This is a practical webinar for registered participants only.
Cloud Technologies in Language Learning and Google Workspace for Education
Elis Kakoulli Constantinou
Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus
The workshop aims at familiarising participants with cloud technologies and more specifically the different tools offered by the Google Workspace for Education, and ways in which they can be integrated in the language teaching and learning processes. The workshop focuses on the use of tools such as Google Classroom, GDrive, Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Forms in the language teaching and learning practices. It aims at enhancing the participants’ skills in integrating cloud technologies based on social constructivist and connectivist approaches to language teaching and learning through task-based learning. Hands-on activities and tasks during the workshop involve an online exchange of views on how Google Workspace for Education tools can be used for language teaching and learning, the creation and management of a Google class, creation and sharing of material, assignment of task-based work, and provision of feedback.
- To get familiar with social constructivism, connectivism, and task-based learning
- To learn how to utilize Google Workspace for Education tools (Google Classroom, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Forms) for language teaching and learning
- To learn how to create and manage a Google class
- To learn how to share material on Google Class
- To learn how to assign collaborative tasks
- To learn how to provide feedback
Among the most influential theories of learning today are social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978) and connectivism (Siemens, 2005). According to social constructivism, individuals create or construct knowledge through the interaction of their past experiences and what they already know and the ideas, experiences and activities with which they come in contact, in other words their social surroundings. Connectivism is a theory of learning which stresses the influence of technology and networking in the discovery of knowledge. Like social constructivism, connectivism does not view the process of learning as an individualistic process. Connectivism rather supports that knowledge resides in networks.
Task-based learning has been described as the methodology that uses goal-oriented activities in which learners use language to achieve real outcomes (Willis, 1996). This approach to language teaching and learning falls under the umbrella of social constructivism and connectivism when tasks are collaborative and involve learners working together to construct knowledge and form networks. Learning can be further enforced when reflection occurs. Prosser and Trigwell (1999) and Ramsden (2003) stressed the significance of reflection based on deep thinking and learning; this is achieved when reflection is based on learners’ meaningful engagement with the task and when learners relate the task to their own experience.
Educational technology for task-based and reflective learning in language classrooms
Educational technology could prove invaluable in the implementation of these learning theories and teaching/ learning methodologies, as people nowadays employ technology in all aspects of their everyday life. Students may be introduced to different ways of employing several technology tools, in order to collaborate, construct new knowledge and improve their language performance through being engaged in collaborative authentic or authentic-like tasks which relate to their everyday reality. The learning process can be further enforced through reflection that can take place through the use of technology, either individually or collaboratively. Eventually, through online interaction and collaboration, learners can build networks which may facilitate the learning process and enhance their language learning experience.
Task-based learning and reflective learning based on social constructivism and connectivism can be also applied in an online learning context. Nevertheless, for such an endeavour to be successful, principles of efficient online learning and teaching should be taken into consideration. Such principles are built on the following ideas (Henry & Meadows, 2008):
- Online learning environments are different than regular classroom environments; therefore, learners may need extra help through the provision of more guidance by the facilitator
- Learners must engage in meaningful activities and interaction
- Technology is a vehicle, not a destination. Therefore, successful online learning is defined by teaching and not technology
- Sense of community and social presence are essential to online excellence
- Excellent online course design demands expertise in many areas (pedagogy, knowledge of the subject matter, technical support)
- Ongoing assessment and refinement are essential for efficient online learning
Henry, J., & Meadows, J. (2008). An absolutely riveting online course: Nine principles for excellence in web-based teaching. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 34(1). DOI: 10.21432/t20c7f
Prosser, M., & Trigwell, K. (1999). Understanding Learning and Teaching: The Experience in Higher Education. Buckingham: SRHE and Open University Press. See on Google Books.
Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to Teach in Higher Education (2nd ed.). New York: RoutledgeFalmer. URL.
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 1, 1–8. DOI: 10.1.1.87.3793
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. URL.
Willis, J. (1996). A Framework for Task-Based Learning. Essex: Pearson Longman. See on Google Books.