5-week period in 2015. The instructors are working with learners who have been designated as low-educated and literacy acquisition (LESLLA). Based on two extensive surveys of the professional development and training needs of these instructors the online training module focused on vocabulary teaching and learning. The module, Topics in Vocabulary Learning for LESLLA Learners, (in English, Dutch German, Finnish and Spanish). was delivered using MOODLE. Learning materials were drawn from publications in each of these languages as well as translations of some English materials into the other languages. The author states that while more research is required to better understand how LESLLA learner develop vocabulary and move from fast-mapping to the use of new vocabulary in their daily lives, the value of this pilot is in support instructors in carrying out their own research to extend understanding of vocabulary acquisition this pilot. In addition, participants in the pilot, although it was of short duration, reported positive results based on their learning and experimenting with new techniques. The pilot also set the groundwork for the future development of a curriculum framework for LESLLA instructors, at the international level, which will allow instructors to share and exchange their experience and knowledge.
Cost: $USD 38.16
Karen J. Haines. (2015). Learning to Identify and Actualize Affordances in a New Tool. Language Learning & Technology, 19(1), 165–180.
This report suggests a reflective process that identifies both the technical features of a tool and its ability to allow learners to achieve their learning goals which may help teachers cope with the increasing number of technologies available. The study defines affordance as the potential that teachers perceive in a technology tool to support activities in their contexts. Other research has noted that teachers may learn how to use a tool, but they may not learn why they might use it. The study looks at the affordances of blogs and wikis and reports on both initial and later perceptions of two teachers as they familiarized themselves with these tools and saw possibilities in their use as they explored them over time. Their learning was based mostly on experimentation in their classrooms along with reading research and good practice about the two tools. The study ends with suggestions for teacher training in situated contexts so that teachers have ample opportunity to use a wide range of tools and be trained to judge their affordances for themselves.
Retrievable from: http://llt.msu.edu/issues/february2015/haines.pdf
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.
Wang, S., & Vasquez, C. (2012). Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning: What Does the Research Tell Us? CALICO Journal, 29(3), 412–430.
The authors found that much research on Web 2.0 technology and language learning is not clearly grounded in theory and that a number of studies suffer from a set of common methodological limitations. The analysis in the review focuses on 29 empirical studies from 2005-2010. The authors also cite previous reviews of research in earlier periods from 1990-2005. The authors have aimed to include all of the recent relevant literature on using Web 2.0 technologies in L2 learning. The study points to the need for well-constructed empirical research projects. Among others, their suggestions include projects that don’t look only at technologies, but also at students’ progress and specific language learning outcomes. They also suggest the need for research on how proficiency and/or intercultural competence are affected by using Web 2.0 tools.
Gruba, P., Cameron, C., Ng, K. & Wells, M. (2009). Blending technologies in ESL courses: A reflexive enquiry. Presented at the ascilite Conference, Auckland, NZ.
In this presentation from the 2009 ascilite Conference in Auckland NZ, a group of researchers describe their learning as a self-directed “community of innovation” after creating a series of podcasts as a springboard for an action research study to look at issues related to integrating technology in variety of types of ESL classes. The study highlights some of the barriers to integration that have been identified elsewhere: time, need for professional development and IT support.
Bax, S. (2013). Normalisation Revisited: The Effective Use of Technology in Language Education.
This article revisits the issue of the normalisation of technology in language education, defined as the stage at which a technology is used in language education without users being consciously aware of its role as a technology, as an effective element in the language learning process (Bax, 2003). It proposes a methodology to introduce new technologies into language education settings with maximum impact. The article cites some of the researchers who have addressed normalisation in discussions concerning the role of technology in language education. Bax uses the examples of attitudes of “excessive awe” and “exaggerated fear” to emphasize the importance of looking critically at whether any proposed new technology is necessary. He presents elements of effective educational practice and shows how modern technology can help with providing those elements, but emphasizes that learning also requires mediation from teacher experts who will intervene as needed. This article suggests tools and processes that would be helpful in the area of program readiness.