Empowering Researchers & EFL Learners Through Digital Literacy

 

The Scientific Research Committee - Women's section - organized a webinar entitled "Empowering Researchers & EFL Learners Through Digital Literacy" on March 31, 2021. The webinar was presented by Dr. Amal Metwally, the head of the scientific research committee, who indicated that the webinar is designed to explore the vital role of digital tools in empowering researchers and EFL learners.

 

Dr. Amal Metwally started her presentation with an introduction in which she differentiated between "digital natives" and "digital immigrants". Our students today are all "native speakers" of the digital language of computers and the Internet. Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have adopted aspects of the new technology are compared to them as "digital immigrants", she illustrated.

 

Dr. Amal Metwally asserted that digital natives may not be familiar with digital educational tools. For this reason, they need to be made aware of and taught about these educational tools since they are able to adopt new technologies into their learning quite easily.

 

"When teaching with digital tools and apps, you need to spend some time deciding which tools to use and how to use those tools to create autonomous, collaborative, innovative, authentic, and student-centered learning experiences", said Dr. Metwally.

 

"Digital Literacy" is often used as a synonym for digital or technical skills and competencies. However, comprehension of digital literacy should go beyond mere information technology skills, explained Dr. Metwally. She referred to two main types of definitions of digital literacy; conceptual definitions and standardized sets of operations intended to provide national and international normalizations of digital literacy.

 

Dr. Metwally referred to the definition by Richard Lanham (1995), who claims that "literacy" has extended its semantic reach from meaning "the ability to read and write" to now meaning "the ability to understand information however presented".

 

She also illustrated that in his book Digital Literacy (1997), Gilster identifies four key digital literacy competencies. These are: knowledge assembly, evaluating information content, searching the Internet, and navigating hypertext. Finally, she said that DL could be better defined as "The ability to use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information, and the possession of a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information".

 

Dr. Metwally has also investigated the four digital literacy types: language-based, information-based, connection-based, and (re-) design-based literacies. She also indicated that digital literacy comprises five major digital skills. These are photo-visual, reproduction, branching, information, and socio-emotional skills.

 

In the following section of the webinar, Dr. Amal Metwally introduced some significant technology integration frameworks. The importance of exploring technology integration models is that such models are used by educators to evaluate and inform how they teach with digital tools and apps.

 

"Our goal, as educators, is to teach students, not just by transferring knowledge to them, but by creating meaningful learning experiences that support their knowledge, understanding and skill development", she said. SAMR model (2011), which stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition, can be used as a guide for evaluating and selecting digital tools that will create meaningful teaching and learning experiences. Another model is the TPACK Framework (2006) which focuses on technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge, offers a productive approach to many of the dilemmas that teachers face in implementing educational technology in their classrooms. By differentiating among these three types of knowledge, the TPACK framework outlines how content and pedagogy must form the foundation for any effective educational technology integration. In exploring the role of digital literacy in empowering learners, Bloom's taxonomy can serve as a tool to help us select the most appropriate apps and tools based on the level and depth of cognitive knowledge students need to acquire. As we design instruction, we can consider how we might start with the higher-order thinking skills to encourage students to build their knowledge through learning experiences, explained Dr. Metwally.

 

She then answered the significant question, "How can digital literacy empower researchers & EFL learners?" She also reviewed some very helpful tools that can support researchers and EFL learners in their journey.

 

The webinar, which was very informative and highly engaging, was attended by the Dean's Assistant, Dr. Salma Alqahtani, staff members, MA & Ph.D. students, as well as some undergraduate students who showed their interest in digital tools. It is worth mentioning that the webinar was the last event organized by the scientific research committee in the second semester of this academic year 2020-2021.


Date: 4/4/2021

Source: Saeeda Alfaifi, member of the Scientific Research Committee

  Under the supervision of Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi, the 2021 Online Summer Language Program (OSLP) titled "English Across Cultures and Intercultural Awareness" ended on 19 August 2021. OSLP is a four-week, intensive program in language study designed specifically for the curriculum in applied linguistics taught with a focus on intercultural awareness and different models of teaching and learning English. OSLP, much like our summer language program at Swansea University in 2019, was designed as an in-person, intensive language program, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OSLP ran synchronously online for the first time.   The OSLP team, led by Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, Chairman, Dr. Munassir Alhamami, and E-Learning Supervisor, Mohsin Raza Khan, sprung into action to co-develop — along with the team at Monash University — a fully online four-week summer language program for 63 of the best and brightest male and female students students in the Bachelor of Arts in English program.   Dr. Almosa noted, "This was the first time we held an online summer language program in cooperation with a leading international university. There were several technological and pedagogical challenges in developing an effective program that incorporates a social and cultural immersion experience that our students would get in person. Most of the modules were designed around language and culture concepts and instructional design, which are at the heart of recent developments in applied linguistics and related fields. I am pleased to report that our program was a success and among the first of its kind in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I sincerely thank Dr. Nizar Farjou, Dr. Raqib Chowdhury, Dr. Ruth Fielding, Susan Davis, Dr. Anna Podorova, Dr. Libby Tudball, Dr. Melissa Barnes, Dr. Dat Bao, Dr. Amber McLeod, and Ouahiba Zarzi at Monash University for their diligent collaboration and effort to make our joint program successful."   In his closing remarks, Dean Al-Melhi congratulated the students involved in the joint program and expressed his appreciation to all participating faculty members at Monash University and the Faculty of Languages and Translation at King Khalid University. The Bachelor of Arts in English program is committed to providing students with additional activities for their professional development, consistent with the intended learning outcomes and labor market developments. Date: 9/3/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  On 29 June 2021, Hassan Costello delivered a 2-hour webinar titled "Strategies for IELTS Preparation and Test-Taking". Under the supervision of the Vice Presidency of Business and Knowledge Economy, the webinar was organized by the Scholarship Administration and Faculty of Languages and Translation as part of Mobaderoon 2, a community service initiative focused on furthering the development of knowledge exchange between King Khalid University and the community. In the webinar, Costello explained to nearly 250 participants that there are plenty of decent study guides on the market, but his goal was to provide practical strategies that can be used to exploit weaknesses in the test itself and avoid the most common errors when taking the IELTS."Each tip was carefully selected for its effectiveness. Strive to become an expert in learning what works well and what can be done in order to improve," he said.   The Bachelor of Arts in English program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to participating in community partnership activities as part of its role in the community partnership plan at King Khalid University. Date: 7/9/2021 Source Faculty of Languages and Translation
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