Opinion

How Cloud Computing should be Changing our Pedagogy

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One of the most amazing technological advances in recent years, in my opinion, is cloud computing. However, as teachers we have only just begun to see its implications.

For those of us in homogeneous EFL environments, like Japan, getting students to communicate with each other spontaneously using the target language is one of the biggest challenges we face. And yet, we have opportunity to circumvent this obstacle using technology.

Imagine an ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) environment where students from different countries are being matched within a project group. Target language communication would be a must in this situation. Impossible?

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News

The biggest 2014 edtech event in Tokyo

Dear readers,

I wanted to inform you that this Saturday will see Tokyo’s biggest edtech event for 2014.

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Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), in conjunction with the Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE), is hosting Paperless: Innovation and technology in education, on February 1st.

Apart from focussing on language learning technology, Paperless is aiming to bring new mediums and perspectives to education, while using technology to enhance the pedagogic practice. This one-day event will feature presentations on not only mobile learning, but also innovative techniques for flipping, enhancing and revolutionising one’s classroom.

When flicking through the PaperlessHandiBook, jammed in amongst some of the leaders in language education using technology such as Rab Patterson and Paul Raine, you’ll find a panel discussion about mobile language learning between regular contributors to DMLL, Dan Ferreira, Travis Cote, Simeon Flowers and myself. If you plan on heading to the event, be sure to track one of us down to discuss all issues DMLL. We would love to share ideas with you.

For those of you who are unable to attend, all talks in the main auditorium at the venue will be streamed live. Also, links to a lot of the presenter’s slides and other information can be found inside this PaperlessHandiBook or on the event’s website.

News

U.C. Berkeley MOOC: College Writing for Learners of English

edx3MOOC’s have become nearly an overnight phenomenon, from educational rock-stars like Salman Khan, to infinitely less impressive fee based courses brandishing suspiciously self-capitulating titles such as Learn How to Make Money Teaching Online as a Professor. However, in the midst of the money changers and philanthropists lies the mecca of all MOOCs–the MIT and Harvard co-founded edX.org.

With offerings from the worlds academic A-list, an exciting array of disciplines to choose from and certificates of achievement bearing the name of your alma mater, the edX community of MOOCs puts all others to shame–all for the low, low price of absolutely nothing. And now, through edX.org, learners of English can take a college level introductory writing course from U.C. Berkeley ESL instructor Dr. Maggie Sokolik.

I am currently auditing the course to get an insight into the process of such a MOOC, and to see what I can learn from Dr. Sokolik’s teaching methods.  One thing I have noticed so far, just looking at the learning community surrounding Dr. Sokolik’s course, is the use of the on-line discussion forum by English language learners from all over the globe. It is wonderful to see students from Kyrgyzstan to Amsterdam banding together as a community of on-line language learners. Could this be the future of education?

Dr. Sokolik’s course is 5 weeks long. Interested students can register with edX and try for a certificate bearing the Berkeley X insignia. If the certificate does not interest your students the course can simply be audited. EdX courses recycle and improve, so if you missed your window you can try again the next time the course recirculates. berkelyX