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opening statement by Phil and Mike

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  • Sophie and Yiannis
    Hello everyone. We are delighted to join Sophie in bringing the trends and issues of teacher education in CALL out into an open forum. The past few years have
    Message 1 of 19 , Apr 2, 2006
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      Hello everyone.

      We are delighted to join Sophie in bringing the trends and issues of teacher education in CALL out into an open forum. The past few years have seen a growth of interest in this arm of the field and increasingly tools and applications with the computer at their heart have moved into the mainstream of language teaching. It is clear that teachers are not as prepared as they should be to use this technology effectively, and that two elements of CALL make it different from other forms of teacher training. The first is the fact that so many current teachers have little or no formal preparation; the second is that the field changes so rapidly that technology-using teachers have to update their skills and knowledge much more regularly than they need to update other aspects of their language teaching. This led to our interest in producing the first edited volume dedicated to the topic of CALL teacher training.

      The two of us have had the privilege over the past two years to acquire a broad picture of the state of CALL education through reading multiple drafts of the chapters contributed by CALL teacher educators from around the world. In the opening chapter of the book, available on the IATEFL LTechs SIG website, we identify four broad trends influencing CALL education:
      1) the production of training and support materials directly oriented toward classroom teachers;
      2) a small but growing literature in CALL teacher education itself at the levels of both research and practice;
      3) frameworks that attempt to define CALL practice on the basis of principles derived from particular language teaching approaches, especially those supported by SLA (second language acquisition) research;
      4) the use of online collaborative learning techniques in CALL teacher education with a growing interest in the quality of the transfer of skills and expertise from formal courses to the language classroom.
      As Sophie noted in the preliminary announcement, we have also identified five themes in CALL education that have emerged in multiple chapters in the book:
      1) the need for both technical and pedagogical training in CALL, ideally integrated with one another;
      2) the recognition of the limits of formal teaching because the technology changes so rapidly;
      3) the need to connect CALL education to authentic teaching settings, especially ones where software, hardware, and technical support differ from the ideal;
      4) the idea of using CALL to learn about CALL-�experiencing educational applications of technology firsthand as a student to learn how to use technology as a teacher;
      5) the value of having CALL permeate the language teacher education curriculum rather than appear solely in a standalone course.
      We believe these are good starting points for the discussion and welcome comments on any of them. In addition, we will be bringing up more specific issues over the course of the week, some of which relate to the points above. We encourage participants to bring up other issues of importance to them.

      Cheers,

      Phil and Mike

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Stephen Bax
      Hello everyone. Thanks a lot to Sophie, as always, for her work in setting up this theme, and to Phil and Mike for acting as hosts. I am personally
      Message 2 of 19 , Apr 3, 2006
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        Hello everyone.

        Thanks a lot to Sophie, as always, for her work in setting up this theme, and to Phil and Mike for
        acting as hosts. I am personally particularly interested in the first three aspects they identify, namely:

        1) the need for both technical and pedagogical training in CALL, ideally
        integrated with one another;
        2) the recognition of the limits of formal teaching because the technology
        changes so rapidly;
        3) the need to connect CALL education to authentic teaching settings,
        especially ones where software, hardware, and technical support differ from the
        ideal;

        I agree with all of these aims. In my experience of training teachers in CALL over the years, I started
        with a rather technical approach, thinking that it was my main duty to develop their technical
        understanding and abilities. But I have switched my focus and emphasis completely over the years to
        focus far more on the contexts in which they teach and might teach.

        I see this as particularly important in view of the point which Mike and Phil make about the
        technology moving so rapidly, which means that if we simply 'show them technology' this may be
        useless a year later. So now, instead of spending my sessions on looking at different software and
        hardware, I try instead to develop teachers' understanding of such things as their roles and the contexts
        in
        which they work, and then on how they can find new resources, explore them and - most important -
        evaluate their usefulness for the contexts in which they teach.

        For me the most salient indicator of the change in my own practice is the assignment I set - it used to
        be something like:

        -find and evaluate resources for ICT in the language classroom

        but now it starts determinedly with the context, and is more like:

        -identify a particular teaching and learning context in detail, focussing on learner needs. Then find and
        identify ICT resources which relate to these student needs and show how they could help your learners.

        ...in other words, context first and technology second! This is in line with my 'Context Approach' to
        ELT in general, as a way of enhancing teachers' awareness of the contexts in which they work.

        I wonder if anyone else has chnaged the way they address teacher education in ICT/CALL over the
        years?

        Stephen Bax
        Canterbury
      • Dennis Newson
        Phil and Mike and members of the list, I have recently graduated - the word is much too formal - from a six-week, online course (Baw 06 - Becoming a webhead
        Message 3 of 19 , Apr 3, 2006
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          Phil and Mike and members of the list,

          I have recently 'graduated' - the word is much too formal - from a six-week,
          online course (Baw 06 - Becoming a webhead 2006) on the use of the internet
          in the context of foreign language teaching, specifically English as a
          second or foreign language, put on by EVO (electronic village online), a
          branch, I understand, of TESOL. Many of the tutors on that range of courses
          including how to use blogs and podcasts and Wikis, were also members of
          Vance Stevens' webheads who, as individuals, are involved in many online
          TEFL/TESL/TESOL events and have a weekly meeting at Tapped In - a virtual
          site.
          The webheads also make regular use of the platforms Alado and World Bridges,
          the latter for webcasting.

          One of the members of the Baw06 course, within the last three weeks, has
          started a new Yahoogroups course named learningwithcomputers. This is
          already a lively group, with members from around the world, teaching each
          other to do things like resize photos for publication or transmission on the
          net and how to use voice mails.

          My question is - how would you comment on this sort of activity? Are we
          witnessing here a very active but misrepresentative minority, or is it
          rather an example of exactly how things should be?

          Dennis (Newson)


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Diane Slaouti
          Hello everyone Picking up on your points Stephen, I agree totally with this foregrounding of context. We have to recognise that context acts as a filter to the
          Message 4 of 19 , Apr 3, 2006
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            Hello everyone

            Picking up on your points Stephen, I agree totally with this foregrounding of
            context. We have to recognise that context acts as a filter to the ways
            teachers encounter their learning about the potentials of technology. It's a
            useful and salutary process to be reminded as a trainer that ideas that
            I might
            present will not necessarily work in other contexts so we have to see
            beyond the
            exemplars and develop some transferable strategies and knowledge.

            In fact I and Gary Motteram here in Manchester have contributed a chapter to
            Phil and Mike's book and for that we carried out some research to tap
            into some
            of our graduates' views of learning during and beyond their Masters. We were
            interested in understanding how they viewed some of the processes they engaged
            in and how they took that learning into their contexts.

            We were quite surprised at the number of times assignments were mentioned. Our
            assignments are very similar to what you describe. During the course
            they cause
            some stress as they are a bit of an unknown. But looking back many
            teachers saw
            these as a memorable component of their learning. They seemed to equate the
            thinking about technology in context through the tasks with some metacognitive
            process ie something more than just demonstrating they had developed knowledge
            about ICT or extended their technical skills. Of course this should go for
            development tasks whether formally assessed or not and we need to think about
            how we achieve this at different levels.

            But I have to recognise that there's another dimension to this. You
            mention the
            need to 'connect CALL education to authentic teaching settings,
            especially ones
            where software, hardware, and technical support differ from the ideal.' Total
            agreement but context can be a really strong filter, resulting in some saying
            they can't see how they can 'make things work.' So it's a matter of empowering
            teachers to see workable possibilities despite the constraints that might
            exist.

            One thing that can be empowering is teacher sharing - of their contexts and
            solutions they have found. When it works well, the sharing seems to act as a
            catalyst. Teachers might grab hold of just a small idea but it is something
            they realise might work in their own context. I think this is something
            we tend
            to do more of too - foregrounding the importance of teachers talking and
            sharing. And of course online communication technologies and events such as
            this are an example of the huge developments we've seen in recent years
            that allow us to share contexts worldwide, not simply in small localised
            groups.

            Diane

            Quoting Stephen Bax <sb1@...>:

            > Hello everyone.
            >
            > Thanks a lot to Sophie, as always, for her work in setting up this
            > theme, and to Phil and Mike for
            > acting as hosts. I am personally particularly interested in the first
            > three aspects they identify, namely:
            >
            > 1) the need for both technical and pedagogical training in CALL, ideally
            > integrated with one another;
            > 2) the recognition of the limits of formal teaching because the technology
            > changes so rapidly;
            > 3) the need to connect CALL education to authentic teaching settings,
            > especially ones where software, hardware, and technical support
            > differ from the
            > ideal;
            >
            > I agree with all of these aims. In my experience of training teachers
            > in CALL over the years, I started
            > with a rather technical approach, thinking that it was my main duty
            > to develop their technical
            > understanding and abilities. But I have switched my focus and
            > emphasis completely over the years to
            > focus far more on the contexts in which they teach and might teach.
            >
            > I see this as particularly important in view of the point which Mike
            > and Phil make about the
            > technology moving so rapidly, which means that if we simply 'show
            > them technology' this may be
            > useless a year later. So now, instead of spending my sessions on
            > looking at different software and
            > hardware, I try instead to develop teachers' understanding of such
            > things as their roles and the contexts
            > in
            > which they work, and then on how they can find new resources, explore
            > them and - most important -
            > evaluate their usefulness for the contexts in which they teach.
            >
            > For me the most salient indicator of the change in my own practice is
            > the assignment I set - it used to
            > be something like:
            >
            > -find and evaluate resources for ICT in the language classroom
            >
            > but now it starts determinedly with the context, and is more like:
            >
            > -identify a particular teaching and learning context in detail,
            > focussing on learner needs. Then find and
            > identify ICT resources which relate to these student needs and show
            > how they could help your learners.
            >
            > ...in other words, context first and technology second! This is in
            > line with my 'Context Approach' to
            > ELT in general, as a way of enhancing teachers' awareness of the
            > contexts in which they work.
            >
            > I wonder if anyone else has chnaged the way they address teacher
            > education in ICT/CALL over the
            > years?
            >
            > Stephen Bax
            > Canterbury
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >



            --
            Diane Slaouti
            Lecturer in Education
            Language Teacher Education
            School of Education, University of Manchester
            M13 9PL
            tel +44 (0)161 275 5305
            diane.slaouti@...
          • Mike Levy
            Hello everyone, Stephen’s email really got me thinking, especially about what context means and, pedagogical issues concerned with transfer, particularly in
            Message 5 of 19 , Apr 3, 2006
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              Hello everyone,

              Stephen’s email really got me thinking, especially about what context
              means and, pedagogical issues concerned with transfer, particularly in
              facilitating the transfer of knowledge from the more formal environments
              of the course to real teaching settings. Here are a few preliminary
              thoughts on these two questions...

              For me, I don't really think of “context first and technology second”
              because I think the technology is very much part of the context:
              Everything is mixed together in the pot, so to speak. I would find it very
              difficult to separate the context from the technology. When teaching say
              students from parts of the world where they have very limited access to
              the telephone, let alone computers, dealing with the technology dimension
              (what's available, questions of access, reliability of connections etc.)
              is an immediate part of dealing with or understanding the context -- it's
              not something that can wait till later because it is such a fundamental
              issue.

              In a different sense, it's similar when I discuss CALL with high school
              language teachers. If they only have access to computers once a week on
              Fridays from two o'clock to three o'clock then that level of access and
              the time available inevitably impinges on an understanding of the context
              and the teacher is obliged to work within these constraints. Equally, if
              students are studying in an intensive program with new technologies
              readily available every day in the classroom, the approach would be
              different. Still, there can be no denying that understanding contextual
              issues is fundamental to understanding ICT/CALL. What do you think?

              On the issue of transfer from formal courses to real-world settings (a
              recurring theme in our book on teacher education and CALL), a big issue
              for me is the diversity of the students in class and their contexts. Like
              many others, I have students from all parts of the world and many plan to
              return to their home countries after their formal education is complete.
              There are many ways we can try and bridge this divide when they go home
              using technology, but I do find it really challenging meeting such diverse
              needs within a single class every week while they’re in their formal
              course because their goals, backgrounds & potential contexts are so
              different.

              Well, there are some initial thoughts on my part. Thanks again to Stephen
              for raising some very important issues.

              Mike




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Mike Levy
              Dennis, You ask a very interesting question. I certainly couldn t say exactly how things should be? . I tend not to think there is a right and a wrong in that
              Message 6 of 19 , Apr 3, 2006
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                Dennis,

                You ask a very interesting question. I certainly couldn't say "exactly how
                things should be?". I tend not to think there is a right and a wrong in
                that sense. I do know that in general Phil and I tend to avoid being too
                prescriptive in our approach to teacher education and CALL. Language
                teachers can learn valuable skills, knowledge and information in many ways
                and from many sources.

                But perhaps in your question your concern is whether people are getting
                too carried away with the technology itself. Would that be a correct
                interpretation? Certainly, getting too much into the technology, to the
                exclusion of all else, can pose a risk, but provided we all keep our eyes
                on the goal of helping learners to learn the language effectively (and
                utilising new technologies, hardware, software to that effect), then I
                think we will be okay; and online learning communities of all kinds should
                be encouraged. What do others think?

                Mike



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • p12hubbard
                Thanks for starting off the discussion Stephen--sorry I missed yours in this venue last year but I got a lot from reading the archives. (For others who may not
                Message 7 of 19 , Apr 3, 2006
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                  Thanks for starting off the discussion Stephen--sorry I missed yours
                  in this venue last year but I got a lot from reading the archives.
                  (For others who may not know about the discussion of his article on
                  the normalisation of CALL, it starts at message 1153.)

                  I like your point about beginning with the context rather than
                  technology, especially when getting teachers started in CALL. The
                  danger for newcomers is that the technology can too easily become
                  the focus, and your "context first" approach not only makes that
                  less likely but also highlights the point that the technology is
                  only valuable to the degree that it serves the students and their
                  learning objectives.

                  I've found over the years, though, that my own incorporation of
                  technology is a bit messier than that. I sometimes see an
                  application being used for something else, and then I think about
                  how I might co-opt it for some specific use in language learning,
                  and then I explore the technology a bit more (or just play with it)
                  and this might spawn new ideas...it's not a linear process.
                  Ultimately, for me it doesn't seem to make a difference whether it's
                  technology first or context first as long as they both get
                  considered thoroughly. I try to pass that insight on to the teachers
                  I train.

                  As for your final question, when I started doing a CALL course a few
                  years ago, I focused on resources and pedagogy. In recent years I've
                  added a unit on learner training--something I'd never considered
                  before--that has grown from attempts in my language classes to get
                  students to use the CALL material more effectively on their own. I'm
                  becoming more and more convinced that a significant part of a
                  teacher's job in the foreseeable future will be to teach the
                  students to use technology more effectively just as we're working
                  now to train teachers to do so.

                  Cheers,

                  Phil Hubbard

                  --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Bax" <sb1@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Hello everyone.
                  >
                  > Thanks a lot to Sophie, as always, for her work in setting up this
                  theme, and to Phil and Mike for
                  > acting as hosts. I am personally particularly interested in the
                  first three aspects they identify, namely:
                  >
                  > 1) the need for both technical and pedagogical training in
                  CALL, ideally
                  > integrated with one another;
                  > 2) the recognition of the limits of formal teaching because the
                  technology
                  > changes so rapidly;
                  > 3) the need to connect CALL education to authentic teaching
                  settings,
                  > especially ones where software, hardware, and technical support
                  differ from the
                  > ideal;
                  >
                  > I agree with all of these aims. In my experience of training
                  teachers in CALL over the years, I started
                  > with a rather technical approach, thinking that it was my main
                  duty to develop their technical
                  > understanding and abilities. But I have switched my focus and
                  emphasis completely over the years to
                  > focus far more on the contexts in which they teach and might
                  teach.
                  >
                  > I see this as particularly important in view of the point which
                  Mike and Phil make about the
                  > technology moving so rapidly, which means that if we simply 'show
                  them technology' this may be
                  > useless a year later. So now, instead of spending my sessions on
                  looking at different software and
                  > hardware, I try instead to develop teachers' understanding of such
                  things as their roles and the contexts
                  > in
                  > which they work, and then on how they can find new resources,
                  explore them and - most important -
                  > evaluate their usefulness for the contexts in which they teach.
                  >
                  > For me the most salient indicator of the change in my own practice
                  is the assignment I set - it used to
                  > be something like:
                  >
                  > -find and evaluate resources for ICT in the language classroom
                  >
                  > but now it starts determinedly with the context, and is more like:
                  >
                  > -identify a particular teaching and learning context in detail,
                  focussing on learner needs. Then find and
                  > identify ICT resources which relate to these student needs and
                  show how they could help your learners.
                  >
                  > ...in other words, context first and technology second! This is in
                  line with my 'Context Approach' to
                  > ELT in general, as a way of enhancing teachers' awareness of the
                  contexts in which they work.
                  >
                  > I wonder if anyone else has chnaged the way they address teacher
                  education in ICT/CALL over the
                  > years?
                  >
                  > Stephen Bax
                  > Canterbury
                  >
                • Dennis Newson
                  Dear Phil, Mike and list. A longish posting that I made yesterday has frustratingly disappeared into cyberspace without leaving a trace. Briefly, I referred to
                  Message 8 of 19 , Apr 3, 2006
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                    Dear Phil, Mike and list.

                    A longish posting that I made yesterday has frustratingly disappeared into
                    cyberspace without leaving a trace. Briefly, I referred to the activities of
                    Vance Stevens and his webheads list, the TESOL EVO (electronic village on
                    line) yearly 6-week online courses on electronic tools and TEFL/TESL/TESOL -
                    including employing blogs, podcasts, voice mail, videocasts etc., bodies
                    like Tapped In, World Bridges, Alado and new Yahoogroups like
                    teachingwithcomputers and their activities and asked:

                    Mike and Phil , how would you comment on the work that these groups are
                    doing? Are we witnessing here a devoted group of entusiasts who are not
                    representative, or are they pointing the way forward?


                    Dennis


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • p12hubbard
                    Dennis, you bring up an interesting question. I would say that the enthusiasts you refer to are a growing constituency in CALL. I wouldn t say they re
                    Message 9 of 19 , Apr 3, 2006
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                      Dennis, you bring up an interesting question. I would say that the
                      enthusiasts you refer to are a growing constituency in CALL. I
                      wouldn't say they're "representative" as they are still a
                      substantial minority of teachers that use technology, but it seems
                      to me that groups like these are moving more into the mainstream.
                      The Webheads are an example of an established "community of
                      practice" (CoP) and it sounds like the teachingwithcomputers group
                      is an emerging community.

                      A good description of CoPs for technology in language teaching is
                      found in Elizabeth Hanson-Smith's chapter in our forthcoming book.
                      She has already posted a valuable set of resources on the topic at
                      http://webpages.csus.edu/~hansonsm/CoP_Resources.html

                      Besides their ability to provide ongoing mutual support and
                      mentoring for newcomers, CoPs are particularly important for
                      teachers who don't have the time or resources for formal CALL
                      training. A question for those of us who do teacher training is
                      whether to introduce CoPs in our courses, and if so how and when to
                      do it. It would be interesting to hear from anyone with experience
                      doing this, or from those who have views on the relative value of
                      CoPs vs. formal coursework for both preservice and in-service
                      teachers.

                      Phil

                      --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "Dennis Newson" <djn@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > Dear Phil, Mike and list.
                      >
                      > A longish posting that I made yesterday has frustratingly
                      disappeared into
                      > cyberspace without leaving a trace. Briefly, I referred to the
                      activities of
                      > Vance Stevens and his webheads list, the TESOL EVO (electronic
                      village on
                      > line) yearly 6-week online courses on electronic tools and
                      TEFL/TESL/TESOL -
                      > including employing blogs, podcasts, voice mail, videocasts etc.,
                      bodies
                      > like Tapped In, World Bridges, Alado and new Yahoogroups like
                      > teachingwithcomputers and their activities and asked:
                      >
                      > Mike and Phil , how would you comment on the work that these
                      groups are
                      > doing? Are we witnessing here a devoted group of entusiasts who
                      are not
                      > representative, or are they pointing the way forward?
                      >
                      >
                      > Dennis
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou
                      In response to Dennis and Phil s comments/questions on the value of online communities of practice, I ll respond from the point of view of a teacher
                      Message 10 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                        In response to Dennis and Phil's comments/questions on the value of
                        online communities of practice, I'll respond from the point of view of
                        a teacher participant in such a community.

                        I've been a member of the Webheads since 2001 (when it was something
                        else at the time)and watched the community evolve. I am usually a very
                        quiet participant - a lurker if you like. This would limit me to,
                        perhaps, deriving the least possible benefit from the community.

                        Yet, it has been a tremendous resource for me. ALthough I have often
                        not been able to catch up with all the issues discussed I feel there
                        is a commmunity of supporting people for me when I need them. A few
                        years ago, the community had been the only support I had and had
                        helped me feel that I was keeping up to date with modern developments.

                        This agrees with Phil who says that this type of learning is most
                        suitable for people who don't have the time or resources for different
                        training. I would also add for those people who don't have access to
                        different training. Many of us work in isolation either because we
                        work in geographically isolated areas or because we work in areas
                        where there is not much expertise available.

                        In addition to being a primary way of learning for many teachers, I
                        think such onlne communities should be supplementary to more formal
                        teacher training courses. Graduating from a formal course and going
                        home might keep you up to date for a couple of years and still you
                        would appreciate having the moral support of a group of colleagues.
                        This support, as well as access to continuous training can be provided
                        through online communities.

                        One of the things we should do as teacher trainers is introduce our
                        students to such communites, thus ensuring their continuous
                        development.

                        Sophie
                      • s948881
                        Hello everyone, Stephen s email really got me thinking, especially about what context means and, pedagogical issues concerned with transfer, particularly the
                        Message 11 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                          Hello everyone,

                          Stephen's email really got me thinking, especially about what context
                          means and, pedagogical issues concerned with transfer, particularly
                          the transfer of content and process knowledge from the more formal
                          environments of the course to real teaching settings. Here are a few
                          preliminary thoughts on these two questions...

                          For me, I don't really think of "context first and technology
                          second" because I think the technology is very much part of the
                          context: Everything is mixed together in the pot, so to speak. I
                          would find it very difficult to separate the context from the
                          technology. When teaching say students from parts of the world where
                          they have very limited access to the telephone, let alone computers,
                          dealing with the technology dimension (what's available, questions of
                          access, reliability of connections etc.) is an immediate part of
                          dealing with or understanding the context -- it's not something that
                          can wait till later because it is such a fundamental issue.

                          In a different sense, it's similar when I discuss CALL with high
                          school language teachers. If they only have access to computers once
                          a week on Fridays from two o'clock to three o'clock then that level
                          of access and the time available inevitably impinges on an
                          understanding of the context and the teacher is obliged to work
                          within these constraints. Equally, if students are studying in an
                          intensive program with new technologies readily available every day
                          in the classroom, the approach would be different. Still, there can
                          be no denying that understanding contextual issues is fundamental to
                          understanding ICT/CALL. What do you think?

                          On the issue of transfer from formal courses to real-world settings
                          (a recurring theme in our book on teacher education and CALL), a big
                          issue for me is the diversity of the students in class and their
                          contexts. Like many others, I have students from all parts of the
                          world and many plan to return to their home countries after their
                          formal education is complete. There are many ways we can try and
                          bridge this divide when they go home using technology, but I do find
                          it really challenging meeting such diverse needs within a single
                          class every week while they're in their formal course because their
                          goals, backgrounds & potential contexts are so different.

                          Well, there are some initial thoughts on my part. Thanks again to
                          Stephen for raising some very important issues.

                          Mike





                          --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "p12hubbard"
                          <p12hubbard@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Thanks for starting off the discussion Stephen--sorry I missed
                          yours
                          > in this venue last year but I got a lot from reading the archives.
                          > (For others who may not know about the discussion of his article on
                          > the normalisation of CALL, it starts at message 1153.)
                          >
                          > I like your point about beginning with the context rather than
                          > technology, especially when getting teachers started in CALL. The
                          > danger for newcomers is that the technology can too easily become
                          > the focus, and your "context first" approach not only makes that
                          > less likely but also highlights the point that the technology is
                          > only valuable to the degree that it serves the students and their
                          > learning objectives.
                          >
                          > I've found over the years, though, that my own incorporation of
                          > technology is a bit messier than that. I sometimes see an
                          > application being used for something else, and then I think about
                          > how I might co-opt it for some specific use in language learning,
                          > and then I explore the technology a bit more (or just play with it)
                          > and this might spawn new ideas...it's not a linear process.
                          > Ultimately, for me it doesn't seem to make a difference whether
                          it's
                          > technology first or context first as long as they both get
                          > considered thoroughly. I try to pass that insight on to the
                          teachers
                          > I train.
                          >
                          > As for your final question, when I started doing a CALL course a
                          few
                          > years ago, I focused on resources and pedagogy. In recent years
                          I've
                          > added a unit on learner training--something I'd never considered
                          > before--that has grown from attempts in my language classes to get
                          > students to use the CALL material more effectively on their own.
                          I'm
                          > becoming more and more convinced that a significant part of a
                          > teacher's job in the foreseeable future will be to teach the
                          > students to use technology more effectively just as we're working
                          > now to train teachers to do so.
                          >
                          > Cheers,
                          >
                          > Phil Hubbard
                          >
                          > --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Bax" <sb1@>
                          > wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Hello everyone.
                          > >
                          > > Thanks a lot to Sophie, as always, for her work in setting up
                          this
                          > theme, and to Phil and Mike for
                          > > acting as hosts. I am personally particularly interested in the
                          > first three aspects they identify, namely:
                          > >
                          > > 1) the need for both technical and pedagogical training in
                          > CALL, ideally
                          > > integrated with one another;
                          > > 2) the recognition of the limits of formal teaching because
                          the
                          > technology
                          > > changes so rapidly;
                          > > 3) the need to connect CALL education to authentic teaching
                          > settings,
                          > > especially ones where software, hardware, and technical support
                          > differ from the
                          > > ideal;
                          > >
                          > > I agree with all of these aims. In my experience of training
                          > teachers in CALL over the years, I started
                          > > with a rather technical approach, thinking that it was my main
                          > duty to develop their technical
                          > > understanding and abilities. But I have switched my focus and
                          > emphasis completely over the years to
                          > > focus far more on the contexts in which they teach and might
                          > teach.
                          > >
                          > > I see this as particularly important in view of the point which
                          > Mike and Phil make about the
                          > > technology moving so rapidly, which means that if we simply 'show
                          > them technology' this may be
                          > > useless a year later. So now, instead of spending my sessions on
                          > looking at different software and
                          > > hardware, I try instead to develop teachers' understanding of
                          such
                          > things as their roles and the contexts
                          > > in
                          > > which they work, and then on how they can find new resources,
                          > explore them and - most important -
                          > > evaluate their usefulness for the contexts in which they teach.
                          > >
                          > > For me the most salient indicator of the change in my own
                          practice
                          > is the assignment I set - it used to
                          > > be something like:
                          > >
                          > > -find and evaluate resources for ICT in the language classroom
                          > >
                          > > but now it starts determinedly with the context, and is more like:
                          > >
                          > > -identify a particular teaching and learning context in detail,
                          > focussing on learner needs. Then find and
                          > > identify ICT resources which relate to these student needs and
                          > show how they could help your learners.
                          > >
                          > > ...in other words, context first and technology second! This is
                          in
                          > line with my 'Context Approach' to
                          > > ELT in general, as a way of enhancing teachers' awareness of the
                          > contexts in which they work.
                          > >
                          > > I wonder if anyone else has chnaged the way they address teacher
                          > education in ICT/CALL over the
                          > > years?
                          > >
                          > > Stephen Bax
                          > > Canterbury
                          > >
                          >
                        • Steven Sharp
                          I would agree with the last segment, in that there is the probability that people will get carried away with technology. People in general get the notion that
                          Message 12 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                            I would agree with the last segment, in that there is the probability that
                            people will get carried away with technology. People in general get the
                            notion that wow, I can do that with a computer, and why shouldn't I. They
                            try to do things, that would much more simply and quickly done without
                            technology, and end up bogging dow the process with unnessary technology.
                            An example, I was teaching in a middle school, and we had a test preparation
                            evening. The "technology" saavy people, or at least some of them, noted we
                            had all the student pictures, and we could easily make "tickets" for each
                            student with their pictures on it. Unfortunately, they didn't take into
                            account the fact that it takes a while to print out tickets with pictures,
                            and the process got further bogged down with lost tickets. So, we ended up
                            spending the first hour of the test preparation waiting for the final
                            tickets to be printed out. This kind of one-mindedness, which didn't allow
                            for the non-technical solution of pen and paper, is very problematic, and
                            while not directly related to instruction, takes a lot away from the time of
                            possible instruction. Just because we can do something with technology,
                            doesn't mean we should. More factors needt to be taken into consideration.

                            On 4/3/06, Mike Levy <michael.levy@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Dennis,
                            >
                            > You ask a very interesting question. I certainly couldn't say "exactly how
                            >
                            > things should be?". I tend not to think there is a right and a wrong in
                            > that sense. I do know that in general Phil and I tend to avoid being too
                            > prescriptive in our approach to teacher education and CALL. Language
                            > teachers can learn valuable skills, knowledge and information in many ways
                            >
                            > and from many sources.
                            >
                            > But perhaps in your question your concern is whether people are getting
                            > too carried away with the technology itself. Would that be a correct
                            > interpretation? Certainly, getting too much into the technology, to the
                            > exclusion of all else, can pose a risk, but provided we all keep our eyes
                            > on the goal of helping learners to learn the language effectively (and
                            > utilising new technologies, hardware, software to that effect), then I
                            > think we will be okay; and online learning communities of all kinds should
                            >
                            > be encouraged. What do others think?
                            >
                            > Mike
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
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                          • james wilson
                            Dear all, Enthusiasts??- You would think that the so-called enthusiasts would have developed and grown enormously over the past 10 to 15 years considering
                            Message 13 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                              Dear all,

                              Enthusiasts??- You would think that the so-called enthusiasts would have developed and grown enormously over the past 10 to 15 years considering all that has been written and presented on the subject of CALL /EdTech etc. and also considering the amount of consultancy and training that has been carried out over the years. Where are all these trained trainers?

                              These “minority of teachers” you may find are a minority of the larger majority of would-be teachers that would use technology if they were blessed with similar resources and support that most of the contributors to the discussion take for granted in their normal professional life.

                              Personally, I believe that many are wandering down the wrong lane of ideology. They are consumed by the hype of ever-changing technology and the desire to keep abreast with these new upbeat approaches that they are forgetting the simpler human aspects i.e. the user (learner/student) and probably a more apt description in this modern educational society the “client”, for without, where would your modern fandangle(s) fit in?

                              Regards
                              James



                              p12hubbard <p12hubbard@...> wrote:
                              Dennis, you bring up an interesting question. I would say that the
                              enthusiasts you refer to are a growing constituency in CALL. I
                              wouldn't say they're "representative" as they are still a
                              substantial minority of teachers that use technology, but it seems
                              to me that groups like these are moving more into the mainstream.
                              The Webheads are an example of an established "community of
                              practice" (CoP) and it sounds like the teachingwithcomputers group
                              is an emerging community.

                              A good description of CoPs for technology in language teaching is
                              found in Elizabeth Hanson-Smith's chapter in our forthcoming book.
                              She has already posted a valuable set of resources on the topic at
                              http://webpages.csus.edu/~hansonsm/CoP_Resources.html

                              Besides their ability to provide ongoing mutual support and
                              mentoring for newcomers, CoPs are particularly important for
                              teachers who don't have the time or resources for formal CALL
                              training. A question for those of us who do teacher training is
                              whether to introduce CoPs in our courses, and if so how and when to
                              do it. It would be interesting to hear from anyone with experience
                              doing this, or from those who have views on the relative value of
                              CoPs vs. formal coursework for both preservice and in-service
                              teachers.

                              Phil

                              --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "Dennis Newson" <djn@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > Dear Phil, Mike and list.
                              >
                              > A longish posting that I made yesterday has frustratingly
                              disappeared into
                              > cyberspace without leaving a trace. Briefly, I referred to the
                              activities of
                              > Vance Stevens and his webheads list, the TESOL EVO (electronic
                              village on
                              > line) yearly 6-week online courses on electronic tools and
                              TEFL/TESL/TESOL -
                              > including employing blogs, podcasts, voice mail, videocasts etc.,
                              bodies
                              > like Tapped In, World Bridges, Alado and new Yahoogroups like
                              > teachingwithcomputers and their activities and asked:
                              >
                              > Mike and Phil , how would you comment on the work that these
                              groups are
                              > doing? Are we witnessing here a devoted group of entusiasts who
                              are not
                              > representative, or are they pointing the way forward?
                              >
                              >
                              > Dennis
                              >
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >








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                            • Chris Lima
                              Hello everyone Also in response to comments on the value of online communities of practice, I d like to bring some points into consideration: - living in a
                              Message 14 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                                Hello everyone

                                Also in response to comments on the value of online communities of practice, I'd like to bring some points into consideration:

                                - living in a country with a large territory like Brazil, many times the only possibility to get in contact with other people working on the same field and with the same interests is through online communities - discussion and sharing of ideas would be impossible if people had to rely on face to face contact or participation in events;

                                - besides that the existence of such communities creates spaces for the sort participation that would not be possible in a more 'tangible' one- it allows people to have their own voice - a good example is the message I'm writing to all of you at this very moment;

                                - in all walks of life there will always be a group point forward - experimenting with new technologies- how important and decisive shaping the future this group will be, depends a lot of how inclusive it is - how it's members share there expertise and allow other people to discover their own uses and applicability for this new technology;

                                - I entirely agree with Sophie when she implies that perhaps online training is the only one people would have access to - for the vast majority of teachers working in the public sector in developing countries- even with limited access to a computer and the internet - online training and support may be the only opportunity to engage again in some sort of professional development programme;

                                -last but not least, I would say that I expect communities of practice and teachers' networks to have a more relevant role to play in the future concerning teacher's professional development and the creation of spaces for reflection and practice. And - agreeing with Sophie again - I believe that introducing trainee teachers to this sort of communities should be one of our priorities as teacher trainers.

                                Chris Lima - Brazil


                                Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou <yiansoph@...> wrote:

                                In response to Dennis and Phil's comments/questions on the value of
                                online communities of practice, I'll respond from the point of view of
                                a teacher participant in such a community.

                                I've been a member of the Webheads since 2001 (when it was something
                                else at the time)and watched the community evolve. I am usually a very
                                quiet participant - a lurker if you like. This would limit me to,
                                perhaps, deriving the least possible benefit from the community.

                                Yet, it has been a tremendous resource for me. ALthough I have often
                                not been able to catch up with all the issues discussed I feel there
                                is a commmunity of supporting people for me when I need them. A few
                                years ago, the community had been the only support I had and had
                                helped me feel that I was keeping up to date with modern developments.

                                This agrees with Phil who says that this type of learning is most
                                suitable for people who don't have the time or resources for different
                                training. I would also add for those people who don't have access to
                                different training. Many of us work in isolation either because we
                                work in geographically isolated areas or because we work in areas
                                where there is not much expertise available.

                                In addition to being a primary way of learning for many teachers, I
                                think such onlne communities should be supplementary to more formal
                                teacher training courses. Graduating from a formal course and going
                                home might keep you up to date for a couple of years and still you
                                would appreciate having the moral support of a group of colleagues.
                                This support, as well as access to continuous training can be provided
                                through online communities.

                                One of the things we should do as teacher trainers is introduce our
                                students to such communites, thus ensuring their continuous
                                development.

                                Sophie









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                              • Phil Hubbard
                                That s a good description of a disaster, Steve! I ve experienced a number myself over the years, and have to claim responsibility for some. Obviously, the
                                Message 15 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                                  That's a good description of a disaster, Steve! I've experienced a
                                  number myself over the years, and have to claim responsibility for
                                  some. Obviously, the "technology" people here didn't think things
                                  through, but that probably meant that they just didn't have as
                                  strong a knowledge and experience base as the should have (or
                                  thought they did). I'm guessing they learned a valuable lesson that
                                  night, though unfortunately by wasting an hour of other people's
                                  time.

                                  There seem to be two different issues here. One is why they decided
                                  it would be a good idea to print picture tickets if a paper list
                                  would have sufficed (I suspect you're right in this case that it was
                                  the lure of the handy technology, but who can judge the motivational
                                  element of the kid having his own picture on the ticket?) The more
                                  interesting one to me though is why they didn't recognize the time
                                  it would really take and then do some intuitive cost-benefit
                                  analysis.

                                  From your description it seems that the focus here was too much on a
                                  technology solution rather than just an effective solution, but
                                  ironically, until you become really comfortable with technology it's
                                  hard to see the choices and consequences clearly. A lot of teachers
                                  seem to gravitate toward animated or otherwise distracting graphics
                                  in building their first web pages for instance. Perhaps it would be
                                  useful, then, when training teachers in a CALL task or application
                                  to get them to step back at the end at least and see what learning
                                  objective is being supported and how a non-technology solution, or
                                  one with less technology at least, might compare.

                                  Phil

                                  --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "Steven Sharp"
                                  <ssharp66@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > I would agree with the last segment, in that there is the
                                  probability that
                                  > people will get carried away with technology. People in general
                                  get the
                                  > notion that wow, I can do that with a computer, and why shouldn't
                                  I. They
                                  > try to do things, that would much more simply and quickly done
                                  without
                                  > technology, and end up bogging dow the process with unnessary
                                  technology.
                                  > An example, I was teaching in a middle school, and we had a test
                                  preparation
                                  > evening. The "technology" saavy people, or at least some of them,
                                  noted we
                                  > had all the student pictures, and we could easily make "tickets"
                                  for each
                                  > student with their pictures on it. Unfortunately, they didn't
                                  take into
                                  > account the fact that it takes a while to print out tickets with
                                  pictures,
                                  > and the process got further bogged down with lost tickets. So, we
                                  ended up
                                  > spending the first hour of the test preparation waiting for the
                                  final
                                  > tickets to be printed out. This kind of one-mindedness, which
                                  didn't allow
                                  > for the non-technical solution of pen and paper, is very
                                  problematic, and
                                  > while not directly related to instruction, takes a lot away from
                                  the time of
                                  > possible instruction. Just because we can do something with
                                  technology,
                                  > doesn't mean we should. More factors needt to be taken into
                                  consideration.
                                  >
                                • Micki Zaritsky
                                  Hi, regarding the context first and technology second : I think there are a few teachers who use the technology without thinking in advance what added benefit
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                                    Hi,

                                    regarding the "context first and technology
                                    second": I think there are a few teachers who use the technology without
                                    thinking in advance what added benefit it can add to the context. I believe
                                    that the tech CAN add a lot - but not in every situation. Sometimes, I
                                    prefer lo-tech methods - chalkboards (well - whiteboards) and just having my
                                    students sit around in a circle. Not everything can or should be done using
                                    technology. We shouldn't be "too techie".

                                    Micki

                                    On 4/4/06, s948881 <michael.levy@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Hello everyone,
                                    >
                                    > Stephen's email really got me thinking, especially about what context
                                    > means and, pedagogical issues concerned with transfer, particularly
                                    > the transfer of content and process knowledge from the more formal
                                    >
                                    > environments of the course to real teaching settings. Here are a few
                                    > preliminary thoughts on these two questions...
                                    >
                                    > For me, I don't really think of "context first and technology
                                    > second" because I think the technology is very much part of the
                                    >
                                    > context: Everything is mixed together in the pot, so to speak. I
                                    > would find it very difficult to separate the context from the
                                    > technology. When teaching say students from parts of the world where
                                    > they have very limited access to the telephone, let alone computers,
                                    > dealing with the technology dimension (what's available, questions of
                                    > access, reliability of connections etc.) is an immediate part of
                                    > dealing with or understanding the context -- it's not something that
                                    > can wait till later because it is such a fundamental issue.
                                    >
                                    > In a different sense, it's similar when I discuss CALL with high
                                    > school language teachers. If they only have access to computers once
                                    > a week on Fridays from two o'clock to three o'clock then that level
                                    > of access and the time available inevitably impinges on an
                                    > understanding of the context and the teacher is obliged to work
                                    > within these constraints. Equally, if students are studying in an
                                    > intensive program with new technologies readily available every day
                                    > in the classroom, the approach would be different. Still, there can
                                    > be no denying that understanding contextual issues is fundamental to
                                    > understanding ICT/CALL. What do you think?
                                    >
                                    > On the issue of transfer from formal courses to real-world settings
                                    > (a recurring theme in our book on teacher education and CALL), a big
                                    > issue for me is the diversity of the students in class and their
                                    > contexts. Like many others, I have students from all parts of the
                                    > world and many plan to return to their home countries after their
                                    > formal education is complete. There are many ways we can try and
                                    > bridge this divide when they go home using technology, but I do find
                                    > it really challenging meeting such diverse needs within a single
                                    > class every week while they're in their formal course because their
                                    > goals, backgrounds & potential contexts are so different.
                                    >
                                    > Well, there are some initial thoughts on my part. Thanks again to
                                    > Stephen for raising some very important issues.
                                    >
                                    > Mike
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "p12hubbard"
                                    >
                                    > <p12hubbard@...> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > Thanks for starting off the discussion Stephen--sorry I missed
                                    > yours
                                    > > in this venue last year but I got a lot from reading the archives.
                                    > > (For others who may not know about the discussion of his article on
                                    > > the normalisation of CALL, it starts at message 1153.)
                                    > >
                                    > > I like your point about beginning with the context rather than
                                    > > technology, especially when getting teachers started in CALL. The
                                    > > danger for newcomers is that the technology can too easily become
                                    > > the focus, and your "context first" approach not only makes that
                                    > > less likely but also highlights the point that the technology is
                                    > > only valuable to the degree that it serves the students and their
                                    > > learning objectives.
                                    > >
                                    > > I've found over the years, though, that my own incorporation of
                                    > > technology is a bit messier than that. I sometimes see an
                                    > > application being used for something else, and then I think about
                                    > > how I might co-opt it for some specific use in language learning,
                                    > > and then I explore the technology a bit more (or just play with it)
                                    > > and this might spawn new ideas...it's not a linear process.
                                    > > Ultimately, for me it doesn't seem to make a difference whether
                                    > it's
                                    > > technology first or context first as long as they both get
                                    > > considered thoroughly. I try to pass that insight on to the
                                    > teachers
                                    > > I train.
                                    > >
                                    > > As for your final question, when I started doing a CALL course a
                                    > few
                                    > > years ago, I focused on resources and pedagogy. In recent years
                                    > I've
                                    > > added a unit on learner training--something I'd never considered
                                    > > before--that has grown from attempts in my language classes to get
                                    > > students to use the CALL material more effectively on their own.
                                    > I'm
                                    > > becoming more and more convinced that a significant part of a
                                    > > teacher's job in the foreseeable future will be to teach the
                                    > > students to use technology more effectively just as we're working
                                    > > now to train teachers to do so.
                                    > >
                                    > > Cheers,
                                    > >
                                    > > Phil Hubbard
                                    > >
                                    > > --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Bax" <sb1@>
                                    > > wrote:
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Hello everyone.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Thanks a lot to Sophie, as always, for her work in setting up
                                    > this
                                    > > theme, and to Phil and Mike for
                                    > > > acting as hosts. I am personally particularly interested in the
                                    > > first three aspects they identify, namely:
                                    > > >
                                    > > > 1) the need for both technical and pedagogical training in
                                    > > CALL, ideally
                                    > > > integrated with one another;
                                    > > > 2) the recognition of the limits of formal teaching because
                                    > the
                                    > > technology
                                    > > > changes so rapidly;
                                    > > > 3) the need to connect CALL education to authentic teaching
                                    > > settings,
                                    > > > especially ones where software, hardware, and technical support
                                    > > differ from the
                                    > > > ideal;
                                    > > >
                                    > > > I agree with all of these aims. In my experience of training
                                    > > teachers in CALL over the years, I started
                                    > > > with a rather technical approach, thinking that it was my main
                                    > > duty to develop their technical
                                    > > > understanding and abilities. But I have switched my focus and
                                    > > emphasis completely over the years to
                                    > > > focus far more on the contexts in which they teach and might
                                    > > teach.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > I see this as particularly important in view of the point which
                                    > > Mike and Phil make about the
                                    > > > technology moving so rapidly, which means that if we simply 'show
                                    > > them technology' this may be
                                    > > > useless a year later. So now, instead of spending my sessions on
                                    > > looking at different software and
                                    > > > hardware, I try instead to develop teachers' understanding of
                                    > such
                                    > > things as their roles and the contexts
                                    > > > in
                                    > > > which they work, and then on how they can find new resources,
                                    > > explore them and - most important -
                                    > > > evaluate their usefulness for the contexts in which they teach.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > For me the most salient indicator of the change in my own
                                    > practice
                                    > > is the assignment I set - it used to
                                    > > > be something like:
                                    > > >
                                    > > > -find and evaluate resources for ICT in the language classroom
                                    > > >
                                    > > > but now it starts determinedly with the context, and is more like:
                                    > > >
                                    > > > -identify a particular teaching and learning context in detail,
                                    > > focussing on learner needs. Then find and
                                    > > > identify ICT resources which relate to these student needs and
                                    > > show how they could help your learners.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > ...in other words, context first and technology second! This is
                                    > in
                                    > > line with my 'Context Approach' to
                                    > > > ELT in general, as a way of enhancing teachers' awareness of the
                                    > > contexts in which they work.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > I wonder if anyone else has chnaged the way they address teacher
                                    > > education in ICT/CALL over the
                                    > > > years?
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Stephen Bax
                                    > > > Canterbury
                                    > > >
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
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                                  • writemt
                                    Hello, Thanks to both Stephen and Mike for these posts. I tend to agree with Stephen on context first and technology second , but even more important, for me,
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                                      Hello,

                                      Thanks to both Stephen and Mike for these posts.

                                      I tend to agree with Stephen on 'context first and technology second',
                                      but even more important, for me, is the pedagogical goal. As the
                                      example of the 'photo tickets' showed us, technology can take over in
                                      reaching our goals, and I often do see teachers bogged down in the
                                      technology instead of focusing on what they are trying to achieve
                                      with/for their students (on the other hand, there are plenty of
                                      teachers who prefer to do things with pen and paper still even if it
                                      would take much less time and would have more/different possibilities
                                      were they to use some software programme or other).

                                      I also wanted to bring in here the discussion about what forms of CALL
                                      should we be addressing/teaching teachers. While I also agree with
                                      getting more out of 'existing/frequently used' software such as Word
                                      or Ppt, it is useful to at least find out/hear/be cognizant of new
                                      practices. An example: in teaching an ESL business class that only met
                                      once a week, where each student had a very personalised situation
                                      (doing internships in diff. cos.), we needed a way of communicating,
                                      sharing experiences, making the students think about their individual
                                      experience, etc. and, overall, build a community of learners. Since we
                                      don't use Blackboard or other commercially available tools, we simply
                                      used google's blog site (blogger.com) to create that community, that
                                      cyberspace that we needed for our students (free, of course). Is this
                                      context/pedagogical goals first, technology second, or is it: I know
                                      about blogging, let me see how it fits in with my course? More of the
                                      first, I believe (though, of course, had we not known about blogging,
                                      we would have had a hard time looking for an appropriate tool - catch 22?)

                                      Mihaela Giurca



                                      --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "s948881" <michael.levy@...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Hello everyone,
                                      >
                                      > Stephen's email really got me thinking, especially about what context
                                      > means and, pedagogical issues concerned with transfer, particularly
                                      > the transfer of content and process knowledge from the more formal
                                      > environments of the course to real teaching settings. Here are a few
                                      > preliminary thoughts on these two questions...
                                      >
                                      > For me, I don't really think of "context first and technology
                                      > second" because I think the technology is very much part of the
                                      > context: Everything is mixed together in the pot, so to speak. I
                                      > would find it very difficult to separate the context from the
                                      > technology. When teaching say students from parts of the world where
                                      > they have very limited access to the telephone, let alone computers,
                                      > dealing with the technology dimension (what's available, questions of
                                      > access, reliability of connections etc.) is an immediate part of
                                      > dealing with or understanding the context -- it's not something that
                                      > can wait till later because it is such a fundamental issue.
                                      >
                                      > In a different sense, it's similar when I discuss CALL with high
                                      > school language teachers. If they only have access to computers once
                                      > a week on Fridays from two o'clock to three o'clock then that level
                                      > of access and the time available inevitably impinges on an
                                      > understanding of the context and the teacher is obliged to work
                                      > within these constraints. Equally, if students are studying in an
                                      > intensive program with new technologies readily available every day
                                      > in the classroom, the approach would be different. Still, there can
                                      > be no denying that understanding contextual issues is fundamental to
                                      > understanding ICT/CALL. What do you think?
                                      >
                                      > On the issue of transfer from formal courses to real-world settings
                                      > (a recurring theme in our book on teacher education and CALL), a big
                                      > issue for me is the diversity of the students in class and their
                                      > contexts. Like many others, I have students from all parts of the
                                      > world and many plan to return to their home countries after their
                                      > formal education is complete. There are many ways we can try and
                                      > bridge this divide when they go home using technology, but I do find
                                      > it really challenging meeting such diverse needs within a single
                                      > class every week while they're in their formal course because their
                                      > goals, backgrounds & potential contexts are so different.
                                      >
                                      > Well, there are some initial thoughts on my part. Thanks again to
                                      > Stephen for raising some very important issues.
                                      >
                                      > Mike
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "p12hubbard"
                                      > <p12hubbard@> wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > Thanks for starting off the discussion Stephen--sorry I missed
                                      > yours
                                      > > in this venue last year but I got a lot from reading the archives.
                                      > > (For others who may not know about the discussion of his article on
                                      > > the normalisation of CALL, it starts at message 1153.)
                                      > >
                                      > > I like your point about beginning with the context rather than
                                      > > technology, especially when getting teachers started in CALL. The
                                      > > danger for newcomers is that the technology can too easily become
                                      > > the focus, and your "context first" approach not only makes that
                                      > > less likely but also highlights the point that the technology is
                                      > > only valuable to the degree that it serves the students and their
                                      > > learning objectives.
                                      > >
                                      > > I've found over the years, though, that my own incorporation of
                                      > > technology is a bit messier than that. I sometimes see an
                                      > > application being used for something else, and then I think about
                                      > > how I might co-opt it for some specific use in language learning,
                                      > > and then I explore the technology a bit more (or just play with it)
                                      > > and this might spawn new ideas...it's not a linear process.
                                      > > Ultimately, for me it doesn't seem to make a difference whether
                                      > it's
                                      > > technology first or context first as long as they both get
                                      > > considered thoroughly. I try to pass that insight on to the
                                      > teachers
                                      > > I train.
                                      > >
                                      > > As for your final question, when I started doing a CALL course a
                                      > few
                                      > > years ago, I focused on resources and pedagogy. In recent years
                                      > I've
                                      > > added a unit on learner training--something I'd never considered
                                      > > before--that has grown from attempts in my language classes to get
                                      > > students to use the CALL material more effectively on their own.
                                      > I'm
                                      > > becoming more and more convinced that a significant part of a
                                      > > teacher's job in the foreseeable future will be to teach the
                                      > > students to use technology more effectively just as we're working
                                      > > now to train teachers to do so.
                                      > >
                                      > > Cheers,
                                      > >
                                      > > Phil Hubbard
                                      > >
                                      > > --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Bax" <sb1@>
                                      > > wrote:
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Hello everyone.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Thanks a lot to Sophie, as always, for her work in setting up
                                      > this
                                      > > theme, and to Phil and Mike for
                                      > > > acting as hosts. I am personally particularly interested in the
                                      > > first three aspects they identify, namely:
                                      > > >
                                      > > > 1) the need for both technical and pedagogical training in
                                      > > CALL, ideally
                                      > > > integrated with one another;
                                      > > > 2) the recognition of the limits of formal teaching because
                                      > the
                                      > > technology
                                      > > > changes so rapidly;
                                      > > > 3) the need to connect CALL education to authentic teaching
                                      > > settings,
                                      > > > especially ones where software, hardware, and technical support
                                      > > differ from the
                                      > > > ideal;
                                      > > >
                                      > > > I agree with all of these aims. In my experience of training
                                      > > teachers in CALL over the years, I started
                                      > > > with a rather technical approach, thinking that it was my main
                                      > > duty to develop their technical
                                      > > > understanding and abilities. But I have switched my focus and
                                      > > emphasis completely over the years to
                                      > > > focus far more on the contexts in which they teach and might
                                      > > teach.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > I see this as particularly important in view of the point which
                                      > > Mike and Phil make about the
                                      > > > technology moving so rapidly, which means that if we simply 'show
                                      > > them technology' this may be
                                      > > > useless a year later. So now, instead of spending my sessions on
                                      > > looking at different software and
                                      > > > hardware, I try instead to develop teachers' understanding of
                                      > such
                                      > > things as their roles and the contexts
                                      > > > in
                                      > > > which they work, and then on how they can find new resources,
                                      > > explore them and - most important -
                                      > > > evaluate their usefulness for the contexts in which they teach.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > For me the most salient indicator of the change in my own
                                      > practice
                                      > > is the assignment I set - it used to
                                      > > > be something like:
                                      > > >
                                      > > > -find and evaluate resources for ICT in the language classroom
                                      > > >
                                      > > > but now it starts determinedly with the context, and is more like:
                                      > > >
                                      > > > -identify a particular teaching and learning context in detail,
                                      > > focussing on learner needs. Then find and
                                      > > > identify ICT resources which relate to these student needs and
                                      > > show how they could help your learners.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > ...in other words, context first and technology second! This is
                                      > in
                                      > > line with my 'Context Approach' to
                                      > > > ELT in general, as a way of enhancing teachers' awareness of the
                                      > > contexts in which they work.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > I wonder if anyone else has chnaged the way they address teacher
                                      > > education in ICT/CALL over the
                                      > > > years?
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Stephen Bax
                                      > > > Canterbury
                                      > > >
                                      > >
                                      >
                                    • s948881
                                      Dear Dennis and list, Yes, I ve had a few messages disappear too. But anyway, I ve been thinking more about your comments and as far as teacher education is
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                                        Dear Dennis and list,

                                        Yes, I've had a few messages disappear too. But anyway, I've been
                                        thinking more about your comments and as far as teacher education is
                                        concerned, I think we probably go to different sources for different
                                        kinds of information, at least initially. Sometimes we want quick
                                        answers to specific technological problems and that will lead us in
                                        one direction (more straightforward & immediate "How to"
                                        questions, "just-in-time learning" etc. (?)), while at other times we
                                        might be thinking about a longer term CALL project and that might
                                        lead us to different resources such as the CALL journals or books on
                                        various aspects of CALL (more complex "How to" and "why" questions
                                        (?)). Teacher education and CALL spans all these things and more &
                                        can operate at many levels.

                                        For example, if I had a student come to see me who was interested in
                                        a research project in the CALL area then the first thing I would do
                                        is direct them to specific articles in the CALL journals, or to a
                                        book like "CALL Research Perspectives" by Joy Egbert & Gina Mikel
                                        Petrie. We're so lucky in CALL, I think, in having so many potential
                                        resources, although it does thin out very considerably when you are
                                        considering the teaching/learning of languages other than English.

                                        Mike






                                        --- In IATEFLComputerSig@yahoogroups.com, "Dennis Newson" <djn@...>
                                        wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Dear Phil, Mike and list.
                                        >
                                        > A longish posting that I made yesterday has frustratingly
                                        disappeared into
                                        > cyberspace without leaving a trace. Briefly, I referred to the
                                        activities of
                                        > Vance Stevens and his webheads list, the TESOL EVO (electronic
                                        village on
                                        > line) yearly 6-week online courses on electronic tools and
                                        TEFL/TESL/TESOL -
                                        > including employing blogs, podcasts, voice mail, videocasts etc.,
                                        bodies
                                        > like Tapped In, World Bridges, Alado and new Yahoogroups like
                                        > teachingwithcomputers and their activities and asked:
                                        >
                                        > Mike and Phil , how would you comment on the work that these groups
                                        are
                                        > doing? Are we witnessing here a devoted group of entusiasts who are
                                        not
                                        > representative, or are they pointing the way forward?
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Dennis
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        >
                                      • Eric Baber
                                        Hi all, ... believe ... my ... using ... I agree, though there seems to be a certain pattern: a teacher discovers technology, starts playing with it, uses it
                                        Message 19 of 19 , Apr 5, 2006
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                                          Hi all,

                                          > regarding the "context first and technology
                                          > second": I think there are a few teachers who use the technology without
                                          > thinking in advance what added benefit it can add to the context. I
                                          believe
                                          > that the tech CAN add a lot - but not in every situation. Sometimes, I
                                          > prefer lo-tech methods - chalkboards (well - whiteboards) and just having
                                          my
                                          > students sit around in a circle. Not everything can or should be done
                                          using
                                          > technology. We shouldn't be "too techie".

                                          I agree, though there seems to be a certain pattern: a teacher "discovers"
                                          technology, starts playing with it, uses it for everything they can possibly
                                          think of, then when they become very comfortable with it they scale down its
                                          use and employ it where it can be employed sensibly, going back to the
                                          whiteboard & pen & paper at other times. I think perhaps we can do more harm
                                          than good by dissuading them from going through the first stage. I liken it
                                          to passing your driving exam and having access to a car for the first time:
                                          suddenly you drive absolutely everywhere. Yes, it's unnecessary, but it also
                                          means you get a feel for the car and make certain behaviour patterns second
                                          nature - checking the wing mirrors, changing gears etc. I think the same
                                          goes for technology, and rather than discouraging teachers from using it
                                          left, right and centre initially, we should be there waiting for them when
                                          they're ready to take the next step, being there to field their questions
                                          once they get past that initial stage of wild enthusiasm :-)

                                          Eric



                                          --
                                          Eric Baber
                                          Web: http://www.ericbaber.com
                                          E-mail: Eric@...
                                          Blog: http://www.ericbaber.com/blog
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