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Language learning as agency for a social purpose: examples from the coronavirus pandemic

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Talk at JALTCALL conference, June 6

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Language learning as agency for a social purpose: examples from the coronavirus pandemic

  1. 1. Language learning as agency for a social purpose: examples from the coronavirus pandemic Katerina Zourou, Ph.D. JALTCALL conference, June 6-7, 2020
  2. 2. Katerina Zourou, Web2Learn, Greece Researcher in open, social and digital learning Advocate of open access, open science and citizen science KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  3. 3. COVID-19 Educational Disruption N° of learners enrolled at pre-primary, primary, lower-secondary, upper-secondary levels & tertiary education levels. Based on latest data from UNESCO Institute for StatisticsKATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  4. 4. Talk outline The pandemic: an opportunity for L2 use and learning? Agency and social action in L2 from a sociocultural perspective Technology-mediated social participation (TMSP) in crisis situations Examples of TMSP with potential for L2 use Perceived advantages and disadvantages of TMSP for CALL during the pandemic KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  5. 5. ”In every crisis there is opportunity” Examples of participatory, citizen driven initiatives stemming from the collective effort to fight the pandemic. ->Technology-mediated social participation (Preece & Sheiderman, 2009) as a framework of analysis for community practices in the fight against COVID-19 and their potential for L2 use and learning KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  6. 6. Theoretical background Agency and social action in L2 • Sociocultural understandings of learning: emphasis on learners as social actors shaping their discourse and identity through agentive action • Agentive action (through participation) transforms and re-creates a new world that becomes part of one’s own. • L2 learners increasingly craft learning trajectories through multiple platforms and sites, including social networking ones. • Developments in technology (mobile devices that afford connection and social interaction anytime and anywhere, social networking tools) offer possibilities for user-driven, self- and group- initiated practices that redraw models of production, distribution, and reuse of knowledge (Lave, 1998; Thorne, 2010; Reinhardt 2018; Zhao, Ellison & Lampe, 2016; Warner & Chen, 2017) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  7. 7. Agency-autonomy-social participation in L2 “A pedagogy that leverages social media practices for developing L2 learner autonomy should support learner agency by promoting user choice and self‐directed learning” (Reinhhardt, 2018) Cf. “digital wilds” refers to non-instructionally oriented contexts that support social activity (…) “which present interesting, and perhaps even compelling, opportunities for intercultural exchange, agentive action, and meaning making” (Thorne, Sauro, & Smith, 2015, Sauro & Zourou, 2019) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  8. 8. Research questions of a work in progress* • What possibilities for technology-mediated social participation conducive to language learning exist in the fight against COVID- 19? • What are the pitfalls? • What forms of language learning take place? • What kind of attitudes/stances for language learners do they entail? * Ζοurou, K. 2021, forthcoming. Language learning as agency for a social purpose: examples from the coronavirus pandemic. In M. Lloret & N. Ziegler (Eds) Routledge Handbook of SLA and Technology. KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  9. 9. Methodology • An exploratory study : a preparatory examination of an issue in order to gain insights and ideas about its underlying nature. • The aim : offer a better understanding of an issue that has not been studied in the past (Stebbins, 2001; McNabb, 2015) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  10. 10. Delimitation of the field analysis Will be considered: possibilities for L2 use and learning, forms of social participation in the fight against coronavirus Will be excluded: • practices affording little of no interaction, such as COVID-19 applications for self-reporting symptoms (e.g. Operation COVID-19 (OpCovID), ‘CoronaReport’) • Forms of online social participation/civic engagement in general (climate change, #metoo, race discriminations, etc.) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  11. 11. 4 main types of TMSP in the fight against COVID- 19 and their potential for L2 use and learning Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) TMSP in expert communities: digital activism, open data and open science Grassroots initiatives of digital hacktivism 1.Citizen science projects KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  12. 12. Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) Examples: Eterna, Foldit@home and Foldit. KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  13. 13. #1:Massivelymultiplayeronlinegames(MMOGs) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  14. 14. Puzzle solving environment+ chat #1:Massivelymultiplayeronlinegames(MMOGs) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  15. 15. Chat (help) #1:Massivelymultiplayeronlinegames(MMOGs) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  16. 16. Perceived advantages and disadvantages for L2 use and learning +: the social dimension of game play (the most highly ranked in all digital gaming studies in CALL, cf. Fischer & Thorne, 2012; Reinhardt & Zander, 2011). -: both chats (general and help) were conducted in one language only (English). Languages other than English?? Multilingual repertoires? #1:Massivelymultiplayeronlinegames(MMOGs) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  17. 17. #2: TMSP in expert communities: digital activism, open data and open science KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  18. 18. EUvsVirus hackathon TMSP in expert communities: digital activism, open data and open science #2:TMSPinexpertcommunities/digitalactivism KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  19. 19. Some statistics • 21,000 participants • 140 nationalities • 27 countries • 23 languages • 600+ corporate partners • 1,400 mentors • 400 jury members over 2,000 solutions to address coronavirus-related challenges #2:TMSPinexpertcommunities/digitalactivism KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  20. 20. “Remote working and Education” among the 6 categories of Challenges to be addressed #2:TMSPinexpertcommunities/digitalactivism KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  21. 21. The online working environment: Slack #2:TMSPinexpertcommunities/digitalactivism KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  22. 22. Perceived advantages and disadvantages for L2 use and learning +: an advancement in L2 learning and in one’s field of expertise -:predominance of the English language as the international lingua franca. #2:TMSPinexpertcommunities/digitalactivism KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  23. 23. #3: Grassroots initiatives of digital activism KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  24. 24. Grassroots initiatives of digital activism • Bottom-up activities launched and sustained by local, national or global communities • Examples: Covid19Italia Help and many initiatives within the Maker community #3:Grassrootsinitiativesofdigitalactivism KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  25. 25. Maker movement #3:Grassrootsinitiativesofdigitalactivism emphasis on the value of an individual's ability to be a creator of things. For COVID-19: many maker communities around the world engaged in provision of medical supplies (oxygen masks, personal protective equipment including face shields, and devices such as oxygen concentrators) Example: US based Nation of Makers Makers in almost 500 maker communities had produced 7,196,842 items in 49 countries (June 1, 2020) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  26. 26. Perceived advantages and disadvantages for L2 use and learning +: L2 users encounter more opportunities for extended interaction compared, for instance, with shorter interaction cues at problem solving MMOGs. Also, due to the numerous maker communities worldwide, more opportunities to interact in languages other than English -: ? #3:Grassrootsinitiativesofdigitalactivism KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  27. 27. #4: Citizen science projects (work in progress) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  28. 28. Some concluding remarks (work in progress) • Research wise, a need to focus more on the potential to use and learn an L2 in many activity settings (though efficiency, economies of scale and developmental outcomes may differ). • From a pedagogical perspective: a need to acknowledge learners as social actors and to embrace language practice occurring in informal learning settings. • Need for more evidence-based research grounded on primary data (analysis of player-to-player online discussion forums in MMOGs, assessment of the linguistic complexity, etc.) • A need to open up CALL research on the wealth of forms of social action as means to (L2) learning (citizen-driven innovation, heritage activism, grassroots community learning, civic hacktivism, etc.) KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6
  29. 29. Thank you! Questions? Katerina Zourou katerinazourou@gmail.com @web2learn_eu Google scholar Slides of this talk KATERINA ZOUROU, JALTCALL2020, JUNE 6

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