Learner Autonomy in the Time of Corona: Supporting Learners and Teachers in Turbulent Days

April 1, 7am UK time
Link to world clock

Join this webinar: http://iatefl.adobeconnect.com/lasigwebinars

During this webinar we will address some of the questions teachers and learners may have in the current unprecedented situation:

  • How do we ensure the well-being of teachers and students in sudden distance learning situations?
  • Which synchronous and asynchronous activities and tools support autonomy and how can we make distance learning effective and beneficial for all of us?
  • What if the technology doesn’t work?
  • What are some of the pitfalls, constraints and opportunities for distance learning?

Plenary: Sarah Mercer

Teacher & student well-being in times of crisis

Abstract: In this short plenary, we will reflect on some the possible effects of current crisis on learner and teacher wellbeing. We consider a number of strategies centred round the PERMA+V model of wellbeing to help people cope.

Micòl Beseghi
Personal experience: Micòl Beseghi

Teaching online in times of disruption

Micòl reports on a personal experience of a teacher from Italy who has had to suddenly change her plans, provide teaching continuity and sustain energy, as well as promote learner autonomy in a time of crisis.

Panel: Katja Heim, Gamze Sayram, Michelle Tamala
Building communities

Katja: Thematic Groups and Buddy Teams in Long Distance Phases: Sustaining Existing Groups

katjaBased on experiences from the past five years and from a few recent experiences during the current crisis, I would like to share activities within a learning-management-system with you that work at a comparably low-tech level. These setups and activities help groups to keep reflecting and communicating throughout long-distance phases of their studies. The group activities are complemented with phases of peer-feedback in even smaller teams, in which students ideally support each other online throughout the process of fine-tuning and conducting their chosen projects. While there is probably an even bigger need right now to keep communities together and to keep catering for students’ psychological needs, i.e. autonomy, competence and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000), there is no way of claiming that online-activities provide an easy and straightforward way through a crisis like the one now. At the time being, they just seem like a way to keep trying..

Deci, R.M. & Ryan, E.L. (2000). Self-Determination and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. In: American Psychologist, 55, No. 1, pp. 68-78.

Gamze: Seamless learning, collaboration and reflection through social media during turbulent times 

GamzeI am going to talk about the opportunities and challenges of seamless language learning and teaching and the reflections of a group of students during a global pandemic.

In the current neural networking era, learning is becoming more seamless and student-centred as the boundaries between formal and informal learning are disappearing. Social networking sites, blogs, wikis, multimedia platforms, virtual social world applications are commonly used in education (Tess, 2013). Social media platforms have an organic structure and they are creating opportunities for social construction of meaning, collaboration and networking with their bottom-up design, rather than top-down structure (Dron, 2007). An increasing number of education institutions are setting up social media platforms to offer informal learning opportunities, allowing access to expert advise, sharing ideas, solving problems and creating opportunities for collaboration, reflection and networking (Innovating Pedagogy Report 2016).  

Dron, J. (2007). Designing the undesignable: Social software and control. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 10(3)

Sharples, M., de Roock , R., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., Herodotou, C., Koh, E., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Looi, C-K, McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Weller, M., Wong, L. H. (2016). Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation Report 5. Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Tess, P. A. (2013). The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual)–A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(5), A60–A68.

Michelle: Flipped out: online learning and learning in the time of COVID-19

MTamalaOur world has changed incredibly quickly and possibly it will never be the same again. This is particularly evident in education where schools and universities are now teaching online, providing learning online, with varying degrees of effectiveness. This brief presentation looks at the existing context of online delivery, with a focus on ESL and the recent focus on blended learning and the flipped classroom. The presentation continues and looks at the current demands, challenges and opportunities, not only for learning, but for embedding learner autonomy in courses that are being created, changed and supplemented. These elements are looked at through the prism of effectively creating positive and supportive communities and relationships and also maintaining motivation in an online world.