Gavin Dudeney at KOTESOL (part 4 of conference remarks)

Dudeney offered two talks on digital literacies and was interviewed by the Chosun Bimbo (or find it with others here).

Digital literacy is a tricky thing to explain:

  • Digital immigrants see technology as things or nouns.  Digital natives see the technologies as processes or verbs.
  • Should we say digital -immigrants and -natives or -visitors and -residents?
  • Young people are ‘tech-comfy’ but not always ‘tech-savvy’.  They may not know how to use it in the service of learning.
To test our digital literacy or footprint, he asked if we had used various services in the past week.  I answered yes to most questions but I noticed that he kept email, Twitter, Facebook update… as separate entities.  I feel that is outdated as they are all forms of digital communication.  Perhaps they should be grouped or sorted in terms of focus or directedness.
He discussed digital literacy skills and a big one was knowing how to search for information usefully.
One point I wanted to question him on but didn’t have time was the use of smart phones (and tablets) in class.  He and Shelly Blake-plock, champion hand held devices in class.  I want to, and try to,  encourage their use but often find students using internet chat.  I do encourage them to use dictionaries and such so I don’t want to (and can’t) completely police phone use.  On the other hand, a kid, a mere youngster (of 22 years) could not be pulled away from his chat to participate in class.  I resorted to asking him to leave class before he would put his phone away.  Anyway, do I need to make my class more interesting? Include more content so looking away would be disastrous?  Should students no longer vocally chat with neighbors but SMS with non-continuous classmates instead?  Basic conversation classes require conversation but not intense collaboration per se.
In the second talk, he offered a tour of various websites he uses with his students.  Lessonstream and photofunia (image featured below) were the big ones and he also pointed us to his presentation slides here (oops, that site no longer seems to be working.  Perhaps this is it). UPDATE: Dudeney responded in the comments and his link works.  This should, too.  Also see the consultants-e.
I liked his use of Wordle – a program that makes word clouds with the more common words larger.  I think it would be a useful way to help students know what words they should learn first.
I think Blake-plock (link in earlier paragraph) does a better job of explaining how technology can be used in the classroom, but he has months or years to get his point across at his blog and Dudeney only had an hour and a half.  I have some new ideas for class and some new concerns now more eloquently stated.  They were good presentations.

4 Responses to “Gavin Dudeney at KOTESOL (part 4 of conference remarks)”

  1. Gavin Dudeney Says:


    Thanks for the review and the comments. I think it is always pretty difficult to get a lot of the practical points across in a 45 minute workshop, and this was just a flavour. More can be found in the book Nicky and I wrote (How to Teach English with Technology – Longman, 2007) or from the comprehensive handouts at:

    In terms of the mobile gadgets in class conversation, I think the main point is that if they’re using their gadgets actively, then they won’t really have time to chat (and if they do, hopefully they’ll have done the work before they do chat!) – so, if they’re using the video or stills camera, there’s no real opportunity to chat. Same goes for the audio recorder.

    I think using them as dictionaries or reference tools will always afford opportunities for distraction and getting off topic, but I suspect that’s a real life thing – it happens. My main thing is that active, interested use of these gadgets can be of huge benefit, but I’m not naive enough to think this will always be 100% focussed and on topic.

    It was good to chat in Seoul.


  2. surprisesaplenty Says:

    Thanks for visiting, Gavin. My veil of anonymity at this blog is paper thin, but I should tell you my name isn’t Chuck. If you wanted, you could call me Brian or Surprises.

  3. surprisesaplenty Says:

    Oh, not that you need to respond. Thanks for the link to your slides, the name of your book and a short discussion on phone use.

  4. Gavin Dudeney Says:

    Dear Mr Surprises,

    Apologies – I got confused by the link at the top that said ‘Chuck Sandy at KOTESOL’ – proving very quickly that I am not at all digitally literate!

    Apologies once again,


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