Last semester, I got my feet wet in teaching an introduction to computers for English learners who really didn’t understand the technology they had been given.
In May, I committed to doing classroom research. I’ll be presenting on a panel about my work this March in Chicago at the annual TESOL International Conference.
Research, honestly, is something I do all the time: I try. I fail, I restructure. I try again.
But I’ve been less than great about documenting what I do. This semester, I’ve started over. So I’m planning on being fastidious about comparing my successes/failures/changes and why that happened.
So let’s jump in.
Here is my original proposal:
At BHS, all students receive Chromebooks. In the EL department, most students are newly resettled refugees. Many also would qualify as Students with Limited or Interrupted Schooling (SLIFE). They lack background knowledge and academic behaviors for “doing school” in a Western education system. Additionally, most students never had access to technology before coming to the United States, and parents are unsure of what students are doing on computers at home at all hours.
The school previously offered an intro to computers class, but it was eliminated with budget cuts. To address parent concerns, the school offers mini-workshops. But parents often do not retain information from these sessions. Therefore, I have implemented an action research study to explore these questions:
To what extent do one-to-one devices in a newcomer EL class promote learner autonomy and develop academic skills?
In what ways do digital artifacts provide teachers, students and parents a tool for tracking progress?
What are the students’ and parents’ perceptions about using devices in the classroom and at home?
I have developed a technology-based curriculum in my newcomer class to build student knowledge through devices, self-awareness, and home support. Using a flipped learning approach, students engage with various sites and build an online toolbox to support academic participation and foster vocabulary enrichment. In addition, parent support will occur through home visits and targeted outreach.
The overarching aim is to build students’ competencies with devices and set them on a trajectory for success in content classes, where they will continue to engage with their devices. Students will be able to see Chromebooks as tools for learning and will be able to move toward greater autonomy. In addition, parents will have a better understanding of acceptable activities and feel more empowered to set limits on device use at home via an informational campaign.
I am so excited about what I’ve learned and where this is going. It’s been in ways very successful. And in other ways, I feel I am running up against impossible barriers.
I have enrolled myself in an EVO Online course on Classroom Based Research. I am reading listserv posts and listening to podcasts to hone my teaching and webinars to help me find my way.
I’m not done yet.
And I’m excited to see where I end up when I finally report out in March at #TESOL18 #mytesol18