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AERA 2019 - Learning An Asian Language In A Primary Online Learning Program


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East, M., Tolosa, C., Barbour, M. K., & Owen, H. (2019, April). Learning an Asian language in a primary online learning program. A paper presentation at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, Toronto, ON.

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AERA 2019 - Learning An Asian Language In A Primary Online Learning Program

  1. 1. Learning An Asian Language In A Primary Online Learning Program Martin East and Constanza Tolosa Auckland University Michael K. Barbour Touro University California Hazel Owen Ethos Consultancy NZ
  2. 2. National Context
  3. 3. National Context Communities of Online Learning (CoOLs) • 22 August 2016, the Minister of Education in the National Party introduced Education (Update) Amendment Bill o Passed 15 May 2017 (CoOLs were set to come into effect at the end of 2019) • Government contracted Cognition Education during 2017 to: o Examine current online teaching and learning practice o Provide information to guide the development of the COOL regulatory and policy framework
  4. 4. National Context Communities of Online Learning (CoOLs) • Election of coalition Government formed by the Labour Party, the Green Party, & New Zealand First Party o 13 September 2018, the Minister of Education introduced Education Amendment Bill (No 2) independent Task Force conducting a Tomorrow’s Schools Review
  5. 5. Program Context • Virtual Learning Network (VLN) Primary School is a schools based initiative, across Aotearoa New Zealand • VLN Primary School is a registered Charitable Trust governed by its participating schools and supported, in part, by the Ministry of Education • In 2017 it had approximately 1200 NZ students from 50 schools participating in their online programmes & projects
  6. 6. Program Context Asian Language Learning in Schools (ALLiS) • VLN Primary project aimed to: o provide access to Asian Language learning opportunities for students; o be inclusive of professional learning for teachers; o improve access to quality, relevant digital resources; o develop opportunities for global collaborations; o have scope for regional face to face learning opportunities such as cultural immersion days; o promote, support and extend Asian language pathways from primary through to secondary; o be inclusive of a growing number of schools requiring virtual learning support for their programmes.
  7. 7. Literature Review • Vast majority of the research that has been conducted into K-12 virtual learning has focused on one of two things: o Perceptions of stakeholders (e.g., students, teachers, administrators, etc.) o Examinations of the regulatory and/or funding environments
  8. 8. Methodology • Case study • Data sources included: o Student surveys (n = 25) o Student focus groups (n = 6; 2 x 3 students) o Teacher surveys (n = 7) o Teacher interviews (n = 2)
  9. 9. Findings – Students • Liked being able to learn an Asian language o Expressed some concerns about difficulties with learning appeared to focus on pronunciation of words • Students found that learning in a different space (i.e.,"other than their classroom”) engaged a different expectation regarding their behaviour and learning
  10. 10. Findings – Students • The online learning was therefore “better than an ordinary class” because the class sizes were “smaller” and there was more opportunity to receive teacher attention • While technology was a captivating learning tool, technical difficulties tended to offset the convenience
  11. 11. Findings – Teachers • The teaching experience through VLNP has been a largely positive one • Generally the teachers felt well supported to deliver the online programme • While teachers were generally positive towards the VLNP programme and the support they were receiving, apprehensions concerned inadequate technological support from the school end
  12. 12. Findings – Teachers • Both teachers utilised their own resources, but felt they could turn to support staff if they needed further resources • While they perceived the classes to be fun and both felt that learning was effective, one limitation of the programme revolved around the lack of physical presence of the students themselves • Due to time constraints, both teachers emphasised the importance of independent study for deeper learning
  13. 13. Conclusions • A small-scale exploratory study, which is necessarily limited in terms of participant numbers and one-time snapshots • Two key issues emerge that warrant further investigation: 1. Technological challenges, which would require schools to invest more in computers/digital devices and infrastructure 2. Limited online class contact time, which would require teachers to be more strongly supported in schools to encourage greater out-of-class independent study.
  14. 14. Additional References Tolosa, C., East, M., Barbour, M., & Owens, H. (2017). CoOL or not CoOL? Learning an Asian language online in the context of communities of online learning. The New Zealand Language Teacher, 43, 51-62.
  15. 15. Your Questions and Comments
  16. 16. Associate Professor of Instructional Design Touro University California