The Application of Advanced Learning Technology in Assisting the Teaching of Business and Consecutive Interpreting

By Li, Saihong | International Forum of Teaching and Studies, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

The Application of Advanced Learning Technology in Assisting the Teaching of Business and Consecutive Interpreting


Li, Saihong, International Forum of Teaching and Studies


Introduction

The growing influx of computer technology has made possible students' journey to technology-based learning and self-learning. At the same time, it has had reciprocal impacts on knowledge exchange across the world. Learning technology, according to the Association for Learning Technology, is defined as "the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment." In this study, the application of the advanced learning technologies (ALT) refers to the use of the Smartphones, virtual learning environments (VLEs), podcasting / vodcasting tools, QR codes, and interactive voting response systems in order to develop more innovative ideas in the appropriate use of technologies for learning and teaching.

The present study includes my three-year case study of using the advanced technology in assisting my teaching on Business Interpreting and Consecutive Interpreting courses at the post-graduate level at the University of Salford from 2010 to 2013. Through this research and my own hands-on experimentation, this paper aims to investigate how to effectively use both existing and emerging technologies to create dynamic and more accessible learning resources to allow both learning and teaching with greater freedom. The project itself is centered on my chosen application of ALTs in order to enhance learners' engagement, reflection, and recollection of the topics studied in accordance with the UK Professional Standards Framework.

A podcast is, "a method for distributing any digital media file, or series of files, over the Internet for playback on portable media players, such as Apple iPods and personal computers" (Lazzari, 2009, p. 4). Audio and video podcasts can "provide students with the ability to learn on demand based on their own learning styles" and can also provide a mechanism that motivates students to "actively engage in the course content" (Fisher & Baird, 2006, p. 24). Podcasting has been widely used in teaching economics (Swan & Hofter, 2011), science (Bedrossian, 2010), music (Coutinho & Mota, 2011), and social science (Dlott, 2007), just to list a few. Middleton (2009) presents a wide-ranging discussion of how to encourage academics to design educational audio and to explore creative approaches to the application of learning technology. The author, based his study on a cast study at Sheffield Hallam University, discusses the academic staff's responses to the use of a VLE (virtual learning environment) podcasting tool: Podcast LX. The study involves interviewing 25 participants. According to the author, the research method used itself and is "intended to directly affect the design of podcast applications" (p. 147). The article concludes that digital tools, such as video/audio podcasting, have great potential to improve pedagogic creativities, especially in engaging and motivating students' learning. Although the use of technology to support and enhance student learning and assessment is well documented in literature (Hepplestone, et al., 2011); to date few, if any, studies appear to have been carried out within the context of interpreting and translation studies, especially pertaining to the discussion of the application of Smartphone technology in the teaching of Business Interpreting and Consecutive Interpreting. The aims of this project are to fill this gap and to bring this teaching methodology to further discussion.

Critically important considerations that have arisen during the planning and execution of this project are the questions of standardization, market prevalence, availability, and cost. It is paramount to me that any teaching and learning materials I produce in electronic form are able to be played on a wide range of commonly available and, as far as is reasonably practicable, affordable devices, such as the ubiquitous Apple iPod and similar devices. Using new technologies for technology's sake is a trap that I am mindful not to fall into, as is pricing new and effective learning resources out of the reach of learners through the use of audio visual technologies that can only be accessed via expensive devices. …

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