Assessing and integrating digital technologies has been an ongoing challenge for educators around the world. On August 26, 2017, Liza Navarro, TLEF graduate academic assistant, and Wendy Zhang, TLEF co-op student, had the opportunity to interact with 25 English teachers from Tokyo, Japan and share with them some applications with strong educational potential. These instructors were also introduced to approaches in assessing digital technologies for classroom use and were offered hands-on opportunities to play with some of the technologies available 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, none of the teachers had any experience with Plickers so in an effort to expose them to this new resource, Liza and Wendy prepared some questions for them to answer using the Plickers cards. After participating in this activity, instructors were then asked to create their own questions and test them out in small groups and share their results with the class.
Instructors were also introduced 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 teacher education by Yvonne Dawydiak, Technology Integration Mentor. In searching and understanding the resources available, participants were asked to select one that 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 technology should be incorporated into the language learning environment and that instructors should make conscious efforts in evaluating what technologies are integrated in the classroom. In addition, they shared some wonderful feedback:
“I find out that I can be more creative using technological devices/apps”
“I enjoyed today’s workshop, and I want to introduce the apps in my class and to engage students more!”
“I will search more applications on the Scarfe Digital Sandbox website, thank you so much for your time!”
“Thank you for your lessons and giving us tons of information about technology integration! It stimulated my ideas a lot!”
“I like green screen and Kahoot!. Thanks you very much for sharing the ideas. I would like to try easy ones and share the information with my coworkers.”
For more resources:
Introduction to the SECTIONS model: SECTIONS presentation