The Nightmare of Conference Visa Applications

I currently live in a country which, according to the index of passport power (2018), holds the top ranking in the world.

I only have an Iranian passport and I found a website where I could compare my passport with other passports: www.henleypassportindex.com/compare-passport

Untitled

If you know me, you definitely know about my UK visa rejections and my online presence at EUROCALL2017 (here is the link to the story just in case: https://parisamehran.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/denied-yet-present-at-eurocall-2017-a-memoir/)

EUROCALL2018 will be held in Jyväskylä, Finland next month. Here is the title of my poster presentation:

Anika Kohler

In the middle of visa application for Finland, I wanted to give up many times and asked myself this question all the time:

“What if my visa application is denied again?”

Many thanks to a Canadian friend who encouraged me to continue and apply, I am off to Tokyo tomorrow to submit the documents on Monday and here I would like to share some of the tweets by Naveen Minai about the challenges of academics in, [and from], the Global South.

Before she starts, she emphasizes that she knows the term ‘Global South’ is still problematic and contested but she needs a shorthand for Twitter.

We need to apply for visas for traveling for conferences and research. Visa applications are time-consuming, expensive, and require a ton of running around and documentations, and approval is not guaranteed even if you have an invitation from conference organizers.

This means we often don’t apply for conferences in other countries because we

  1. can’t afford the visa app fee

  2. don’t have time to complete the visa application requirements

Also, a lot of us earn in currencies which are weak compared to, for example, US & Canadian dollars, UK pounds, or Euros. So it costs A LOT for us to not only apply for visas, but also to travel if we do get the visa in time.

Here is the list of documents that I prepared to apply for the Finnish visa and I have to mention that I paid 75,000 JPY (670 USD) yen for the translation of the Japanese documents. I also need to remark that it took me about 2 months and a half to collect all the documents:

  • Application form
  • Copy of the personal information page in my passport
  • Copy of my alien registration card
  • One colored passport photograph
  • Travel insurance
  • Reservation for travel tickets
  • Hotel reservation
  • Itinerary
  • Bank statement for the last six months
  • Bank account balance statement
  • Certificate of studentship
  • Certificate of Japanese Government Scholarship (Monbukagakusho)
  • Receipt of the conference registration
  • Payroll statement: Princeford English College, Kobe City University of Foreign Languages, Kobe Women’s University, Konan Women’s University
  • Invitation letter from EUROCALL2018
  • My supervisor’s letter saying that all the expenses will be covered by Osaka University
  • My business card
  • Copies of job contracts
  • Certificate of marraige
  • My husband’s alien registration card and personal information page in his passport

This year I also submitted two proposals to ISLS2018. Both of them got accepted, I registered for the conference and paid 160 Canadian Dollars, but I had to withdraw simply because I found the application for Canadian visa too complicated especially because the Visa and Immigration Section at the Embassy of Canada in Japan (Tokyo) is closed and services have been transferred to the Embassy of Canada in Philippines (Manila) plus I did not have time to complete the visa application requirements.

Naveen concludes:

Here, I would like to ask academics in the Global North to please x 10000 include video conference/Skype tech for conferences whenever possible so we can participate too! Esp b/c I do appreciate that funds &/or discounts for international travel & accommodation is also difficult to do!

And I cannot finish this blog post without referring to the following tweets.

Wish me good luck! And let me answer my own question: 

“What if my visa application is denied again?”

I will be online, follow every single tweet of the conference, and will be there via Virtually Connecting! 🙂

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PanSIG2018: GALE Forum

Debunking Stereotypes about Middle Eastern Women in the EFL Classroom

I won the JALT GALE Professional Development Scholarship 2018 and had the chance to present at GALE Forum: “Equality Across Borders” which examined issues related to gender and identity both within Japan and globally.

My colleague, Elisabeth Fernandes, and I explored the theme of debunking stereotypes of Middle Eastern Women. We are both teaching English in the Japanese university context. We first shared our personal narratives focusing on Iran, my homeland, and Pakistan, which Elisabeth visited. We then talked about our collaboration in our English classrooms to dispel stereotypes about Middle Eastern women. We introduced our projects (e.g., “I Am More Than A Stereotype: Meet An Iranian Woman”, “Exploring Stereotypes”, and “Write4Change”) aimed at helping our learners reflect upon these existing stereotypes, and the impact of these misconceptions on attitudes towards the identity of these women. We also discussed how technology helps us fulfill our goals of challenging stereotypes.

 

PanSIG2018: MAVR Forum

Connecting to Puerto Rico through Augmented and Virtual Realities

After a massive hurricane hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, Antonio Vantaggiato, a professor at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in San Juan, started a campaign on social media for his students, asking people to send postcards of encouragement. In response, we designed a corresponding project for our university classes in Japan, titled “How Can I Change the World: Bookmarks for Puerto Rico”. We chose bookmarks as an “educational” item on which our students could write encouraging messages in English, and which could then become a keepsake for the Puerto Rican students. Through the use of virtual reality (VR), our students were able to “travel” to Puerto Rico to experience the devastating results of the hurricane. They were also able to explore the campus of the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón through 3D images. We also utilized augmented reality (AR) to bring our #care4sagrado message to life. Our learning objectives in this project were to teach our EFL Japanese learners to empathize and to become caring global citizens. In our presentation, we demoed our AR-generated message and introduced the AR app, Blippar, we used to create it.

 

On the Buzzwords of “Diversity” and “Inclusion”

why-diversity-inclusion_-e1531670748897

Diversity and Inclusion: Before coming to Japan, I had no idea what they mean! After experiencing exclusion and feeling marginalized, I am gradually getting to know these terms.

ELT people in Japan have felt that there is a need to talk about diversity and inclusion and probably this is why the theme of JALT2018 is “Diversity and Inclusion”. It is worth noting that the theme of SIETAR Japan 2017 was “Promoting Equity and Social Change: Acknowledging the Diversity Within”.

Here is the message on JALT2018 webpage:

“To everything there is a season.” And a reason. Now is the season for inclusion, to embrace the incredible diversity within our profession. Although there seems to be much diversion, division, and exclusion in the wider world, the time is now ripe for us to look at the diversity within our practices and ask, “How can we be more inclusive?” In order to support inclusion and create a more level playing field for our students, we need to better understand the evolving language learning and teaching landscape, become aware of the work that is being done in new areas and heed the call from our learners, teachers, and institutions to play our parts in a brighter future.

JALT2018 will provide a platform for new ideas and hitherto unheard voices to be heard. It will provide avenues to open up our classrooms and challenge existing ideas about what we language teachers and our learners need in order to usher in an era of change. We aim to address the concerns of teachers, learners, and leaders and show how “inclusion” provides a place from which multiplicity of thought and action can flourish.

The theme of the conference has been questioned. Here are the questions and you can find them on JALT social media:

  1. Is ‘exclusion’ a problem among JALT members that needs to be addressed?
  2. I must be confused. What does diversity and inclusion have to do with teaching English?
  3. Inclusion is a complex notion. I wonder what it means to everyone. It is obviously more than just being “included in a group”, with a lot of politics attached. Is it equality as well? Is it oriented to inclusion of minorities and removing discrimination?
  4. Would this inclusion and diversity you speak of be extended to those who are skeptical of the leftist / Marxist / post-modern conceptual framework on which the conference is based. This is a sincere question.

These questions encouraged me to do a deep research and find some information about diversity and inclusion. Maha Bali’s blog post, Unpacking terms around equity, power and privilege, and podcast, Complicating diversity and inclusion hosted by Greg Curran, were the best resources to start with. I read her blog post three times and listened to her podcast twice. I paused the podcast and went back and forth many times.

MahaBali1024x512

Here are the parts that I found interesting and thought-provoking:


♥ Becoming Conscious of Our Oppression ♥

Everyone who is a minority in some way at some point in their life becomes conscious of oppression hopefully if they are educated and they start to open their eyes. If you are in that situation and it is happening to you all the time, you start noticing it, and then you realize that it is actually intersectional.

Also, I found the term “colorblind” related to this point. Here are some parts from a post by Na Shai Alexander, Gen Y on D&I: The Problem with Colorblindness in the Selfie Generation. She remarks:

I-dont-see-color-i-only-see-people

How many times have you heard someone in your professional or personal circles say that they are “colorblind” or “don’t see color?”  Or that “color doesn’t matter” to them?  On the surface, these statements seem innocuous. And in a society where much history has been marked with painful recollections of racial tension, injustice, and discrimination, wounds that in many cases are still tender, it is easy to see why the term prevails. Talking about color isn’t easy, and so, in many cases, we don’t.

It is even more bizarre to conclude that we can be “colorblind” in this day of Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and the like. In this “selfie generation,” color is often the first (and hopefully not the last) detail that we see.

Diversity begins with color consciousness, or critical awareness of race and racism. However, awareness of and valuing diversity are not sufficient to achieve it.

Assuming that diverse persons will be attracted to an institution simply because of its excellence or because it values diversity is a passive approach that is unlikely to diversify an institution.

Proactive and ongoing efforts toward inclusion and equity are necessary to create and sustain diversity.


♥ Getting Beyond Generic Approaches to Diversity and Inclusion ♥

A lot of times we talk about diversity or we bring a different person but that does not take into account the complexity of how that different person will fit into the structures that already exist and a lot of times those structures are not modified to support the inclusion.

A lot of times diversity is tokenistic and it is just bringing a different person to look like we have the person but then it does not take into account the complexities why it is difficult for that person to be there in the first place, and once they are there, how to make sure that when they are there their voices are understood not just heard.

Diversity is a “nice” term for the dominant to use, and it implies that just having different people with different backgrounds is a desirable thing, because it benefits everyone, including the dominant. The problem with the term diversity is that it removes power from the equation.


♥ An Intentional Approach to Diversity and Inclusion ♥

The trickier thing is recognizing that diversity is HARD WORK if you want to do it right. Because integrating people who are different from the dominant majority/perspective is not a matter of plunging them in and expecting it all to work out. There will be tension. There needs to be intentional effort to make this work. To make the voices exist alongside each other, when in reality, having a couple of “diverse” voices in a sea of dominance does nothing to challenge the status quo.

Inclusivity is such a problematic term because:

♦ It implies there is a thing that belongs to certain people, and they’re being generous by including others into it, by letting others in.

♦ When I “include” someone, I include them on my own terms, and that’s not the epitome of empowerment. Inclusivity is better than not inclusivity, right? But inclusivity is not empowerment.

You involve people but you keep doing things exactly the same as you have been doing it before. That is not really solving the problem.

When you include one person who is different from everybody else, that does not help. But if you have the diversity of diverse people, that becomes different.


♥ Final Remarks ♥

As a Muslim who has lived in the US and UK, I don’t have a lot of instances of people discriminating me, but when it happens, it is deep because it is not that one incident. There is a lot more behind it. There is background to that feeling. You as an individual are not problematic.

Even marginal people together can silence each other, for example, by not being willing to speak up about certain things.


I keep reading and blogging! 🙂

 

 

How to Achieve Gender Parity in ELT Conferences and Events: Some Guidelines

How to Achieve Gender Parity in ELT Conferences & Events (1)

I am an active member of JALT GALE SIG and we are discussing how to achieve gender parity in ELT conferences, events, and associations in general. It is believed that some guidelines are needed to make the selection processes systematic as there is a fine line between inclusion and positive discrimination. Some good articles have been shared on the GALE mailing list. As usual, I consulted EVE: Equal Voices in ELT. Also, I personally did a search and found some resources.

Here is the list of articles and other resources on this topic that I have read so far:

And here are the parts that I found interesting:

  1. Become aware of our own biases, which means recognizing the lenses that we’ve looked through for our entire lives.
  2. To reduce gender biases, we need to acknowledge them.
  3. Avoid these excuses: https://www.genderavenger.com/excuses/ and https://www.bbc.com/news/business-44310225
  4. Collect the data; i.e., count the number of women and men attending a conference.
  5. Develop a speaker policy; for example, the conference committee wants to achieve a gender balance of speakers that roughly reflects that of its audience.
  6. Make the policy visible and put it online for everyone to see.
  7. Establish a balanced and informed program committee. If the conference program committee is not diverse, then neither will be the speaker list.
  8. Report the data to see how well the conference, speaker series, or symposium meets its stated policy goals.
  9. Build and use databases because some people find it difficult to come up with names of women speakers, compared with men speakers. Here is an example: https://genderequalityelt.wordpress.com/database-of-women/
  10. Respond to resistance. Most criticisms are easily addressed by establishing a dialogue with those who are critical about establishing a policy, and you can prepare in advance.
  11. Support women at meetings. Women often have primary caring responsibility for children. This can limit their ability to travel and to attend conferences. So, be family-friendly.
  12. Take the pledge: When you are invited to help organize, attend, or speak at a conference, ask to see the conference speaker policy before you accept.
  13. Make diversity a strategic priority and expect those who work for and/or with us to do so as well.
  14. Raise awareness of diversity. If you are asked to present, be on a panel, or serve on a committee, ask if there are (other) women participating. If not, suggest names of women to invite.
  15. Consider not speaking at an event unless the event’s organizers are clearly working hard to address diversity on stage.

At Buffer, they ask themselves if the event displays the characteristics of their core  values. Here are some of them:

  • Default to transparency
  • Listen first, then listen more
  • Have a bias toward clarity
  • Make time to reflect
  • Show gratitude
  • Do the right thing

I think some of these guidelines can be applied to achieve highly proficient speaker parity in ELT conferences and events as well.

Finally, here is the most interesting conflict of interest I have ever read:

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
We care about diversity in science and may therefore be biased.

If you want to add more guidelines or share some resources on how to achieve gender parity in ELT conferences and events, which should not be an issue but it is in some contexts, please leave a comment.

Thank you.

Peace ❤

Connecting to Puerto Rico through Augmented and Virtual Realities

This is the story about human connections, about caring, about planting seeds of hope, about changing the world.


Chapter 1: Visa Rejections

Denied yet Present at EUROCALL 2017

My UK visa got rejected three times and I could not physically attend EUROCALL2017. I think the world knows about my visa story, but I share the link here again, just in case:

Denied Yet Present at EUROCALL2017: A Memoir


Chapter 2: Helen DeWaard and VC

I got to know Helen DeWaard through Virtually Connecting (VC) through which I could virtually attend the conference.


Chapter 3: Antonio, Alan, and Postcards for Puerto Rico

After the conference, we stayed in touch on Twitter. She mentioned me in a tweet and introduce a a campaign of mailing postcards to Antonio Vantaggiato and his students, devised by Alan Levine, to say unlike Trump about using these hashtags  . You can read more about the details of the campaign here:

El Puente de Puerto Rico: A Bridge of Postcards by Alan Levine


Chapter 4: My Message

I wrote my message and sent it to Antonio and announced it to the world, and encouraged others to join the campaign.


Chapter 5: Connecting to Puerto Rico

Here are the tweets by Antonio and Alan after receiving my message. Antonio’s blogpost made my day:

I got mail from el Puente de Puerto Rico


Chapter 6: Podcast

I’d love to record one live while Alan is in Australia and interview Parisa Mehran, the author of the first postcard to arrive here, which carried the powerful message:

A woman who has to prove her humanity every day.

We want to talk humanity.

And we did and here are the links to the podcasts:

http://blogs.netedu.info/2017/11/15/podcast-puerto-rico-connection/

http://blogs.netedu.info/2017/12/16/prconnection-episode2/


Chapter 7: Elisabeth Fernandes

Elisabeth

Elisabeth is a great friend and I know her through JALT, . I talked to her about the campaign and she suggested that we could introduce it to our Japanese students and make a lesson pan on how to empathize in English.


Chapter 8: How Can I Change the World: Bookmarks for Puerto Rico

We chose bookmarks as an “educational” item on which our students could write encouraging messages in English, and which could then become a keepsake for the Puerto Rican students.

All about me_001

 

Through the use of virtual reality (VR), our students were able to “travel” to Puerto Rico to experience the devastating results of the hurricane. They were also able to explore the campus of the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón through 3D images.

 

Universidad del Sagrado Corazón 360 View


Chapter 9: Reconnecting to Puerto Rico

Here is Antonio present in our classes.

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Chapter 10: We Care About Puerto Rico

 

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We also utilized augmented reality (AR), Blippar, to bring our #care4sagrado message to life.

AR

My English major students also wrote essays about Puerto Rico:

1-1hggbgj-1ncjsqr.png

http://write4change.edublogs.org/2017/12/04/4-we-care-about-puerto-rico-3/

http://write4change.edublogs.org/2017/12/12/4-we-care-about-puerto-rico-3-group-brainstorming/

http://write4change.edublogs.org/2017/12/12/4-we-care-about-puerto-rico-3-group-outlining-collaborative-writing/

 

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Chapter 11: Humanity

Most of the time I have to deal with micro/macroaggressions and reply to questions that they sound like an interrogation, and people even don’t know my name. “Postcards for Puerto Rico” made a bridge and connected me to people who know my name and they don’t ask me questions. They don’t want me to prove my humanity.

Peace

#MAVRLT Tweet Chat Summary: MAVR and ELT. A match made in Heaven?

MAVRLT

JALT Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities in Learning (MAVR) SIG teamed up IATEFL Learning Technologies (LT) SIG for a tweetchat, #MAVRLT, which took place on Sunday, May 13th, 2018, and that was the first #JALTchat.

The participants:

The guiding questions were:

  • What is MAVR and what has it got to do with language teaching?
  • AR, VR, and MR: How are they different?
  • How can we use MAVR to teach languages?
  • What are your MAVR recommended apps/devices?

MAVR and ELT: A Match Made In Heaven?

@SophiaMav started the chat by asking this question:

@Rach_Ribeiro said that we can use MAVR to enhance the experience within the language learning environment. She provided an example:

Let’s say a lesson theme is travelling and as a grammar focus the use of ‘there is , there are’ to describe places. Instead of just looking at photos, the students can actually experience walking on the street of the cities mentioned.

@teacherphili then mentioned that because it is up for debate, and he asked, “Are MAVR and ELT really a match made in heaven?” @Rach_Ribeiro replied, when MAVR is timely used and not overused, then MAVR and ELT are a match made in heaven. @ParisaMehran said that yes, if the devices are affordable and smaller. @Paul_Driver stated that there are lots of snippets about the technology; however, little said about theory or pedagogical implications. @ChrisRHastings added that he thinks we are at the stage where we all understand the obvious potential, but optimal pedagogies and applications are less clear. He also said that he thinks MAVR is great at tapping into that visual side of language learning and making input delivered through the medium very compelling.

@Rach_Ribeiro remarked that ELT teachers in general know that there is a potential but it is (unfortunately) mostly related to entertainment the way I see it, teachers who have been integrating some sort of VR and AR should share their real case studies. Also, sepending on the day and on how tired students are it does make a difference and changes the vibe of the class. She also emphasized that VR or AR it should be used for no longer than 5 minutes, because the aim is that this VR experience is a start to conversational activities, regardless of the level. Moreover, there is the concern of not getting students dizzy because people react differently to being in a VR environment.

@MehrasaAlizadeh said that entertainment or better say “edutainment” is a merit rather than a drawback especially in low-motivation contexts like Japan. @teacherphili then mentioned that so MAVR is used in Japan because it is more motivational – does that applying to learning a language, too? @MehrasaAlizadeh replied, in my experience, learners get more engaged in language learning activities with the use of MAVR tools such as BlippAR and Google Cardboard. Of course, not all learners but the majority I have worked with said so.

@mothralad said the immersiveness is such a huge advantage: The feeling of actually occupying a space. What @heikephilp likes about VR is that there is no keyboard which is great to encourage speaking, and @SophiaMav had these question for @heikephilp: “Speaking with whom though? Can students speak when wearing the headset – I mean, no eye contact and that does not make the experience a bit lonely? less interactive?”

Here are the answers:

  • @heikephilpThere are a number of social VR worlds only for high end headsets: Sansar, high fidelity, vtime, social vr, altspaces all have as feature voice over IP.
  • @Rach_RibeiroWhile ‘visiting’ a location they can be paired up with another student who is not using the VR set and describe what they see or answer the questions the other st asks. With YLE I ask one question only during the ‘journey’.
  • @oyajimboWith a headset on, you need a guide, i.e., your partner with different information and you cannot read the book. You can see but at the same time ‘blind’. Have to talk!
  • @Eric_Hawkinson: See social VR like Altspace or Facebook Social VR – basicly chatrooms for embodied avatars.
  • @mothraladIn the classroom, breaks in a VR activity where students discuss the content eye to eye can be helpful, then go back in. It’s also helpful for reducing eye strain.

@oyajimbo believed that MAVR is being tried in Japan because the tech is here and connectivity is not an issue and students sometimes need a cattleprodding to get going. @ParisaMehran added that the “wow moments” change the mood of our classrooms. The students come out of their seats and start walking (instead of sleeping). @SophiaMav then asked, “Don’t we need more than the wow factor when it comes to learning a language?” @ParisaMehran replied that she sometimes uses MAVR just to motivate and engage, because it works in Japan. @Eric_Hawkinson argued that wow is fleeting, especially when the content is not relevant and interesting, even in VR.

@SophiaMav pointed out that motivation is a significant factor in language learning. So can we say that MAVR pedagogy’s premises lie in motivation and immersion with regard to language learning? @ChrisRHastings said that not only motivation, but as a way to make input more comprehensible and memorable. @ParisaMehran tried to connect project based learning and TBLT to MAVR. But yes, motivation motivates her to use MAVR.

When @Rach_Ribeiro‘s A1 adult learners ‘visited’ London using VR it was memorable and she could see that her students had never traveled abroad. So, VR brings the understanding closer to you.

@heikephilp said that she is surprised that the extensive research on language learning in virtual worlds seem overlooked. Lots of research has shown the great benefits of real time communication at a distance and the lowering of effective filter. She also added that it seems to her that everyone jumps on a trend without looking at past and if you look at what VR is intended to be, it is certainly not 360° photo for a cardboard like device. It is much more. @SophiaMav then asked, “But where is the distance? We talked about real class environments here. Isn’t there a clear difference between MAVR and Virtual worlds – apart from the obvious similarities?” @ChrisRHastings argued that the VR in MAVR is more concerned with highly immersive headset-based VR, rather than simply any computer-generated 3D virtual environment.

@teacherphili then asked, “Is there a minimum age of students you would use VR in the classroom?” While @oyajimbo believed that he does not use with young learners as it can be addictive very quickly, @ParisaMehran pointed out that young learners are “digital natives” and are already addicted.

@SophiaMav said that all this sounds very promising. But how can we tackle the issue of VR equipment being so unaffordable? Aren’t prices prohibitive for the average classroom/ teacher/ institution?

Chatters provided the following answers:

  • @gegnagoyaIt depends on what you want to do. Google Cardboards can go as low as 500 or 600 yen, but if you want very immersive VR programs, it will be a while before the cost comes down, unfortunately.
  • @ChrisRHastingsStudents already own part of the hardware component, smartphones, and headsets can cost from as little as $10.
  • @gegnagoyaWith university students a BYOD policy usually works since they mostly own smartphones. If you provide the headsets as the instructor, the overall cost can remain quite low.
  • @SophiaMavWith BOYD policies though students – especially young learners and teens need digcit skills otherwise they may get very distracted – by using their devices for other reasons than learning.

What Is MAVR?

@Eric_Hawkinson raised the following question:

@ParisaMehran said, to her, MAVR is an extension but to make it more popular, we need to have specific research groups. She also mentioned that she has good examples of AR (e.g., Pokémon Go) and VR (e.g., Google Cardboard) but not of MR. She added that an example of MR can be Magic Leap but why it is considered as mixed reality is not clear to her. @heikephilp stated that Magic leap has produced a simple device that can be clipped on a cardboard to create hands without controllers.

@teacherphili asked, “Anyone got a good example / demo of Magic Leap?” He wanted to know how ‘mixed’ it is. @Eric_Hawkinson said that Magic Leap has been very closed about demos. “I personally am very suspicious of the videos they have released. But they got $$$”.

@heikephilp argued that we have had immersive learning since early Second Life times and it was not adopted. Not even a headset needed and Second Life was popular in 2006-2008.

@Eric_Hawkinson asked for the definition of CALL or MALL and @SophiaMav provided the following definition:

Back in 1997 Levy defined it as “the search for and study of applications of the computer in language teaching and learning” but of course there are more recent definitions.

@Eric_Hawkinson stated that if you were to follow the logic, you could replace computer in this definition with augmented and virtual technology, but it would not be accurate. In his opinion, this evolution has become more than about the technology. Eric has been focusing on how human interaction with this new media is different.


Research on MAVR

The following question was posed by @SophiaMav about the research done on MAVR: 

@mothralad said that the research on MAVR is still at its early stages. Together with his colleague, @ChrisRHastings, they have preliminary data that study abroad students can benefit from VR training before they depart. But we need to dig deeper with even more subjects.

@MehrasaAlizadeh shared more data on the impact of AR in an EFL class: Learning by design: Bringing poster carousels to life through augmented reality in a blended English course


MAVR Recommended Tools/Apps

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Photo shared by @Eric_Hawkinson 

  • Google Cardboard
  • GoPRO Camera
  • Theta Camera
  • Metaverse
  • Minecraft
  • ARientation
  • HTCVive
  • OculusRift
  • Google Expeditions
  • BlippAR
  • Zappar
  • HP Reveal
  • Aurasma
  • Flight Radar 24
  • Star Walk
  • Google Street View
  • YouTube VR

@SophiaMav asked, “How many of each do we need for a class of say 20 students? One for each student or can they share?” @Rach_Ribeiro replied, I teach 20 students per group and two Google Cardboard boxes are enough as we should use the rotation technique where the groups have different assignments and one of them is the use of Google Cardboard boxes.

@heikephilp said that as a great example for AR is Google lens which uses image recognition and Google search. Great for learning vocabulary. Go to market and point your mobile at fruit.

According to @ChrisRHastings, Google Expeditions is the most practical tool so far for teaching language in content-based classes. @Rach_Ribeiro then explained how to incorporate it into the classroom:

Expeditions has been greatly improved and now it is open to everyone. I’d like to highlight that there are 360º videos on YouTube that can be used as well. Last week, I took a group of 22 6 year-old Young Learners A1 to ‘visit’ Hamleys the toyshop and name the toys. While ‘visiting’ the shop, I asked each one of them: What can you see? They used the words they had previously learned: Teddy bear, action figure, doll, car.

@MehrasaAlizadeh added that with the newly released Google VR Tour Creator, the potentials for student-generated content are expanding more than ever before.


How Can We Use MAVR to Teach Languages?

@ParisaMehran stated that she uses VR as empathy machines to raise social and cultural awareness and promote social justice.

@Rach_Ribeiro said, it reminded me of a similar experience: A year ago the lesson for a group of C1 students was natural disasters and I used Google Cardboard box so my students could ‘visit’ a location in the US during a hurricane. Somebody had used a Gopro to film.

@Eric_Hawkinson also mentioned that others in JALT MAVR SIG have been working with AR and VR to give perceptive and raise empathy (#RefugeesWelcome).


Conclusion

@SophiaMav concluded the chat by asking this question: “So, can we say that we can see the potential in language learning but more research – including action research – is needed? Research that will explore the pedagogy of MAVR in language learning and possibly link to CALL and MALL?

Here are the answers:

  • @ParisaMehranYes, I think so. And I’d like to see more MAVR based lesson plans. I as a teacher need to know how to integrate MAVR into my classes.
  • @ChrisRHastingsSome rigorous longitudinal studies would be nice. Also, theory to link MAVR to key existing ideas in SLA.
  • @alsayeghazizI’ve been using a lot on VR games lately and looking for a possibility of going beyond flipped classroom teaching/learning. There are some issues that I do believe that needs to be looked at. Such as, nausea, full isolation, learners experience, etc.
  •  @Rach_RibeiroDefinitely more action research and case studies , Twitter chats and more sharing!

Here are the links that were shared during the chat:


If you have classroom experiences with MAVR or know other MAVR tools, please leave a comment.

Thanks for reading.

Peace