Well, this is the first working day after NATE, and I am looking back at the week in St. Petersburg. Apart from the logistical nightmare that involved last-minute visa applications, an adventure holiday for two children and their two friends, travel and accommodation for the trip to Russia and travelling around 4 hours in each direction to the children’s holiday location, it was quite amazing! Everything went so smoothly, it was a little surreal.
My wife has visited the National Association of Teachers of English in Russia conference for the last 6 years I think, so I have heard lots about it and about the people there. It was everything I expected: a range of talks and workshops and some really nice people in a very nice city. What particularly impressed me though was the way that the leaders of NATE clearly view their job as one of a professional association and are thinking about how they can promote their profession to all stakeholders. I don’t always find this to be the case in other associations.
All in all, a very positive experience. Had some great food, the weather was beautiful and I met some wonderful people who I hope to get the opportunity to meet again soon.
Do you have to choose a suitable vocabulary app for your students? Select digital materials? Recommend a learning platform for your school? Formally or informally, many teachers and academic managers select and evaluate digital learning materials. On what basis? On what criteria do we base our assessments of learning material, whether created by the teacher, ELT publisher or a tech company? This course provides a systematic approach to ‘evaluating digital materials’, taking participants through the What? Why? Who? and How? of evaluation. Participants assess material relevant to them and finish the course with a set of tools for future evaluations.
We start with a look at definitions. Firstly: “What is evaluation? And
secondly, “What do we mean by digital materials?” Next, we will look at a history
of digital materials, from the earliest days of CALL (computer-assisted
language learning) through the multimedia age of CD-ROMs and interactive
whiteboard software to the current mobile age of tablet and Smartphone apps. Participants
will choose which set of materials they will evaluate during the course.
We will look at a range of theories of language learning (behaviourism,
cognitivism, Second Language Acquisition) and explore to what extent these
theories inform the design of digital materials. We will look at the concerns
of research – what have CALL researchers focussed on? Evaluation can be done
from a number of perspectives and we will explore the following three approaches:
the instructional designer, the language teacher and finally, the student who
uses the material.
This session will look systematically at the What? Who? Why? and How? of
evaluating digital materials. Under ‘How’, we will explore four useful
frameworks as follows: Hubbard / Chapelle / Leakey and Reinders & Pegrum. We
will see how each framework fits best with evaluating certain types of
materials. The session will also present the many, various methods (or
instruments) available to the evaluator, such as: questionnaires, focus groups
and observations, considering the pros and cons of each method.
This practical session will bring together the content of the earlier
sessions in a list of recommendations: “10 practical tips on evaluating digital
materials.” As materials are changing so rapidly, we will focus on the future
and examine many exciting (yet scary) developments, including: adaptive
learning, voice recognition, Virtual and Augmented reality. We will see how
language teachers need to take an informed view on many controversial developments,
and stay up to date with the pedagogy in order to continue to evaluate the new
types of digital materials our learners will be using in the imminent future.
For all PSA blog readers and clients, a 20% discount is available on this course. Please contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
My wife and I have a whole load of individual text books for EFL, EAP, business English, ESP, you name it. As our careers have evolved, we have little use for the majority of them, and now they are taking up space that we need for other books, etc. I’m sure this is familiar to many of you. I would say we have around 60 books that we no longer need, all in good or brand-new condition. As a result, I spent some time today searching online to see if any organisations recycle such things to developing countries, for example. To be honest, I found nothing that clearly told me they could handle such things.
So, does anybody out there know of any way of productively giving these books another use? I would be grateful to hear on email@example.com. Thanks.
Would you like to learn more about one of the most exciting areas in language teaching? Why not visit our Courses page where we have just launched a new lesson on Augmented Reality. The lesson is currently free and we are happy to receive feedback. It will take about an hour, and involves making an AR aura for your students with the app HP Reveal. Enjoy!