Nicky Hockly is Director of Pedagogy of The Consultants-E, an award-winning online training and development organisation. She has worked in the field of English Language Teaching for over 25 years, as a teacher, teacher trainer and consultant, both online and face-to-face.
She is an international plenary speaker, and gives seminars, in-service workshops and teacher training courses for practising language teachers all over the world. Nicky writes materials for both EFL course books and online learning, and she has written many articles on education and online learning. She has co-written several methodology books on the application of new technologies to language teaching.
Topic: Digital literacies
Digital literacies, the technical skills and social practices needed to effectively interact with digital technologies, are key 21st century skills, and are increasingly important in educational curricula.
What exactly are these literacies, and where might they have a place in the English language classroom?
We look at some of the theory underpinning digital literacies, and explore practical classroom activities for students in the language classroom across a number of contexts (high-tech, low-tech and no-tech). We also consider some of the challenges involved in operationalising digital literacies in the classroom.
Video recording of the plenary session
You can watch the full recording of Nicky Hockly’s talk on British Council Russia’s YouTube channel by clicking the link below:
Nicky Hockly's interview covers the issue of the balance between the use of technology and traditional forms of teaching. She speaks about safety issues and gives advice on how to engage digital tools into the lesson structure.
Watch the interview by clicking this link below:
Nicky Hockly answered questions that people asked during her session. You can read the questions and Nicky's answers below.
Irina Ozolina: Are you doing anything to preserve some of the fundamental aspects of culture, as we are now in the digital and more connected age?
I think Culture (with a capital C) is still the mainstay of many teaching and training programmes, and what we probably need more of is a focus on digital cultures, such as memes or remix! Certainly I know very few teachers who are integrating that into their teaching practice, but there are plenty of teachers still getting their students to read [Shakespeare - or insert the cultural icon of your choice]. But there is of course a place for both Culture (literature, art, etc) and the newer forms of digital culture.
Evegeny Kalashnikov: What could you say about using digital technologies with primary school students? How often is it better to use these technologies? Do you find it difficult for children? What kinds of such activities would you recommend (besides games)?
I'm not an expert on primary, but I know many schools integrate the use of technologies (e.g. tablets) into getting the students to produce not just language, but digital artefacts. For example, primary learners may listen to the teacher tell a story, then use a tablet to draw a picture of the story, or create a simple digital story book of their version of the story. Developing fine motor skills such as writing is still important for younger learners, so it's not a question of always having to use technology for everything!
Marina Belousova: Can you give advice to the teachers who don't have access to computers in the English classroom but still want their Ss to be digitally literate?
In our book Digital Literacies we offer 'no tech' versions of many of our activities, and that might mean learners working on paper in the classroom, and then producing digital artefacts at home (assuming they have access there), or the teacher bringing in photocopies of websites to read and discuss (as in the Tree octopus example I gave in my plenary). Paper can also be used to produce images memes as drawings, for example, such as the 'Carry on and xxx' meme example I gave. And teachers can easily conduct discussions with learners on topics like e-safety - no technology is necessary for that at all.
Jane Cohen: Do u know if many teacher training colleges offer DL's as a subject yet? If I am digitally illiterate how can I gain the confidence to work with DLs in classes with the digital generation?
Well, this is one of the areas that we (The Consultants-E) work in by offering online teaching courses in these areas. And there is a real need out there among teachers, we find. Although many teacher training colleges put 'ICT skills' or similar in their training syllabi, the fact is that not that many teacher trainers are trained to actually operationalise this in the training room. My own feeling is that this is a vital area, and trainers must get up to speed and become digitally literate if they want their classes to be relevant to their 21st century learners.
You can download Nicky’s presentation “Digital literacies” below