Friday, 9 March 2018

Applications are now open!

The distance learning Master of Arts in Digital Technologies, University of Nottingham, offers an excellent opportunity for enthusiastic language teachers to engage with new learning technologies and develop their skills, creativity and knowledge.

Applications are now open: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/language-centre/teaching/dtlt.aspx

Monday, 29 January 2018

Students' reflections on the activity on SmallWorlds

Our students Chantelle and Nisreen at the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching collaboratively reflect on their experience on doing activities on an online Virtual World. Read their thoughts:


When we entered Small worlds, we had a lot of questions about its nature and application as an educational tool in language classrooms. In the beginning we were confused with the so many avatars appearing and disappearing, and then we got engaged creating our own avatars. Our 3D lifelike avatars were reflecting our own identities, their looks, style; even the nicknames were very similar to us in real world.

During the session, we were thinking about our students all the time, about the affordances and shortcomings of Small Worlds. We started realizing how the anonymity related to avatars could really help reluctant students to reduce their language related anxiety. Although there is no opportunity for expressing emotions and reactions properly, yet there is some sense of real immersion and tempting engagement in these worlds. Moreover, Small Worlds can be effective in creating a community of people sharing ideas collaboratively. As for us as students in Small Worlds, we were relaxed, happy, and most importantly did not feel the time. It was so real and engaging!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Students' reflections on the activity on SmallWorlds

Our students Chris and Kieran at the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching collaboratively reflect on their experience on doing activities on an online Virtual World. Read their thoughts:

I found the tutorial in Small Worlds incredibly engaging, if a bit surreal! We first met in the “MA for DTLT” space and sat around discussing the pros and cons of using SW for language learning. What struck me was how engaged I was when in this virtual world and also how less self-conscious I was. I liked the informal manner of the discussion too, and Kieran (or “Captain”, as he named his avatar) was on form and the humour being used by us all had me laughing a lot at my computer screen. Learning should be fun, so that is another positive aspect of SW.
The picture below is from the first tutorial and shows us (or our avatars rather) relaxing on the virtual beach. Although this looks like we are doing nothing, the discussion was about language learning believe it or not!
There are obviously many positives and negatives when using virtual worlds for learning and I think Kieran may be more vocal about the drawbacks (so over to you Kieran :-)). The lack of an audio option was noticeable, as was the slight frustrating occurrence of speech bubbles overlapping, although this can be overcome by opening the chat box at the bottom of the screen.


Chris


As Chris has pointed out, I am usually the more critical one when it comes to applications as such. Firstly, I found this application, although somewhat fun, a bit outdated (the software). It was running at 10 FPS at best and I found myself more focused in trying to get my avatar to move and follow simple commands than engaging in the discussion with the group. I agree with Chris and found that the lack of audio in this communicative software was a negative, particularly for the purpose of our MA in DTLT meeting. However, live forums, and discussions ages have been around for years and they all rarely include live audio chat. A discussion board could hold over 100 users so an audio input may cause more chaos than what these platforms already have.
I tried to step away from my negative attitude to see how this can benefit language students. To summarise, I feel that this would be great as an additional project for students to interact with each other and practice the target language. This platform can be one that allows mistakes and promotes peer to peer correction. This would be particularly appropriate for those students who lack confidence and have anxiety. This could be a way for them to engage with their peers, while maintaining anonymity.
From a teachers perspective, it would be great if a platform could record or send a feed of the discussions to the teacher so that the language can be monitored. This would of course need to have each student's consent, but would this effect the way students interact if they know they are being monitored? Can a teacher really involve themselves at all? If students are aware of this, they could fall into the Hawthorne effect, by demonstrating fabricated behaviour to appease the teacher, which will effect their language input.
Overall, this was a good activity and I feel that if developed correctly for the purpose of language students, a platform like this could shape a whole curriculum for those studying from overseas.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Students' reflections on the activity on SmallWorlds

Our students Irena, Leo, and Federica at the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching collaboratively reflect on their experience on doing activities on an online Virtual World. Read their thoughts:

The virtual environment showed in the picture was created for the tutorial in SmallWorlds and was a familiar setting to everyone. It consisted of a cozy outdoor space where we could all sit together, drink a coffee and eat a snack. Our first meeting in the game was visually well planned, as choosing such an environment made us feel more at ease with the technology, no matter what our age, origin, gender, background or familiarity with SmallWorlds was. Cecilia encouraged us to sit together and this reminded us of a physical classroom arrangement (U-shape). The learning environment played an important role in the teacher's scaffolding as it introduced us to the activity.
The three of us found creating and personalisation of an avatar as one of the advantages. Most of us chose our lookalikes; we tried to make them similar to our true selves. They also reflected our personalities (e.g. Kieran brooding by himself by the beach in the Pirate Bay; Irena quietly observing and listening to others; Chris cracking jokes; etc.). It was fun trying to recognise who was who. It was also interesting to explore what avatars could do (dancing, eating, drinking).
On the other hand, we felt that even though this activity provided the opportunity to interact and collaborate with our peers, it was challenging to develop discussions related to the weekly topic since the conversations were difficult to follow and a few times some of us got quite distracted. This could potentially represent an issue for our students if we used VW for Language Teaching, as they would probably get distracted because the original purpose of such online games is in fact distraction and enjoyment.
As it can be seen in the screenshot, the avatars are talking about different topics (almost like monologues). Furthermore, since the activity was mainly visual, we  did not really understand the learning objective of the session in terms of content, but we mainly focused on skills like moving around the environment.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Photos from the Xmas party on Smallworlds

 Great Xmas party today on SmallWorlds with fun activities, word games, snowball fight, and even a short graduation ceremony! Best wishes to all #dt4lt
 During the #dt4lt Xmas party on SmallWorlds we played lots of word games on the specialised digital board!
Everyone gathered for a group-selfie!
A few fireworks to colour the night and celebrate during our Xmas #dt4lt party on SmallWorlds
Eating from the buffet and getting ready for the graduation ceremony
Lots of clapping from participants when John Chalk received the graduation papyrus from Dr Cecilia Goria during the virtual graduation ceremony of the #dt4lt programme on SmallWorlds
Fireworks, music, dancing, and games after the virtual graduation on SmallWorlds! One of the best virtual parties of the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching programme

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Students' reflections on the activity on SmallWorlds

Our students Maria, Eugenia, and Agata at the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching collaboratively reflect on their experience on doing activities on an online Virtual World. Read their thoughts:

We found it quite difficult at first to get involved with the topic of Virtual worlds. In our case, and probably based on our lack of experience, we could see little pedagogical potential in the activity at first, and were more inclined to take it as a fun last module of the course. However, after our tutorial on Friday, we realized this is the type of activities you need to personally experience to actually understand its potential. Once we were part of it, we could genuinely understand its possible uses as a learning tool as well as its limitations.
From the social point of view, we find that an environment like SmallWorlds could help build that sense of community that many times is missing in online courses. It increases social presence in a more relaxed and less controlled setting. Besides, sitting around the campfire gave us the feeling of a non-threatening environment, where sharing occurred in a more horizontal and democratic manner and roles of tutors and students were less marked.
As far as limitation goes, online security is an element that cannot be overlooked. If used with underage students, steps must be taken to ensure a safe environment were instances of interaction with strangers must be minimised.
Both of us created avatars which resembled our real-selves and realized that at certain points of our interaction we experienced a feeling of “self-awareness”, especially when dealing with some situations which could interfere in how we were viewed by others.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Xmas party on SmallWorlds on Friday!

We are throwing a Christmas party on Friday 22nd December 2017, 12 pm (UK time), at the MA in DTLT space on SmallWorlds and everyone is invited! There will be food, games, dance, snow and lots of laughter so try not to miss it!
Directions to the MA in DTLT space: On SmallWorlds select Places (bottom of the screen), then Search (menu on the left) and then type in "MA in DTLT". On the right you will click on Go there (orange button) which will teleport you to the space. Or just click the following link: http://goo.gl/4xts6r

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Presentation on implemeting openness in the MA in DTLT programme at the EUROCALL2017 conference

Dr. Cecilia Goria and Angelos Konstantinidis presented at the EUROCALL2017 conference which was held at Southampton, UK the pedagogical approach of the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching programme for implementing openness.


You can read their presentation below:

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Feedback & Text Revision in a telecollaborative project of KS 4 children in England & France

One of our alumni, Jane Basnett, presented her dissertation project at the 7th annual conference (#InnoConf17) in the Innovative Language Teaching and Learning at University series at The Open University on 16th June.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Presentation about the MA in DTLT at the #UONSmart conference

Dr. Cecilia Goria presented today at #UONSmart Conference the participatory pedagogy model that underpins the Master of Arts in Digital Technology for Language Teaching programme.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Dissertation talk by Jennifer Prescott

One of our students, Jennifer Prescott, will present her dissertation titled "Synchronous computer-mediated communication in a virtual world as preparation for structured oral production" on 23 June, 11 am UK time. You are invited to attend her online presentation which will be held on the Adobe Connect Platform.
In order to attend the event please fill in your details in the following form so we can reserve your place:
 https://goo.gl/forms/dvX4GJjxf9SaIXM52

Monday, 29 May 2017

Just published: Using SmallWorlds to Enhance Social Presence, Group Cohesion, and Group Identity in an Online Postgraduate Course

The Handbook of Research on Collaborative Teaching Practice in Virtual Learning Environments has been just published. The book focuses on program developments in the realm of digital worlds in educational settings and features pedagogical methods relating to cooperative learning, hands-on curriculum, and meta-cognitive dimensions. Among the highlights of the book is a discussion on the use of a Virtual World for strengthening social presence, group cohesion, and group identity in the distance learning postgraduate programme Digital Technologies for Language Teaching in Chapter 5 authored by Angelos Konstantinidis.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Studentships for the MA in DTLT

The School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies is offering a number of studentships and fee waivers for students of the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching. Masters studentships include home fees-only awards and home-fees plus stipend awards.

To be eligible to apply for School funding, you must be holding an offer of a place to study at the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching of the University of Nottingham. The deadline for submitting your application to the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching for the studentships is on 20th of April 2017.

More info about the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching and application form: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/language-centre/teaching/dtlt.aspx
 
More info about the studentships: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/clas/prospective/funding.aspx

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Amending the Wikipedia article on Tandem Language Learning

During the first section of the "Telecollaboration in Language Learning" module of the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching students amended the Tandem language learning Wikipedia page.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Wonderful party on SmallWorlds today (Screenshots)

Is it possible to organise an online party to celebrate the end of the courses? Our answer is definitely yes! Our party today on SmallWorlds was a great success! There was a variety of cakes, a Christmas turkey, plenty of drinks, fireworks, and snowballs! We danced a lot, we drew Christmas trees on the wall canvas, and we had a snowball fight. Students from all cohorts popped in and enjoyed the event making it very special! Below you can see a collection of pictures from the event (feel free to download and share on social media):






Thank you all for your participation :-)
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Xmas party on SmallWorlds on Friday!


We are throwing a Christmas party on Friday 23rd December 2016 at 1-2 pm (UK time), at the MA in DTLT space on SmallWorlds and everyone is invited! There will be food, games, dance, snow and lots of laughter so try not to miss it!

Here is a photo from last year's party:


Directions to the MA in DTLT space: On SmallWorlds select Places (bottom of the screen), then Search (menu on the left) and then type in "MA in DTLT". On the right you will click on Go there (orange button) which will teleport you to the space.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Just released: Cultivating a community of learners in a distance learning postgraduate course for language professionals

Just released 'CALL communities and culture – short papers from EUROCALL 2016', edited by Salomi Papadima-Sophocleous, Linda Bradley, & Sylvie Thou√ęsny.


The volume features a paper by Angelos Konstantinidis and Cecilia Goria, titled: 'Cultivating a community of learners in a distance learning postgraduate course for language professionals'. The paper offers reflections and practices in cultivating a community of learners in the context of the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching programme.
The paper (as well as the whole volume) is open access and can be downloaded from the following link: https://research-publishing.net/display_article.php?doi=10.14705/rpnet.2016.eurocall2016.567

Friday, 9 December 2016

Screenshots from today's tutorial on SmallWorlds

This week's tutorial for the Introduction to Digital Technologies for Language Teaching module has been held on SmallWorlds. Find below screenshots/pictures from today's tutorial.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Join our Twitter chats about social media & language learning

This week we organise two Twitter chats about social media and language learning. Anyone is welcomed to participate in our chats and share his/her views and ideas.

The first chat will be held on Thursday 1st December (1-2pm, UK time) and its topic will be: “How Social Media Can Support Language Teaching”.
The second chat will be held on Sunday 3rd December (5pm-6pm, UK time) (date/time will probably change) and its topic will be: “How Social Media Changed Language Learning”.

In both twitter chats we will use the #dt4lt hashtag.