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ESL Library Virtual Conference: Panel Discussion with Robyn Brinks Lockwood

October 1, 2021

On the second day of our ESL Library Virtual Conference, we were fortunate to have Robyn Brinks Lockwood join us for a panel discussion on elevating teachers’ voices and the future of English language education technology. If you missed it, you can watch a recording of the session.

The session began with a discussion on trends in the English language education, publishing, and technology spaces. Some of the trends discussed were blended learning, the importance of critical thinking, 21st century skills, and teamwork. We also discussed the differences between project-based learning and design thinking.

Project-based learning is teacher driven. It usually explores a narrow area and seeks to answer a specific question. The end product is the same for every student. For example, every student might be instructed to make a poster or write a report.

Design thinking (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test) on the other hand is more broad. Students don’t have to focus on just one question; they have the opportunity to explore more areas and the end goal could be different for each student or group of students.

Whether you’re implementing project-based learning or design thinking, Robyn emphasized implementing these techniques in small steps and stressed that they don’t have to be implemented all at once.

Another trend we discussed was flipped learning. A teacher asked Robyn if she had any strategies for students who don’t do the assigned pre-class work. Luckily, Robyn had plenty of helpful ideas for addressing this issue:

  • Homework shouldn’t be long or difficult
  • Homework should be short and accessible
  • Homework doesn’t have to be more than 10 minutes

Robyn stressed that students tend to do the pre-class work if it’s short and accessible. She also emphasized that flipped learning is versatile and that there’s more than one way to flip a classroom. Similar to project-based learning and design thinking, flipped learning can also be implemented in small steps.

Teachers, are you familiar with any of the trends that we discussed? Which ones have you implemented in your classroom? Which ones do you want to try? Let us know in the comments below.

For more highlights and takeaways from our first-ever conference, check out this blog post.

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