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
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.
Retrievable from: http://www.teslontario.net/uploads/publications/contact/ContactFall2013.pdf
Philip Hubbard. (2013). Making a Case for Learner Training in Technology Enhanced Language Learning Environments. CALICO Journal, 30(2), 163–178.
The author focuses on the importance of learner training in technology-mediated language training. He presents four positions, (properly designed technology and tasks are transparent, learners have the ability to use technology optimally, digital natives don’t need training, specialized training for either teachers or learners is unnecessary), that would lead to avoiding learner training and then provides corresponding evidence that each of these positions is problematic and that learner training is essential. He presents a set of five learner training principles for teachers and developers that have had an impact on teachers as well as learners. The first principle is that as a teacher or developer, you should experience a computer-mediated course yourself. This is followed by a description of the result of teachers putting themselves in the role of language learner and the experience’s impact on them. He concludes that what really matters in technology-enhanced language learning is how learners use the technology and that teachers, researchers and developers should provide the guidance needed to use it well.
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
Christopher P. Johnson, D. M. (2014). Blended Language Learning: An Effective Solution but not Without Its Challenges. Higher Learning Research Communications, 4(3), 23–41.
This study explores conclusions from its first phase and identifies effective and appropriate best practice blended learning models. The study reflects changes in demands on and attitudes of students and teachers resulting from the introduction of technology into instructional styles, methodologies, and approaches. Some of the teachers in the study have become confident that the technology is not meant to replace them in the classroom and have begun to see it as a support for them. There is an emphasis on making the best use of classroom time, rather than trying to teach all requirements of courses in the classroom. The study also looks at the personal capacity required for students to take on a more autonomous role in a blended environment and discusses the importance of motivation, confidence and active participation. The authors state that the time and effort that university students spend gaining skills in EFL have critical impact on their success in learning the language. The same seems to be true for adult immigrants in settlement language programs.
Stracke, E. (2007a). Spotlight on Blended Language Learning: A Frontier Beyond Learner Autonomy and Computer-assisted Language Learning. In Proceedings of the Independent Learning Association 2. Presented at the Independent Learning Centre. : Exploring theory, enhancing practice Japan.
In this conference paper, the author identifies some key elements to consider in the development of successful blended learning initiatives. The identification of these elements is based on an empirical study of blended learning, defined as teaching and learning environments in which technology plays a role, in EFL programs. The author emphasizes the critical importance of allowing sufficient time for instructors and students to adapt to the blended learning environment, the need for technical support, the key role of a sense of community, the importance of the development of high-quality materials as well as potentially disruptive changes of roles. Finally the author argues for further research into the potential of blended learning as a useful means to integrate technology and independent learning in second language teaching and learning.
Retrievable From: http://www.independentlearning.org/uploads/100836/ILA2007_036.pdf