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Modern Architecture

TTLO Unit 4 - Using Tech Tools

In this unit, we got try out various tech tools for language learning and design activities using them.

Singing with Headphones

For this activity, we tried out tech tools that would facilitate interpretive listening. I chose PlayPosit, a tool that allows you to enhance videos by adding questions (called "interactions") at any point in the video you wish. The tool pauses the video, allowing learners to answer your questions and give feedback at key points. The tool also allows us as instructors to enter feedback that is automatically delivered when learners answer, making this tool great for assessment as well.

The activity got some praise from our colleagues Sara Gardner, Raegeom Lee, and Jacob Dixon. Thank you for your feedback!


Note: For PlayPosit, make sure you click on the Settings Cog in the lower right and choose Learner if allowed. Instructor View does not pause automatically for the interactions.

For this activity, we looked at tech tools to support interpretive reading. I settled on Edji, a tool that allows you to enter text and insert discussion questions within it. This tool is great for scaffolding, as you can insert questions between sections of the text.

Our colleagues Professor Johnshoy, Valorie Arrowsmith, Maya Campbell, Professor Jayakar, and Meriem Alaoui all had positive feedback for it (many thanks!) Our colleague Sara Gardner wanted clarification on the cultural connections learners would make using the activity. I clarified that the question about colonial buildings would make this connection (Remember, colonial buildings are not safe in earthquakes just because they're old!)

Reading E-book in Park
Lead presentations during meetings

For this activity, we considered tech tools to support presentational speaking. I wanted to include Microsoft PowerPoint because all of my learners have access to it. I described how to screencast with it and provided my own screencast explanation, in addition to the activity materials. This experience helped me become more comfortable explaining and giving instructions on video. 

I really wanted to give this activity a language-for-specific-purposes bend. Our colleagues Sara Gardner, Meriem Alaoui, and Professor Jayakar all commented on how it would fulfill this purpose effectively. They also noted the effectiveness of the ancillary materials (the screencast on using PowerPoint, in particular).

For this activity, we examined tech tools to support presentational writing. I decided on Google Docs because all of my learners have access to it. It also easily allows for collaborative writing, so this one seemed like a natural fit. Planning this activity helped me become more comfortable with this tool and with Google Drive as well.

Our colleagues Sara Gardner, Valorie Arrowsmith, Meriem Alaoui, and Raegeom Lee all commented on the detailed nature of the activity. They also reassured me that altough Google Docs may not be the flashiest tool, it's still very effective. Sara wanted some additional clarity on the context, so I showed her how this writing activity comes from a longer lesson I did for Unit 2. Then, Raegeom asked about how feedback would be delivered, so I clarified that in the plan. 

Working on Laptop
Watching Video Lecture

For this activity, my colleague Kelly Atwood and I had a lively conversation about weekend plans, the cities we live in, and our pets. We did this over Zoom, which rocketed to success in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as a vehicle for Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT). We both thought Zoom was an effective tool for synchronous online interaction as it allows for the easy sharing of materials and allows for breakout rooms where learners can do group work. We also thought that there should be some time built in for "tangents", as long as these are explored in the target language.

For this activity, I recorded an introduction video for my ePortfolio (to give viewers an overview of its purpose, navigation, and content) and uploaded it to YouTube. I also tried my hand at adding closed captioning, which was not nearly as time-consuming as it initially sounded. Give it a play here or on the Home Page. You can also download the transcript here.


For this activity, we got to choose a favorite tech tool to deliver instructional support and comprehensible input. I picked PlayPosit again because I was familiar with it and it pauses for interactions. You see, I had a screencast video from a past class that I made to deliver input asynchronously, and it already had built-in pauses for the learners to read and consider the information. So, it seemed natural to use PlayPosit. I also got to practice uploading videos to YouTube for this activity, as the free version of PlayPosit does not allow users to upload their own material.

Our colleagues Jacob Dixon, Rachel Maina, Sara Gardner, and Meriem Alaoui all commented on the activity's effective use of PlayPosit. Rachel indicated that my including a Before watching question was a great idea.


Remember to look at the activity in Learner View (click on the cog in the lower-right corner).

For this unit, we reflected on the use of tech in online learning, including our perceptions of it, our apprehensions about it, and our expectations for it. We also reflected on which tech tools we plan to use for instruction and assessment and how much support we would need to then implement them. Check out my blog for the full interview.

Graduating Students
Working at Home

See my for-credit artifacts on Chapters 4 and 9 here, detailing my interpretation of Boettcher & Conrad's (2021) guidelines for choosing tools to support online teaching and best practices for the wrapping up an online course.

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