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The Competences of the Telecollaborative Teacher
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The Competences of the Telecollaborative Teacher


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Presentation given at various workshops and conferences about a model of competences for the telecollaborative teacher. A paper has since been published about this. Contact me to receive a copy.

Presentation given at various workshops and conferences about a model of competences for the telecollaborative teacher. A paper has since been published about this. Contact me to receive a copy.

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  • 1. Describing the Competences of theTelecollaborative Teacher Robert O’Dowd University of León, Spain April, 2011
  • 2. “Language Teacher Competences in CMC Settings” • European Profile for Language Teacher Education – A Frame of Reference • …the report proposes that foreign language teacher education in the twentyfirst century should include the following elements of initial and in-service education: • 6. Participation in links with partners abroad, including visits, exchanges or ICT links. • 17. Training in information and communication technology for pedagogical use in the • classroom.
  • 3. Towards a Model of Competences for Telecollaborative Teachers: My Plan for this Morning•Review of available models of competences for online educators: (Hempel &Stickler, 2005; Salmon,2003; ISTE, 2008; UNESCO, 2008)•Identify where these fail to capture the ‘uniqueness’ of Telecollaborative (TC)activity•Describe the process of developing a model of TC competence for Teachersusing the Delphi Method•Discuss the ‘dilemmas’ which emerged during the process•Present the ‘working version’ for discussion and grading according to difficulty•How to teach and assess TC Teacher Competence?
  • 4. Current Incarnations of ‘Telecollaboration 2.0’Need to develop a model of TC Teacher Competence which will be of value toteachers and teacher-trainers working with all of these different contexts:Educational Contexts: Classroom-integrated set-ups (Cultura), Autonomouslearning set-ups (versions of e-tandem), Distance-based set-ups (Tridem),informal learning set-ups (Literalia: Stickler & Emke, 2011)Types of partners for exchanges: Partner classes of L2, Individuals from C2,Partner classes using Lengua Franca, specialised interest communities (Thorne,Black and Sykes, 2009; Hanna and de Nooy, 2009)Tools and Environments: ‘Closed environments’ – Moodle, ePals, eTwinning,NINGs, ‘Public tools’ – blogs, fora, skype…Pedagogical Approaches/Emphasis taken: Intercultural, Interactionist,autonomy/ socioconstructivist …
  • 5. What is involved in being a Telecollaborative Foreign Language Teacher?The Roles for TC Teachers highlighted to date:Pedagogical and Organisational:“In the initial stages of a project the teacher is responsible for preparing learnersfor the challenges to come; designing tasks which will enable them to engageproductively with members of another culture; selecting the right tools for theproject; setting basic rules; establishing a clear timeframe and providing thespace necessary for learners to reflect periodically... (Lewis, Chanier, & Youngs, 2011: Special Issue Commentary: LanguageLearning & Technology)“Inevitably…Teacher 2.0 must be able to not only design effectivetelecollaborative tasks, but be able to monitor and assess thelearner interaction (in the classroom and online) in order to optimisethe task-as-process (Dooly, 2010: 293)”
  • 6. Models of ICT competence forTeachersHempel & International UNESCO: ICT Salmon (2003): E-Stickler (2005) Society for Competency moderator Technology in Standards for competencies Education (2008) Teachers (2008)•Basic ICT •Facilitating and • Educational •Understanding of onlinecompetence Inspiring student Policy processes•Tech competence learning •Curriculum &with software •Designing digital- Assessment •Technical skills•Dealing with age learning •Pedagogyconstraints of the experiences and •ICT (technical) •Online communicationmedium assessments competence skills•Online •Model digital-age •Organisation &socialization work and learning Administration •Content expertise•Facilitating •Promote digital •Teachercommunicative citizenship and professionalcompetence responsibility •Personal characteristics development•Creativity & •Engage inChoice professional growth
  • 7. Models of ICT competence forTeachers – common elements… ICT /Online Competence for Teachers Technical competence- Pedagogical skills – Online communication basic knowledge of desgning appropriate Digital Age citizenship- skills & variety of tools tasks and assessment attitudes and modelling socialisation skills and software procedures
  • 8. What differentiates Telecollaborative Competence from ‘Traditional’ Online Competence for FL Teachers?Telecollaboration is inherently ‘intercultural’ – both in practice and in itsunderlying pedagogical principlesThe telecollaborative teacher is not alone – usually two or more teachersworking together from different cultural and institutional contexts - requires of theteacher keenly refined intercultural skills and attitudes of intercultural competenceTelecollaboration tends to be a long-term, complex activity which permeates thewhole FL course – themes, tasks, classroom interaction etc.In many telecollaborative set-ups, the active participation of the teacher in theonline interaction is not required – less need for technical ICT competence?
  • 9. Pedagogical: Organisational: Task design, ExploitingSetting up, Structuring & Integrating an exchange an exchange for learning, Assessment The Competences of the Telecollaborative Teacher Electronic Literacy: Tools, Affordances, Appropriate use etc.
  • 10. How to Develop a Model of Teacher ICTCompetences (1)? Hampel & Stickler (2005): ‘Skills pyramid for successful online FL teaching’ How was the model arrived at? “On the basis of several years’ experience with teaching languages using a synchronous online environment and training tutors for online language courses (2005: 311)” Salmon (2003): ‘E-moderator competencies’ How was the model arrived at? 1) Content analysis of online interaction 2) Focus groups – to collect qualitative data on online teachers’ experiences 3) Drafts of models adapted according to practitioner feedback (2003: 25-27).
  • 11. How to Develop a Model of Teacher ICTCompetences (2)?UNESCO (2008):‘ICT Competency Standards for Teachers’How was the model arrived at?1) Experts Meeting on Teachers/Facilitators Training in Technology- Pedagogy Integration2) Multidisciplinary group workshop on Development of Guidelines for Teacher Training in ICT Integration and Standards of CompetencyInternational Society for Technology in Education (2008):‘Performance Indicators for Teachers’ How was the model arrived at?1) Developed by experts in the field of education, industry, and higher education.2) Vetted by individuals in more than 30 countries. ”It is more of a "wisdom from the field" methodology rather than a formal research cycle (personal correspondence with ISTE, April 2011).
  • 12. Developing a robust, consensual model ofTelecollaborative Competence for TeachersNeed to find an approach which:Takes into account literature on TC Teacher competence to dateReflects collective experience of both experienced practitioners andresearchersIs scientifically rigorous (i.e. not anecdotal)Is comprehensive (takes into account different forms of telecollaboration)Produces a model which is relevant and applicable in different teacher-education contexts (easily graded, evaluated and used with assessment tools)
  • 13. The Delphi Method:Delphi method – three stage iterative questionnaire-based researchtechniqueAim of Delphi studies: Establish consensus in group of selected experts to ‘thesolution of a problem’ without them ever having to meet.Advantages over a ‘focus group’ technique: No risk of a participant’s ideas being suppressed No one dominates proceedings Experts work on their answers in their own timeframe Avoids logisitics and cost probems of gathering experts togetherRecent Example of use in our area: Kelly, M. Grenfell, M., Allan, R. Kriza, C. &McEvoy, W. (2004).
  • 14. The Delphi Method:Procedure:Round 1:Draft of 30 ‘can do’ statements Telecollaborative Competence for FLTeachers drawn up based on extensive literature review.100 experts and experienced practitioners from different TC contextsidentified: Personal network / Authors of published literature on the area / Activepractitioners from etwinning and ePals / Colleagues recommended by expertsParticipants asked to grade skills 1-5 and add comments about missing skills,bad formulations etc.Responses received from 60 participants & 76 separate qualitative commentsand suggestions provided by these participants.
  • 15. The Delphi Method:Round 2:The descriptors which received a mean value greater than four and a standarddeviation less than one were maintained (25/30). The remainder (5/30) wereeliminated.New descriptors suggested by practitioners were incorporated (10 items). Someof the original descriptors were also reformulated based on suggestions.Key changes to descriptors in 2nd round:1. Use of can do statements to describe competences – practical but verylimiting – excludes knowledge, attitudes2. Although difficult to assess and measure, necessary to identify theattitudes and beliefs which successful telecollaborative teachers bring withthem to their exchanges.
  • 16. Organisational Pedagogical The Competences of the Telecollaborative Teacher (Round 2)Electronic Literacy Intercultural /Socio-affective
  • 17. The Technical Literacy DilemmaContrast:“Teachers… require a certain level of technological competence. They needthe confidence to bring technology out of the labs where it’s cloistered away andmake it part of the everyday curriculum. They need the self-assurance to venturebeyond the restrictions of pre-packaged software and explore open sourcesoftware and free web services (Pegrum, 2009).”With:“…many school teachers will resist the notion that they have to be able tomanage a moodle, when their schools employ an IT person to do that. In thisrange of new skills being demanded, I believe teachers best expertise lies in thelanguage and intercultural domains, they can look for technical support.(Respondent feedback to Round 1) ““I think it is vital for the teacher to CHOOSE the tools but not to be an expert inUSING the tools... (Respondent feedback to Round 2) ”
  • 18. The Constructivist Pedagogy Dilemma “Teachers also need the pedagogical competence to work with digital technologies, understanding how contemporary pedagogies and literacies fit with web 2.0. That means they need the skills to deal with the heavy monitoring and mentoring demands of social constructivism… (Pegrum, 2009).” “Rather than being responsible for imparting knowledge (which in some cases she may not possess), her task is to scaffold the construction by learners of shared knowledge…(Lewis, Chanier and Youngs, 2011)”. How constructivist should we be? Respondent from Round 2: “As for ‘organising culturally and linguistically rich tasks’, I dont think this teacher- led approach works in a constructivist learning exchange.” But this exclude alternative, equally legitimate approaches to telecollaboration? Respondent from Round 1: “If this survey is only geared toward socio-constructivist learning, you could stress this in the instructions or by giving a definition of the term ‘telecollaborative teacher’.”
  • 19. The Institutional Integration DilemmaSuggestions for Round 2 from Participants:“The teacher can ensure that … the exchange is fully recognised by thelearners institution.”“Having sufficient weight within his/her own institution to ensure thatmanagement backs up the telecollaborative project at every point.”“…someone, probably the individual language teacher involved needs to havesome strategic skills to approach colleagues and management to moveproject initiatives up from individual teacher level to departmental/schoollevel.”
  • 20. The Socio-Affective DilemmaSuggestions for Round 1 Participants:“I think ‘can do’ is too narrow an interpretation of competence myself and aDelphi technique should also collect insights into values education etc…”Moderating and conflict-management skills (they are not strictly speakingpedagogical skills. Maybe you need an extra category of skills (socio-affective)?“showing empathy…[with partner-teacher]”Problem: How can these be identifed, assessed and developed in teacher-education programmes?
  • 21. Eliminated Descriptors from Round 1-2:The TC Teacher can… use the resources available to them in their own institution toensure sufficient access to ICT for their students to carry out the exchange effectivelyThe TC Teacher can… locate and reserve computer laboratories in their institutionprovide students with language structures and vocabulary which they can use in theironline interactionThe TC Teacher can… make students aware of the differences between online andface-to-face interactionThe TC Teacher can… use a battery of examples from previous exchanges toillustrate to learners appropriate use of language, how to deal with interculturalcommunication breakdown etc.The TC Teacher can… interact appropriately online with their partner-teacher and theparticipating students, using aspects of ‘netspeak’ (i.e. emoticons) when appropriateand attending to online communication norms (e.g. responding to emails relativelyquickly)
  • 22. The Delphi Method:Round 3:“I still think that a general list of these competences is a great achievementalready - with all of them being important - and if at some point you or sb. is ableto maybe design descriptors that differentiate between 2-3 competencelevels for each main point that would be still another achievement.”
  • 23. Descriptors for differentCompetence Levels?
  • 24. How to Train & Assess Teachersin these Competences?•Modelling good practice in under-graduate and post-graduate courses•Teaching practice with mentors who are proficient users of technology•“The best teacher preparation occurs through collaborative apprenticeship, and themodelling of effective classroom technology practices by both methods teachers andschool-based mentors is thus critical to pre-service teachers’ own professionaldevelopment in the educational use of information and communication technologies(Brown & Warschauer, 2006: 619).”•Portfolio-based learning (EPOSTL for TC Teachers)
  • 25. How to Train & Assess these Competences?
  • 26. Moving forward in CMCFL Teacher Education•One example of dealing with Teacher Education for one area of ICT/CMC•Need for further work on what FL teachers need to know in order to workeffectively in other areas of CMC, data-based learning, mobile learning etc.•Need for models to be sufficiently generic to reflect needs and contexts andtools over a long-period of time – avoid technology-specific models
  • 27. Thank You!• Contact and suggestions welcome:••