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33831 teresa mackinnon_warwickuniversity

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  • context
  • This quote by David Crystal, a foremost authority on language, encapsulates how technology has become incorporated into our lives, and how it is influencing and being influenced bylanguage use.Increasingly communication and interaction, whether formal or informal, business or pleasure, is mediated by technology. This brings new challenges and as linguists, we need to experience and understand the effects this has on the nature of the communication. This wider context was significant in extending our use of voice in online environments.
  • A number of conclusions from earlier research into engagement in e-learning environments from the field of computer assisted language learning helped us to takeinto consideration themes to support the implementation of the technologies. The themes that we identified to ensure our success included:Tutor role (our perception of our part in the language acquisition process)Error correction (our approach to feedback)Affective factors: in technology and in language learning (the role of our feelings in these two areas)Technical management and support (the nature of provision available)Having explored these with the early teaching cohort using Steiner Kvale’s Bildungriese approach to interviewing, the bullet points here are our findings.
  • Students have generally found the tools fun and understand the rationale for their inclusion in language courses. Those tutors who have tried the voice tools return to them and are becoming skilled at their use. We are gradually building a team of tutors who are keen to share their experiences. The most positive aspect of deploying collaboration tools is that it has encouraged tutor discussion about the role of speaking and listening in language acquisition.
  • Analysis of issues involved: case studies show depth of tutor reflection required to achieve engagement levels.ie Japanese collaborative story building taskOnline communication without webcam = less bearable, more worrying: you don’t see students’ expressions, no smiles and eye contacts exchanged, Relative advantage: better to focus on an area of concern/ interest – eating elephants, bite off a little at a time.Allowing time and channels for discussion ; interventions such as these go to the heart of important issues in language teaching – e.g.. tutor role and error correctionIntegration – when process tools are integrated within a LMS, significant reduction in technical learning curve
  • Most successful interventions had these characteristics
  • Research consent form issued, Clermont student designed logo, now engaged in the process of analysis of data. Early results show that this increased student ownership of this opportunity has also increased engagement. Vital that we help students to become multilingual actors in online communications, potential to balance inequalties due to personality (shy, anxious reticent to communicate with unfamiliar), those who are less able to get online (free wifi, cheap smartphones in Fr) able to gather data about the nature of these interactions.
  • Contrast two visions of the learner: flowers in vases (individual in classroom) may thrive for a while but will always be limited. In a more open setting irises shoot out rhizomes – as our students reached out to one another, and the result is greater interaction and a population that is more widespread and connected – the evidence of learning shows in the reflective work completed by students in their portfolios.
  • In order to give learners a voice, our portal was created based upon the principles stated here. They seem to me to have a good match with Bloom’s revised taxonomy in fostering higher order skills acquisition as effective collaboration provides the best environment in which to learn.
  • context


  • 1. Giving learners a voice. Teresa MacKinnon
  • 2. - the challenges and benefits of creating international computer-mediated communities of language learners Senior Tutor: e-learning Language Centre @WarwickLanguage on Twitter
  • 3. • 1500 academic students per year• 8 languages for academic credit• Increasing importance of oral/aural skills contributing 15-20% each to summative total• 2-3 hours contact time a week
  • 4. “In a statistical sense, we may one daycommunicate with each other far morethrough computer mediation than in directinteraction.” Crystal, 2001
  • 5. Conclusions from earlier research into voice tools use• Useful process to encourage dialogue• Community of practice• Reflective practitioners• Importance of awareness of research• Student engagement and desire for control!
  • 6. Data collection• Practitioner interviews and questionnaires• ICT “can do” questionnaire (based on Davies, 2004)• “Traveler metaphore” (Steiner Kvale,1996)• Walkthrough interviews (Garfinkel, 1967)• Bildungsreise
  • 7. Overcoming barriers to adoption • User friendly interface• Technical issues • Integration within VLE • Variety of support mechanisms• Engagement • Time for task design • Reflection on pedagogy (error correction, locus of control) • Community of practice
  • 8. Easy access and control
  • 9. Our activities• Japanese – recorded revision materials summarising grammatical points with voice and powerpoint using web conferencing tool• Chinese – use of voice boards and voice authoring to increase exposure to tailored spoken language.• French – Use of voice boards for asynchronous role play practice and voice podcaster to deliver listening materials straight to mp3 player/phone.• German – voice boards to give pronunciation practice and feedback.
  • 10. Student comments• “An innovative way of learning.”• “I think it is a brilliant idea for oral practice.”• “A very impressive form of technology and very useful.”• “I listened in and got some ideas about materials and pronunciation of words”• “It helped with revision.”• “Matching your own articulation against the teacher’s recording was helpful.”• “It was useful to have a chance to review the material from classes and practice listening.”
  • 11. Locating best practice :• Importance of understanding nature of communication• Establishing relative advantage• Opportunity for shared reflection and student input• Supporting reflection on language tutor approach(Edulearn Barcelona 2011)
  • 12. Chinese senior tutor, Dr Zhiyan Guo on using voice tools:• Extend the learning community• Integrate technology with language learning• Save travel time• Complements classroom hours, not replace classroom interaction• Allows tutor to deal with individual feedback so that students’ questions can be responded more promptly• Allows time for individual students who have questions in class• Facilitates more oral practice• Encourages pair/group study: peer support
  • 13. Success criteria: • fit between the tool and the need • relative advantage established by tutor and learners • ease of use, reliability • sustainability for tutor (repurposing) and “usefulness” for learner(Edulearn Barcelona 2011)
  • 14. Clermont-Ferrand And Warwick Virtual Interactive Exchange ResearchQuestionnaire highlights so far: (137 replies)77% agree/strongly agree that they are comfortablewith computer mediated communication81% have had more than 1 interaction through theexchangeBUT53% communicate online using a foreign language
  • 15. Kearney et al, Research inLearning Technology Vol20, 2012http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/14406/html
  • 16. Principles adopted:•Increasedialogue•Supportautonomy•Collaborate forlifelonglearning•Be inclusive
  • 17. Thanks for your attention. @warwicklanguage