Category Archives: Technology

WebSafe: Tools for newcomers to counter digital disinformation

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Abstract
WebSafe is a set of learning resources, organized by units and modules into a comprehensive course which aims to address the knowledge and skills gaps faced by some newcomers to Canada in dealing with digital disinformation. The development of the WebSafe course was part of a wider project which included an extensive community consultation to determine the impact of digital disinformation on newcomer ELLs in Alberta. This community consultation, along with a comprehensive literature review, focused the development of the materials. It provided a foundation for developing course content, strategies, and all of the first-hand accounts used to bring the impact of digital disinformation to life. The WebSafe course was then piloted with several hundred students and adjustments made as a result of teacher and learner feedback.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Technology
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The incredible vocabulary machine

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*For all footnotes, refer to the PDF version of the article.

Abstract
Vocabulary is the heavy lifting in learning a language. With grammar, little meaning can be conveyed. With vocabulary, anything can, in a pinch, be conveyed. Yet vocabulary has traditionally been neglected: In part for theoretical reasons; in greater part because the obvious process to learn it, item-based memorization, has seemed so tiresome and time-consuming. The process can be automated with free tools available on the web. It can be handled outside of class time, efficiently and with a minimum of dull repetition. Learning vocabulary can be easy and fun.

Introduction
Vocabulary is the heavy lifting in language learning. It is most of what must be learned,  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Technology, Vocabulary
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Short-term applications for blockchain technology within an ESL context

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Abstract
This paper aims to help educate English as a Second Language (ESL) members on the potential benefits of implementing blockchain technology. As academic record transfer and digital publishing represent two of the simplest transformations the industry can undertake in the short-term, they represent the focus of this article, but additional, longer-term use cases are also briefly mentioned. This technological step is one that could become mainstream across global economies within the next five years, and the ESL industry is primed to be one of its major beneficiaries. With an immense demand for English instruction and resources, blockchain will help meet the world’s English needs in a transparent and accountable manner.

Introduction
The ability for organizations and individuals to confidently share data with one another,  Continue Reading →

Categories:
culture, Other, Technology
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An Innovative (and Easy) Approach to Corpus Analysis

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Abstract
Lee and Swales (2006) suggest that using corpus analysis activities in the classroom provides students with pragmatic tools they can use to identify patterns of language use without relying on native-speaker expertise. In addition, subsequent research on the use of corpus analysis, or data driven learning (DDL) (Boulton & Cobb, 2017), demonstrates that substantial benefits accrue to students who work with corpora (Bridle, 2019; Charles, 2012; 2014). However, the complexity of existing corpus analysis technologies may deter instructors from implementing existing corpora (e.g. COCA) or corpus toolkits (e.g. AntConc) which may require significant time investments to learn and transform into effective pedagogy.

This article describes an easy, innovative approach to harnessing the benefits of corpus analysis using technology with which teachers and students are already familiar.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
corpus, Technology, Vocabulary
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Smart phones, smart boards, and the student-centred approach: How and why we should incorporate technology in the l2 classroom

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Technology is at the heart of everything we do on a daily basis. At the click of a button, we can have an encyclopedia, map, clock, calculator, or mailbox. Technology has in fact rewired our brains; we are no longer as capable of deeply engaging with long pieces of prose (Carr 2008). It is astounding that with the literal rewiring of the way we read, think, and learn, schools have still not caught up to the technological age. This has negative consequences for L2 learners, as many do not have much experience with computers, and they are barred from learning authentic, technology-based communication used in workplace settings. However, we can easily change outdated teaching methods to suit the technological era with adequate teacher training,  Continue Reading →

Categories:
Technology, Training
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An interview with Wajiha Naqvi and Brett Reynolds: What we can learn from a blind ESL student

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Learning English as a Second Language comes with its usual predicaments and involves a lot of effort, systematic study, mentoring, and use of technology. It just adds another layer of complexity when a learner has vision impairment or any other learning difficulty or limitations. In Canada, it is not unusual that people with visual impairment are learning English in schools specially equipped for them where they are provided with a set of arrangements catering their needs. In most of the cases, the learners use braille and get help from specially trained instructors. But learning English in a mainstream program like English for Academic Purposes is not that common in public colleges where there is little or no special infrastructure for a blind student.  Continue Reading →

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Exploring Rhyme and Reason in Vocabulary and Phraseology

No-one will dispute that language learning is to a large extent a matter of mastering myriads of words and phrases and that it therefore relies heavily on memory. Many pedagogy- minded applied linguists concur that a word or phrase is more likely to be remembered if the learner consciously “engages” with it in one way or another (Schmitt, 2008). This, then, raises the question of what kinds of cognitive engagement with lexical items are relatively fruitful, and how teachers (or materials writers) can prompt students to give these a try. This article considers a handful of proposals for stimulating engagement with words and phrases that are in broad agreement with a school of thought known as Cognitive Linguistics.

Cognitive Linguistics (CL) emerged in the 1980s as an alternative to the then dominant Chomskyan-style descriptions of language,  Continue Reading →

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