This two-part workshop gave an overview of emerging and future developments in educational technologies, suggesting that the adoption of new technologies will largely be determined by their fit with ongoing educational trends.
Presentation 1: From High-Tech to Low-Tech Environment: The Challenge of Introducing Technology to ESL in the High School Context
by Stephen Howes
Until his recent move to Takasaki, Howes had been working at Brisbane Grammar School where he was responsible for trialing and implementing flipped lessons and blended learning as a teacher of science and Japanese. His current position at Tokyo Seitoku University Fukaya High School is a vastly different context. In this 30-minute presentation, Howes discussed the challenges he has faced coming from a high-tech to a low-tech teaching environment, and detailed his methods for introducing his current students to the benefits of technology in small chunks.
Presentation 2: Handheld Video Games and English L2 Learning
by Benjamin Thanyawatpokin
A relative newcomer to research in the field of education and technology, Thanyawatpokin has recently finished his master’s thesis at Ritsumeikan University in their Language Education and Information Sciences department. He currently teaches part-time at Ritsumeikan Uji High School and Kansai Gaidai University. In this 30-minute presentation, Thanyawatopokin discussed research done on using handheld video games to support English studies at the university level along with the issue of using video games in English education here in Japan.
Workshop 1: Where are Today's Technological Trends Taking Us?
by Dr. Mark Pegrum
This first part of the seminar focused on the technological context. It highlighted key hardware and software developments: looking at technologies carried by humans, including mobiles, wearables, and embeddables/implantables. Participants looked at independently or semi-independently mobile technologies like smart vehicles, drones and robots; and they also saw the way the mobile ecosystem connects to a larger, mostly stationary ecosystem, with particular emphasis on the internet of things. They then were shown technological trends in the form of changing patterns of usage, covering: natural user interfaces; augmented reality; big data; and empathic systems. The workshop finished by discussion some questions about artificial intelligence.
This focus on the technological context lead into a focus on the educational context in the second part of the seminar.
Presentation 3: The Use of Audio Journals as an Outside-of-Classroom Activity to Foster L2 Acquisition in College Freshmen
by Raymond Hoogenboom and Barry Keith
Hoogenboom and Keith are Associate Professors at the Center for Language Teaching in Gunma University. Their presentation described the use of audio journals as an outside-of-class activity, and how such journals provide students with opportunities to receive and produce language meaningfully, acquire structural knowledge, and develop grammatical and lexical fluency. The presenters described the setting up, management, and assessment of a semester-long audio journal project.
Presentation 4: How do Japanese adult learners study English?
by Akiko Fujii
Fujii teaches Japanese as a second language at Tokyo University of Social Welfare. Her interests include discourse analysis and lifelong learning. Fujii presented the results of a study aimed at understanding how Japanese adult learners learn English. As data, she has collected and analyzed the stories of 13 Japanese adult learners. Subjects who maintained their studies for ten years or more were motivated by the "Ought-to L2 Self". Fujii focused on their motivation and discuss how they achieved their goals.
Workshop 2: Where are Today's Educational Trends Taking Us? by Dr. Mark Pegrum
Following on from the focus on the technological context in the first part of this seminar, the second part turned to the educational context.
The emphasis was on ongoing educational trends and how these are likely to intersect with the technological developments and trends covered in the first part. Participants looked at educational shifts towards: contextualisation of learning (enabled, notably, through augmented reality), personalisation of learning (through big data and learning analytics), diversification of learning (through Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs), student
support (through virtual assistants), student engagement (through gaming and gamification), student creativity (through makerspaces), and wider collaboration (through digital networking). This second workshop ended with group discussion about the technological trends presented and how those might impact participant's teaching practices.