Digital Literacies and Technology-Enhanced Language Learning: Interdisciplinary Intersections and Interactions

Symposium Program

As new technology-mediated forms of interaction, learning, and meaning making have increasingly become integrated into all domains of life, from everyday to academic, foreign language educators and researchers have embraced the concept of Digital Literacies to frame new understandings and pedagogies. At the same time, the field of CALL (Computer-assisted Language Learning) has also evolved to consider new technologies as tutors, tools, environments, and ecologies for language learning. Theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical practices have differed, even as goals align.

Building on the successes of the 2014 symposium, 2016’s L2DL symposium, Digital Literacies and Technology-Enhanced Language Learning: Interdisciplinary Intersections and Interactions, was co-convened with AZ-CALL, a conference that brings together CALL researchers and practitioners from across the region. The joint symposium was sponsored by CERCLL (the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy) and a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, with support from various units at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.

Format and Schedule

The symposium began on September 30, 2016, with a plenary presentation by Shelley Staples (University of Arizona). Abstracts for digital presentations were submitted in the summer and accepted presentations were hosted online during the week of October 3 – October 8, with asynchronous fora (discussion threads) allowing for question-and-answer for that entire week, and some of the presenters conducting synchronous chat at designated times as well. On October 8 live webcast and in-person events included keynotes by Heather Lotherington of York University and Steve Thorne of Portland State University/University of Groningen; a panel presented by Joshua Thoms (Utah State University), Jill Castek (University of Arizona), and William Crawford (Northern Arizona University); and other presentations.

All live presentations were recorded and/or livestreamed and are now available to view below (and on CERCLL’s YouTube channel).

Keynote Presentations (October 8)

Heather Lotherington, York University

From Multiliteracies to Posthumanism: Language, Literacy, Education and Society at a Digital Crossroads

Link to Lotherington’s Power Point Presentation

Imagine a World_11 - Version 2

Abstract: Over the past two decades, following the publication and widespread take-up of the New London Group’s landmark call to action: A pedagogy of multiliteracies, teachers, researchers, and policy makers have been refocusing teaching and learning for an emergent global society that is interconnected in real time and space, and, simultaneously, in a virtual dimension that was only vaguely perceived in 1996. A pedagogy of multiliteracies signalled the pressing need to lift the concept of literacy off the linguistically and technologically restricted page towards complex, hybridized multimedia literacies that spill across the ephemeral borders of education, literacy, second language acquisition, media literacy, cultural studies, and applied linguistics. As the static, unidirectional 2D world on paper has disintegrated into dynamic, multidirectional, crowd-sourced, cloud-based knowledge construction, individually measurable reading-writing-listening-speaking skills have given way to cognitively-distributed problem-solving, using a digital toolkit enabling collaborative R/W authoring; plurilingual and multimodal design; ludic and maker pedagogies; even post-human communication with bots. In this wildly changing communication landscape, interdisciplinarity is an essential coping mechanism.

In 2002, I walked into an inner city elementary school in northwest Toronto as a researcher, wanting to understand how multiliteracies were reshaping the coalface of emergent literacy. They weren’t, but the principal was keen to understand how to improve learning for a 90% immigrant population. The school had a mandate to use what was then naively described as technology to boost the chances of success for children who were poor, and had little, if any, knowledge of English, much less of the cultural complexities of Canadian identity. Through shared “how do we do this?” problem-solving, we formed a small school-university working group to try out new ideas for bringing children’s linguistic and cultural knowledge—their funds of knowledge (Moll et al, 1992)—into digital cross-curricular literacy projects. As our learning community grew, it became a regular theory-practice workshop timetabled into the school day, where a core of dedicated educators and researchers met to plan, and conduct pedagogical interventions across classes, grades, and subjects to inject the languages of the community into digitally-supported, multimodal projects (see: Lotherington, 2011). Over a decade, we rewrote literacy education, school culture, and our own understandings of learning, responding in the process to challenges about how to teach a class of 25 children speaking 16 different languages, and how to cope with the incessant rate of technological change. This presentation describes our dialogic learning process, and pedagogical experimentation, and showcases a sample of elementary school children’s beautiful plurilingual, multimodal products.

References

Lotherington, H. (2011). Pedagogy of multiliteracies: Rewriting Goldilocks. New York, N.Y: Routledge.

Moll, L.C,, Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992) Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31(2), 132- 41.

New London Group (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92.

Steven L. Thorne, Portland State University & University of Groningen

Technologies and Morphologies of Communicative Action: Method, Investigation, and Transformation

Link to Thorne’s Power Point Presentation

Abstract: Applying principles expressed in cultural-historical and ecological approaches to development (Bateson, 1972; Engeström & Sannino, 2010; Kramsch, 2006; van Lier, 2004), extended and embodied cognition (Atkinson, 2010; Clark, 2008), ethnomethodological conversation analysis (Thorne et al, 2015), and usage-based linguistics (Tomasello, 2003; Yuldashev, Fernandez, & Thorne, 2013), this talk presents a design approach to creating digital environments for language learning. The presentation traces a 20-year arc of scholarly inquiry that examines various internet communication tools, massively multiplayer games, mobile augmented reality projects, and uses of social media. Emphasis will be placed on the complex relationships linking theory to practice and methodology to findings. Specifically, brief portraits of research on a number of technology innovation projects will be presented that describe the theoretical frameworks and questions guiding these formative interventions, the kinds of data gathered, the methodologies used for analysis, and the outcomes of these studies in terms of their findings and significance. Together, these projects address foreign, second, and indigenous language contexts. In conclusion, I suggest that language development is usefully understood as adaptive semiotic bricolage motivated by social relationships of consequence, with the extension that educational processes and contexts should be designed accordingly.

Plenary Presentation (September 30)

Shelley Staples, University of Arizona

Boundary Work: Reflections on Collaboration across Disciplines for Technology Enhanced (Language) Teaching and Learning

Link to the Power Point Presentation

Abstract: This presentation is intended to open up discussion about interdisciplinary intersections and interactions and the opportunities and challenges afforded by such work. While I identify primarily as a corpus linguist, my work has a broader focus on the use of technological tools to enhance teaching and research, with a particular emphasis on L1/L2 writing. In my talk, I will focus on an interdisciplinary collaboration with Technical/Professional Writing and Rhetoric/Composition faculty and graduate students at Purdue University, called Crow, or Corpus and Repository of Writing. Our collaborative work began through a shared interest in building an online database of writing and teaching materials for the first year writing program at our institution. The lessons learned from interacting in both disciplinary specific spaces (conferences) and interdisciplinary spaces (our own research meetings) will be presented, including the disciplinary focuses that we brought (and continue to bring to the project), methodologies and approaches that inform the creation of our online tool, conducting research in this interdisciplinary space, and the impact on our graduate and undergraduate research team.

Panel Discussion (October 8)

Digital Literacies, Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Corpus Linguistics: Intersections and Interactions 

Jill Castek, University of Arizona. Leveraging Digital Literacies for Digital Equity:  A Call to Action 

Link to the Power Point Presentation

Digital technologies have fundamentally transformed literacy practices, which have in turn expanded the ways we read texts, access information, and interact with one another. Implications of this change have profoundly affected education (e.g. the texts we use, the instructional practices we employ, and the learning environments we design).  Digital technologies can encourage wider access to texts and information, expand creativity in self-expression, and support collaboration within a globally networked world.   Drawing from her research in online reading and research and digital problem solving, Dr. Castek will address the potentials and possibilities for digitally enhanced teaching and learning as well as some of the constraints and inequities technology introduces.

William Crawford, Northern Arizona University. Adapting a Methodology: Register Analysis and Task-based Language Teaching

Link to the Power Point Presentation

Over the past 25 years, corpus-based work on register variation has expanded our understanding of language use by illustrating how linguistic features co-occur and vary in different situations of use, modes, topics and contexts.  In many respects, the actual linguistic features under investigation were not pre-determined but emerged from the data using different corpus techniques (e.g., corpus-driven methods) and statistical procedures (e.g., multi-dimensional analysis). Roughly over the same time period, work in Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) has provided a theoretical and empirical basis for research in the area of instructed Second Language Acquisition. Within in the TBLT framework, one common approach has been to investigate the extent to which the manipulation of task variables (e.g., planning time, task type, task complexity) results in variation in language production. This presentation explores potential relationships between issues raised in TBLT and the methods used to describe language variation in register analysis.

Joshua Thoms, Utah State University. L2 Digital Social Reading: Research and Practice

Link to the Power Point Presentation

Reading is shifting from a print-based experience to one that is often carried out in a digital environment due to the proliferation of myriad technological tools and reading devices. This change is resulting in learners attempting to transfer and, at times, re-think their reading strategies with digital texts (Park, Zheng, Lawrence, & Warshauer, 2013). Digital annotation tools (DAT) facilitate the development of new, digitally based reading strategies by allowing learners to interact with digital texts and with each other in new and engaging ways. One benefit of DAT in learning environments is that they allow learners to share annotations, which subsequently means that reading is no longer simply an individual process but also a collaborative one (Novak, Razzouk, & Johnson, 2012). Some (e.g., Blyth, 2014) refer to this kind of activity as digital social reading. In this talk, I will first provide a brief overview of DAT and their features. Next, I will discuss research that I have carried out that explores the various kinds of affordances (van Lier, 2004) that emerge when undergraduate learners use DAT while reading L2 literary texts. Along the way, I will also comment about the pedagogical aspects of/considerations for incorporating DAT in L2 classroom environments.

Symposium Schedule

September 30, University of Arizona Campus, Museum of Art

5 – 6 pm
Plenary: 
Boundary Work: Reflections on Collaboration across Disciplines for Technology Enhanced (Language) Teaching and Learning. Shelley Staples, University of Arizona. Introduced by Dwight Atkinson, University of Arizona

6 – 7 pm: Reception

 

October 3-8 Digital Presentations Online

Authors of some of the digital presentations will be available online to discuss their work at scheduled times October 3-7.

 

October 8 on the University of Arizona Campus, Memorial Student Union

Presentations on the 8th were livestreamed and accessible to registered participants.

9:00-9:45 am
Registration and coffee

9:45 – 10 am
Welcome: Beatrice Dupuy, CERCLL Co-Director, University of Arizona; Alain-Philippe Durand, Dean of the College of Humanities, University of Arizona

10 – 11:15 am
Keynote: 
Technologies and Morphologies of Communicative Action: Method, Investigation, and Transformation. Steven Thorne, Portland State University; University of Groningen. Introduced by Jinjing Zhao, Arizona State University

11:15 am – Noon
CALL/DL Intersections: Discussion of Digital Presentations, Kristin Lange, Jacob Monzingo, and Kayo ShintakuUniversity of Arizona

Noon – 1:15 pm Lunch (on your own)

1:15 – 3 pm
Panel: Digital Literacies, Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Corpus Linguistics: Intersections and Interactions. Introduction by Bryan Smith, Arizona State University

  • Leveraging Digital Literacies for Digital Equity: A Call to Action, Jill Castek, University of Arizona
  • Adapting a Methodology: Register Analysis and Task-based Language Teaching, William Crawford, Northern Arizona University
  • L2 Digital Social Reading: Research and Practice, Joshua Thoms, Utah State University

3:15 – 4:30 pm
Keynote: From Multiliteracies to Posthumanism: Language, Literacy, Education and Society at a Digital Crossroads. Heather Lotherington, York University. Introduced by Chantelle Warner, CERCLL Co-Director, University of Arizona

4:30 – 5 pm
Closing. 
Jonathon Reinhardt, University of Arizona

5 – 6 pm: Reception


 

Locations: The plenary reception on September 30th was at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1031 N. Olive Road. The livestreamed events on October 8th took place in the Kiva room in the Memorial Student Union, 1303 E. University Blvd.

Digital Presentations

Digital presentations will be online October 3 to 8, 2016, with opportunities for asynchronous and synchronous exchange with the authors during these days. Abstracts for the following list of presentations are available on individual pages–click on the title in which you are interested.

PRESENTATIONS WITH BOTH ASYNCHRONOUS AND SYNCHRONOUS DISCUSSIONS. Synchronous discussion will be at time listed (Mountain Standard Time – note that Arizona does not practice Daylight Savings), and asynchronous comments and questions can be left anytime.

Monday October 3

Tuesday October 4

Wednesday October 5

Thursday October 6

Friday October 7

PRESENTATIONS WITH ASYNCHRONOUS DISCUSSIONS (comments and questions can be left anytime, and presenters will be sent notification to respond)

Plenary: Boundary Work: Reflections on Collaboration across Disciplines for Technology Enhanced (Language) Teaching and Learning.Shelley Staples, University of Arizona. Introduced by Dwight Atkinson, University of Arizona

Keynote: Technologies and Morphologies of Communicative Action: Method, Investigation, and Transformation. Steven Thorne, Portland State University; University of Groningen. Introduced by Jinjing Zhao, Arizona State University

Keynote: From Multiliteracies to Posthumanism: Language, Literacy, Education and Society at a Digital Crossroads. Heather Lotherington,York University. Introduced by Chantelle Warner, CERCLL Co-Director, University of Arizona

CALL/DL Intersections: Discussion of Digital Presentations, Kristin Lange, Jacob Monzingo, and Kayo Shintaku, University of Arizona

Leveraging Digital Literacies for Digital Equity: A Call to Action, Jill Castek, University of Arizona

Adapting a Methodology: Register Analysis and Task-based Language Teaching, William Crawford, Northern Arizona University

L2 Digital Social Reading: Research and Practice, Joshua Thoms, Utah State University

Panel: Digital Literacies, Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Corpus Linguistics: Intersections and Interactions. Introduction by Bryan Smith, Arizona State University