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Training Package

Module 3

Table of Contents

Section 1
Defining the concept of digital technology-based teaching resources and choosing the appropriate technical characteristics

For the last three decades, digital computer technology and the WWW have been changing the social, economic and cultural outlook of our world, the way we live and connect with one another. Moreover, this technological progress fostered new economic and organisational structures in addition to affecting also directly and unavoidably the educational setting. In fact, digital technologies paved the way for an endless world of educational possibilities, thus transforming the traditional education paradigm based on more conventional ways of teaching and learning. Currently, teachers, and more specifically language teachers, have at their disposal a myriad of educational resources they can find online to use with the newest active pedagogical approaches and methodologies. However, in some cases, their lack of training and knowledge with regard to this technological area may be a constraint. Another issue may arise when we attempt to define the concept of digital technologies-based teaching resources. Even though there are different concepts they are often used as synonyms, such as online information and communication technology educational resources, online technology enhanced learning tools, digital educational technologies, just to name a few. Our purpose is to present a non-constraining, simple and overarching definition that allows us to understand some features underlying the concept of digital technology-based teaching resources applied to the teaching and learning context in higher education. Vladimir A. Tsvyk and Irina V. Tsvyk (2019), who also drew attention to the conceptual similarity among the concepts of "information technology", "computer technology", "new information technology", "information and communication technology", "digital technology" (p. 560), claimed that the word “digital” should be used in the field of education:

“The concept of "information and communication technology" today is included in the scope of the concept of "computer technology" and "digital technology", because the technical equipment for its implementation is computer technology and digital transmission media. Although in a broader sense, information and communication technologies may not be computer based. With regard to education, it is best to use the concept of "computer technology" or "digital technology." (p. 561)

We also opted for the word ‘digital’ for its inclusive and encompassing meaning. Digital technologies cover the Internet, digital mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, and the like), Web 2.0 tools virtual reality devices, artificial intelligence and other new and updated technologies (Tsvysk & Tsvysk, 2019, p. 562). These tools provide us with the possibilities of creating countless online resources that we can then make good use of for our classes, either in a virtual or face-to-face environment.
When creating digital technology based teaching material, as teachers we need to take into account a number of technical characteristics and whether they meet the purposes of the learning objectives of our lessons as well as its target audience. Therefore, we suggest the following list of the main technical characteristics to be considered when choosing a digital resource:

- comprehensive approach: capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students
- usability (user-friendly resources)
- accessibility (easy access to the resource for different types of users and from a range of devices – smartboard, laptop, tablet, smartphone etc.)
- adequacy/efficacy (the resource meets the purposes of our lesson(s))
- applicability (useful or adequate for a specific content)
- Innovation: effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) learning

References: Tsvyk, V. A. and Tsvyk, I.V. (2019). Digital Technologies in Modern Education: Ethical Aspect. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 341. 5th International Conference on Arts, Design and Contemporary Education (ICADCE 2019). Atlantis Press. pp. 559-564.

Online Resources

(Podcast) Shannon Spasova – The online language teacher’s toolbox
This 28-minute podcast focuses on tools and other resources that can support teaching. Shannon Spasova describes three main tools that she really enjoys because they are innovative, enganging and really easy to use. She provides examples on how to use these tools (flip grid; padlet, course presentation) in either an online or onsite context but with an interactive input. The explanations are really useful for teachers as they realise the teaching potential of these resources.

The FLTMAG – IALLT’S free language technology magazine
On this website, you can find innumerable useful information ranging from articles, interviews, podcasts, tech highlights, to book reviews and conference reports. Here you can find reference to many projects and apps within the area of languages that provide us with teaching guides on how to use the app (e.g. Lectica, A New Language Learning App that Lets Users Learn Like a Native Speaker, Language Learning with Lyricstraining or Designing Digital Audio Guides for Language Learning with izi.Travel).
From these, you can also get many good ideas for the creation of your own online teaching and learning resources.

Table of Contents