Teaching languages with technology: 2 reviews

9781623569334Two reviews of our edited volume on communicative language teaching with the interactive whiteboard (IWB):

Davidson Devall, K. (2015). Review of the book Teaching Languages with Technology: Communicative Approaches to Whiteboard Use. The Modern Language Journal, 99(4).

Guichon, N., & Merlet, E. (2016). Critique : Teaching Languages with Technology: Communicative Approaches to Whiteboard Use. Canadian Modern Language Review / Revue Canadienne des Langues Vivantes, 72, 1, 284–286 doi:10.3138/cmlr.72.1.284

Preview on Google Books

These reviews focus on different aspects of this collection of case studies from the iTILT project on the integration of the IWB in classroom foreign language teaching. Both pick up on Colpaert’s reminder in his foreword to the book that technology is only one aspect of the learning environment, and go on to highlight the pedagogical dimension of technology integration, and from there to teacher education concerns. Davidson Devall sees the potential of the volume to inform action research in IWB-supported language teaching, and for language teacher education with technologies other than the IWB, while Guichon and Merlet underline the importance of progressive appropriation of the technological and pedagogical affordances of digital tools.

This post offers some short quotations from each review, followed by a summary of some of our recommendations for teacher development given in the final chapter of the book.

Davidson Devall (2015)

This review in the Modern Language Journal considers its implications for teacher education “even in contexts different from those in the book,” that is, beyond the primary school classroom which is the focus of several chapters, and beyond the IWB itself.

As Colpaert states in his Foreword, “What makes IWBs [interactive whiteboards] very interesting is their unique position in the technological spectrum: on the one hand they feature a specific set of limitations and affordances, but on the other hand they easily fit within many learning environments as one piece of the puzzle” (p. xii). The editors of this volume seek to encourage further research and material development efforts for the interactive whiteboard by presenting specific applications and opening a dialogue for discovery learning amongst instructors and students.
[…]
As evident from the title, the book is intended for teacher education and development. The overview of the development of technology- enhanced language learning as well as pre- and post-reading reflective questions for each chapter provide excellent support for implementation in a pedagogical methods course.
[…]
the criteria for designing materials structured by Cutrim Schmid and Whyte could be helpful for use with other interactive technologies as they touch on “methodological principles,” “pedagogical activities,” “learner engagement,” “tools and features,” and practical considerations” (pp. 245–248).

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Guichon & Merlet (2016)

This review is in French and appears in the Canadian Modern Language Review. It notes that the book aims to suggest avenues for pedagogical exploitation of the IWB based on research rather than simply promote this tool, and that one of the most interesting aspects of the volume lies in the recommendations in the final chapter for the training of teacher educators.

D’emblée, que ce soit par le biais de l’avant-propos de Jozef Colpaert qui déclare que « no technology, not even the [Interactive Whiteboard] , carries an inherent, direct, measurable and generalizable effect » (p. xii) ou dans l’introduction de Shona Whyte qui prend le soin d’ancrer la réflexion dans l’approche par tâches, le lecteur est assuré que l’objectif de cet ouvrage n’est pas de faire la promotion d’un outil, mais de proposer des pistes d’exploitation pédagogique d’une manière critique et informée par la recherche et les données empiriques.
[…]
L’un des aspects les plus intéressants de cet ouvrage est qu’il fournit des axes pour guider la formation de formateurs à l’utilisation du TNI dans la classe de langue (c’est d’ailleurs l’orientation du dernier chapitre). L’enseignant, dont le rôle primordial est rappelé, est invité à s’engager dans une réflexion pédagogique, cherchant à impliquer réellement ses apprenants dans les interactions. Est ainsi souligné avec acuité l’importance du processus de l’appropriation de l’outil qui ne peut se faire qu’en se donnant le temps de l’expérience et en mettant en place des projets de formation par étapes. Le processus de formation gagne à inclure des phases de réflexion, personnelle ou collective, à partir de pratiques de classe contextualisées et répondant aux besoins et à la réalité des enseignants désireux de s’approprier le TNI comme un nouvel élément de leur environnement et de leur répertoire pédagogiques.

Supporting teacher education for technology integration

In Chapter 8, our conclusion to this edited collection, we propose the following principles for teacher education.

Principles and guidelines for IWB-supported language teaching practice

In work on teacher professional development elsewhere, we suggest a number of principles for the design and implementation of IWB training (Cutrim Schmid & Schimmack, 2009; Cutrim Schmid & Whyte, 2012; Whyte et al., 2013). This section will review these recommendations in light of the findings presented in this book. The present volume includes studies of IWB teacher training courses in Belgium and Turkey, which revealed interesting aspects of the challenges and complexities involved in such endeavors. Other chapters have also dealt with this topic indirectly, since all studies contained an element of reflective practice, a component of continuing professional development in both informal and institutional settings.

Although most of these principles apply to the majority of technology professional development contexts, the examples given to exemplify the guidelines are drawn from IWB-based studies. This will help readers understand how these principles can be applied to their specific context. We suggest five key principles to inform the design and implementation of IWB training programmes.

4.1 Pedagogical framework based on theoretical foundation

IWB training programmes should have a sound theoretical basis and a clear pedagogical framework.

All chapters have emphasized the value of IWB professional development rooted in established language learning theory. From this perspective, the affordances of the technology with respect to teaching goals constitute the best starting point for an attempt to understand the potential of the IWB. The first question teachers should ask is not “What can I do with an IWB in my language lesson?” but rather “How can I use the IWB to support language learning?”

4.2 Contextually embedded professional development

IWB training programmes should focus on teachers’ immediate pedagogical needs and be embedded in the work teachers actually do.

In most chapters, the participating teachers reflected on IWB use that was embedded in their own practice. The pre-service teachers in chapters 3 (Kegenhof) and 4 (Sailer) worked in tandem with practicing teachers, but their reflection is based on the materials they developed and the lessons they designed and implemented in this collaborative context. This approach allowed teachers to experiment with ways the IWB could support and enhance teaching, thereby gaining a better understanding of the strengths and limitations of this technology.

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4.3 Reflective practice

IWB training courses should create opportunities for teachers to reflect on their practice.

All studies presented in this book include an element of reflective practice, since participating teachers and teacher researchers were involved in critical reflection
through various means. The insightful discussions and recommendations provided by the participating teachers and teacher researchers in this volume underline the value of reflective practice as a powerful impetus for professional development, confirming much earlier work in this area (e.g. Mcniff, 1988; Bartlett, 1990; Wallace, 1998; Allwright &
Lenzuen, 1997).

4.4 Professional collaboration

IWB training courses should create opportunities to establish professional contacts and undertake collaborative projects.

Several chapters in this volume have dealt with the relationship between collaboration and professional development. Chapters 3 and 4 report on research projects within a larger professional development program for pre-service EFL teachers involving school-based research projects where pre-service teachers design, implement, and evaluate technology-enhanced EFL lessons in collaboration with in-service teachers (Cutrim Schmid & Hegelheimer, 2014). This type of professional collaboration has been widely recommended in the CALL literature to encourage the all-important integration of theoretical with procedural knowledge (e.g., Meskill et al., 2006).

4.5 Ongoing support for professional development

IWB teacher training courses should provide teachers with enough opportunities for gradual accumulation of knowledge and experience within their constraints of time and energy.

Although the majority of studies described in this volume do not have a longitudinal design, several authors emphasize the importance of providing teachers with the opportunity to construct knowledge gradually with the support of peers or trainers. In the area of materials design, we propose a list of 38 criteria for IWB-mediated teaching resources, organized in five main areas, which may be useful for teachers and trainers in developing and evaluating their own teaching materials.

Regarding classroom interaction, we suggest and illustrate a four-level interaction/interactivity framework which can inform the analysis of IWB-supported language teaching.

We believe that the language teacher plays a primordial role in effectively integrating IWB use in the language classroom, hence the priority given to high quality teacher education. Similarly, without attention to interactional opportunities both as these arise in instruction and through the careful planning of teaching materials, much effort devoted to IWB integration simply goes to waste. As Colpaert notes in his foreword,

“IWBs cannot generate a learning effect on their own, but they are indispensable cornerstones for creating powerful learning environments.”

We hope our contributions in this final chapter, together with the rich and varied classroom case studies in this volume, can inform and inspire language teachers throughout the world to make the most of this potential.

 

References

Allwright, D. and Lenzuen, R. (1997), ‘Exploratory practice: Work at the cultura inglesa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’, Language Teaching Research, 1, 73-79.

Bartlett, L. (1990), ‘Teacher development through reflective teaching’, in J.C. Richards and D. Nunan (eds.), Second Language Teacher Education. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Cutrim Schmid, E. and Hegelheimer, V. (2014), ‘Collaborative research projects in the technology-enhanced language classroom: Pre-service and in-service teachers exchange knowledge about technology’. ReCALL, 26(03), 315-332

Cutrim Schmid, E. and Schimmack, E. (2010), ‘First Steps towards a model of interactive whiteboard training for language teachers’, in Thomas, M. and Cutrim Schmid, E. (eds.), Interactive Whiteboards: Theory, Research and Practice. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, pp. 197-214.

Cutrim Schmid, E., and Whyte, S. (2012), ‘Interactive whiteboards in state school settings: Teacher responses to socio-constructivist hegemonies’, Language Learning and Technology, 16, (2), 65-86.

McNiff, J. (1988), Action Research: Principles and Practice. London: Routledge.

Meskill, C., Anthony, N., Hilliker, S., Tseng, C. and You, J. (2006), ‘Expert-novice teacher mentoring in language learning technology’, in P. Hubbard and M. Levy (eds.), Teacher Education in CALL. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 283-298.

Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., van Hazebrouck Thompson, S. and Oberhofer, M. (2013), ‘Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project’, Computer Assisted Language Learning, (ahead-of-print), 1-27.

Wallace, M. (1998), Action Research for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Transnational settings and multilingual approaches in CALL Teacher Education

IMG_1497Bianka Fuchs (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis),
Stina Hacklin (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Christine Schmider (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis)
Shona Whyte (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis)
Katja Zaki (Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg )

Multilingual CALL: Multilingual Language Learning with Digital Media in Primary and Secondary Classrooms, Frankfurt, February 17-18, 2016

Abstract

The digital revolution and migratory movements are two of the main phenomena that have been changing and shaping Europe’s foreign language classrooms in recent years. Learning and teaching environments are characterized by hybridity in many forms: by an increased cultural and linguistic heterogeneity on one hand, and a wide range of potential multimedia arrangements on the other, though these need not be seen independently from each other. In order to prepare future teachers for those dynamic challenges and possibilities, an awareness of difference – and the correlated necessity of pedagogical and methodological differentiation, with or without CALL practices – is one of the key components of any competence model in teacher education.

In this context, the focus of our paper will rest on the perspective of future language teachers and their awareness of CALL tools – starting, however, with their role as “learners” throughout their professional development in teacher education settings. Consequently, we aim to discuss multilingual and multimodal CALL practices (cf. Levy 1997) in a transnational web 2.0 environment, which ought to enable student teachers to explore what they are later expected to adapt and apply – such as working with digital tools and tandem arrangements in their own teaching.

We begin with a short overview of the EU-LLP-Project SoNetTE (Social Networks in Teacher Education) which aims to virtually bring together teacher education students and in-service teachers in order to experience and develop research-based educational concepts through the use of CALL tools. The combination of an integrative CALL approach (cf. Bax & Chambers 2006) and differentiated study groups makes it possible for some 90 future teachers of English, Spanish, French and German to take part in a transnational blended learning environment, in which they study in subject groups and binational tandems (e.g., how to use audio-visual materials and correlated digital tools in the foreign language classroom).

On the basis of two case studies, we then aim to illustrate how these learning collaborations may be beneficial in many dimensions of a competence-oriented teacher education programme (cf. Hubbard 2002; Fitzpatrick-Davies 2003). The first is cultural: how the virtually multicultural learning environments create linguistic and cultural immersion contexts where future teachers gather a lot of knowledge of the target language and culture studied – as well as an reflective view on their own. The second is intercultural: the emphasis rests on how the topic in focus, too, is always discussed, negotiated and creatively re-constructed with learners (and future teachers) from other European settings, once again fostering key competences such as changes of perspective, a tolerance of ambiguity and critical judgement. Finally, we will discuss how the use of different multimedia tools which future teachers use in their role as learners in the course promises not only a profound insight, but also a reflective use of multimedia tools in their own future classroom – for and with linguistically and culturally heterogeneous learning groups, be it within national borders or beyond.

 

Keywords:

Transnational learning environments – digital media and multilingual practices – CALL in foreign language education – collaborative learning and virtual tandems.

References

Chambers, A., & Bax, S. (2006). Making CALL work: Towards normalisation. System, 34(4), 465-479.
Fitzpatrick, A., & Davies, G. (2003). The impact of new information technologies and Internet on the teaching of foreign languages and on the role of teachers of a foreign language. International Certificate Conference, Frankfurt. Retrieved from http://ec. europa. eu/languages/documents/doc495_en. pdf (October 11, 2012).
Hubbard, P., & Levy, M. (2006). The scope of CALL education. Teacher education in CALL, 3-20.

Levy, M. (1997). Computer-assisted language learning: Context and conceptualization. Oxford University Press.

 

 

iTILT training: French participants

An iTILT teacher training session at a primary school in Antibes, near Nice, this month involved primary teachers and teacher trainers involved with language education and technology training, as well as newly-qualified secondary EFL teachers.
IMG_1463
Training materials included

  • the pilot version of the iTILT training manual, with its focus on task-based language teaching (TBLT)
  • the iTILT website, with

    • practice examples (video clip, description, participant commentaries, related clips, tags)
    • quick/advanced search functions, manuals in several languages, and sample IWB teaching resources
  • new video training materials developed in collaboration with our German iTILT partners in Schwäbisch-Gmünd.

We explained that this second iTILT project uses the same approach to teacher education, involving class films, learning focus group interviews, and video-stimulated recall session with participating teachers.  However, based on the first project’s results, we now have a focus on a new objective:

  • How can we encourage more interactivity and interaction in the IMG_1467foreign language classroom?

The goal is thus to consider not tools, but rather pedagogical factors.

During our review of the first iTILT project activities and findings, we examined two video examples in particular: the magic schoolbag (primary EFL, FR), hotel furniture (vocational French, DE).

The new project involves a teacher who was also part of the first one: here we see her in the same classroom at the same board as she used in iTILT 1.

The French project teachers are working on video communication in English as a lingua franca using class sets of iPads (primary) and iPods (secondary) to exchange short videos with partner classes abroad, as well as some live videoconference sessions.
IMG_1468

In keeping with our goal of developing TBLT approaches, the focus is on developing activities which include

  • emphasis on making meaning and exchanging messages
  • an information gap or other cognitively challenging premise
  • the opportunity for learners to use their own linguistic resources
  • a particular outcome for each task.

Implementing and researching technological innovation

Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching

The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools

Shona Whyte
Print Pub Date: April 2015
Online DaIMG_0004te: April 2015
Language & Linguistics Collection 2015
Series: New Language Learning and Teaching Environments

Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching takes a case study approach to investigate the integration of the interactive whiteboard (IWB) into the teaching of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in French schools. The study highlights the advantages of collaborative action research for stimulating and supporting language teachers in innovative experimentation, and seeks to enhance our understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in this process. Utilising a framework which can inform further research into innovative practices with other interactive technologies, this book offers a research design and instruments suitable for assessing classroom adoption of the IWB. In this way, the study provides insights into general processes of technological innovation in language teaching and learning which is of relevance to further research and teacher development in today’s new learning environments.

TOCThe blurb and table of contents should give an idea of the focus of my book on teacher integration of interactive whiteboard (IWB) technology in the language classroom. I followed 9 French EFL teachers (4 primary, 2 lower and 2 upper secondary, and 1 teacher educator) during the iTILT project (itilt.eu).

IMG_0010I used a collaborative action research framework (Burns, 2005) and drew on situated learning (Lave and Wenger, 1991) and teacher efficacy theory (Bandura, 1993). [References available in the bibliography on the Palgrave page.] The book proposes a developmental model to describe and explain how different teachers used the IWB to fit existing practice in some cases, and to implement innovation in others.

Hopefully some of this work will be useful in our new European project Interactive Teaching in Languages with Technology (iTILT 2); we are following up on our successful IWB project using other technologies with the same team working in Belgium, France, Germany the Netherlands, Turkey and Wales.

ack

Online support for classroom language teachers: research summary

My general interest in improving language learning opportunities in state school settings has led me to research different dimensions of classroom contexts, including the use of technology and teacher development. There is an overlap between these research interests and my professional responsibilities in university Masters in Teaching programmes and my involvement in collaborative teacher education projects.

IMG_0018I have been involved in teacher education with

  • MA courses FL teaching, research and ICT for pre-service secondary EFL teachers in France;
  • MA courses in ICT for pre-service secondary language teachers (German, Italian, Spanish) in France;
  • FL teaching and IWB-mediated teaching in-service language teachers and teacher trainers (local courses and invited workshops);
  • informal EFL and ICT teacher professional development in institutional and independent projects.

Tools

We’ve tried a number of different free tools to allow teachers to test out ways of identifying and sharing teaching resources, communicating with one another in group projects, and learning to use tools which may be appropriate for direct use by their learners.

  • Google+ circle (Whyte, in press; Whyte & Alexander, 2013)
  • Scoop.it curation sites (Whyte, 2012)
  • social networks (Facebook, Twitter; Whyte, 2014a, 2012)
  • Google sites (Whyte, 2014a, 2012)
  • Weebly (Whyte, 2014b)
  • Google drive (in preparation)

Tasks

We’ve also experimented with a number of types of activities for professional development, including:

  • video diaries (Whyte, in press; Whyte & Alexander, 2013, 2014)
  • teaching resource websites (Whyte 2012, 2014b)
  • CALL task design (Whyte, 2014a, 2014b).

Findings

These projects have shown some of the following results:

  • even inexperienced teachers with little class contact can benefit from collaborative teacher education initiatives with technologies;
  • professional development with technologies takes time and effort:  “slow-burner” approaches seem to have greater chances of success;
  • the integration of technologies in language teaching practice involves a number of different dimensions, including
    • a practical/technical dimension
    • a pedagogical dimension
    • a reflective dimension
  • collaborative action research involving academics and practitioners work best with teachers who have
    • already advanced in practical/technical and pedagogical terms
    • defined specific professional objectives (independent professional development agendas).

Current projects

  • videoconferencing in English as a lingua franca (France-Germany)
  • pre-service EFL teacher telecollaboration on task design (France-Netherlands)
  • peer collaboration on task design with pre-service EFL teachers (Whyte, 2015)
  • iTILT 2: interactive teaching in languages with technology (Erasmus Plus, 2015-7).

References

Whyte, S. (2015). Taking to task(s): Exploring task design by novice language teachers in technology-mediated and non-technological activities. XVII International CALL research conference. Tarragona, Spain, 4-6 July 2015.

Whyte, S. (in press). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. New Language Learning and Teaching Environments. (Series editor: Hayo Reinders). Palgrave Macmillan. April 2015.

Whyte, S. (2014a). Bridging gaps : Using social media to develop techno-pedagogical competences in pre-service language teacher education. Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 33(2):143-169.

Whyte, S. (2014b). Course design for pre-service secondary school teachers: collaboration and reflection in a short, multilingual CALL course. Teacher Education SIG symposium, EuroCALL, Groningen. slides

Whyte, S. (2013). Teaching English for Specific Purposes: A task-based framework for French graduate courses.  Asp 63 (9), 5-30. DOI : 10.4000/asp.3280

Whyte, S. (2012). Curation and social networking for pre-service language teacher development. EuroCALL Teacher Education SIG Symposium – Pecha Kucha, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012. slides

Whyte, S., & Alexander, J. (2014). Implementing tasks with interactive technologies in classroom CALL: towards a developmental framework. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 40 (1), 1-26. PDF

Whyte, S., & Alexander, J. (2013). Learning to Use Interactive Technologies for Language Teaching: Video Diaries for Teacher Support in the iTILT Project. Atelier didactique SAES, Dijon, 18 mai. slides

Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., van Hazebrouck, S., & Oberhofer, M. (2013). Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project.  Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27 (2), 122-148 doi: 10.1080/09588221.2013.818558

EuroCALL symposium contribution: CALL course design for pre-service secondary teachers

Course design for pre-service secondary teachers: collaboration and reflection in a short, multilingual CALL course

CALL courses for novice language teachers should cover techno-pedagogical competences and future professional development requirements, but while integrated approaches applied across the curriculum are frequently advocated (Hubbard & Levy, 2006; Kessler, 2006), institutional constraints may favour stand-alone modules.  This study investigates pre-service teachers of various L2s in a short CALL course at a French university.  It examines the extent to which constructivist principles can inform effective course design, and how teachers can acquire techno-pedagogical skills, filter online content, and work collaboratively in the light of ongoing teaching practice. Data include blogs, wikis, and social media use, as well as reflective comments; analysis focuses on the process and products of this form of CALL teacher education.

Guichon, N., & Hauck, M. (2011). Teacher education research in CALL and CMC: more in demand than ever. ReCALL, 23(3), 187-199.
Hubbard, P., & Levy, M. (Eds.). (2006). Teacher education in CALL. Benjamins.
Katz, R. N., & Gandel, P. B. (2008). The tower, the cloud, and posterity.  In Katz, R. (Ed.). The Tower and the cloud, Educase.
Whyte, S. (2014). Bridging gaps : Using social media to develop techno-pedagogical competences in pre-service language teacher education. Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 33(2):143-169.  PDF
Whyte, S. (2012). Curation and social networking for pre-service language teacher development. EuroCALL Teacher Education SIG Symposium. Gothenburg.
Whyte, S. (2011). Pre-service teachers’ views on technology for teaching and learning foreign languages. EUROCALL CMC & Teacher Education SIG Annual Workshop, Barcelona. PDF

 

Symposium theme:

CALL teacher education for tomorrow’s world: designing courses for future teaching contexts

The Teacher Education SIG proposes this symposium on the topic of designing teacher education courses for future CALL teaching contexts. Technologies are transforming language learning and teaching in classroom, distance, blended and mobile learning situations, and seem set to continue to do in ways which are hard to anticipate. Learning opportunities are expanding, but in many contexts teaching methodologies fail to keep pace. The symposium brings together research from Finland, France and Ireland on novice and experienced language teachers in schools and universities to ask how CALL teachers respond to these challenges and how they may best be prepared for further change.