Facilitators: Gary Motteram & Graham Stanley
The first session of this pre-conference event was conducted face-to-face with IATEFL participants in the
and virtually in Second Life (SL). It was presented by Mark Pegrum who participated virtually from UK . Pegrum’s presentation was preceded and followed by closed group discussions with reports from various groups, and was nicely wrapped up with a summary of main topics. Australia
The participants from the
were divided into five groups of eight in which participants made introductions and shared interests and their technology-based activities in various countries. The groups discussed activities, e.g. exchange programs and project-based learning. They also shared concerns and issues related to the role of technology in learning, e.g. teachers’ fear of losing jobs because of technology, lack of time for integrating technology, the students’ being more tech-savvy than their teachers, the students lack of academic study skills and ICT literacy skills despite their being tech-savvy, etc. UK
Various groups reported on the main topics. Group 1 shared their experience of the techno-wow! effect related to new technological toys: the iPad, which wore off immediately right after it cracked! The integration of older technologies was also shared. Group 2 discussed web 2.0 and mobile learning, digital natives vs. digital immigrants and other training issues related to technological tools. Group 3 raised the issue about the ignorance about the latest technological advancements, technology underuse and not being institutionally supported and the diversity of experiences. Group 4 also raised the issue of students being tech-savvy but ICT-illiterate. They also mentioned the importance of content versus playing around with technological tools. Finally, they highlighted the importance of Twitter. Group 5 discussed student reactions to SL and how to monetize this environment.
A pre-recorded video of Pegrum’s presentation on 4 subdivisions of literacies: language, information, connections and remixes—the hallmark of the digital age. He elaborates on each group raising important points. First, teachers and students who aren’t savvy in writing codes would not be considered literate and would be unable to overcome firewalls and political blocks on certain platforms. Second, participatory literacy can be dangerous and may have serious consequences. Third, the younger generations—digital natives—seem to monopolize remixes and mash-ups, although ‘quality’ products still seem to come from adults. Finally, remixes—which aren't really a group but can be a stand-alone—seem to pull out the rest of literacies.