#ELTchat Summary: How can we develop teachers’ digital and information literacies?

#ELTchat 7pm Wednesday 19 October 2016


@SueAnnan, @Marisa_C, @MConca16, @TeresaBestwick, @GlenysHanson, @fionaljp, @engl42, @gary10ant, @jorgeguillen, @beatrixhenkel, @TalkenEnglish,

What is information literacy?

Clarification of the term information literacy was provided by @Marisa_C and @MConca16 said the way you get/transfer/use tech for info, maybe. @fionaljp provided an additional clarifying link:


@SueAnnan said she supposed you also need to be up on creative commons and plagiarism etc, adding she thought part of digital literacy must include referencing, checking if ok to use etc. gary10ant said, ‘The way you access, consume, create using technology.’

What it isn’t…

@TeresaBestwick made the point that she thinks tech is another resource teachers can use effectively but it’s not a necessity in the classroom.  @GlenysHanson agreed saying, ‘Tech is tool to attain pedagogical objectives and may /may not be useful in classroom.’ @SueAnnan added that she has colleagues who teach without going near tech and @Marisa_C agreed saying we all do, and emphasised the fact that the quality of a lesson is not connected to a lack of tech.

Why it is important

@MConca16 agreed with the above but also highlighted its importance by saying, ‘True, though the world we live & work in is digital & connected.’  @SueAnnan agreed, ‘WE certainly are connected through Digital tech 🙂 at #eltchat.’

@English42 remarked that Classroom (and extra-curricular) tech is becoming standard & is desirable among SS. Not necessary but inevitable. @MConca16 said, ‘My main motivation is saving time, reducing paper-based resources, fun.  I look for tech that can help with that.’  @Marisa_C listed the following: ‘information literacies in other words, learning how to use search tools – google and how to curate and store info, knowing what code is how to grab it and embed it somewhere (e.g. wiki) and learning about privacy and e-safety for oneself and one;s learners.’ @SueAnnan added – how to store passwords and save sites for later. @MConca highlighted the importance of understanding how to use some e-learning platform e.g. moodle. @GlenysHanson agreed, ‘Moodle, etc. can be steep learning curve for newbie Ts, but it’s so convenient to have everything in one place.@jorgeguillen mentioned using Google apps for education might be of help as well. @fionaljp provided a link to a video on digital literacy and why it matters:

@SueAnnan pointed out the importance of learning about sharing as well as taking. @Marisa_C agreed, ‘Very important on and off-line.’  

@MConca said she
used Interactive Whiteboards or Smartboard quite a lot and @fionaljp said how going freelance meant that there was huge variation in tech availability going from one context to another.  MConca agreed that tech ranged from IWBs to no working photocopier, highlighting the importance of not being over-reliant on tech and being flexible.  @eng42 said, ‘No matter what tech is (un)available, dogme method is my go-to method. 2 pens and a head full of good ideas!’ However, @jorgeguillen responded by saying that current #Dogme trends have actually justified and accepted tech use. @MConca16 replied saying, ‘As long as it supports and promotes learning, tech is fine.’ @jorgeguillen emphasised the importance of taking risks in terms of experimenting in teaching using technology; and said many old-school teachers fret about it.  

Resistance and denial

Although @SueAnnan agreed that being an effective teacher has nothing to do with using tech or not, she said that not being open to new ideas is stifling.  @Marisa_C provided a link to a previous #ELTchat Introducing CPD to Dinosaurs highlighting the fact that issues around resistance to change go beyond tech. 

@TalkenEnglish noted that sometimes students aren’t prepared for tech – ‘They’ll complain that their smartphones are low in battery or can’t connect to WiFi.’

On the other hand, @beatrixhenkel said, ‘I guess it’s just the first step that is really challenging.’

How can we help?

@GlenysHanson said she’d start with discussion, ‘What’s in it for me the T? What’s in it for the Ss?’ @Marisa_C liked this saying, ‘I have a lot of success stories of trainees to report but not all of them get it’. @fionaljp said that she tried to elicit from trainees what tech is available in the context of a particular CELTA course and how it is exploited or how to exploit it to support learning. 

@jorgeguillen said, ‘By learning information literacies in other words , learning how to use search tools – google and how to curate and store info, and knowing how to browse information and discriminate it.’ 

@MConca said, ‘My main motivation is saving time,reducing paper-based resources, fun. I look for tech that can help with that.’ @fionaljp suggested using QR codes. SueAnnan asked how and @fionaljp provided an example using a QR code to an audio link allowing trainees to listen as many times as they personally needed to in order to complete a matching task and provided more ideas on how to use QR codes from Nik Peachey.  @MConca concluded that the use of QR codes had supported learning and saved precious time & resources for more focused practice. @gary10ant provided some more ideas and links for using QR codes

@eng142 suggested a focus on tools they already use: Email (to send resources), WhatsApp (e.g. for speaking h/w), Facebook (for study groups)… @Marisa_C said, ‘I  mix tech and non-tech so they can compare – paper based activs also highly satisfying if well staged.’  

Marisa_C said, ‘The question we need to address is how to help Ts acquire it –  what we are doing today is one way – informally through self-help.’  @SueAnnan replied that word of mouth about things like #ELTChat don’t seem to work if the motivation isn’t there to start with.  @Marisa_C agreed saying, ‘Very true – I was also thinking the same; how do we get people here or places like here? She went on to say, ‘But we can also talk about how to help out trainees acquire the literacies on our courses – how do you do it?’; to which @SueAnnan replied,  ‘I wish I knew. I try really hard to share all I learn and how beneficial it is for my students but…I begin with the website and wiki for my pre-course tasks #eltchat then carry on using it as naturally as poss during the course.’  Marisa_C agreed, ‘Me too – no longer do “formal” edtech sessions but practise what i preach – trainees imitate what fits …’ GlenysHanson agreed, ‘Teach by example rather than precept’.

In conclusion, it seems the best way to help teachers develop digital and information literacies is by sharing best practice and resources, and teaching by example. 

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