Qualitative multiple case study investigation of the use of information communication technologies in secondary school language classes.Four case study sites: 3 urban and 1 ruralAll sites were government public schools in a single Australian educational jurisdictionAll schools were ‘technology enhanced’ because of a departmental initiative that provided extra ICT support to schools.Significantly this support was reduced during the study.7 teacher participants: 3 with no formal Languages curriculum or methodology training and 2 of these 3 were ‘pseudo speakers’ of their TL.Learner participants were selected to be representative of the full range of achievement of language learners in each of the Languages programs.
That because of global connectedness and associated rhetoric, (particularly in Education policy documents) and because of advances in information communication technologies (ICTs):Life for the marginalised and isolated language teacher should be easierThe experience of language learners in Australian schools should be more meaningful and bring them closer to the languages and communities that they are studying Collectively this should be empowering for students and teachers, and inturn, empower the Languages learning area within the curriculum
This study asks if global connectedness and ICT have been the ‘fairy godmother’ for a number of secondary language programs operating in schools with access to specialized ICT support. Has the Cinderella learning area of Languages been transformed?
Simple answer: they didn’t (except for photocopying which was the most common form of ICT use in this study)None of the teacher participants in this study felt that ICTs made their professional lives easier.Reasons cited included issues around hardware, maintenance, support, the management of learners and learning, and their own disquiet with regard to their technological competence.
HardwareQuality of computerNetworking issuesAccess for Languages classes MaintenanceNetwork issues (often down)Inoperable because soundcards did not work etc.VandalismOverall poorly maintained:generalconsensus from teachers was that access to poorly maintained and unreliable computers was actually more detrimental to learning than having no access at all.Technical supportAd hocTeachers had to take initiative themselves Learning area leadership supportNo languages leadership positions within the case study schools.“We are not a real learning area.”Lack of leadership exacerbated the fragility of Languages in general and weakened the capacity for language teachers to be able to manage the effective use of ICTs in their teaching. Management of learners and learningMonitoring students was an issue. Trusting students was an issue.“It's a lot more stressful because I, um, there’s so many kids in that class … to watch every single student and make sure they are not fiddling with the mouse, taking this, removing this …”Other issues – poor pedagogical knowledge and lack of technical/troubleshooting skills.
They didn't – much. Very little real communication in online spaces.Quizzes, drills and practice games Student: “boring games, easy stuff”Activities associated with more work – writing and often in EnglishStudent: “They’re boring. They’re all about writing’”Learners commented on restrictions and what could be accessed at school sites.
Not in urban schools:lack of access, leadership and support further marginalised LanguagesRural school:languages empowered but this was due to the language teacher.Only empowerment for students was through helping teachers with technical issues “They glow a bit”.
Rather than enhancing language learning and teaching, technologies at the case study sites impacted negatively on the experience of both learners and teachers, and on the status of languages learning in schools. The findings also amplify the complexity of the technology / languages nexus at the case study sites.
The term wicked is used here, not in the sense of evil as in the wicked stepmother in the Cinderella tale, but rather as a problem that identifies issues that are highly resistant to resolution. Wicked problems are tough to describe and have no clear-cut answers because of the social complexity of the problem or issues involved (Conklin, 2008).
Learners who were more ‘tech comfy’ (Pegrum, 2009) than teachers and who found the experience of language learning to be less than meaningful. Teachers who had mixed competencies across their languages, their teaching practices and their technical knowledge. These same teachers lacked representation at leadership levels in schools and struggled with accessing IT support when using technology in their language programs. School sites that reflected an ongoing failure to understand or support sound practices in language teaching and leaning and whose operations have been compromised by jurisdictional policy changes that have lead to adhockery in processes and procedures.Govt policy and rhetoric contributed to frustration and disempowerment.
Critical theory is ‘a philosophy which situates itself smack dab in the middle of power and politics.’ (Steinberg, 2012, p.ix). This study is also situated in the middle of power and politics. There is the need for the use of a critical framework that encompasses:Critical theory of technologyCritical approaches to language educationCritically reflective practiceThe use of such a framework has the potential to be the glass slipper.
Cinderella’s Coach or Just Another Pumpkin? Emerging Technologies and the Continuing Marginalisation of Languages in Australian Schools
Cinderella’s Coach or Just Another Pumpkin? Emerging Technologies and the ContinuingMarginalisation of Languages in Australian SchoolsLindy Norris Applied Linguisticsl.firstname.lastname@example.org Association of AustraliaPenelope Coutas National Conferencep.email@example.com 12-14 November, 2012 Curtin University, Perth
Contextualising the researchstudy A large supporting cast
Assumptions to be explored • Life for the marginalised and isolated language teacher should be easier. • The experience of language learners in Australian schools should be more meaningful and bring them closer to the languages and communities that they are studying. • Collectively this should be empowering for students and teachers, and inturn, empower the Languages learning area within the curriculum.
Assumptions to be explored Bit-idy Just where byte-aby am I driving boo? this change?
Question:How did language teachers in the study use technology toenhance language learning and make their professionallives easier? I’ve heard that there’s horseless carriages now?
Question:How did language teachers in the study use technology toenhance language learning and make their professionallives easier? Why not? • Hardware • Maintenance • Technical support • Learning area leadership support • Management of learners and learning
Question:How did students use ICTs to make language learningmore meaningful and bring them closer to the languagesand communities they were studying?
Question:Were Languages, language learners, and languageteachers empowered by opportunities for globalconnectedness and the use of ICTs?
FindingsRather than enhancing language learning and teaching,technologies at the case study sites impacted negativelyon the experience of both learners and teachers, and onthe status of languages learning in schools.
A wicked problemWicked problems are tough to describe and have no clear-cut answers because of the social complexity of theproblem or issues involved (Conklin, 2008).
Social complexity within thestudy If only it were that simple. I will give you jewels, flowers, attention, anything that will make my Princess happy
Critical theory, the magic wand,and the glass slipper
Critical theory, the magic wand,and the glass slipper Cinderella language teachers can exert some influence over the complexity of their circumstances. Living their professional lives within a critical framework has the potential to help with the easing into the glass slipper.
Image creditsSlide 2: Deluxe Cinderella Doll Gift Sethttp://www.disneystore.com/deluxe-cinderella-doll-gift-setSlide 3: Cinderella Promo 1http://www.flickr.com/photos/adplayers/6875925728/sizes/l/in/photostream/Slide 4: Disneys Electrical Parade: Cinderellas Royal Coachhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/armadillo444/3845998492/in/photostream/Slide 5: Cinderella in her coachhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/edrussell/261118061/sizes/l/in/photostream/Slide 7: Learn 9 Languages with Cinderellahttp://www.ioffer.com/i/learn-9-languages-cinderella-language-laerning-software-105711149Slide 8: Cinderella at her computerhttp://i46.tinypic.com/i3b890.jpgSlide 9: Windows errorhttp://favim.com/orig/201107/11/art-cinderella-computer-disney-funny-illustration-Favim.com-101486.jpgSlide 10: Wicked stepmother and ugly stepsistershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/38969690@N00/3175843742Slide 11: A Christmas Fantasy: Prince Charming, Cinderellahttp://www.flickr.com/photos/armadillo444/3318035792/in/photostream/Slide 12: Cinderella (droids)http://www.flickr.com/photos/45940879@N04/5499285074Slide 13: Suck it up Princesshttp://rlv.zcache.com/suck_it_up_princess_button-p145136808965358790en8go_400.jpg