Digital Literacies in EAL Special Interest Group (SIG)
Digital Literacies in EAL SIG is a new initiative facilitated by Dr Katrina Tour (Monash University) and Associate Professor Melissa Barnes (LaTrobe University), and supported by VicTESOL.
It is a group for members of TESOL associations in Australia who are interested in digital literacies and their inclusion in EAL learning.
There is also a Facebook Group dedicated to the SIG – View our online community here!
23 August 2023: Dr Edwin Creely, Dr Peter Waterhouse, Tanja Rykovska
In this presentation, we heard from Dr Edwin Creely and Dr Peter Waterhouse, who spoke about strategies for fostering effective collaboration among EAL students in digital online learning environments. They showed how teachers can model effective communication and ensure students are all contributing, and highlighted the importance of the cultivation of an inclusive, respectful online culture.
Tanja Rykovska also provided some insights into different ways the online tool Padlet can be utilised in the classroom.
Research presentation: Enhancing collaboration in online learning environments in EAL classrooms
This seminar presents strategies for fostering effective collaboration among EAL students in digital online learning environments. It offers insights into the dynamics of student interaction in online classrooms and proposes ways to enhance engagement, cooperation, wellbeing, and mutual understanding. Based on research conducted by Monash University, the seminar highlights the significance of carefully designed collaborative tasks, structured use of online platforms, and the cultivation of an inclusive, respectful online culture. Innovative digital tools are examined for their creative role in fostering group collaboration. The seminar also identifies the role of teachers in modelling effective communication and ensuring fair contribution from all participants to enhance students’ learning outcomes in EAL, developing their critical thinking, and improving their interpersonal skills. This seminar provides valuable insights for educators striving to adapt traditional collaborative learning strategies to digital platforms, ultimately aiming to foster a more interactive, engaging online learning experience
Dr Edwin Creely is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. He has extensive research experience in digital literacies and pedagogies, technologies and education, literacy and second language learning, creativity and creative practices, initial teacher education, and artificial intelligence. Edwin has many years of teaching and leadership experience across all sectors in education, including adult education. With Katrina Tour and Peter Waterhouse, he co-authored the AMEP Digital Literacies Framework & Guide (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021) and Enhancing Digital Literacies with Adult English Language Learners (Routledge 2022).
Dr Peter Waterhouse is a Lecturer in the School of Education, Culture and Society in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. He has been an adult educator, teacher educator and researcher most of his professional life; teaching, consulting, and collaborating across a range of contexts, from community and workplace settings to Higher Education. His research interests include adult, lifelong and experiential learning, adult literacy/ies, digital literacy/ies and learning beyond the boundaries of schools. With Katrina Tour and Edwin Creely, he has co-authored the AMEP Digital Literacies Framework & Guide (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021) and Enhancing Digital Literacies with Adult English Language Learners (Routledge 2022).
Practice presentation – Using Padlet for collaborative learning with low-literacy and digital literacy adult EAL learners
‘Padlet is a software people use to make and share content with others. Padlet empowers everyone to make the content they want, whether it’s a quick bulletin board, a blog, or a portfolio.’ Shared content can include texts, links, photos and videos. In an educational setting Padlet can be used to brainstorm; to gather students’ answers or feedback; to share findings for collaborative research projects; for online student portfolios or to gather student work. Padlet is easy-to-use and private, which makes it an ideal digital tool for low-literacy and digital literacy EAL learners. The presenter will share how to use Padlet to learn writing in a collaborative way. She will describe the process of eliciting and constructing a text that precedes writing. She will then describe her experience using Padlet in an adult EAL class – students share their texts on Padlet and collaborate to edit them.
Tanja Rykovska is an experienced English as Additional Language teacher with keen interest in educational technology. She has had opportunities to design, build and deliver blended and online English language courses. In her leadership capacity as a senior teacher at a large educational institution Tanja has supported teachers learning to use digital technology and finding their ways to teach using digital technology. She considers professional development for educators in this area to be imperative as technology changes and new contexts to use digital technology appear. At the same time, Tanja understands that digital literacies exist in complex systems, educational, social and personal. As a fellow at the International Specialised Skills Institute, she researched digitalisation in adult education in the USA and Europe. Tanja embraces lifelong learning in her professional and personal life. She believes that change is the only constant in life and to be comfortable with it she needs to learn and experience new things regularly.
7 June 2023: Dr Grace Oakley and Hien Webb
In this presentation, we heard from Dr Grace Oakley, who spoke about the use of digital technologies for the creation of multimodal digital texts to support language and literacy learning as well as intercultural understanding. She also spoke the use of such digital texts with younger learners from lower socio-economic communities, and how their creation can support EAL learners.
The second session looked at the use of multilingual and multimodal texts to promote rich discussions amongst EAL learners in a primary school setting at an intensive English language school.
Research presentation: Multimodal digital text creation for language and literacy learning
In this presentation, Grace Oakley will talk about several research projects she has been involved in, centring on the use of digital technologies for the creation of multimodal digital texts (MDTs) to support language and literacy learning as well as intercultural understanding. She will describe two international projects which involved the creation and exchange of multimodal digital texts between students in Australia, Japan and China, and how these exchanges were experienced by teachers and students. Also, some of the considerations that might enhance or impede such programs will be discussed. Secondly, Grace will talk about the creation of MDTs in the early years of school to enhance literacy among children from lower socio-economic communities. How the creation of MDTs can support language learning among children for whom English is a Second or Additional language will be highlighted.
Dr Grace Oakley is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Western Australia. She was previously a primary teacher and has had some experience teaching Languages. Her research interests include language and literacy learning and teaching from early childhood to adolescence, teacher professional development, and the use of learning technologies from early childhood to adulthood. Her research has included international digital multimodal text exchanges between schools in Australia and Japan, and schools in Australia and Japan, to enhance language learning and intercultural understanding.
Practice presentation – Using multilingual and multimodal texts with EAL students: A teacher’s experience and students sample works
This session will look at how multilingual and multimodal texts can be used effectively to promote rich discussions amongst EAL learners in a primary school setting at an intensive English language school. Students were found to be highly engaged and enjoyed exploring the many ways to communicate their ideas using their home languages and English through the Bookcreator app.
Speaker: Hien Webb began her teaching career as a language, science and maths teacher at secondary school levels. She has over 25 years of experience working for Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in a range of sectors including community development, counselling and adult education. She is currently an EAL teacher for the New Arrival Program (NAP) at Collingwood English Language School. She is passionate about developing culturally inclusive curriculum and strategies that develop positive cross-cultural relationships amongst diverse learners. Her students have responded positively to the use of multilingual and multimodal texts in the classroom.
22 March 2023: Dr Luci Pangrazio and Louise Whittle
The first session of a new initiative for members of TESOL associations in Australia who are interested in digital literacies and their inclusion in EAL learning was held on 22 March 2023. Dr Pangrazio began by providing a background and definition of digital literacies, focusing on how this is different to digital citizenship and digital rights.
Louise Whittle spoke about her experience with digital tools and the impact Covid had on her use of these tools. She also talked about software and websites she has used with her students previously, demonstrating with videos, images, and descriptions of the purpose, benefits, and limitations of each.
Participants then had the opportunity to ask presenters questions, and a discussion was facilitated.
Research presentation: What is digital literacy?
Like traditional, print-based literacies, digital literacy refers to a competency or capability with a particular topic, field or issue. However, as both conceptual and material notions of the ‘digital’ are slippery, so too are conceptions of what constitutes being ‘literate’. In fact, defining what is meant by digital literacy has become more complicated over time. Invasions of privacy, increasing dataveillance, and the erosion of the democratic sphere are just some of the complex issues in modern societies that digital literacy is supposed to address.
In this presentation, I will outline what digital literacy is and how it differs from other cognate approaches such as digital rights and digital citizenship. I draw on practical examples and strategies for classroom teachers to incorporate into their practice to develop critical digital literacies. I conclude by outlining what digital literacies cannot achieve, in particular the issues and challenges that are, in many respects, beyond the influence of the teacher and the curriculum.
Dr Luci Pangrazio. Luci is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence of the Digital Child and a senior lecturer in language and literacy at Deakin University. Her research focuses on digital and data literacies, datafication in the home and school, and the politics of digital platforms.
Practice presentation: An online reading program for EAL students: A teacher’s experience
This session will discuss the challenges and opportunities of an online reading program for EAL students. While the reading program encouraged students to engage in reading, there were challenges associated in relation to access to digital technologies.
Presenter: Louise Whittle. Louise has been a primary school teacher for the last 24 years, working in the South Eastern public sector as a classroom teacher and casual relief teacher. She has had overseas experiences teaching in the USA and UAE, where her interest and love of EAL education started. Louise has been providing EAL Language Support/ Intervention in a mainstream school for the last 5 years.