Tech Tools from EUROCALL 2017

Tech Tools from EUROCALL 2017

Photo created by Canva

Inspired by Paul Raine’s Tech Tips blog posts, I’ve decided to list the tech tools which are going to be introduced at EUROCALL 2017 mainly based on the abstract book, because my UK visa was denied three times for illogical reasons and I cannot attend the conference. Fortunately, I’ll take part virtually via Virtually Connecting.

I am very much interested to know:

(1) the “five iPad apps to encourage active learning”, which will be introduced at Pecha Kucha MALL SIG symposium,

(2) the dictionary and tablet apps used in Toshiko Koyama’s study, titled “Bigger Is Better?: Smartphone Dictionary Apps vs. Tablet Dictionary Apps”, and

(3) the free mobile application that Selwood and Lyddon will ask the visitors of their poster, titled “Back to the Future: Re-mediating Postmillennial Posters in the Digital Age”, to download to have access to some digital data. (I asked Jaime Selwood about the app online on Twitter and added the app to the list)

I’d be grateful if you could help me complete the list.

  1. VEO – Video Enhanced Observation: A technological tool, available for iPads and iPad minis, which aims to promote teachers’ professional development by allowing educators to capture teaching practices for reflection.
  2. Linguacuisine (forthcoming): Free downloadable smartphone and tablet apps (Android and Apple) for learning European languages and cuisines.
  3. StratApp (forthcoming): A game-based app which aims to improve the English academic reading skills of university students, in various disciplines at A2/B1-B2/C1 CEFR level.
  4. busuu: A language learning app with over 60 million registered users to learn, practice and improve Spanish, English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Polish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic or Turkish.
  5. Italki: A social networking site for tandem language learning.
  6. BlippAR: A visual discovery app, using Augmented Reality (AR), machine learning and artificial intelligence to bring the physical world to life through smartphones and wearables.
  7. Book Creator: An app for making ebooks on iPad.
  8. Kahoot: A web-based program that allows students to take part in multiple-choice quizzes online through their smartphones, with instant results provided through a teacher-controlled screen displayed on the classroom  projector.
  9. Edmodo: An app to share videos and manage the students’ learning process.
  10. uTalk: An app to learn across 130+ languages.
  11. Padlet: A digital canvas to create projects that are easy to share and collaborate on.
  12. WordBricks (not sure about the link): A language independent MALL resource that enables learners to construct grammatically correct sentences.
  13. HelloTalk: A social networking app for language learning.
  14. Quality Time: An app that helps its users understand their digital diet and be more productive.
  15. PeerEval: A free app that is intended to be used by students in order to evaluate the presentations of the other class members.
  16. TELL-OP: A language learning app.
  17. SKELL: A simple tool for students and teachers of English to easily check whether or how a particular phrase or a word is used by real speakers of English.
  18. AntConc: A freeware corpus analysis toolkit for concordancing and text analysis.
  19. COCA (The Corpus of Contemporary American English): The largest freely-available corpus of English.
  20. Just the Word: A website that gives a detailed description of the company a word keeps in modern-day English.
  21. G Suite for Education: A suite of free productivity tools for classroom collaboration.
  22. #Lancsbox: A new software package for the analysis of language data and corpora.
  23. English Central: Online English lessons with tutors.
  24. MReader: A browser-based version of the Moodle “Reader” module and therefore can be utilized by those not having the Moodle LMS on campus.
  25. Xreading: A Learner Management System (LMS), designed specifically for Extensive Reading (ER), which also offers access to a digital library of graded readers, supplementing the classroom and school libraries of traditional, paper-based graded readers.
  26. Wordiser: A custom-built English language teaching and learning platform.
  27. Check your Smile (CYS): A free platform that is entirely devoted to English for Specific Purposes (LSP).
  28. edX: A massive open online course provider.
  29. FutureLearn: A digital education platform that offers free online courses from top universities and specialist organisations.
  30. Diigo: A social bookmarking website.
  31. PBworks: A commercial real-time collaborative editing system.
  32. CTAP (Common Text Analysis Platform): A set of tools that helps the students manage their text corpus and automatically analyze them for various purposes.
  33. Moodle: A learning management system (LMS).
  34. ThingLink: A tool to animate images and videos. EUROCALL2017 digital poster sample: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/954984913965154306
  35. Socialbakers: A social media analytics platform.
  36. Klout: A website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rate its users according to online social influence.
  37. Facebook Insights:  A tool for tracking user interaction on Facebook.
  38. TweetStats: A tool for tracking user interaction on Twitter.
  39. Amazon Echo: A smart speaker developed by Amazon.com.
  40. Amazon Alexa: A speech recognizer
  41. Sakai: A fully customizable, open source learning management system.

The following tools are still used and researched in the classroom:

Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, WhatsApp, WeChat, and WordPress.

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Behind-the-Scenes Google Site and Two Hashtags for OUGEO

OUGEO

Photo created by Canva

One of the reasons I don’t consider doing my PhD in Japan as a waste of time is that I learned how to define, manage, organize, and track projects.

My PhD project is focused on designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating an EGAP (English for General Academic Purposes) online course, entitled Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO), targeting Japanese learners at Osaka University. Based on a needs analysis, the course was designed and developed guided by theoretical frameworks and models for online course design. OUGEO was implemented in the spring semester of 2017 (April–July), and offered at three levels (elementary, intermediate, and upper intermediate), each level containing 10 online and 5 face-to-face sessions.

To track the project and record what was happening in the process of designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating the course, I created a behind-the-scenes Google site for OUGEO. Here is the link to the site:

https://sites.google.com/view/ougeo

I also used two hashtags on Twitter to microblog about the OUGEO project and share its instructional materials:

A Review on Paul Driver’s Talk at the 2017 IATEFL Conference in Glasgow

Bringing New Technology Perspectives to ELT (1)Photo created by Canva

Recently, I applied for the Learning Technologies SIG Roving Reporter Scholarship for the 2018 IATEFL Conference in Brighton.

The applicants were required to write a review on one of the talks within a session titled “Outside in: Bringing New Technology Perspectives to ELT” at the 2017 IATEFL Conference in Glasgow. I chose Paul Driver’s talk, as I found it very related to my research interests. A part of my PhD dissertation is focused on bringing Augmented Reality (AR) to the English language classroom, and this is how I know Paul Driver and his website, Digital Debris, where I found practical examples of AR integration in the English language classroom.

Paul was the only ELT teacher at the panel session who is in practice trying to bring the new technologies that the panelists (Geoff Stead, Donald Clark, and Yvonne Rogers) were talking about such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), geo-location, AR (Augmented Reality), and VR (Virtual Reality) into the classroom.

Paul initially argued that the ways we have access to information have recently changed, however, that information is not delivered in a pedagogically innovative way. Therefore, we need a pedagogical change, and he believes that we have to take advantage of the powerful technologies the students have now in their pockets. That is why he is interested in looking at the affordances of mobile devices to perform different activities in the classroom. It has been for years that he has been using “greenscreening” in his classrooms to create vodcasts or one-minute soap operas with his students, which gives the students the opportunity to relate the language to their personal interests and overcome the “affective filter”.

Paul then emphasized the importance of teacher training on the use of technology, which he thinks is lacking in many teaching training courses. As a teacher trainer, he tries to intertwine technology with ELT teacher training.

He also talked about geo-location, which he explored at a university in Portugal with lecture style theater seating arrangements. By using GPS technologies and mobile devices, he designed some lessons (e.g., a game called “Invader”) to take the learners outside the classroom and create interactions between them.

Paul believes that language teachers can think of using 3D printing, and incorporating and fitting it into the philosophy of PBL (Project-based Learning), TBL (Task-based Learning), CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), and ESP (English for Specific Purposes).

Interestingly, Paul is not a fan of “gamification”, describing it as a “low hanging fruit”, which is based on behaviorist psychology and extrinsic motivation, but a fan of “digital game-based learning”, konwn as GBL, which is based on intrinsic motivation.

In addition, Paul has used VR with his students, for example, in his CELTA courses for teacher training. He recorded demo sessions of the teacher-students and have them re-watch it in VR using a head-mounted display (HMD) for reflective practice.

Finally, Paul gave a practical message to language teachers: Take control of the technology, play with it, and hack it! Do not let it be imposed on you. You as a language teacher need to improve your digital literacy to a level that you feel you are in a power position and have control over the technology.

I think by taking control Paul means the ability to create and design our own lessons in line with our pedagogical philosophy by using our imaginations and improving our tech skills, as he earlier mentioned in his talk.

AR and VR Demo Slam at the University of Fukuchiyama

AR and VR Demo SlamPhoto created by Canva

Mehrasa and I recently joined Eric to help him with the AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) demo slam at the University of Fukuchiyama for Open Campus 2017.

The AR and VR experience area included:

  1. Eric’s ARientation cards (available at here)

Eric has two sets of cards, one is in A4 size and the other in A6.

Students were asked to install BlippAR on their smartphones to be able to scan the A4 size ARientation cards, which were hung on the wall. Some codes were overlayed in an image or video format on the cards to be used to unlock a cipher with mission accomplished signs inside.

Eric also demoed some of the A4 size ARientation cards by using a special camera. A number of the cards were overlayed with some keywords such as change, better world, and tackle inequality, and we took some screenshots while I was trying to scan them.

  1. Google Cardboard, which is a piece of cardboard that turns a smartphone into a VR headset
  2. Cameras to take 360 degree photos
  3. HTC Vive, which is a virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation

Students tried HTC Vive by exploring some Google Earth VR demos, which provided opportunities for practicing English through explaining what they could see in the virtual world.

Eric is thinking of mixing AR and VR for his future projects and demos, and I am very much looking forward to it! 🙂

 

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Blog Post for the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group (LTSIG) 

Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities (MAVR)

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As Aaron Hogan truly tweeted, “Twitter is not going to change your life, but the educators you meet there will!” Recently, I have become active on Twitter and had the chance to get connected to teachers, researchers, and educators from different parts of the world! This is how I got to know Phil Longwell, also known online as ‘Teacher Phili‘. He kindly invited me to write a blog post for the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group (LTSIG).

Together with Mehrasa, we wrote a post on Mixed, Augmented, and Virtual Realities (MAVR). We first defined MAVR, and then introduced some apps that help teachers bring MAVR to their classrooms. Following that, we shared our experience using BlippAR, an AR application, to augment poster carousel tasks in our blended English course (Osaka University Global English Online). Finally, we introduced the JALT MAVR SIG, which aims at promoting MAVR technologies in teaching and learning, especially in language education.

You can read our blog post, titled “How to Bring Mixed, Augmented & Virtual Reality to Your Classroom”, here.

OUGEO PRESENCE AT JALT CALL 2017

Poster, JALT CALL

Poster available on academia

In our poster presentation at JALT CALL 2017, Mehrasa and I focused on the design and development phases of an online course of English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP), which we have referred to as Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO).

Initially, we reviewed two mainstream models of instructional design for online course delivery—namely, ADDIE and SAM. The ADDIE model is a generic, systematic, linear, step-by-step process, known as waterfall model, which consists of five ordered phases: (1) Analysis, (2) Design, (3) Development, (4) Implementation, and (5) Evaluation.

xuycbhzq_ADDIE_Waterfall

Photo source: https://goo.gl/UxisAn

Unlike ADDIE’s five giant sequential steps, SAM (Successive Approximation Model) is an iterative, cyclical, and agile approach to instructional design which tries to address the roadblocks in the way of instructional designers in repeated small steps.

leaving-addie-for-sam-19-728

Photo source: https://goo.gl/3JF7om

Following that, we explained the intertwined design and development phases of our prospective online course, which include the following: Assessing students’ needs and technological skills, defining the course overall goal and learning objectives, determining online course technologies, requirements, accessibility, connectivity, and support system, developing course syllabus, instructional materials (available via these hashtags: #OsakaUniversityGlobalEnglishOnline #OUGEO), tasks and activities, objective-based assessment, management strategies for team teaching, and formative and summative course evaluation. We also discussed copyright restrictions, the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs), as well as several e-learning authoring tools and their merits and demerits. Finally, we touched upon issues related to quality assurance with reference to the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric.

5

OUGEO Presence at Osaka JALT Back to School 2017

Back to School 2017

Despite the rapid growth of online teaching and learning at institutes of higher education worldwide, switching to online courses can pose a great challenge to those involved in creating and administering them. In our presentation at Osaka JALT Back to School 2017, Mehrasa and I tried to simplify, clarify, and exemplify the process of online course design.

We focused on practices that we found successful in designing online English courses based on the related literature and our hands-on experience as online instructional designers.

Under the project title of Osaka University Global English Online (OUGEO), we designed and developed, and are now implementing, a blended course of English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) at Osaka University targeting second-year undergraduate students for a period of 15 weeks, of which 10 sessions are purely online and 5 sessions are face-to-face.

First, we reviewed popular instructional design models like ADDIE and SAM. We also discussed topics such as online syllabus, learning management systems, e-learning authoring tools, online visual design, e-assessment, and e-feedback. Finally, we introduced the most practical standards checklists for online course self-evaluation: The Standards Checklist by Marjorie Vai and Kristen Sosulski (2011) and Quality Matters Higher Education Course Design Rubric Standards, Fifth Edition (2014).

Slides: Online Course Design 101: All You Need to Know to Get Started