Setting: Stevenson School, 15-30 9th grade International ESL Students, low to mid intermediate English speakers
Lesson context: Near the beginning of a conversational English class
Language objectives: SWBAT -employ the language of chronology and scheduling to new situations.
-negotiate meaning by planning a schedule with another person.
Main Activity: Students will participate in an information gap activity where students will practice interpersonal communication skills to negotiate meaning and synthesize real-world information to make a daily schedule. The hypothetical context of the activity is that each class member is on a cruise ship that anchored in Monterey harbor for the day. Students take on assigned roles with certain objectives. Students have to pair up with someone that has a different identity and make a schedule on the calendar app of their phone that details real-world activities that they could do in Monterey.
|Previous lesson’s HW: Send me a video where you can tell me what time it is on a clock with two or three hands and explain how you know what time it is.|
|Time||What students are doing||What teachers are doing||Materials||What this activity accomplishes|
|4 min||Socrative Quiz on vocabulary from previous lesson
Listen to objectives
| Getting materials ready (Lego movie, vacationer roles, etc.)
Holding myself & students accountable
|4 min||Watch movie clip looking for elements of a morning routine
Explain morning routine to a partner
||Lego movie clip (1:03)||Hook
Warm-up, L2 output, student movement
|5 min||Listening to Instruction||Teach Chronological phrases||Whiteboard||Objective #1|
|5 min||Explaining evening rituals to partners||Listening in on groups||n/a||Objectives #1/2|
|12 min||Listening to instruction||Scaffold the schedule planning:
|25 min||Negotiating schedule with a partner on calendar app||Scaffolding partners
|5 min||Send screenshot schedule to teacher
Complete Exit ticket
|Gathering role cards
Socrative Exit ticket
|HW for the following lesson: Students will compose a short video explaining their negotiated schedule using the language of chronology that they reviewed during class.|
In today’s ever-changing world, new and exciting technologies have emerged which have the potential to dramatically alter the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) of language educators in every imaginable teaching situation (Pegrum, 2014). Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) is a more accessible, equitable and mobile branch of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) or Technology-Enhanced Language Learning (TELL), in that the MALL devices that students acquire can be more affordable, easier to carry around and easier to use than laptops.
Mobile technology offers a bevy of tools that have the ability to alter the way that teachers teach and learners learn inside of, and especially outside of, the classroom. MALL can be utilized to enhance the classroom experience or to transform it. MALL can enhance the classroom by either directly substituting for a previous non-tech tool or augmenting a previous non-tech tool to functionally improve upon it. MALL can transform a classroom through modification (allowing for significant task redesign) or through redefinition (allowing for the creation of new tasks which were previously inconceivable), (Puentedura, 2014).
Though MALL has many positive affordances, it has its limitations as well. MALL devices and practices are never used in isolation. In each instance of its use, MALL is inseparably linked to six factors or ‘ecosystems’ that it must interact with: Acquisitional, Institutional, Linguistic, Pedagogical, Sociocultural and Technological. In teaching environments, each of these ecosystems need to be addressed through needs analysis to see how it could influence the use of MALL in language learning.
My sample lesson uses four different aspects of MALL: the Socrative App, the Calendar App, Google Directions and Google’s search engine. These four MALL tools are mainly aimed at serving content-delivery, though they can be used for creative or communicative purposes depending on student preference and ability. I will now explain why I chose to employ each of these four MALL tools and then evaluate them in terms of where they fit within the frameworks of the SAMR model and the MALL Ecosystems.
Each of the four aspects of MALL that I plan on incorporating rely on institutional and technological ecosystems in similar ways. At the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, a lack of resources is not an issue of concern; hence, the technological ecosystem of the entire school is ideal. All of their classrooms have stable, wireless access to the internet. The school has enough funding to have an abundance of bandwidth along with a competent IT staff on hand to address any tech issues. Due to the affluent background of the families that send their children to this school, I assume the school employs a BYOD (bring your own device) model because the families can afford it. For the same reason, students who come to this school are generally familiar with cutting edge technology, so there would be less hurdles to overcome in showing students how to learn with any new technology.
As for the institutional ecosystem, the Stevenson School is another ideal context in which to utilize MALL. Their mission statement asserts to deliver “a lively-curriculum – innovative in method, scholarly in content and global in scope.” Employing innovative technology in their language classes would surely be in line with their institutional aims. Likewise, a teacher using MALL would likely have access to a community of colleagues who are familiar with new classroom technology and pedagogy. Indeed, parents of Stevenson School students spend a great sum of money to send their children there precisely because they want their children to learn languages in an academic environment that can utilize MALL effectively.
I chose to use the Socrative app in my classroom to enhance formative assessment and provide more opportunities for student feedback. According to the SAMR model, the Socrative app would only Augment several activities in my classroom that would have been done without MALL (opening vocab quiz on paper, exit ticket on paper). However, by transferring these activities to an electronic format, I could transform the pedagogical ecosystem of my language classroom: I could facilitate the grading process, save on paper and ink, and get instantaneous feedback from my students, which, in turn, could allow me to see what my class remembers and what misconceptions or knowledge gaps I need to address. From an Acquisitional standpoint, I would be enhancing forms of input to aid noticing as well as making input more comprehensible by having them read text or see images on a screen and then have them write about it.
Including the Calendar App in my MALL lesson modifies the previous tool (a paper schedule, or even a static, digitized schedule) to create a new and interactive experience that has almost limitless possibilities for the language student. Utilizing a calendar app allows users to attach notes and even website URLs to the digital schedule. The calendar app can then send you reminders about an upcoming event to help keep you on schedule, something that paper schedules cannot do. Linguistically, this is a push function that would give the language student more input in the L2, but also remind them of certain things in outside of the classroom. From a pedagogical task standpoint, sending the schedule to the teacher is also easy to do, with just a simple screenshot attachment or even sending the schedule directly to the teacher’s schedule.
I specifically chose to make sure that my students knew about Google Directions because it is has real-world relevance and it would make the task increasingly authentic. The affordances of google directions allow the user to be much more creative and much more informed on how to get from one place to another. Google Directions can give up-to-the-minute information on traffic, exact GPS location and options of transport along with their cost and estimated time of travel. When compared to finding things on a non-interactive map, Google Directions offers so much more. This creativity and versatility also alters the linguistic ecosystem because the task of planning transportation becomes much more demanding on the speaker by deepening the encounters with new vocabulary and syntax structures.
Though I did scaffold the students by providing them with a few options for their schedule, they could still use open internet searches on Google’s search engine to look for things to fill their schedule. This constitutes a redefinition of the task of finding things to fill their schedule with. The internet offers a cornucopia of resources to assist users on finding things that they are interested in. Rather than offer a list of businesses like a phone book does, the internet can now provide other sources of information that can aid students in choosing things to do: consumer review sites like yelp, YouTube videos about kayaking, websites of fancy restaurants, asking their friends on social media for suggestions on activities in a given area, etc. Opening up the possibility to search things on the internet can be a slippery slope that leads to students getting off task; however, by maintaining proximity to the students and establishing expectations about internet use in the classroom, I’m sure that my students will use the internet as a tool to promote their language skills and not merely as a source of entertainment.
Within the scope of this lesson, I believe that my use of MALL in the classroom serves to enhance language learning as well as develop multimodal literacy and skills that my students will need for the 21st century.
Pegrum, M. (2014). Mobile Learning: Languages, Literacies and Cultures. New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Puentedura, R. (2014). Learning, Technology, and the SAMR Model: Goals, Processes, and Practice. Retrieved November 26, 2015, from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2014/06/29/LearningTechnologySAMRModel.pdf
Mission Statement. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2015, from http://www.stevensonschool.org/about_stevenson/mission/index.aspx