Plenary session by Diana Laurillard

This plenary talk discusses the challenges facing the teacher when using digital technology to enhance language learning.

About the session

Supporting the teacher as innovative learning designer

Teachers who wish to update and upgrade their teaching by using learning technologies have some difficult issues to confront, and we have to recognise that teachers deserve far more help with discovering how best to exploit digital methods. The presentation starts from the premise that only teachers have the knowledge, experience, and appropriate context for developing the new forms of pedagogy made possible by digital learning methods. Effective use of learning technology will not come about unless teachers are at the helm of innovation.

In the context of TEFL, digital technologies can enhance the learning experience in so many different ways; through analytical tools, online communication through text, audio and video, multimedia presentations, digital games, virtual reality environments; almost every type of digital technology can enhance some aspect of language learning. There is so much language teachers could do with technology-based innovation. But this is a huge demand on teachers: to discover how to use new types of technology, which are changing continually, alongside delivering more and better teaching also demanded of them. The presentation will argue that we need to pay more attention to supporting the teacher as innovator, and will propose the kinds of tools and resources that are needed to help the language teaching community develop this new specialised knowledge and skill base.

About the speaker

Diana Laurillard is Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, leading externally-funded research projects on: i) developing a learning design support environment for teachers, and ii) developing software interventions for learners with low numeracy and dyscalculia. This work relates closely to her roles as Pro Director for Open Mode learning, and as a founder member of the Planning Board for the cross-institutional Centre for Educational Neuroscience (IOE, Birkbeck, UCL). Previous roles include: Head of the e-Learning Strategy Unit at the Department for Education and Skills,where she developed the first cross-sector e-learning strategy on Harnessing Technology; Pro-Vice-Chancellor for learning technologies and teaching at The Open University, Visiting Committee on IT at Harvard University and previously worked on the Technology Enhanced Language Learning programme. Current roles include: Royal Society Working Group on Educational Neuroscience, Boards of the Observatory for Borderless HE, Supervisory Council for Fern Universitaet in Hagen, Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for IT in Education. She has given many international keynote addresses, published in many academic journals and books, and her book Rethinking University Teaching: A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies (2002, RoutledgeFalmer) is one of the most widely cited in the field.

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