Lukawiecki, J., Khan, A., & Bedi, G. (2022). Newcomer families in Canada and the digital divide. Guelph, ON: Community Engaged Scholarship Institute.
This study, in partnership with the Local Immigration Partnership in the Guelph-Wellington area in Southwestern Ontario looks at a number of newcomer services impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on ESL and digital literacy training. The report includes a brief review of academic literature looking at newcomers’ use of technology. It then describes services available throughout the region and describes the challenges as agencies adapted to providing them online.
One of the major conclusions from the report is that there are significant differences in in newcomers’ experience of the digital divide depending on language levels, gender, education, previous employment and/or professional status. It also notes areas where online services eliminated some barriers for newcomers.
The report makes recommendations about how to meet newcomers’ digital needs better through activities like providing them with devices and Wifi connections when needed, improved staff training, enlisting newcomers with language and digital literacy proficiency as “navigators” for others, mobile home services to ready clients for work interviews and frequent communication with clients using a variety of methods.
Nguyen, N., Chambers, W., & Abbott, M. Building ESL Learners’ Digital Literacy Skills Using Internet Memes. TESL Canada Journal/Revue TESL du Canada, 39(1), 83-103.
This article examines and describes how internet memes can be used to support and enhance ESL learners’ digital skills. Internet memes are humourous and engaging ideas, images, and phrases that spread from person to person through online sharing, particularly on social media. (Here is a link to a short, clear explanation of memes: The Now- What is a Meme?)
Having provided a general introduction to memes and a description of popular internet memes the authors examine memes in the context of language learning in relation to the Digital Literacies Framework for Language Learning developed by Mark Pegrum and colleagues (Digital Literacies Revisited). This framework outlines the essential digital skills which language learners need to participate in a digital society, and focuses on four competencies, the ability to communicate; use information; collaborate; and re-design or create new meanings.
Based on this framework the authors provide a Meme Selection and Implementation Guide for ESL instructors. They also provide an Exemplar Meme Task for use with Intermediate ESL learners (CLBs 5-8; Common European Framework (CEFR) B1-2) intended to support the development of language and digital literacy skills and which has also been piloted in a CLB 5 LINC class as part of a module on Canadian workplace culture
Retrievable from: https://teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1553
Wu, J.G. (2022) Emerging Technologies and Research Designs in Technology Enhanced Language Learning: An Interview with Mark Pegrum. International Journal of TESOL Studies,4 (3) 162-170.
This interview covers a range of topics, including Pegrum’s three main areas of research: digital literacies, mobile and emerging technologies, and digital education in contexts beyond what is usually presented in research. He stresses the continuing importance of language teacher education in digital literacies. When the interview turns to the impact of COVID-19 and the ensuing emergency remote teaching, he lauds teachers’ ability to adapt to their context throughout the pandemic no matter what level of technologies were available to them, no matter where they were located. When asked by the interviewer to suggest background reading on developments in research methodology and design-based research, he presents a number of journals and researchers whose work is included in a reference list. His analysis of the large number of digital frameworks concludes with the suggestion that teachers familiarize themselves with the insights before choosing one and always keeping learners, context, and emerging frameworks in mind. Pegrum also makes a point of discussing digital distraction, digital disorder and digital disconnection as an important combination of situations that have led to a crisis of attention. Throughout the interview, he credits those he works with and those whose work is an important part of each area of discussion.
Jose, K. (2021). “Google and me together can read anything.” Online reading strategies to build independent readers in the ESL classroom. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 17(2), 896-914.
This article provides the findings of a research study investigating the potential of reading using online texts or hypertexts in addition to print textbooks in the ESL reading classroom. The research examined and described the reading and navigation strategies used by students in reading online texts.
It was found that readers demonstrated higher levels of comprehension in tests based on online texts. Given that in this digital age, and given the ubiquity of digital devices, many of us look to the internet as a primary source of information, the author argues the use of online texts in the reading classroom is a more authentic activity for students, one that they are more comfortable with in their daily lives. He further argues that the use of digital texts in developing online reading comprehension will support students in the development of their critical information literacy skills and foster lifelong reading habits.
The author concludes that ESL reading instructors should engage in strategy training to support students in the use of online texts to enhance reading comprehension, and to help to build lifelong, independent reading habits in ESL readers.
Retrievable from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1313909.pdf
Kern, R., Twenty-five years of digital literacies in CALL. Language Learning & Technology, 25,3 (2021):132-50.
This article offers a comprehensive review of the evolving importance of digital literacies, in the context of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) over the past 25 years. The article also discusses the three major areas in which digital literacies have contributed to CALL, (a) agency, autonomy, and identity; (b) creativity; and (c) new sociality and communities.
Beginning with the early days of the Internet the author describes our early use as being consultative rather than creative, and digital literacy in that context consisted primarily of how to access web sites and follow hyperlinks. With the development Web 2.0 our use of the internet evolved, moving to more and more online social interaction particularly in relation to social media. The impact of these developments provided language learners multiple opportunities to independently access learning resources on the internet, to engage with other learners and speakers of the target language. Language learners also have the means to create content themselves, and many opportunities to practice language skills through gaming and in online communities.
In the face of these exciting independent learning opportunities there are ongoing challenges relating to better understanding the role of the instructor in this new learning environment, in particular its impact on assessment and in supporting learners to productively navigate informal and formal online learning activities. Finally, the authors discuss how language educators can develop and deliver sound digital literacies programming to help language learners acquire and develop these critical skills.
Retrievable from: https://www.lltjournal.org/item/3225
Light, J., Auer, M. WebSafe: Tools for Newcomers to Counter Digital Disinformation. TESL Contact, 47,1(2021):13-20
The March 2021 issue of TESL Ontario Contact Magazine reports on a number of topics of interest to the bibliography. One of them, WebSafe: Tools for Newcomers to Counter Digital Disinformation, describes a set of practical learning resources, one 50 projects funded to counter online disinformation by the Government of Canada since January 2020. The other projects are listed here.
Another of the 50 projects, from United Cultures of Canada Association, is an educational booklet that looks at three kinds of information with examples from COVID-19: Disinformation, Misinformation and True Information.
The topic of digital disinformation is being explored worldwide, including this conceptual paper that focuses on the context of asylum seekers. It contains a literature review on the information practices of asylum seekers and provides insight into the kinds of misinformation and inadequate information they encounter. The authors propose a Social Information Perception Model to show what people may identify as accurate information, misinformation or disinformation.
Chang,Y., Wang, L. & Eagle, J. (2019). Empowering English Language Learners through Digital Literacies: Research, Complexities, and Implications. Media and Communication. Vol 7(2).128-136.
This article provides an accessible overview of issues related to the digital literacies of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the U.S. The article highlights issues that are of increasing importance for adult settlement language learning in Canada and includes a description of evolving definitions of digital literacies and fluency and a short review of literature focusing on language teaching practices that support the development of digital literacies.
The authors argue that digital literacies and digital fluency can support language learner autonomy and provide authentic language learning experiences that meaningfully reflect the daily lives of the learners. The inclusion of digital literacies as part of the language learning process in the language classroom not only provides opportunities for authentic learning in the classroom but also supports learners to extend their language learning beyond the classroom. Furthermore, in an increasingly digitized society, digital literacies are essential for employment and ongoing learning and communication in day-to-day life. In order to effectively incorporate digital literacies as part of language teaching practice the authors highlight the need to support language instructors to engage in ongoing professional development in relation to the use of digital tools for teaching and learning.
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
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/
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
Gilbert, J. (2014). Exploring ESL Students’ Perceptions of Their Digital Reading Skills. Ed.D. University of Nottingham.
A doctoral thesis exploring ESL students’ understandings of their own digital reading skills. The study included three sources of data: reading workshops created for the participants; interviews with participants; discussions with participants and analysis of participants’ reading journals. The study concludes that while the participants had the capacity to randomly search the internet they lack the information literacy skills to productively research and evaluate information online. The study also found that the participants’ reading strategies varied when engaging with print and web-based text. Finally the research points to the need to consider teaching digital literacy skills in tandem with language instruction and to provide instructors and instructors-in-training with the means to develop robust digital skills to enable them to support students to develop these skills alongside their language learning.
Retrievable from: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/14080/1/Gilbert_Re-formated_Thesis_Draft.pdf
Vanek J. & Johnston, J. (2015). Enhancing the Digital Skills of English Language Learners Studying at a Distance. AEIS Newsletter March 2015.
Based on interviews with instructors who work within the IDEAL consortium the article outlines the components of a successful distance learning program for second language learners. The authors argue that given the ubiquity of digital technologies and the multiple demands on learners to use digital technology in the workplace, distance learning instruction should not be limited to the academic content typically found in online distance learning curricula. Rather, learners need to have access and exposure to a range of digital technologies for learning and problem solving facilitated by an instructor.
Retrieved from: http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolaeis/issues/2015-03-04/5.html
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.
Bow Valley College. (2015). Digital Literacy: An Essential Skill for ESL literacy Learners.
A short and lively account of an innovative “Laptop Lending” program in the Bridge Program for ESL learners (ages 19-24) at Bow Valley College in Calgary. Through this program learners are each given a laptop to use while registered in the program and are encouraged and supported to use the laptops to develop digital literacy skills and to pursue their language learning using the online platform, Desire2Learn.
Instructors in the Bridge program are committed to helping learners to develop essential digital literacy skills to increase their chances of success in further education and in the world of work. As one of the instructors says, “Being able to read and write also means being able to read and write online, there’s a lot more involved in it than just simply pen and paper.”
In this article the instructors provide an overview of the background to the laptop lending program, their experiences with the program and they share some of the successes they have witnessed as a result of the program.
Retrievable from: https://centre.bowvalleycollege.ca/blog/english-language-learning/digital-literacy-essential-skill-esl-literacy-learners
Shin, S.-K. (2015). Teaching Critical, Ethical, and Safe Use of ICT to Teachers. Language Learning & Technology, 19(1), 181–197.
This article reports on a research project conducted with pre-service ESOL teachers in Korea which focused on the often neglected issues of digital literacy, ethical and fair use and e-safety when selecting and using online materials and learning activities in language teaching and learning. Although the authors caution that the relatively small-scale of this research which was limited to a small group of pre-service teachers, does not support broad generalization, it nevertheless raises important questions and awareness for second-language instructors who are using online materials and activities and points to the necessity to consider their own attitudes and practices in relation to digital literacy, fair use, and e-safety in order to model responsible behaviours for students, and also to consider how to include these important issues in instruction.
Retrievable from: http://llt.msu.edu/issues/february2015/shin.pdf