Developing Targeted Technology Standards for Avenue language instructors, programs, and learners: an initiative of New Language Solutions

Allan, J., Healey, D., Hubbard, P., Kessler, G., McBride, R., Rajabi, S., and Sturm, M. (2024) Developing Targeted Technology Standards for Avenue language instructors, programs, and learners: an initiative of New Language Solutions. TESL Ontario Contact Magazine, 50 (1) 16-30.

Authors of this report in TESL Ontario’s Spring 2024 Contact magazine provide insight to New Language Solutions’ (NLS) approach to developing technology standards specifically targeted to instructors in Canada’s settlement language sector and that will be integrated into NLS’s online teacher training and leadership training. It describes the ongoing activities related to the standards that are intended to create a culture of continuous improvement around technology in learning environments. This includes regular reviews and updates of the standards as needed.

The report gives examples of the collaborative, online process the team used to trim the language in the standards and the performance indicators so they are as direct and clear as possible. The report links to a request form for the full set of standards but it also gives a brief overview of the seven standards along with a fuller example of “Standard 4, about digital literacy and digital citizenship for yourself and your learners.”.

The report outlines the evaluation process the standards followed, lays out the plan that will integrate the standards in instructor training and microcredentials, with the aim of sector-wide, consistent, deep understanding of the standards; and emphasizes ongoing initiatives that will generate data about the impact of the standards on programs.

A list of references is followed by a sample vignette that describes an instructor’s thoughts and experiences as she incorporates the standards into her instruction.

TESOL Technology Standards: Description, Implementation, Integration.

Healy, D, Hanson-Smith, E, Hubbard, P, Iannou-Georgiou, S, Kessler, G, and Ware, P. (2011). TESOL Technology Standards: Description, Implementation, Integration. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL).

The TESOL Standards address the importance of incorporating technology into language teaching by emphasizing that as standards they are not optional add-ins to teacher training or language programming. The target audiences for this manual are learners, teachers, teacher educators and administrators. The Standards deal with well-documented differences in readers’ available level of technology and their access to technology by providing vignettes to illustrate programs with little access and few resources as well as others that are richly resourced and have anytime access. One of the important topics addressed in the standards is teacher education. The authors are frank about the impact of a lack of understanding of the role of technology in language learning, a lack of willingness to change and a lack of technical expertise on the use of technology in language teaching. Some of the barriers candidates in teacher training face are resistance and fear of technology and the belief that knowledge from personal computer use will suffice for language teaching. The standards include theoretical frameworks and background in each part of the manual. The information and layout is clear and helpful. This is a positive and practical resource.

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Web 2.0 and Four Paths Beyond

Hubbard, P., P. (2011, March 18). Web 2.0 and Four Paths Beyond. PowerPoint Slides presented at the TESOL Conference, New Orleans.

A presentation about Web 2.0, emerging technologies and the critical importance of incorporating technology and learning with technology deeply in language teacher training in order to support teacher flexibility, to prepare teachers for long careers in language teaching during which they are likely to continually encounter new technologies, new technological modes, and in which they will need to have the confidence and skills to approach these technologies successfully. The presentation also highlights the importance of situated learning theory in ensuring that teachers learn in the same environment in which they will teach.

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Making a Case for Learner Training in Technology Enhanced Language Learning Environments.

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.
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