Building the porous classroom: An expanded model for blended language learning

Godwin-Jones, R. (2020). Building the porous classroom: An expanded model for blended language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 24(3), 1–18.

This thought-provoking article by the noted scholar Robert Godwin-Jones explores and discusses the concept of the “porous classroom” as a model of blended language learning. The author argues that such a model, open to the local community and combining digital technologies, teacher presence and a focus on intercultural understanding and social justice, has the potential to provide students with truly inclusive and transformative learning experiences. The article includes a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of LMS ( Learning Management Systems) and commercial publisher sites in the language classroom, and the potential for the use of existing or instructor developed OER ( Open Educational Resources) to support authentic language learning grounded in the actual learning needs and interests of students. Finally, the author argues for the critical importance of the instructor in supporting and guiding students to develop their capacity as autonomous learners, and in encouraging connection to the world outside of the classroom as part of their learning experience.

Retrievable from: https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10125/44731/24_03_10125-44731.pdf

Zooming out of the crisis: Language and human collaboration

Guillen, G., Sawin, T., Avineri, N. (2020). Zooming out of the crisis: Language and human Collaboration. Foreign Language Annals, 53(2), 320-328.

This article looks for alternatives to videoconferencing tools for language teachers whose teaching aims include increasing learners’ language proficiency and providing opportunities for real collaboration among learners no matter the crisis that prevents in-class contact. The writers include three types of activities that can be used to accomplish this. They describe antidotes to “Zoom fatigue” and smart phone apps that rely on behaviourist methodology or are limited to flashcard activities. They point readers to apps that allow learners to have learning experiences that include language, culture and technology. Included is a section on “service-learning” that looks at how learners can still participate in a critical way in society even though they have to distance themselves from it.

Retrievable from:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/flan.12459

Making the Case for Blended Learning in LINC: A Demonstration Research Project

 

Cummings, J., Sturm, M., & Avram, A. (2020). Making the Case for Blended Learning in LINC: A Demonstration Research Project. TESL Ontario Contact Magazine,  Vol.46 (1), pp.61-76.

This article reports on a demonstration research project that examined the effects of Blended Learning for 45 students,  3 instructors, the program manager and resource support teacher in an established LINC program that has been effectively using a Blended approach since 2012.

The results provide answers to these three  research questions:

  1. What were the effects of the BL approach for the students’ English language learning and for their participation in LINC?
  2. What were the effects of the BL approach for students’ self-efficacy and knowledge for using technology for language learning?
  3. What were the effects of the BL approach for LINC teachers, instruction, and the program?; What effective or “best” practices for BL were demonstrated in this context?

In response to questions at a TESL Ontario Conference presentation, the researchers addressed the challenges of newcomers who are skeptical of blended learning, and of how blended learning can assist newcomers in their real-life settlement journey.

The article concludes by summarizing the benefits demonstrated by the research project for LINC students and by emphasizing the importance of the questions raised about Blended Learning and its implementation by teachers.

Retrievable from:

http://contact.teslontario.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Jill-Cummings-Matthias-Sturm-Augusta-Avram-1.pdf

 

Technology-mediated workplace language training: Developing and assessing a module for a blended curriculum for newcomers

McLellan, G. Technology-mediated workplace language training: Developing and assessing a module for a blended curriculum for newcomers. A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and postdoctoral Affairs: Carleton University, Ottawa. (2019).

This report on a small-scale Canadian study of a module developed for a blended occupation-specific language class looks at providing online components of language support to language learners who are already in the workplace. The author includes a literature review and highlights the essential nature of needs analysis to determine both language needs and technology needs in the workplace.  The developers used a Task-based language teaching approach in the module design. The learners who took part in the study had been assessed between Canadian Language Benchmarks 3 and 5 and were all working in the customer service sector. They all had mobile phones and were comfortable using them. The activities were developed in Moodle and were meant to be used on their phones. One of the potential advantages described was the ability to work on the activities in “dead time”, while commuting, waiting for an appointment, etc. The first module addressed the need for them to be able to greet customers and make requests. The module used video to illustrate greetings and requests in customer service settings. Many of the topics covered elsewhere in the bibliography, e.g., learner autonomy, attitudes towards learning with technology, mobile learning and the importance of teacher training are illustrated in the study.

Retrievable from:

https://curve.carleton.ca/system/files/etd/e1b4d39f-7c9b-4d4d-b451-687c439ec7e9/etd_pdf/fc0772b01f059336608c63be7d152fbd/mclellan-technologymediatedworkplacelanguagetraining.pdf

 

 

Intelligent assistants in language learning: friends or foes?

Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2019). Intelligent assistants in language learning: friends or foes?. In Proceedings of World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning 2019 (pp. 127-131). 

This brief glimpse into the future by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, a leading thinker and research  in the field of Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL), provides an up to the minute overview  of an emerging learning landscape in which the potential of Intelligent Assistants ( for example Siri, Alexa and Cortana) have the potential  to support informal language learning both inside and outside the classroom. The author reminds us that many language learners now have ready access to Intelligent Assistants on their smartphones and wearable devices. She discusses the implications, both positive and negative, and the  challenges resulting from   the increasing use of these tools  particularly in relation to teacher roles and pedagogy. Finally she points to the need for the mobile language research community to examine the complex issues that may well arise as this technology develops and becomes widely available.

Retrievable from: https://www.learntechlib.org/p/210611/

 

 

 

Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom: Pedagogies, Computer developments and Teachers’ Reactions

Barrientos, M. (2019). Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom. Revista de Lenguas Modernas, (30) 2019, pp 251-266.

The author provides a literature review focused on the following four areas of mobile learning in English language classrooms to explore not only the feasibility and implications of integrating mobile learning in secondary EFL classrooms in Costa Rica, but advantages and disadvantages in these areas:

  1. The development of pedagogical models for mobile learning in the English language class
  2. Defining the platforms and infrastructure solutions for appropriate integration of mobile learning
  3. A description of the mobile devices apps and links
  4. Training and reactions of English teachers

The report concludes with a number of research questions for further exploration. Although this review looks at the questions for high school EFL language planning in Costa Rica, the same questions could be asked about planning for adult settlement language classes in Canada.

https://revistas.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/rlm/article/view/38986

Mobile Language Learning Innovation Inspired by Migrants

Kukulska-Hulme,  A. (2019). Mobile Language Learning Innovation Inspired by Migrants. Journal of Learning for Development, 6 (2).

This exploratory article looks at the uses and potential uses of mobile technologies in language learning in the context of migrant language learning. The author, an expert in the area of mobile technologies in language learning, describes the article as follows, “This paper seeks a productive synergy between migrants’ educational requirements with respect to learning the language of their host society; their valuable and unique human experiences and talents; and innovative learning designs that harness the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile technologies.”

The article provides a review of the language learning needs and practices of migrant populations as they arrive and settle in their destinations and an exploration of innovative mobile learning initiatives in Europe, Australia and Canada. The article offers a thought-provoking discussion of the ways in which innovations and adaptations in the area of mobile language learning are being driven by the lived experiences and the actual learning needs and practices of migrant language learners.

While this may well present challenges to established thinking about how language teaching and learning happens, such innovative ideas and practices in relation to mobile language learning can ultimately provide valuable innovations that could be of benefit to other language learning populations. Finally, a focused recognition of the actual mobile learning practices of migrants, and an effort to work collaboratively with migrants to incorporate their experiences in learning, will contribute to and could be of benefit both to migrants and host societies in supporting the goals of equity and social inclusion.

Retrievable from:

https://jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/349/413

Effect of using texting on vocabulary instruction for English learners

Cummins, J. & Jia, L. (2019). Effect of using texting on vocabulary instruction for English learners. Language Learning & Technology, 23(2),43-64.

This small-scale research study conducted at a Canadian university focused on how the use of text messaging can support English language learners in developing and enhancing academic vocabulary acquisition.  Using a random control trial design, the researchers compared the student’s target vocabulary learning gains with and without the text messaging intervention. Results indicated that with the intervention students learned more target words, (direct effect) however there was no difference noted in more general academic vocabulary learning (transfer effect). Although this research was based in an academic setting it has interesting implications for vocabulary learning in all ESL settings, pointing to the potential for the use of text messaging as a useful tool to support and enhance vocabulary acquisition.

Retrievable from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333815117_Effect_of_using_texting_on_vocabulary_instruction_for_English_learners

 

The Use of Dictionary Applications on Smartphones as a Tool to Enhance English Vocabulary Learning Skills

Charernsuk,J.,Surasin,J.,Kewara,P. The Use of Dictionary Applications on Smartphones as a Tool to Enhance English Vocabulary Learning Skills. HRD Journal, 10 (1),8-21

This study explored the use of dictionary applications on smartphones to support vocabulary acquisition. Using both quantitative (pre-and post- testing) and qualitative (researcher observation and semi-structured interviews with student participants) the researchers report that the use of dictionary applications by students did result in enhanced vocabulary acquisition and in helping students to improve their English pronunciation skills. The researchers also noted that although students were initially uncertain about how to use the applications, with experience they became quite comfortable in their use, and that their willingness to engage in more autonomous language learning increased.  Based on their observations the researchers recommend that instructors wishing to introduce dictionary applications on smartphones devote some time to thoroughly reviewing the applications for appropriateness to avoid initial confusion.  Although this study was conducted in a Gr. 9 English language class in Thailand, given the ubiquity of smartphones and the availability of a range of dictionary applications, this study demonstrates the usefulness of this tool  in vocabulary acquisition and points to the potential of using dictionary applications that will be of interest for instructors at all levels of English language teaching and learning.

Retrievable from: http://hrdjournal.buu.ac.th/public/backend/upload/onlinejournal/file/14062019_156049645556314400.pdf

The Evolution and Impact of Technology in Language Education

John, C.,(2018). The Evolution and Impact of Technology in Language Education. In Technology and the Curriculum: Summer 2018. Edited by Rob Power. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

This short chapter provides a very accessible review of the history and development of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Included is a fairly comprehensive overview of the technologies used and the second language acquisition theoretical background and teaching approaches that have shaped CALL over the years,as well as a brief look at some of the inherent opportunities and challenges.

The chapter also discusses two very recent developments in this area, Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and Robot-Assisted Language Learning (RALL) and provides examples of how particular technologies are currently used in language teaching and learning.

Retrievable from: Technology and the Curriculum: Summer 2018

Nonverbal Communication in Text-Based, Asynchronous Online Education

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:

  1. Chromenics, that is the study of time in non-verbal communication.
  2. Use of 2D visuals to indicate social presence, e.g. emoticons, profile pictures, photographs, graphics.
  3. eSets, which the researcher describes as resembling paralanguage, and which include, writing style, tone, structure, layout and format.
  4. 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

Building Relationships and Increasing Engagement in the Virtual Classroom

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

Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers

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

Mobile-assisted language learning [Revised and updated version]

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/

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.

Retrievable from

https://teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1295

Significant Predictors for Effectiveness of Blended Learning In a Language Course

Wichadee, S. (2018) Significant predictors for effectiveness of blended learning in a language course. JALT Call Journal, Vol. 14, (1) 24-42.

Although this research study of 149 (90 female, 59 male) participants took place in an undergraduate university language course, the results are meaningful for adult learners who are in settlement language programs and for those who design blended programs for them as well. After highlighting the characteristics, rationale for and benefits of blended learning, the author goes on to explore satisfaction with the course being studied and participants’ learning performance.

The author identifies digital literacy, workload management, attitudes toward blended learning, online tool quality and face-to-face support to be among the factors identified in literature reviews as those that will have an impact on the effectiveness of blended learning.

The design of the course studied included a face-to-face orientation followed by alternating weeks of face-to-face classroom work and online self-study using online learning platforms. The knowledge gained in online weeks was checked in the face-to-face weeks.

One of the results of the study was that the more these students had positive attitudes towards blended learning, had digital literacy skills and received face-to-face support, the better their learning performance. In this study, workload management and quality of online tools did not affect learning scores. As far as satisfaction with the course, there were two factors that predicted satisfaction: face-to-face support and attitudes towards blended learning.

In the discussion at the end of the report the author provides additional background on how the course was modified for this study and details on students’ attitudes as he reviews how and why face-to-face support and attitudes toward blended learning were predictors of student satisfaction.

 

Retrievable from

Technology, teachers, and training: Combining theory with Macedonia’s experience

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

Mobile-based chatting for meaning negotiation in foreign language learning

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

Teacher Training and Professional Development in Mobile Pedagogy for English Language Teaching

 

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

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.