At the recent BALEAP PIM Conference in Sheffield, I talked about a new online course on Learning Technologies in EAP we’re planning to run at our centre next year. It will be a training course for teachers and the goal is to provide them with a solid basis in the use of technology in EAP and give them the confidence to experiment with it in the classroom. The slides from the talk can be downloaded from here if you wish to view them.
Why do we need such a course?
The rationale for the course came from my work with EAP teachers over the last few years and the feeling that while many teachers see the value and importance of technology, they are not always sure how to approach it in the classroom. They often suffer a genuine anxiety that things might go wrong and they’ll feel foolish in front of their students. It’s often happened teachers will ask me to sit down with them and talk through how to use a website or a particular piece of hardware with students. When I ask them later how it went, they’ll often explain that they didn’t try it for fear of it going wrong.
So, we came up with the idea of an online course that would give EAP teachers a scaffolded guide through some of the tools that are useful for their students and some practical tips for how to use them in class. Included among them would be:
- Corpus tools such as Lex Tutor, Flax and COCA for developing students vocabulary knowledge
- integrating your university VLE (e.g. Moodle or Blackboard) into your teaching programme
- Online writing tools such as Google Docs, iWorks, Office 365 for collaborative writing and project tasks.
- Quizzing tools such as Socrative, Kahoot, Turning Point and Lecture Tools to increase student engagement during lectures and to help review language in a more entertaining way.
- More effective use/teaching of presentation tools such as Powerpoint, Prezi, Haiku Deck and Sway.
Most importantly though, we want to make technology approachable, unthreatening and genuinely useful for teachers and students. To help with this, we’ll be providing real videoed lessons of teachers using technology in the classroom and helping students to use it effectively. These are not fake or model lessons, they are done with real teachers and students and will give a more realistic idea of what a lesson using technology would look like.
The course will have traditional online elements such as exercises and activities, but there will also be virtual classrooms where teachers can engage with the tutors and their peers to discuss their experiences of using technology. This is both an opportunity to share, but also a chance to engage with another form of technology.
Underpinning the course will be a couple of theoretical models, especially Puentedura’s SAMR framework (2006) for evaluating the effectiveness of using technology in the class, and Mishra and Koehler’s TPACK model (2009)for teachers to evaluate their technological knowledge in relation to their content and pedagogical knowledge.
This course will be running as a pilot next year from late January to late March, so approximately eight weeks. We estimate that teachers will need to devote 5–6 hours a week to the content of the course, which includes working through the activities, watching the videos, engaging with the forums and taking part in the virtual classroom. We hope to be able to accept around 30 teachers on the course, 20 from the UK and 10 from other countries. There will be two tutors, myself and my colleague Nicholas Murgatroyd.
As it’s a pilot course, it will be offered for free this first time, but the expectation for free participation is that teachers will give feedback on various aspects of the course to help us develop it.
Who is the course for?
This course is really designed for teachers who see value in using technology but lack the confidence to go into the classroom and try things out. If you are a teacher who is comfortable using technology in and outside of the classroom, this course is probably not for you. If you see no value in using technology with students, this course is probably not for you. If you fall somewhere between those two, it might be of some value!
If you would like to register interest for participation on this course, please go to the link below and fill out your details. This is not a guarantee of acceptance on it, but it does help give us a sense of numbers. Later we’ll send out a more detailed registration form if people are still interested.
I’d welcome any comments you might have about this course and its usefulness, please use the box below to express your ideas.
- Puentedura, R. (2006), “Transformation, technology, and education”, available at: www. hippasus.com/resources/tte/ (accessed February 14, 2011)
- Koehler, M. & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)?. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). (accessed March 15, 2013)