Digital Innovations and Research In Language Learning (Abstracts) part 2

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On 3 February 2020, our new Research book, ‘Digital Innovations and Research in Language Learning’ was published. This publication is available to purchase from Amazon. It is also available to our current members and can be downloaded for free. More information about the book has already been shared on a permanent page on this site which can be accessed here or via the menu bar above.

This is part two of two posts sharing the chapter abstracts. An online research conference with some of the authors presenting their chapters is planned for Friday 15 May and will be open to members and non-members.

MEMBERS ONLY. In order to download the .pdf you need to go to the main IATEFL website, log in with your username and it can be accessed via the SIG resources section. However, If you are using a mobile device and want either the .epub version or .mobi version to use on an e-reader, such as Kindle, then watch the following video below about how you can do this.

Digital Innovations and Research in Language Learning

A Project of IATEFL’s Learning Technologies Special Interest Group

Edited by Sophia Mavridi and Vicky Saumell

The first six abstracts were shared in a post published on 28 February.

Remote language teaching and continuing professional development by Alicia Artusi and Graham Stanley

Abstract: Remote language teaching, the innovative practice of teaching a language interactively via videoconferencing, requires an innovative approach to continuing professional development (CPD) for those teaching remotely. This chapter looks at how remote teaching is different from face-to-face classroom teaching and how that affects the approach to CPD. After taking a general look at CPD and remote teaching, the chapter uses the large-scale remote teaching project that the British Council is undertaking in Uruguay in partnership with the government agency Plan Ceibal to examine how an evidence-based approach was used to understand the needs of teachers to provide CPD based on the British Council’s Teaching for Success framework.

Fostering students’ digital responsibility, ethics and safety skills (DRESS) by Sophia Mavridi

Abstract: This chapter underlines the importance of equipping young people with digital responsibility skills and highlights the major role teachers can play in encouraging this. It also provides a basic understanding of how instructional practices can be implemented and what pedagogical considerations these may involve. The present study is the first phase of a larger research project on digital responsibility and eSafety education in digital language learning. It explores teachers’ perceptions of how students’ Digital Responsibility, Ethics and Safety Skills (DRESS) can be fostered in the classroom, and examines what recommendations might be made in light of this. Eight educators who have integrated digital responsibility instruction into their curricula were interviewed, and the subsequent data were analysed inductively following a thematic analysis approach. The findings suggest that teachers perceive equipping young people with skills and competences to use technology responsibly, ethically and safely as an integral part of technology integration. However, it is emphasised that instructional practices should not only aim at helping students understand and deal with online risk. They should also empower them to make better use of the opportunities provided online through active participation and informed decisions about the content they consume, create or share within online communities. Language teachers seem to have a perceived advantage in integrating DRESS because teaching a language is seen as closely related to soft skills development. However, further research is needed to explore what pedagogical considerations specific to language learning this might involve and how language professionals should be involved in promoting it.

Virtual reality in English language teaching by Pete Sharma

Abstract: This chapter explores research on Virtual Reality using HMDs (head-mounted displays) in language teaching. It focuses mainly on low, mid and high-end VR devices: Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear and HTC Vive. The chapter is research-driven and takes two approaches. Firstly, it summarises the results of a number of online searches which attempt to identify the literature and research in this area. Secondly, it reports on the results of two small-scale questionnaires for students and teachers to establish their knowledge, experience and attitude towards VR in language teaching and learning.

The resulting discussion explores definitions of VR looking at several concepts including immersiveness, interaction and the link between VR and motivation.  Concerns about using VR are also explored, such as the possibility of motion sickness. The article concludes with some practical teaching ideas and considerations for future research.

Chasing engagement: where goal setting meets gamification by Henno Kotzé & Ceara McManus

Abstract: As language educators, we know that motivation is a key determining factor in how well students progress in their learning, yet, fostering motivation in our learners is not always straightforward. For EAP learners studying in a high-stakes, intensive university pathways program, motivation often plays a decisive role in whether they are successful in their language learning studies or not. We also know that numerous variables can enhance student motivation, including goal setting, gamification and game-based learning, and conditions supporting autonomy, relatedness and competence. The interplay between these factors and their impact, however, is not quite as widely researched.

This chapter presents an action research project conducted at a university English language centre in Australia. The project investigated the impact of goal setting combined with elements of digital gamification and game-based learning to boost students’ motivation to engage in English outside of class. Data were collected through longitudinal qualitative and quantitative surveys, and from the digital scavenger hunt platform used.  The results support the hypothesis that motivation to engage in the target language outside of class can be positively influenced through goal setting, using gamification and game-based learning for goal achievement, and supporting learners’ autonomy, competences and relatedness between their studies and lives.

Evaluating reflection and language proficiency through video journals by Sandra Morales and Gabriela Silva

Abstract: This paper discusses the implementation of reflective video journals with student teachers in an initial teacher training programme. In the ELT programme at our university, English language courses are divided into different modules. In the module called ‘Tutorials’, student teachers reflect on issues about language, and language learning and teaching. To evaluate the student teachers’ reflective and language learning process in Tutorials, we decided to implement video journals. To assess their effectiveness in meeting the objectives, we conducted an exploratory study, where we used a questionnaire and interviews to gather information and applied descriptive statistics and content analysis to explore the data. Findings suggest that video journals support the development of the student teachers’ reflective and language skills and help instructors to understand the student teachers’ processes. We strongly suggest video journals to be included in initial teacher training courses due to their value as both a developmental and evaluation tool. 

Promoting autonomy in academic writing via the ‘digital noesis’ model: an action research study by Anna Bougia

Abstract: According to the European Commission’s annual report on students’ digital literacy skills (2014), Greece is ranked in the 26th position out of 28 European countries. Nowadays, instructors in Higher Education face the challenge not only to transfer their knowledge, but also to provide students with the necessary skills to become autonomous learners and multiple skilled future professionals. In this two-cycle individual teacher action research study, I explore the effectiveness of digital technologies and particularly wikis, blogs, Google Drive and Vlogs in the training and development of learner autonomy, and I propose an innovative model of use of web 2.0 tools for cultivating autonomy in academic writing.


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