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Using Technology to Stay Relevant and Increase Learner Autonomy and Proficiency Dr. Jason Jolley Missouri State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Technology to Stay Relevant and Increase Learner Autonomy and Proficiency Dr. Jason Jolley Missouri State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Technology to Stay Relevant and Increase Learner Autonomy and Proficiency Dr. Jason Jolley Missouri State University

2 Themes 1. Technology is a game changer. We need to decide whether it is a threat, an opportunity, or both, and how to respond. 2. The students we have in our classes interact differently with technology than previous generations of students. 3. Education and teaching are facing significant external scrutiny and pressures. 4. As instructors we can only stay relevant (and employed!) if we adapt by reconceptualizing our roles. 5. Thanks to the Internet and mobile devices, content is available everywhere. Much of it is free and of very good quality. 6. There are some good reasons to encourage our students to take advantage of online content.

3 Technology has changed how people access information. The internet in particular has upended entire industries. Could education be next?

4 R.I.P. – Music Stores Tower Records declares bankruptcy Gazillions of songs…

5 R.I.P – Video Stores? Remember Hollywood Video? Easier to order online…

6 R.I.P – Bookstores? Borders in bankruptcy protection On-demand reading…

7 R.I.P – Newspapers? Webpage reports: Print newspapers folding Blog much?

8 You’ve been outsourced! Customer service Information technology Financial services Industry and manufacturing Education/teaching? See you on Skype!

9 WWGD? “When faced with any challenge today, it makes sense to ask: WWGD? What Would Google Do? In management, commerce, news, media, marketing, service industries, investing, politics, government, and even education and religion, answering that question is a key to navigating a world that has radically changed forever.”

10 WWGD? “Just as every other institution explained in this book is facing fundamental changes to its essence and existence in the Google age, so is education. Indeed, education is one of the institutions most deserving of disruption—and with the greatest opportunities to come of it.”

11 Discussion… In a very real sense, what happened to companies like Tower Records, Hollywood Video, Borders, and the Cincinnati Post was that they were not able to adapt quickly enough to changing environments. They were forced to shut down their traditional formats and now see online delivery as key to their reemergence. Does this evolve-or-face-extinction model apply to us as educators as well? What can the reactions of companies suggest to us in terms of strategy? For teachers, is technology a threat, an opportunity, or both?

12 Our students experience technology differently than previous generations of young people. To understand how they learn we need to appreciate how they use technology.

13 Post-Millennials & Tech Short attention spans Multitaskers (or so they say) is so 2004… Texters, not talkers 1,000+ Facebook friends Smart phones are their laptops Google and Wikipedia have the answers “Why Can’t I do this online?” They expect life to come with an interface

14 Discussion… What have you noticed about technology use by your students? What are some of the positive and negative effects of our students’ tech-heavy lifestyle? How are your students using technology to learn in and outside of the classroom setting?

15 In midst of economic crisis, education and the teaching profession have come under intense public scrutiny. Teachers are facing blame and new pressures from a variety of sources. Significant changes to the traditional educational paradigm are coming, and they involve technology.

16 Pressures Facing Teachers Public employees have taken a lot of the blame for states’ budgetary problems Wisconsin case – teachers lost bargaining rights Taxpayers and legislators demanding accountability We’re being asked to prove students are learning Assessment, NCLB, standardized tests, etc. Missouri HB 628 Ends tenure Ties pay to performance, including student scores Access: “Serve more students” (“Do more with less”) Talk of outsourcing the curriculum in some states

17 George L. Mehaffey Higher education (also K-12?) Designed in the 11 th century Functions on a 19 th century agrarian calendar Tries to prepare students to live and work in the 21 st century Three challenges that will force change Declining funding Rising expectations Rapidly developing technology

18 Mehaffey, cont. On Technology: “The model of the university as a collection of experts, the model of teaching that requires expert knowledge, the model of an institution that requires the physical presence of human beings...all of these are being called into question in the Information Age.”

19 Discussion… Are some of these pressures beginning to affect how you feel about the continuity of your language program or even the security of your own employment? Do you think there are ways to help our students benefit from these new emphases on accountability, performance, and outcomes?

20 To remain relevant in a time when expertly designed and delivered content is available for free, 24/7, instructors need to reconceptualize their roles. We need to shift our emphasis from content delivery (covering the material) to doing other things that will improve learning outcomes.

21 More from Mehaffey Four traditional roles of faculty/teachers: Select the content that is most critical Design the educational experiences that will optimize learning Deliver instruction Assess learning outcomes and assign grades

22 Mehaffey, cont. Suggestions for redefined roles for teachers: Get over love affair with “expertise” Focus most efforts on creating learning environments, interactive spaces conducive to learning (not necessarily the classroom) Design activities for students outside of class Become designers of student work done independent of faculty Play supportive, problem-solving (facilitating) role Focus on certifying learning outcomes

23 Discussion… What aspects of Mehaffey’s vision do you find most appealing – or most troubling? To what extent are you already making some of the adjustments Mehaffey equates with the revision of our role as instructors? What can instructors do to encourage their students to take more responsibility for and ownership of their own learning?

24 Thanks to the Internet and mobile devices, content is available everywhere. Much of this content is free and of very good quality. Some of these resources have the potential to greatly enhance our students’ language proficiency.

25 What’s Out There? Online Language-learning Resources: Complete, stand-alone online language courses (BBC) Language tutorial websites and quiz/exercise banks Databases/collections of games/activities (Quia.com) Online video tutorials (YouTube) Language exchange websites (Livemocha.com) iPhone apps …?

26 What Else? Online Language Exposure Resources Any target-language website (authentic texts) Major target-language web portals (multi-media) Video content produced by target language speakers YouTube ‘Vlogs’ Social networking tools Facebook (and language-specific sites: Tuenti, Orkut) Twitter Instant messaging tools, chat sites Videoconferencing communities Anything you can do online in L1 can be done in L2

27 Why I ♥ livemocha.com Courses in more than 20 languages Courses are media rich (images, sound) Courses are interactive Users can add tips on pronunciation, grammar, etc. You get feedback from other users on exercises you submit Much of the content is free Language-exchange website with built-in social networking Friending function Instant messaging (with text, audio, video) Completely integrated with Facebook

28 Discussion… How might students be able to use social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook to enhance their language learning? What are some of the online resources you most often recommend to your students? What are some kinds of resources you might advise your students to avoid? Do you model use of online resources in class hoping your students will explore them further on their own?

29 What I do… Encourage my students do autonomous language- learning activities These are activities chosen by the learner Done outside of class, on students’ own time Require exposure/interaction with some kind of authentic target linguistic/cultural input (online or not) Learners use a log to document and reflect on their learning Learners collect their activity logs in a portfolio Instructor evaluates portfolio, provides feedback

30 A Few Examples of ALLAs Among hundreds of other activities my students have chosen to: Transcribe song lyrics Write poetry, narratives, and film reviews Prepare a dish from a recipe and instant message native speakers Watch foreign films and make topical vocabulary lists Write original dialogues Record video blogs (vlogs) Speak with relatives in Spanish

31 Rationale - motivation These kinds of independent/autonomous assignments are consistent with two influential theories of motivation R.C. Gardner’s model for language-learning Instrumental motivation Integrative motivation Deci & Ryan: Self-determination Theory (SDT) Opportunities for self-direction (autonomy) enhance intrinsic motivation Autonomy associated with choice, flexibility, initiative Helps with internalization and transfer of learning outcomes

32 Other Rationales for ALLAs Work well in the context of proficiency-/standards- based instruction (outcomes, assessment, etc.) Complement student-centered teaching models Active learning Experiential learning Free-choice learning Student-directed learning Promote the personalization of learning Differentiation of curriculum Differences in learner styles, strategies, intelligence types

33 Benefits of ALLAs ALLAs help learners increase their proficiency outside of class. They allow learners to connect language-learning with their own interests (relevance) They have the potential to increase learner motivation. They encourage habits of lifelong learning. They help to make learners more responsible for their own learning.

34 Encouraging Autonomy Strategies for increasing learner autonomy and responsibility: Educate students regarding proficiency standards and expected learning and performance outcomes Build opportunities for students to direct their own learning into the curriculum (structured autonomy) Recommend/model best practices (“nudge” them) Encourage students to document and reflect on the learning activities they engage in outside of class (log) Make sure such efforts count towards their grade Trust them with control. They may surprise you…

35 WWGD? “Give the people control and we will use it. Don’t and you will lose us. That is the essential rule of the new age. Previously, the powerful—companies, institutions, and governments— believed they were in control, and they were. But no more. Now the internet allows us to speak to the world, to organize ourselves, to find and to spread information, to challenge old ways, to retake control.”

36 "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." – Darwin

37 References Ryan, R. M., & E.L Deci. “Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well- being. American Psychologist 55 (2000): Gardner, R.C. “Language Learning Motivation: The Student, the Teacher, and the Researcher.” Texas Papers in Foreign Language Education 6.1 (Fall 2001): Jarvis, Jeff. What Would Google Do? New York: Harper Collins, Mehaffey, George L. “Medieval Models, Agrarian Calendars, and 21 st Century Imperatives.” Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University Fall Web. 13 March Missouri HB 628 (summary): /sHB628I.htm /sHB628I.htm

38 I adapted and survived!


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