When we discuss technology, we often refer to “user experience,” that is, the user’s sense of ease of navigation, ease of use, satisfaction with the technology, even the pleasure they derive, and the attraction they feel toward using it.[i]
When we talk about learning technology, part of user experience is a deeper layer that we might call the learning design. That is, the interconnectivity of the various features and elements and how they lead toward significant learning outcomes[ii].
I’d like to relate to you how I became interested in or how I developed an initial understanding of the relationship between teaching and user experience and learning design. This was during my senior year at the University of Michigan when I was doing my student teaching. I was assigned to a high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan to teach first and second year English. And my master teacher, who was going to guide me through this, was Shirley McKeon, who was a very gifted, very talented, very charismatic, and—fortunately for me—very empathic teacher. And part of my job was to come every morning before class and present Shirley my lesson plans for the day. And they looked something like this, where we would list the lesson objectives.[iii] And these were in terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and then the lesson structure, with the time, the topic, and the teaching approach that was to be used for each activity. Continue reading →
As teachers we have two skill sets that we’re continuously trying to revise and adapt and improve.
The first of these is what I call “presence”. That is, the ability to deliver instruction in real time, to engage with the students, to interact with the students, to listen, to respond––to deliver instruction in ways that make sense in that particular context. Continue reading →
Sharing learning resources with students is a great way to utilize technology in language teaching.[i] Like a lot of teachers, I compile resources that I find that I think will be suitable for my students to utilize as they try to challenge themselves outside of the classroom. And I’ve organized my resources into a kind of mind map[ii] that enables me to locate the kind of resource I might recommend to any particular student or any particular class. Now I wasn’t always so generous and certainly not always so organized in the ways that I recommended resources to students. In fact, I was probably very conservative about protecting resources rather than sharing them early on in my career.
I’d like to share with you a story of how my perspective on this began to shift. Continue reading →
I use a lot of technology in my teaching now, but this hasn’t always been the case.[i] In fact, when I first started out teaching a number of years ago in West Africa in the Peace Corps, I had zero technology effectively. My main technology was chalk. I had white chalk, I had a blackboard, and I even had some yellow chalk to emphasize things. Continue reading →
3 Ways that Longman English Interactive Facilitates Language Learning
The key issue in deciding whether or not to adopt any educational technology is the actual learning value for the students who use it. We designed Longman English Interactive to enhance learning in 3 key ways.