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Technology trends for language teaching: looking back and to the future

This presentation takes both a retrospective and a prospective look at the use of technology for learning through the last century and into the remaining decades of the 21st Century. I believe that we can learn from the lessons of the past, both from what has and perhaps more importantly what hasn’t worked. The evidence clearly shows that it is the pedagogy of use and the skills of the teacher in supporting and enabling learners through technology and through learning design which makes the difference. I argue that this can help us to integrate new technologies as they emerge to create new approaches for teaching and learning, but that the fundamentals of teaching and learning don't change.

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Technology trends for language teaching: looking back and to the future

  1. 1. Technology trends for language teaching: looking back and to the future. Prof Steve Higgins, School of Education, Durham University, @stig_01 Learning and Teaching English in the Digital Age: Policy and Practice in Europe 4th December, 2013 Barcelona
  2. 2. Overview  Technology and learning in the last century  What hasn’t worked  The importance of pedagogy  A look towards the future In 1935, at New York University, Professor C. C. Clark conducted a class remotely using shortwave radio. Short Wave Craft April 1935
  3. 3. A short history of educational technology: nihil sub sole novum?  Film  Radio  Television  Tape recorders and language labs  Podcasts and blogs  Tablets and iPads  LMS, VLEs, MOOCs, mobile devices  Augmented Reality, Voice recognition, Cloud
  4. 4. 1913: Film (Thomas Edison, reported in The New York Dramatic Mirror in July 1913) “Books,” declared the inventor with decision, “will soon be obsolete in the public schools. Scholars will be instructed through the eye. It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture. Our school system will be completely changed inside of ten years.” Picture source: Google Images
  5. 5. 1930s Radio
  6. 6. 1930s prediction for educational TV
  7. 7. 1968 Proto-Skype ‘Picturephone’…
  8. 8. 1960s language lab Source: Google Images
  9. 9. 1900s prediction of schools in 2000
  10. 10. 1958 vision of future education
  11. 11. 1950s Programmed Instruction Source: Google Images
  12. 12. Technology and formal learning  Education is:  Universal AND  Problematic  Belief it can be improved  Technology provides promise
  13. 13. The UK context  Huge investments in ICT in schools from 1980s  World leader on IWB uptake  Learning platforms/ VLEs common in schools  Gaming approaches promoted with (past) government support  New computing curriculum  Tablet mania
  14. 14. Research evidence  What’s ‘worked’ in the past  What hasn’t worked  The importance of pedagogy  A look towards the future
  15. 15. Evidence from correlational studies  “Studies linking provision and use of technology in schools ...find small positive associations with educational outcomes but it is not clear that this is always a causal link” (e.g. Harrison et al. 2004)  Good schools may invest more in technology (Moseley et al. 1999)  When socio-economic factors are controlled for - no effect (Fuchs and Woessmann 2004)  The link is not a simple linear one – optimal use may be a better concept (e.g. OECD 2006)
  16. 16. Experimental studies  “Evidence from experimental and quasi- experimental designs indicates consistent moderate benefit” (e.g. Sipe and Curlette 1997; Pearson, 2005)  Comparison with other researched interventions suggests technology-based interventions tend to produce average gains (e.g. Hattie, 2009; Higgins et al. 2012)
  17. 17. Digital technologies in the Sutton Trust/EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit
  18. 18. Key question  Are you convinced, as a result of new technologies, learners are now learning English  Faster?  More easily?  More fluently?  Better?
  19. 19. Six myths about digital technology 1. The ‘Future Facing’ Fallacy “New technologies are being developed all the time, the past history of the impact of technology is irrelevant to what we have now or will be available tomorrow.” 2. The ‘Different Learners’ Myth “Today’s children are digital natives and the ‘net generation – they learn differently from older people”. 3. A Confusion of ‘Information’ and ‘Knowledge’ “Learning has changed now we have access to knowledge through the internet, today’s children don’t need to know stuff, they just need to know where to find it.”
  20. 20. Six myths about digital technology 4. The ‘Motivation Mistake’ “Students are motivated by technology so they must learn better when they use it.” 5. The ‘Mount Everest’ Fallacy “We must use technology because it is there!” 6. The ‘More is Better’ Mythology “If some technology is a good thing, then more must be better.”
  21. 21. Evidence from digital technology meta-analyses  Collaborative use (pairs/ small groups) more effective than individual use  Effective as short but focussed interventions  Remedial / tutorial use can be particularly effective as catch-up  Greater gains when it supplements rather than replaces normal teaching.  Training and professional development are essential
  22. 22. What hasn’t ‘worked’…  LOGO  Integrated learning systems  One-to-one laptops  Talking books  Interactive whiteboards  No ‘magic bullets’ Source: Google Images
  23. 23. Getting the most from technology  Innovators & early adopters choose digital technology to do something differently – as a solution to a problem  When adopted by the majority, focus is on the technology, but not as a solution  The laggards use the technology to replicate what they were already doing without ICT Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations. Simon and Schuster.
  24. 24. Issues  How well you use it is more important than whether you use it or not  Pedagogy trumps technology  Consider cost effectiveness? So…should we beware of geeks bearing gifts? Source: Google Images
  25. 25. Quality matters…  Good teaching and learning activities  At the right level of challenge  With opportunities for feedback  Provide opportunities for self-regulation  Help learners to plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning (meta-cognition)  Move the learner on  From the task (skills, knowledge, understanding)  In their learning (attitudes, dispositions, meta-cognition)
  26. 26. kinect e-learning Why will these be any different? Wii iPads / tablets Raspberry Pi Source: Google Images
  27. 27. Tomorrow’s promise? Augmented reality  Aural or text  Contextual  Mainly input  Mobile Voice recognition  Encourages production  Technical accuracy Source: Google Images
  28. 28. A multi-touch classroom in 2012
  29. 29. SynergyNet Network Flick!
  30. 30. NumberNet
  31. 31. Developing adaptive expertise? NumberNet ‘Make up some questions’ task Add to each of the other groups attempts (3x) Organise the correct expressions
  32. 32. NumberNet
  33. 33. NumberNet
  34. 34. Teacher control  From iPad  Timing/rotate tables  Freeze the action  Disable keys ‘on the fly’  Feedback on correct and incorrect expressions (by group, by individual, by target number)  Show/hide correct/incorrect expressions  Show/hide totals (competitive)
  35. 35. Live feedback to the teacher
  36. 36. Jack: Who done... Who's green? Jiminy… That's quite smart! [the calculations have a colour border indicating the table where they were created, so Jack is asking which is the green table, and so who was responsible for the calculation] Adam: Oh look at that! 10 times 10 that equals 100, add 50! Now that's clever, whoever did that! I'm doing that…
  37. 37. Once the teacher turns on the number pads, Jack goes on to adapt the calculations he has seen, creating the calculations 10*10+51-1, and drawing Adam’s attention to it: Jack: Haha! Adam, look at the size of that! Adam: Oh yes, did it... 1... 5... Jack: ‘Cause 10 times 10 is 100, add 51 is 151 and take away 1 is 150... bingo! Adam: Bingo!
  38. 38. What was effective?  High level of (accepted) challenge  Feedback from table, from peers, from teacher (and to teacher via iPad)  Supported group regulation  Intra-group collaboration  Inter-group competition  Learning across groups  Indirectly (from ‘inherited’ calculations)  Directly (through whole class demonstration and discussion
  39. 39. -0.4 -0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 Effectsize Approaches Average Effects EEF Tookit approaches ranked by impact
  40. 40. Toolkit Toolkit best ‘buys’... New entry
  41. 41. Digital technology and learning  Adopt technology as a solution to a teaching and learning challenge or problem  Check that technical or basic skills issues won’t get in the way of the learning  Should help learners accept challenge  Look for evidence of improvement  Evaluate the impact  Goldilocks’ Principle – have to get it ‘just right’
  42. 42. What solutions can digital technology offer?
  43. 43. Key questions What are the teaching and learning challenges digital technologies can help you solve? What will the technology replace? What will you stop doing? How will you know it is better? Will the teacher be more effective/efficient? Will the pupils learn quicker, for longer, more deeply, think harder? Will you see more feedback, more self-regualtion, more meta-cognition?
  44. 44. Local ecology  Start from where you are  Needs infrastructure  Technical support  Wifi access  Needs support  Skills training AND  CDP for pedagogy
  45. 45. For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat… and WRONG! H.L. Mencken 1880-1956
  46. 46. References and links EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit: SynergyNet videos: Digital technologies report: Pictures from Google Images and Pinterest (thanks to Juan Antonio Ortiz)