Dr. Maggie Sokolik holds a BA in Anthropology from Reed College, and an MA in Romance Linguistics and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from UCLA. She is the author of over twenty ESL and composition textbooks. She is Director of College Writing Programs at UC Berkeley. She has developed and taught several popular MOOC courses for ELLs through edX.org and in partnership with the US Department of State. She is a founding editor of TESL-EJ, a peer-reviewed journal for ESL/EFL professionals, one of the first online journals in any field, which has been active for over twenty years. Maggie travels frequently to speak about technology and writing, most recently to Scotland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, New Zealand, and Canada.
When Worlds Meet: Real and Virtual Learner Engagement
What engages students in English language courses? What are the barriers to engagement? Instructors are sometimes swift to blame loss of engagement on the distractions of mobile phones, texting, and social media. However, the challenge of engaging students in English language learning precedes electronic devices. And, by learning to embrace the possibilities of digital tools as doorways into authentic language, rather than rejecting them as distractions to learning, we can expand student autonomy and motivate students to learn. This keynote address will explore the barriers to engaging English language learners fully in face-to-face, blended, and online courses, and show how we can overcome them.
A Balancing Act: Using Technology to Foster Student Autonomy
Few students learn English by using only grammar or other course books. On the other hand, finding, adapting, and developing outside resources for classroom use can present an enormous burden to instructors who may already be overloaded with preparation and marking. This problem occurs in part because instructors take on too much of the burden of developing course materials, leaving students as passive receivers of those materials. When we put students in the role of internet researchers, presenters, and writers, we encourage student autonomy and create greater engagement and investment in learning. In this plenary, we will explore some practical ways to put students in charge of their own learning, and the tools to help them do so.
Using Digital (and other) Tools to Spark Creativity in Language Learning
Students often get bored or less enthusiastic about English language learning because many tasks require them to be too passive: reading assignments, lectures, and grammar lessons can all ask students to take in English without allowing them to use English in interesting and authentic ways. We will explore teaching techniques that encourage students to produce language in the context of creative work. From simple reading and writing tasks to larger, more complex work using digital tools, we’ll look at activities that will motivate students to use English in new ways, placing more responsibility on the student to become an active participant in the classroom.