Tailoring Language Learning to a World of Screens

This page is a supplement to Mark Pegrum's paper entitled Tailoring Language Learning to a World of Screens, delivered at the International Conference on E-learning Futures in Auckland, New Zealand, 30 November - 1 December 2011.

--Abstract-- We are in the midst of a shift towards a digitised world of screens. This paper identifies four key trends linked to this shift and considers their implications for language teaching and learning.

Firstly, the trend towards multimedia means we need to help students acquire the multimedia literacy skills to interpret language embedded in a variety of media, as well as to embed their own language production in media tailored to the messages they wish to convey. Secondly, the trend towards networking allows students to build personal learning networks consisting of resources they can turn to for information, and people they can turn to for advice and support, as they begin the process of lifelong language learning. There are especially rich educational possibilities when teachers encourage students to connect and converse across linguistic and cultural borders, practising language use in international contexts at the same time as they develop cultural and intercultural literacy skills. Thirdly, the trend towards mobility, coupled with the development of new tools such as QR codes and augmented reality apps, allows us to promote ‘u-learning’, or ubiquitous learning, where students can learn in immersive target language environments at the intersection of the web and the world.

The fourth trend, a macro-trend which builds on the first three, is towards customisation. With an understanding of the principles of multimedia, networking and mobility, teachers can help students begin to tailor learning spaces to their individual needs and interests. Such personalised educational spaces may well represent the future of language learning.

--Links-- A number of key web-based services, websites, and mobile apps are discussed in the presentation. Links to these are found below.

The web-based services mentioned in relation to developing students' multimedia literacy skills include Capzles (multimedia timelines), Dvolver (animated cartoons), Glogster (multimedia posters), Storybird (storybooks), Tiki-Toki (multimedia timelines), VoiceThread (audio commentary on images), Voki (animated avatars) and Xtranormal (animated cartoons).

The platforms mentioned in relation to setting up cross-cultural networking include blogs, discussion boards, websites and wikis. The specific organisations mentioned include Global Voices, iEARN, Rising Voices and TakingITGlobal.

The apps mentioned in relation to mobility come from the iTunes Store. The augmented reality apps include Daqri, Google Goggles, Junaio, Layar, String and Wikitude.

  • Bilton, N. (2010). I live in the future and here's how it works: Why your world, work, and brain are being creatively disrupted. New York: Crown Business.
  • Bilton, N. (n.d.). H79.2768 - 1’, 2’, 10’. http://nickbilton.com/1210/
  • Crystal, D. (2011). Internet linguistics: A student guide. London: Routledge.
  • Dudeney, G., Hockly, N., & Pegrum, M. (in preparation). Digital literacies.
  • Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., & Haywood, K. (2011). The 2011 horizon report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/HR2011.pdf
  • Pegrum, M. (2011). Modified, multiplied and (re-)mixed: Social media and digital literacies. In M. Thomas (Ed.), Digital education: Opportunities for social collaboration (pp.9-35). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. [draft] [book details]
  • Snyder, I. (2009). Shuffling towards the future: The enduring dominance of book culture in literacy education. In M. Baynham & M. Prinsloo (Eds.), The future of literacy studies (pp.141-159). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Please feel free to explore the rest of this E-language resource wiki. You are welcome to contact me with comments, suggestions or questions.