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.

EuroCALL paper on pedagogical interactivity at the IWB

Analysing target language interaction in IWB-mediated activities: from drills to tasks in state secondary EFL classes

Shona Whyte, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, France
Euline Cutrim Schmid, Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
Gary Beauchamp, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK

Increased access to interactive technologies such as the interactive whiteboard (IWB) together with a methodological shift towards constructivist pedagogies are changing many classrooms and prompting research into effects on teaching and learning (Avvisati, 2013; Higgins, Beauchamp & Miller, 2007). Studies of IWB use in second language classrooms in European school and university settings suggest an often cautious approach to this new tool: the IWB is generally integrated into existing practice rather than acting as a catalyst for pedagogical transformation. Teachers tend to use a limited range of IWB tools and features for closely circumscribed teaching objectives, and generally follow personal pedagogical goals rather than adopting the communicative language teaching (CLT) and task-based language teaching (TBLT) approaches which currently underpin official programmes (Cutrim Schmid & Whyte, 2012; Whyte et al., 2013). A recent study of TBLT with the IWB using questionnaire, video, and interview data from 9 French EFL teachers found that transformation towards task-oriented teaching was associated with teachers with high IWB fluency and particular pedagogical engagement (Whyte & Alexander, in press).

The present study extends this line of research in an investigation of teacher and learner interaction using video recorded lessons with eleven state school teachers in France and Germany. In addition to primary classroom data, participants’ views were gathered via learner focus-group interviews and semi-structured video-stimulated teacher interviews, as part of a wider multilingual European research project on IWB-supported FL teaching. This analysis led to the development of a framework for classifying interaction, which includes CLT and TBLT criteria. The framework includes four levels of interaction, from the most basic level of drilling, through activities where teachers invite learner to display knowledge, more contextualised simulation activities, and finally to genuinely communicative tasks. The classification system includes the dimensions of focus on form/meaning, level of contextualisation and authenticity of tasks, and teacher/learner control.

The study allows for the correlation of differing levels of interaction with IWB use, participant characteristics, and teachers’ IWB experience, describing and explaining the level of interactivity and task-orientation of IWB-supported language teaching and learning in classes at different proficiency levels and across teachers with varying IWB and language teaching experience.

  • Avvisati, F., Hennessey, S., Kozma, R., & Vincent-Lancrin, S. (2013). Review of the Italian Strategy for Digital Schools. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 90, OECD Publishing.
  • Aldrich, F., Rogers, Y., & Scaife, M. (1998). Getting to grips with ‘interactivity’: Helping teachers assess the educational value of CD-ROMs. British Journal of Educational Technology, 29(4), 321–332.
  • Blyth, C. (2010). Foreign language teaching methods: Speaking. http://coerll.utexas.edu/methods/modules/speaking/01/jigsaw.php
  • Bygate, M., Skehan, P and Swain, M. (Eds.) (2001), Researching pedagogical tasks: second language learning, teaching, and assessment. London: Pearson.
  • Glover, D., Miller, D., Averis, D., & Door, V. (2007). The evolution of an effective pedagogy for teachers using the interactive whiteboard in mathematics and modern languages: an empirical analysis from the secondary sector. Learning, Media and Technology, 32, 5–20.
  • Gray, C, Pilkington, R, Hagger-Vaughan, L and Tomkins, SA. (2007). Integrating ICT into classroom practice in modern foreign language teaching in England: making room for teachers’ voices. European Journal of Teacher Education, 30 (4), 407-429
  • Gray, C. (2010). Meeting Teachers’ Real Needs: New Tools in the Secondary Modern Foreign Languages Classroom. In Thomas, M. & Cutrim Schmid, E. (Eds.), Interactive Whiteboards for Education: Theory, Research and Practice. Hershey, New York: Information Science Reference, 69-85.
  • Hennessy, S. & L. London (2013). Learning from International Experiences with Interactive Whiteboards: The Role of Professional Development in Integrating the Technology. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 89, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k49chbsnmls-en
  • Jewitt, C., Moss, G., & Cardini, A. (2007), Pace, Interactivity and Multimodality in Teachers’ Design of Texts for Interactive Whiteboards in the Secondary School Classroom. Learning, Media and Technology 32 (3), 303-317.
  • Long, M. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In Ritchie, W. C. & Bhatia, T. (Eds.), Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. New York: Academic Press.
    Plowman L. (1996). Designing interactive media for schools: a review based on contextual observation. Information Design Journal 8 (3),258-266.
  • Savignon, S. J. (2007). Beyond communicative language teaching: What’s ahead?. Journal of Pragmatics, 39(1), 207-220.
  • Somekh, B., Haldane, M., Jones, K., Lewin, C., Steadman, S., Scrimshaw, P., Woodrow, D. (2007). Evaluation of the Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion Project – summary report. (P. a. L. Centre for ICT, Trans.): Manchester Metropolitan University.

Ongoing research on IWB-mediated (language) instruction

Teaching languages with technology
How teachers use the IWB for language teaching, including the design and implementation of materials and activities.

Cutrim Schmid, E. (2009). The Pedagogical Potential of Interactive Whiteboards 2.0. In Thomas, M. (Ed) The Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning. IGI Global, USA.

Cutrim Schmid, E. (2008). Interactive Whiteboards and the Normalisation of CALL. In de Cassia, Rita; Morriott, Veiga; Torres, Patricia Luipon (Ed.): Handbook of Research on E-Learning Methodologies for Language Acquisition. IGI Global, USA.

Cutrim Schmid, E. (2006). Investigating the Use of Interactive Whiteboard Technology in the Language Classroom through the Lens of a Critical Theory of Technology. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 19 (1), 47-62.

Cutrim Schmid, E. & van Hazebrouck, Sanderin (2012). Material Development and Task Design for the Interactive Whiteboard in the Foreign Language Classroom. In Biebighäuser, K., Zibelius, M. & Schmidt, T. (Eds.) Aufgaben 2.0 – Konzepte, Materialien und Methoden für das Fremdsprachenlehren und -lernen mit digitalen Medien. Tübingen: Narr.

Sailer, H., Cutrim Schmid, E.. & Koenraad, T. (2014). The IWB in the CLIL classroom: using visuals to foster active learning with young beginners. In Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. London: Bloomsbury.

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.

Whyte, S., Beauchamp, G., & Alexander, J. (2014). Researching interactive whiteboard use from primary school to university settings across Europe: an analytical framework for foreign language teaching. University of Wales Journal of Education, 17, 30-52.

Whyte, S., Beauchamp, G., & Hillier, E. (2012). Perceptions of the IWB for second language teaching and learning: the iTILT project. In L. Bradley & S. Thouësny (Eds.), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 320-6). doi: 10.14705/rpnet.2012.000074

Whyte, S., & Cutrim Schmid, E. (in press).  A task-based approach to video communication with the IWB: a French-German primary EFL class exchange.  In Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.). Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. London: Bloomsbury.

Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., & van Hazebrouck, S. (2011). Designing IWB Resources for Language Teaching: the iTILT Project. International Conference on ICT for Language Learning, 4th Edition. Simonelli Editore.

 

Teacher education research
Investigating technology-mediated teaching practice: a number of papers using semi-structured video-stimulated recall (VSR) interviews with teachers, and drawing on teacher efficacy (Bandura) frameworks.

Cutrim Schmid, E. (2011). Video-Stimulated Reflection as a Professional Development Tool in Interactive Whiteboard Research. ReCALL, 23 (3), 252-270.

Cutrim Schmid, E. & Whyte, S. (2012). Interactive Whiteboards in School Settings: Teacher Responses to Socio-constructivist Hegemonies.  Language Learning and Technology 16 (2), 65-86.

Hillier, E., Beauchamp, G., & Whyte, S. (2013). A study of self-efficacy in the use of interactive whiteboards across educational settings: a European perspective from the iTILT project. Educational Futures, 5 (2)

Jones, S., Tanner, H., Kennewell, S., Parkinson, J., Denny, H., Anthony, C., Beauchamp, G., Jones, B., Lewis, H., & Loughran, A. (2009). Using Video Stimulated Reflective Dialogue to support the development of ICT based pedagogy in Mathematics and Science, The Welsh Journal of Education, 14(2), 63-77

Whyte, S. (2011). Learning to teach with videoconferencing in primary foreign language classrooms. ReCALL 23(3), 271–293.

 

Language teacher education
Supporting language teachers in technology-mediated practice: case studies, collaborative action research, and research projects on IWB education for language teachers.

Cutrim Schmid, E. (2010). Developing competencies for using the interactive whiteboard to implement communicative language teaching in the English as a Foreign Language classroom. In Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 9 (2), 159-172.

Cutrim Schmid, E. & 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. IGI Global, USA.

Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. Advances in Digital Language Learning and Teaching (Series editors: Michael Thomas, Mark Warschauer & Mark Peterson). Bloomsbury.

Cutrim Schmid, E. & Whyte, Shona (2014). Ongoing professional development in IWB mediated language teaching: evening up the odds. In Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. London: Bloomsbury.

Koenraad, A. L. M., Whyte, S., & Cutrim Schmid, E. (2013). iTILT and SmartVET: 2 EU Projects to Promote Effective Interactive Whiteboard Use in Language and Vocational Education. In L. Bradley & S. Thouësny (Eds.), 20 Years of EUROCALL: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future. Proceedings of the 2013 EUROCALL Conference, Évora, Portugal (pp. 149-157). Dublin/Voillans: © Research-publishing.net. doi: 10.14705/rpnet.2013.000153

Whyte, S. (2013). Orchestrating learning in the language classroom: the IWB as digital dashboard. Babylonia, 2013(3), 55-61.

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

 

General teaching with (IWB) technology

Beauchamp, G. (2011). Interactivity and ICT in the primary school: categories of learner interactions with and without ICT, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(2), , 175–190 (DOI: 10.1080/1475939X.2011.588408)

Beauchamp, G. (2004). Teacher use of the interactive whiteboard (IWB) in primary schools – towards an effective transition framework, Technology, Pedagogy and Education Volume 13 (3), 327 – 348 .

Beauchamp, G. & Kennewell, S. (2013). Transition in pedagogical orchestration using the whiteboard, Education and Information technologies,18 (2), 179-191

Beauchamp, G., & Kennewell, S. (2010) ‘Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning’, Computers and Education. 54. pp.759-766.

Beauchamp, G. and Kennewell, S. (2008) ‘The influence of ICT on the interactivity of teaching’, Special Issue of the Education and Information Technologies, Vol.13, No. 4, pp305-315.

Beauchamp, G. & Parkinson, J. (2005). Beyond the ‘wow’ factor: Developing interactivity with the interactive whiteboard, School Science Review, 86(316), 97-103

Kennewell, S. & Beauchamp. G. (2007). The features of interactive whiteboards and their influence on learning, Learning, Media and Technology 32(3), pp227-241

Kennewell, S., Tanner, H., Beauchamp, G., Parkinson, J., Jones, S., Meiring, L., Norman, N., Morgan, A., Thomas, G. (2009) ‘Interactive Teaching and ICT’, The Welsh Journal of Education, 14(2), 29-44.

Kennewell, S., Tanner, H, Jones, S., & Beauchamp, G. (2008) Analysing the use of interactive technology to implement interactive teaching’ Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 24(1), 61-73.

Higgins, S., Beauchamp, G. & Miller, D. (2007). Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards’,  Learning, Media and Technology 32(3), 213-225

Van Laer, S., Beauchamp, G. And Colpaert, J. (2012). Teacher use of the Interactive Whiteboards in Flemish Secondary Education – mapping against a transition framework, Education and Information Technologies. DOI 10.1007/s10639-012-9228-6

 

Second language acquisition and teaching
Research on the relationship between interactive technologies and second language acquisition.

Whyte, S. (2014). Theory and practice in second language teaching with interactive technologies. In Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. London: Bloomsbury.

Cutrim Schmid, E. (2009). Interactive Whiteboard Technology in the Language Classroom: exploring new pedagogical opportunities. Saarbruecken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller.

Cutrim Schmid, E. (2008). Facilitating Whole-Class Collaborative Learning in the English Language Classroom: the Potential of Interactive Whiteboard Technology. In Müller-Hartmann, A. & Schocker-v. Ditfurth, M. (Eds.). Aufgabenorientiertes Lernen und Lehren mit Medien: Ansätze, Erfahrungen, Perspektiven in der Fremdsprachendidaktik. Frankfurt/ Main u.a.: Peter Lang.

AILA presentation on second language interaction at the IWB

Second language interaction with interactive technologies: the IWB in state school foreign language classrooms

This paper investigates second language interaction at the interactive whiteboard (IWB). Video-recorded lessons of eleven French and German teachers of EFL were analysed for use of IWB features but also language interaction, using a 4-level scale (drill, display, simulation and communication) to capture learners’ opportunities to use English.

Shona Whyte (University of Nice, France)
Euline Cutrim Schmid (University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany)
Gary Beauchamp (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK)

AILA 2014, Brisbane, Australia.  11 August 2014.


References

  • Aldrich, F., Rogers, Y., & Scaife, M. (1998). Getting to grips with ‘interactivity’: Helping teachers assess the educational value of CD-ROMs. British Journal of Educational Technology, 29(4), 321–332.
  • Beauchamp, G. (2004). Teacher use of the interactive whiteboard in primary schools: Towards an effective transition framework. Technology, Pedagogy and Education,13(3), 327–348.
  • Beauchamp, G. & Kennewell, S. (2010). Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning. Computers & Education, 3(54), 759-766.
  • Blyth, C. (2010). Foreign language teaching methods: Speaking. http://coerll.utexas.edu/methods/modules/speaking/01/jigsaw.php
  • Bygate, M., Skehan, P and Swain, M. (Eds.) (2001), Researching pedagogical tasks: second language learning, teaching, and assessment. London: Pearson.
  • Cutrim Schmid, E. (2010). Developing competencies for using the interactive whiteboard to implement communicative language teaching in the English as a Foreign Language classroom. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 19(2), 159-172.
  • Cutrim Schmid, E. (2008). Potential pedagogical benefits and drawbacks of multimedia use in the English language classroom equipped with interactive whiteboard technology. Computers and Education, 51(4), 1553-1568.
  • Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. Bloomsbury.
  • Cutrim Schmid, E. & Whyte, S. (2012). Interactive Whiteboards in State School Settings: Teacher Responses to Socio-constructivist Hegemonies. Language Learning and Technology, 16 (2): 65-86. PDF
  • Glover, D., Miller, D., Averis, D., & Door, V. (2007). The evolution of an effective pedagogy for teachers using the interactive whiteboard in mathematics and modern languages: an empirical analysis from the secondary sector. Learning, Media and Technology, 32, 5–20.
  • Gray, C, Pilkington, R, Hagger-Vaughan, L and Tomkins, SA. (2007). Integrating ICT into classroom practice in modern foreign language teaching in England: making room for teachers’ voices. European Journal of Teacher Education, 30 (4), 407-429
  • Gray, C. (2010). Meeting Teachers’ Real Needs: New Tools in the Secondary Modern Foreign Languages Classroom. In Thomas, M. & Cutrim Schmid, E. (Eds.), Interactive Whiteboards for Education: Theory, Research and Practice. Hershey, New York: Information Science Reference, 69-85.
  • Hennessy, S. & L. London (2013). Learning from International Experiences with Interactive Whiteboards: The Role of Professional Development in Integrating the Technology. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 89, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k49chbsnmls-en
  • Jewitt, C., Moss, G., & Cardini, A. (2007), Pace, Interactivity and Multimodality in Teachers’ Design of Texts for Interactive Whiteboards in the Secondary School Classroom. Learning, Media and Technology 32 (3), 303-317.
  • Long, M. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In Ritchie, W. C. & Bhatia, T. (Eds.), Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. New York: Academic Press.
  • Plowman L. (1996). Designing interactive media for schools: a review based on contextual observation. Information Design Journal 8 (3),258-266.
  • Savignon, S. J. (2007). Beyond communicative language teaching: What’s ahead?. Journal of Pragmatics, 39(1), 207-220.
  • Somekh, B., Haldane, M., Jones, K., Lewin, C., Steadman, S., Scrimshaw, P., Woodrow, D. (2007). Evaluation of the Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion Project – summary report. (P. a. L. Centre for ICT, Trans.): Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Whyte, S. (to appear). Implementing and researching technological innovation in language teaching: the case of interactive whiteboards for EFL in French schools. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Whyte, S. (2013). Orchestrating learning in the language classroom: the IWB as digital dashboard. Babylonia 2013(3), 55-61.
  • 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., Beauchamp, G., & Alexander, J. (in press). Researching interactive whiteboard (IWB) use from primary school to university settings across Europe: an analytical framework for foreign language teaching. University of Wales Journal of Education.
  • 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, 26 (5).

Abstract
“Interaction” and “interactivity” are controversial terms in second language research (SLA) and educational technology (ICT studies) respectively, but both are key to investigation of the interactive whiteboard (IWB) in foreign language (FL) teaching. ICT research reveals some confusion between technical and pedagogical interactivity and, in the case of IWB research, shows no straightforward causal relationship between technical interactivity with the IWB and pedagogical interactivity leading to enhanced learning (Higgins, Beauchamp & Miller, 2007).
In cognitive SLA theories (Long, 1996; Gass, 1997), analysis of interaction focuses on “defective” language use and the conversational adjustments thought to drive acquisition. Social theories, in contrast, highlight the effective strategies of speakers with limited linguistic resources (Firth & Wagner, 1997); in today’s “post-methods era” (Richards & Rogers, 2001) teachers often integrate these opposing views to design learning activities offering learners differing levels of interaction.
This study analyses video recorded lessons with eleven state school teachers in France and Germany to investigate teacher and learner interaction at the IWB in FL classes. Participants’ views were gathered via learner focus-group interviews and semi-structured video-stimulated teacher interviews, as part of a wider multilingual European research project on IWB-supported FL teaching. 75 illustrative short clips were compared with the wider project data set in terms of participant IWB use, IWB tools/features, and language teaching objectives. These were then analysed in terms of the interactions at the IWB in each clip. A framework for classifying interaction was developed with four levels of interaction (drill, display, simulation, and communication), including dimensions that focus on form/meaning, level of contextualisation and authenticity of tasks, as well as teacher/learner control over activities.
Findings allow the correlation of differing levels of interaction with IWB use, participant characteristics, and teachers’ IWB experience, shedding light on learners’ opportunities for interaction in this context.

Gass, S. M. (1997). Input, interaction, and the second language learner. Routledge.
Firth, A., & Wagner, J. (1997). On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. The Modern Language Journal, 81(3), 285-300.
Higgins, S., Beauchamp, G., & Miller, D. (2007). Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(3), 213-225.Long, M. H. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. Handbook of second language acquisition, 26, 413-468.
Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Ernst Klett Sprachen.

 

Presentation Type
Individual Paper

Stream
B: Language Teaching and Learning

Sub-Stream
B5: Educational Technology and Language Learning

Recherches en enseignement-acquisition des langues en France : les revues scientifiques

AILE : Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Etrangère
http://aile.revues.org/

ALSIC : Apprentissage des langues et systèmes d’information et de communication
http://alsic.revues.org

APLIUT :Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT
http://apliut.revues.org

Asp : Anglais de Spécialité
http://asp.revues.org

CORELA : Cognition, Représentation, Langage
http://corela.edel.univ-poitiers.fr/index.php?id=1585

ELA : Etudes de linguistique appliquée
http://www.cairn.info/revue-ela.htm

Mélanges CRAPEL
http://www.atilf.fr/spip.php?rubrique217&idfirst=802

Langues modernes
http://www.aplv-languesmodernes.org

LIA : Language, Interaction and Acquisition
http://www.jbe-platform.com/content/journals/18797873

LIDIL
http://lidil.revues.org

LINX
http://linx.revues.org

TIPA
http://tipa.revues.org/

Recherches en Didactique des Langues et des Cultures – Cahiers de l’Acedle
http://acedle.org/spip.php?article3437

Revue française de linguistique appliquée
http://www.rfla-journal.org/

Revue TRANEL
Travaux Neuchâtelois Linguistique
http://doc.rero.ch

 

iTILT research: 2014 update

Materials development
  • Cutrim Schmid, E. & van Hazebrouck, S. (2012). Material Development and Task Design for the Interactive Whiteboard in the Foreign Language Classroom. In Biebighäuser, K., Zibelius, M. & Schmidt, T. (Eds.) Aufgaben 2.0 – Konzepte, Materialien und Methoden für das Fremdsprachenlehren und -lernen mit digitalen Medien. Tübingen: Narr.
  •  Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., & van Hazebrouck, S. (2011). Designing IWB Resources for Language Teaching: the iTILT Project. International Conference on ICT for Language Learning, 4th EditionSimonelli Editore  [PDF]

Making learning happen: interactivity and interaction

After a frustrating couple of days battling with organisational and practical/technical issues only tangentially related to the teaching and research activities I enjoy, yesterday brought an unexpected respite.  I taught a class on a teacher education topic I love, with a group of motivated, capable trainees, and we had a rare moment of technical serendipity – the server let us boot and surf on the lab computers, our SMART board was glitch-free, and everyone had their e-mail addresses to hand.

We worked on interaction and communication in teaching languages to young beginners, using the interactive whiteboard (IWB) as an example.  We were able to view all the resources I had earmarked and tackle all the activities I had planned in plenary, small group, and larger group configurations.  On reflection afterwards, though, I wonder if I joined the dots across the various parts of the afternoon to make my main argument clear.  Leaving room for participants to draw their own conclusions is one thing, following your own inner logic without explanation is another.

My session outline was this:

  1. introduction
    What is interactive learning? What do we mean by interaction in the second (foreign) language classroom? Why is interaction important?
  2. the interactive whiteboard
    – the basics
    – the iTILT project: manual, resources
    – IWB practice examples
  3. interactivity framework: from drilling and display activities to simulation and communication
    – analysing interactivity and interaction
    – live communication with young learners

We began with examples from the twenty-odd participants enrolled in this inservice EFL course – all generalist primary teachers who teach all subjects to pupils aged 4 to 10.  I wanted examples of “great things” that had happened in their classrooms – as learners or as teachers.  They mentioned

  • the satisfaction when 6 year-old new readers point out words in the street during field trips
  • the motivation and pleasure in learning from a charismatic, humorous university lecturer
  • the pride in an overweight pupil’s achievement in dieting and being able to run for 10 minutes
  • the sense of comradeship and collaboration during interschool events and performances

The common themes seem to be the sense of achievement and pleasure in learning, both of which can feed into any discussion of communicative language teaching and classroom interaction.

I shared some videos of good moments in my own language teaching experience with young learners

  • very young learners reciting “One, two, buckle my shoe” in pairs to the camera, with evident enjoyment and fair success
  • a class reconstruction of the story “Two Monsters” where one pupil amazed my by putting together this long string: “red monster and blue monster throw big stone”
  • a pupil’s retelling of his version of this story to the class using his own drawings for support

All the examples showed me as the teacher that learning was taking place; with the hindsight of the teacher trainer, the second two seemed more communicative and interactive, and probably more conducive to actual language learning.  And this should have led to a short discussion of my introductory questions

  • What is interactive learning?
    Learning by doing, participating in an activity that makes sense to participants: reciting a rhyme being less interactive than trying to retell a story
  • What do we mean by interaction in the second (foreign) language classroom?
    Using the target language to express meaning and convey it to others, as opposed to naming objects, for example
  • Why is interaction important?
    Many (most?) theories of language acquisition are based on interaction with language samples, or attempting to understand and convey meaningful messages (again, rather than memorising and reproducing individual sounds, words or sentences).

In the second part of the 3-hour session, participants worked in small groups to apply an interactivity framework (which I am developing in research with Euline Cutrim Schmid) to examples of language teaching at the IWB collected in the iTILT project.  This framework encourages teachers to consider different types of interaction among teachers and learners and the functions each might have in language learning and teaching.

In parallel, groups of 7 participants took turns at hands-on activities at the IWB.  Most were new users, so we started with a bottom-up approach where the board is used for free writing, and words then moved, grouped, resized, using colour, shape and handwriting recognition tools.  Then we took the opposing, top-down perspective, using iTILT teaching resources to show how full teaching sequences can be prepared for classroom implementation.

Again, while these activities seemed to run smoothly and participants were all able to e-mail their analyses of an IWB video and appreciate some of the basic affordances of the tool, perhaps the bigger picture of language interaction was lost.  My recent research findings as well as experiences in training teachers to use this tool have convinced me that pedagogical practice is much more important than technical know-how.  On the other hand – and quite unsurprisingly – teachers tend not to be open to pedagogical change until the technical aspects are under control.  Thus we all focus on the tool, and its purpose – to support target language interaction with young learners, in this case – takes second place.

If only initial tech enthusiasm could immediately provoke methodological epiphany …

I did my best to plant the seed, though, with a closing example of video communication in a primary tandem project which shows how technology can provide both opportunities and support for genuine communicative interaction.