Teacher Isolation is Real, but are Virtual Networks the Answer?

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Presented live at IALLT 2023 in New Orleans | June 15

IALLT.org | International Association for Language Learning & Technology | June 14-18, 2023

Session Description

One of the most frequent refrains in conversations among language teachers today is that they feel deeply isolated in their efforts to teach effectively. In the wake of emergency remote teaching and learning (ERTL), their skills have grown in using educational technology themselves, and they may have increased their engagement in social media and virtual events, but are they tapping into the potential of technology to reduce isolation and contribute to their growth as educators?

As Cope and Kalantzis (2017) have famously stated, technology in and of itself will not transform education. However, collaborative tools, platforms, and apps now available, and teachers’ increasing familiarity with them, can open up new affordances for distance-based networks. The challenge lies in mobilizing those networks to actually meet teachers’ needs.

This presentation will begin by using case studies to demonstrate both the isolation these teachers feel and the needs that they hope a digital network might meet. Rather than emphasizing particular tech tools, we will then discuss strategies successfully implemented in and through a large online graduate program for language teachers to build community, as well as emerging practices and materials that will help these teachers to bring their learning into their own local contexts and teams.

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