Enhancing Technology Use and Training in Foreign Language Instruction through the Technology Training Model

30 MINUTES OF SYNCHRONOUS CHAT WILL BEGIN AT 12:00PM (MST) WEDNESDAY OCT. 5 USING THE EMBEDDED TLK.IO WIDGET ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SCREEN (PLEASE LOOK FOR THE BLUE BAR TITLED L2DLAZCALL2016).

Yi Wang, Borbala Gaspar, & Chelsea Timlin, University of Arizona

 

Click the video frame above to view the presentation. To ask the presenters a question about their presentation, please add a comment at the bottom of this page between October 3 and October 8. Presenters will check for and reply to questions each symposium day.

Abstract

This study investigates the insufficiencies of technology-centered training for Foreign Language (FL) graduate student instructors at the collegiate level and proposes a detailed training model as a solution. As called for by the MLA Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Languages (2007), “graduate studies should provide substantive training in language teaching and in the use of new technologies”. This statement is supported by many in the field of SLA (Lord, 2014; Melin, 2000; Muyskens, 1997), and yet there are still gaps in understanding how graduate student instructors view and approach the use of technology. Using two online surveys, we collected information from 20 graduate teaching associates (TAs) and 6 language program directors (LPDs) from various collegiate foreign language departments about their current use and perceptions of technology in the classroom and training they have received or offered.

Two goals of this study are stated: 1) to understand the state of current technology use and training in collegiate-level FL programs and 2) to learn the perceptions toward technology use and training from both stakeholders. Based on qualitative and quantitative analyses, we identified a discrepancy in perceptions between LPDs and TAs, and an insufficiency of the current technology use and training. As a response we propose the 6FS (Six For Success) model, a detailed training program that promotes collaboration among faculty and graduate associates.

While making foreign language teaching inventive and responsive to new technologies it is easy to get lost in the ‘cloud’. It is time for us to turn our attention to what type of technology we use and how we use it. This presentation gives an outline of the visible gaps based on our findings and proposes the 6FS training model, a module that is responsive to the current literature and considers technology use to be paired with pedagogical frameworks.

Presenters
Yi Wang

Ph.D. student in East Asian Studies and Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT)
University of Arizona

yiw@email.arizona.edu

Borbala Gaspar

Ph.D. student in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT)
University of Arizona

bgaspar@email.arizona.edu

Chelsea Timlin

Ph.D. Student in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT)
University of Arizona

steinerc@email.arizona.edu

5 thoughts on “Enhancing Technology Use and Training in Foreign Language Instruction through the Technology Training Model”

  1. I like it that you outlined the implications step by step. I also have found myself in situations, when I know technology, or a site that can be exciting, but I am not sure how to implement it in class, especially class of ELLs.

    1. I often experience this as well, Olga! Our goal with this study is to highlight the areas in which graduate teaching assistants are feeling they need more training concerning technology. As Yi explained in the presentation, only one of the 25 GTA-participants rated their own use of technology in the classroom as very effective, and the majority have not received any technology training. We hope this will change by bringing attention to the discrepancies between the training that is offered to GTAs and the type of training that GTAs would like to receive. Thank you for your comment!

  2. Thank you for this nicely organized presentation full of great ideas. You have mentioned in the findings parts of your study that LPDs that participated in the study have offered workshops/training sessions before, yet content wise they were not much catering for the needs to use technology effectively and efficiently. This being the case, I wonder what you think about the use of this training model you propose among LPDs first, so that they can better support GTAs in terms of what and how of tech use in FL classrooms, and provide better designed pre-service and in-service PD opportunities for GTAs. I also like your coffee-circle idea. Do you imagine this to be face-to-face or virtual? I think the latter can provide the participants with a platform to practice effective and efficient use of technology at first hand.

  3. Dear Mehtap, first of all thank you so much for watching our presentation and thank you for your question. Based on the data on the GTAs and the literature, we found that there is still room to focus more on the effective use of technology. Your questions is great and you pointed out an important element to talk about. We believe that the strength of our model comes from the idea of collaborating together, and in a way taking part of a continuos learning journey together. The reasons are the following: as we look around, we can see that the success of many disciplines comes from the fact that they have a very strong collaboration network that allows them to work effectively together, and by doing so they eliminate some of the hierarchical structure, thus providing more opportunities for all members to contribute to the success of the department. Furthermore, this model provides opportunities to GTAs to take on more agency in terms of making changes, bringing in new ideas and suggesting improvements. I am afraid that by asking the LPDs to complete a training model could lead to a different direction. For instance this may produce some limitations in terms of selecting the new directions to explore. For the literature circles we suggest to have face to face meeting. These circles could take place right after or before monthly faculty meetings.
    Thank you for asking this important aspect that provided us to reflect on, and further explain the goals of our model.

  4. Dear Mehtap, first of all thank you so much for watching our presentation and thank you for your question. Based on the data on the GTAs and the literature, we found that there is still room to focus more on the effective use of technology. Your questions is great and you pointed out an important element to talk about. We believe that the strength of our model comes from the idea of collaborating together, and in a way taking part of a continuos learning journey together. The reasons are the following: as we look around, we can see that the success of many disciplines comes from the fact that they have a very strong collaboration network that allows them to work effectively together, and by doing so they eliminate some of the hierarchical structure, thus providing more opportunities for all members to contribute to the success of the department. Furthermore, this model provides opportunities to GTAs to take on more agency in terms of making changes, bringing in new ideas and suggesting improvements. I am afraid that by asking the LPDs to complete a training model could lead to a different direction. For instance this may produce some limitations in terms of selecting the new directions to explore. For the literature circles we suggest to have face to face meeting. These circles could take place right after or before monthly faculty meetings.
    Thank you for asking this important aspect that provided us to reflect on, and further explain the goals of our model.

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