Assessing and integrating digital technologies is of interest to educators around the world. In July 2017, Liza Navarro, TLEF graduate academic assistant, and Wendy Zhang, TLEF co-op student, had the opportunity to interact with a group of English teachers from Tokyo, Japan who were visiting UBC as part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education Professional Development Program 2017. Liza and Wendy, with planning support from Yvonne Dawydiak, the Teacher Ed technology integration mentor, provided a workshop on assessing digital technologies for classroom use. The focus of the workshop was on hands on and minds on exploration of various digital resources that might be implemented in the language classroom.
During this 3-hour workshop, the exchange teachers worked with Plickers, Padlet, GreenScreen, and Kahoot!, from the perspective of a student and an educator. For example, the presenters prepared some questions for the participants to answer using the Plickers cards. After participating in this activity, participants created their own questions and tested them out in small groups and shared their results with the class.
We also introduced instructors to the SECTIONS model (Students, Ease of Use, Cost, Teaching, Interaction, Organizational Issues, Networking, and Security and Privacy) developed at the University of British Columbia by Tony Bates, which has been widely used to assess digital technologies used in the classroom.
After discussing and understanding the components of the SECTIONS model, the teachers worked on a collaborative exploration of the Scarfe Digital Sandbox , a resource blog developed for UBC’s Teacher Education Program. In searching and understanding the resources available, participants were asked to select one resource they would integrate into their own classroom and evaluate it by applying the SECTIONS model. These language teachers were thus given hands-on opportunities to play with various technologies and talk about the possibilities of using them to enhance their teaching and engage their language learners. The instructors enjoyed this opportunity and actively participated in sharing their ideas and reflections with the class. In addition, they recognized the possibilities and potential challenges of integrating various technologies into the language classroom.
Ultimately, they agreed that digital technology should be incorporated in the language learning environment and that instructors should make conscious efforts to evaluate technologies to support effective selection and use. Participants and Facilitators alike had a rich and enjoyable experience!
For more resources:
Introduction to the SECTIONS model: SECTIONS presentation