Liu,J., Cansu, E. D., Campana, M. Coordinated by AMSSA. Funded by IRCC. April 2021.
This report looks at the Settlement sector’s needs in the area of digital services, as a whole. COVID-19 resulted in the sector having to move to fully digital and remote service. The themes included in the report were identified through consultation within the sector and beyond from October 2020 though March 2021. The report makes a number of ambitious recommendations to IRCC using a “Now, Next, Later” framework. One of the examples of these is particularly relevant for language training as follows:
● There is also a need for consistent and ongoing training for staff, not only focused on how best they can use technology, but also how to train clients to use it in a service context.
● The sector and IRCC should develop guidelines on how to develop and implement digital literacy tools to assess clients’ digital skills. This guidance should include the provision of training materials, tools, and recommendations for agencies to support clients’ digital literacy skills.
● The sector and IRCC should develop a digital literacy competence framework conducive to the needs of the immigrant settlement sector.
● Consider a Digital Literacy Benchmark (DLB) as a complement to Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) to allow for Service Providing Organizations (SPOs) to quickly and accurately assess the digital literacy levels of newcomers to guide and support them accordingly.
In the section of the report on Change Management Tools & Practice, there are four tools listed that organizations can use to identify strengths and services, including The European Framework for Educators’ Digital Competence (DigCompEdu).
Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigCompEdu) | EU Science Hub (europa.eu)
A New Pedagogy is Emerging… and online learning is a key contributing factor. Teach Online.ca (blog),Contact North, August 4, 2020.
After the COVID-19 pandemic led to enormous numbers of students being involved in remote learning beginning in 2020, this post from Contact North asks a number of questions: What does engaged learning look like in this new environment? How can online learning produce outstanding learning experiences? It discusses what adult educators in many types of settings have found during the pandemic: that it is not practical or efficient to try to teach online the way they had in person. The authors present some of the solutions educators have identified. Although the post describes changes for post-secondary students, adult language-learning students and teachers will find the descriptions and definitions of seven key developments, three emerging teaching trends and examples of innovations relevant as well. There is a link to Contact North’s Pockets of Innovations Series that looks at what educators are doing in Ontario, across Canada and internationally. The questions at the end of the post will help readers reflect on changes they have already made to their teaching, the questions learners may be asking, and the technologies that are available to them.
Retrievable from: https://teachonline.ca/tools-trends/how-teach-online-student-success/new-pedagogy-emerging-and-online-learning-key-contributing-factor
Meskill, C., Anthony, N. & Sadykova, G. (2020). Teaching languages online: Professional vision in the making. Language Learning & Technology, 24(3), 160–175.
This study is based on 174 surveys from practicing language educators and interviews with nine respondents, to find out more about how they see their work, noting that as educators have moved from traditional classrooms, their roles and practices have adapted to the new environments often within cultures increasingly shaped by social media. The authors emphasize the importance of teacher accounts like these in order to see connections between theory, knowledge and practice.
Following short summaries of the nine interviewees’ experience and attitudes towards online teaching, the authors report on both survey respondents’ and interviewees’ foundational stances and qualities and give examples of those from the interviews as well as from the surveys. The study then looks at attitudes to online teaching and what it demands and provides; it also describes the amount of flexibility required to achieve what is needed for effective language teaching and learning.
Gacs, A., Goertler, S., Spasova, S. (2020). Planned online language education versus crisis-prompted online language teaching: Lessons for the future. Foreign Language Annals, 53(2), 380-92.
This timely article is intended to provide language teachers with “a roadmap for planning, implementing, and evaluating online education in ideal and in crisis contexts”(p.381).
The authors provide a thorough review of the processes of planning, preparation, design, implementation and evaluation of online language education under normal circumstances, and of the adjustments that must be made when teachers are asked to rapidly adapt to a crisis situation such as remote teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For example, the authors identify and describe the key components of a plan for emergency remote teaching. Firstly, a review of the existing curriculum to identify course components that cannot be delivered remotely and which will have to be, at least temporarily, removed. Secondly, an assessment to identify the actual needs of instructors and students in relation to technology, including hardware, connectivity and access. Finally, a plan for effective communication, to enable and support students to become engaged in remote learning.
Gruber, A. & Bauer, E. (2020). Fostering Interaction in Synchronous Online Class Sessions with Foreign Language Learners. 175-178. (Uploaded to Research Gate by author, June 17th, 2020)
This short article outlines how, in the context of COVID-19 and the urgent need to move instruction online, a second language instructor created an online learning space to support learners in a beginner German language course.
Using Learning Apps, a web 2.0 application, (a review and description of the application is available HERE) that allows for the creation of small interactive learning modules, and Kahoot, a game-based application the instructor is able to quickly develop a fully online language learning environment that enable learner collaboration and interaction. These tools were chosen because they are both free, relatively easy to use and both have robust functionality.
The article also provides recommendations on how to support instructors during this crisis to develop teaching skills and strategies that support synchronous and interactive online language learning.
Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342208277_Fostering_Interaction_in_Synchronous_Online_Class_Sessions_with_Foreign_Language_Learners
Elsageyer, N. (2020) Learning Styles of Online Students in a Distance LINC Program. M.A. Thesis. University of Ottawa.
This thesis describes and provides the findings of a small scale study examining the characteristics and learning style preferences of 27 students enrolled in an online LINC program in Ontario. The study also examined the perspectives of their teachers in relation to the learning styles of their students.
Overall the student group identified their preferred learning styles as kinesthetic and auditory, whereas the teacher group perceived their students’ preferred learning styles as visual. The author suggests that the discrepancy between the student and teacher perceptions may result from the lack of a shared understanding of learning styles and students’ low level of awareness of their own learning styles and preferences.
Based on the findings of the study the author concludes that enhanced training and professional development for online LINC teachers in relation to learning style preferences; strategies to work with students to support them to identify their preferred learning styles, and how they can refine their instructional strategies to address a range of learning styles would be a useful contribution to an improvement in outcomes for online LINC students.