Training Pre-Service Teachers to Customize Digital Materials for Second Language Instruction: Exploring approaches to design and perceptions of customization (Mike Barcomb & Walcir Cardoso, Concordia University, Canada)
Mike Barcomb & Walcir Cardoso, Concordia University, Canada
Title: Training Pre-Service Teachers to Customize Digital Materials for Second Language Instruction: Exploring approaches to design and perceptions of customization
Keywords: Mobile and Computer-Assisted learning; teacher training; gamified material creation
Research in computer and mobile assisted language learning (C/MALL) indicates that students can make substantial L2 gains as a result of utilizing digital technology to interact with and through the target language (Zhao, 2013). In specific, there has been an emphasis on utilizing apps and gamified learning environments to stimulate L2 interactions (e.g., Godwin-Jones, 2011; Reinehardt, 2019). Despite the potential to utilize such resources in L2 classrooms, research indicates that many teachers do not believe they can implement digital materials (Kuure et al., 2016). To alleviate this issue, Barcomb, Grimshaw, and Cardoso (2017) draw on insights from Activity Theory (e.g., Engestrom, 2014) and C/MALL literature to explain how teachers can leverage a combination of their insights and basic computer skills to customize and implement their own digital language learning materials.
The present study took place in an undergraduate Teaching English as a Second Language course that trains pre-service teachers how to develop their own digital materials for L2 teaching. The course was informed by Barcomb et al.’s (2017) approach, which guided teachers as they created online courses with customized materials and gamified elements (to motivate students to learn; Bell, 2018) designed to stimulate in- and out-of-class L2 interactions. To understand how participants utilized the proposed approach, they submitted an outline of their materials and built an online language course in which they implemented some of the ideas discussed in the experiment. To understand how participants perceived customization, they completed a post-test survey and participated in a focus-group. The results indicate that students perceived the proposed approach to be useful and they utilized it to customize materials to facilitate L2 interactions. Based on these results, we will highlight the theoretical and pedagogical implications of our findings about pre-service teachers using their own insights and experiences to customize digital language learning materials.