In this post, Vicky Saumell follows up on some of the questions that participants asked during her recent webinar, What about creating technology-enhanced materials? You can watch a recording at http://iatefl.adobeconnect.com/pilne01kpmil/. In her answers, Vicky links to a wealth of resources for those keen to learn more about the areas touched on in her webinar.
Are there principles which are unique to designing digital materials (rather than general principles for all language-learning materials)?
In this regard, I can point out two resources I know of:
- a general resource website called Principles for Digital Development, which is not specific to language learning materials, but still a useful read
- a specific document published by BECTA (the former British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) called Quality principles for digital learning resources.
Are there any models other than SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition)?
Just to recap, the SAMR model, which I mentioned during the webinar, was developed by Ruben Puentedura around 2002.
Lefflard, 2016 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_SAMR_Model.jpg)
There are two other models for technology integration:
1 The TPACK model, developed by Mishra and Kohler (2006), is designed around the idea that content (what you teach) and pedagogy (how you teach) must be the basis for any technology that you plan to use in your classroom to enhance learning. So, a person possessing the three types of knowledge: T (technological), P (pedagogical) and C (content) is better equipped to make effective choices and decisions.
2 More recently, in 2017, Sonny Magana presented his T3 framework for implementation of technology. In this model, he identifies three stages in the use of educational technology:
- T1 (Translational), which includes Automation and Consumption
- T2 (Transformational), which includes Production and Contribution
- T3 (Transcendental), which includes Inquiry Design and Social Entrepreneurship.
These models are not mutually exclusive; they look at technology integration from different perspectives.
Also, you may want to have a look at my presentation Principles for Meaningful Technology Integration.
Is it always desirable to aim ultimately for ‘Redefinition’ (from the SAMR model)? Why?
I would say yes and argue that aiming to use tools at the Redefinition level in the SAMR model is taking advantage of the more creative and unique aspects of technology. This does not mean that I will stop using a word processor or a presentation tool, usually at a lower level in the SAMR, as a direct tool substitute for a typewriter or a poster.
Can you recommend free and easy-to-use apps/websites?
Here’s a handy list of tools I regularly use:
Book creator https://app.bookcreator.com/
Make Beliefs Comics https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/
Timeline maker http://www.teach-nology.com/web_tools/materials/timelines/
Word Clouds http://www.abcya.com/word_clouds.htm
In the case of tools that require registration, and for use with one of my classes, I usually register myself with a dedicated email for that purpose (not my personal one) and then share the login details with my students so they don’t have to register themselves.
Where can we find out about copyright and legal rules, especially if we’re writing materials for publication?
I would start by assuming that any image, video, text, etc. has a copyright limitation unless otherwise explicitly stated. Many people are choosing to publish their work under a Creative Commons Licence to allow their work to be used by others under certain conditions. If not explicitly stated, you will need to contact the author to request permission to use, which could be granted for free or for a fee, depending on how it’s going to be used.
You talked a lot about digital input resources, but I’d like to hear more about designing effective tasks to go with them. What things do we need to bear in mind when it comes to tech-based tasks for language learning?
I think the general principles for effective tasks also apply to digital tasks. I would suggest reading this document: Quality principles for digital learning resources, which I mentioned in the first answer.
What’s your opinion/evaluation of purely digital materials vs blended learning?
In the case of blended learning materials, you can always rely on the face-to-face element to support the learners in any difficulty they might encounter when online.
In the case of purely digital materials, they may be used within a teacher-led or teacher-assisted online learning space, or they may be used as self-study material without a teacher’s intervention. For the former, you can rely on the teacher’s presence to fulfil roles similar to the face-to-face classroom, and you can therefore include open-ended tasks. For the latter, you are limited to closed tasks that can be automatically graded and automatic pre-written feedback for students.
If you’re interested in how to evaluate digital materials in general, you can read this paper: How to evaluate the quality of digital learning resources? by Abderrahim El Mhouti, Azeddine Nasseh and Mohamed Erradi. Note that it is not specific to language learning.
To wrap up, I would like to acknowledge the hard work done by my Argentinian colleagues, María Laura García, Paula Ledesma and Ana Cendoya, who worked with me on this materials writing project. Some of the materials and images presented during the webinar were written by them and they kindly gave me permission to share them.
If you would like to read more about the process of writing these materials, you can access this paper we wrote together:
‘Creating technology-enhanced language learning materials’ in Authenticity in ELT: Selected Papers from the 42nd FAAPI Conference, 2017.
I hope I’ve been able to shed light on some of the issues you’ve raised. Thank you for your interest in the topic.
Vicky Saumell holds a Diploma in the Theory and Methodology of TESOL and another in Educational Technology. She has written and taught online New Learning Environments for the Master’s in ELT at Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia, and teaches at Instituto San Francisco de Asis and Buenos Aires English High School in Buenos Aires. She is also a freelance author and has worked as a writer and trainer for Pearson, CUP, Macmillan and Santillana.