February 2023 – Volume 26, Number 4
The Use of Technology in English Medium Education
|Author:||Jack K. H. Pun, Samantha Curle, & Dogan Yuksel (2022)|
|Pp. 1-213||978-3-030-99621-5 (paper)||$109.99 U.S.|
The ongoing shift to online settings over the 21st century has increased the need to understand the role of technology in English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) classrooms. The Use of Technology in English Medium Education by Jack Pun, Samantha Curle, and Dogan Yuksel contains a series of studies that contribute to our understanding of how technology can be used to enhance EMI courses. Their volume includes research on implementing technological tools and instructional techniques in language learning settings. Further, the book examines the noted challenges that stakeholders in EMI face during online teaching. The authors provide insights into the experiences and perceptions of EMI instructors and their students. Overall, research findings in this edited volume provide clear accounts of best practices in EMI instruction when using technology like Zoom, WeChat, and online synchronous channels that allow for real-time communication with diverse modes (e.g., text-chat, voice-chat, and videoconference).
The Use of Technology in English Medium Education includes valuable commentary and research that center on several major components of online teaching including learner experiences, instructor experiences, and technology applications. Chapter 1 provides a synopsis of the book’s purpose and a summary of the chapters. Chapters 2 to 4 used survey analysis to better understand the challenges students and instructors experienced when learning online and their resilience as it pertains to learning in online settings with new technology. Chapter 5 used thematic analysis of interviews to learn about instructor experiences with teaching face-to-face while simultaneously also teaching online with video conferencing software. The instructors reported being unprepared for hybrid teaching and felt students would benefit more if the classes were entirely online or offline. Chapters 7, 8, and 10 examine concepts in EMI and information communication technology (ICT), including the digital divide pertaining to Internet access and instructor knowledge on how to use ICT. Chapter 10 used the narrative inquiry approach when investigating how digital literacy helped cope with the pedagogical changes brought on by a sudden shift to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Chapter 11 examined students’ views and experiences in relation to classroom interactions, willingness to communicate, and enjoyment within EMI higher education in both face-to-face and online classroom contexts. Chapter 12 reviewed practices in e-learning and how those practices manifested as educators shifted online. By following the experiences of a single teacher, Chapter 12’s study recognized the potential for learner mediation to occur through digital technology. Each chapter provided different insights into the use of technology in EMI classes and included creative strategies for implementing technology applications and tools to engage students in meaningful learning opportunities.
One important theme that emerged in this volume was the importance of learner interactions for positive learning outcomes in remote teaching, particularly when using web-based software like Zoom and WebEx. Several chapters (i.e., 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11) documented the lived experiences of EMI instructors online, with results supporting extant literature connecting increased teacher presence and online interactions with course satisfaction (Caskurlu et al., 2020). Learner interactions were explicitly investigated in Chapters 9, 11, and 13; however, the word interaction appeared 345 times in various forms throughout, indicating it was a valuable concept that added cohesion to the book. Jung and Fu’s Chapter 13 study on interactional patterns echoes research highlighting the mediation effects of learner interactions when using videoconferencing tools online (Bailey, 2021). Chapters 6, 9, and 13 investigated perceptions and practice of interactions through online collaborative writing, and results indicated students were well prepared for online writing instruction, feedback, and collaboration through asynchronous channels. In general, asynchronous and synchronous communication channels varied from chapter to chapter, with Chapter 3 investigating the use of video-recorded lessons, Chapter 4 looking at Zoom, Chapter 5 using a combination of face-to-face and Zoom channels, and Chapter 6 investigating perceptions of Zoom, Google Classroom, and Turnitin Feedback Studio. Regardless of the communication channel, a strong teacher presence and understanding of how to use educational technology influenced the depth and frequency of classroom interactions.
The book pays homage to the adaptability and resilience educators can display when faced with adversity. These adaptations include changes in assessment methods, collaboration strategies among EMI instructors, and future approaches to formative assessment. Many of the findings evidenced in this text pertain to EMI policies, learning environments, e-pedagogies, and learner interactions, all critical topics in EMI research (Smit & Dafouz, 2012). Findings from these studies aid reflective practitioners who have returned to the face-to-face classroom and wish to examine their own experiences and those of other educators in the aftermath of the pandemic. The research findings are particularly informative and engaging due to the focus on creative solutions to the many challenges faced during remote teaching. Through this book, the reader can enjoy personal stories from educators and students in their shift to online learning
The book has a few limitations worth noting. The presentation of book chapters followed no clear pattern, which made interpreting themes difficult. Although the studies provide much needed and novel insight into the use of technology in EMI courses during the pandemic, most of the chapters center on limited geographic regions, with Hong Kong being overrepresented. Chapters 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, and 13 followed conventional organizational guidelines by including clear subsections for research questions, methods, results, and findings. Contrarily, other chapters followed independent organization styles, and this lack of conformity in how information was presented among chapters made identifying critical information (e.g., research questions, methods, and findings) tedious at times. Lastly, this book was intended to help instruction for educators shifting from face-to-face to online teaching. While the pedagogical implications are relevant in all online educational settings, findings from some chapters (e.g., Chapter 5 use of Zoom and face-to-face instruction) may not be as relevant in the post-pandemic era except in blended learning classes in which students participate in online and face-to-face activities.
The findings laid out in this book emerged from a wide variety of qualitative research designs meant to illustrate teaching and learning adaptations in the EMI context in online settings. The findings and experiences documented in The Use of Technology in English Medium Education can act as a guide to help English medium instructors analyze, design, instruct and evaluate online instruction. Additionally, this book benefits educational administrators interested in learning how EMI policies manifest in the real world when carried out in the context of online learning.
To Cite this Article
Bailey, D., Lee, A. R. & Almusharraf, N. (2023). The Use of Technology in English Medium Education. Jack K. H. Pun, Samantha Curle, & Dogan Yuksel (2022). Teaching English as a Second Language Electronic Journal (TESL-EJ), 26 (4). https://doi.org/10.55593/ej.26104r2
Bailey, D. R. (2021). Interactivity during Covid-19: Mediation of learner interactions on social presence and expected learning outcome within videoconference EFL courses. Journal of Computers in Education, 9, 291–313. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40692-021-00204-w
Caskurlu, S., Maeda, Y., Richardson, J. C., & Lv, J. (2020). A meta-analysis addressing the relationship between teaching presence and students’ satisfaction and learning. Computers & Education, 157, Article 103966. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.103966
Smit, U., & Dafouz, E. (2012). Integrating content and language in higher education: An introduction to English-medium policies, conceptual issues and research practices across Europe. Aila Review, 25(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1075/aila.25.01smi.2020.103966
About the Reviewers
Daniel Bailey received his PhD from Korea University in Educational Technology and currently works in South Korea as an Associate Professor in Konkuk University’s Department of English and Culture. His main research interest center around second language acquisition, computer-assisted learning, and motivational psychology. 0000-0003-0278-4083 dbailey0566gmail.com
Andrea Rakushin Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Specialties at Austin Peay State University. Her main research interests center on intercultural communication, English language learning, and international students. leeaapsu.edu
Norah Almusharraf received her Ph.D. degree in Foreign and Second language Education from the University of Buffalo. Her professional and research interests focus on English as a foreign language (EFL) learning pedagogics, inquiry-based teaching and learning, project-based learning, and content-based instruction. nmusharrafpsu.edu.sa
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