My research ideas come from thinking over how to create effective online learning environment (OLE) to help second language learners learn English with the help of technology. Students’ learning English can be facilitated through online learning, mobile learning and informal learning. My role is to help students and teachers in this learning and teaching methodology. For example, I have been building online learning environments such as englishjump and smartvoca where students and teachers can learn and teach each other. In addition, I make mobile learning content with H5P, Quizlet and videos, and then upload them to the online learning modules. I also connect American secondary students with Korean secondary students to help them learn from each other through their mobile phones. Informal learning will be realized through social networking services such as Facebook or Instagram.
One of my first research projects is related to helping K-12 immigrant students with online learning. In 2005, in the United States, one in eight was an immigrant, and the population of immigrants in the United was projected to increase to almost one in five by 2050 (Passel & Cohn, 2008). However, immigrant students in K-12 schools in the United States are suffering from learning English and getting adjusted to a new culture (Irizarry & Raible, 2011; Nieto & Bode, 2012). Online learning environments can be created to help K-12 immigrant students to learn English and going through acculturation process smoothly through culturally responsive teaching. Culturally responsive teaching means using students’ cultural schemata to make learning more meaningful (Gay, 2010). In my research, culturally responsive teaching is implemented in an online learning environment called Englishjump. The research questions of this research project are as follows:
- How effective is the OLE to improve students’ knowledge of words and speaking proficiency?
- To what extent are students engaged emotionally in the OLE in terms of achievement?
- How satisfied are students with cultural content, cultural activities, and communities in the OLE?
- How do students interact with cultural content, participate in the cultural activities, and communicate in online communities?
My second ongoing project is establishing connections between American students and Korean students. Although this is not IRB approved research, I believe that this experience will give me precious insights into my research. As for the present (March 28, 2016), 61 secondary students in America and 24 science high school students in Korea are participating in cross-cultural communication activities through Voicethread. These activities will be done once a week from March 28, 2016 to May 13, 2016. I expect the following results from the activities:
- To raise cultural awareness toward different nations.
- To learn STEM knowledge and computer skills from Korean science high school students.
- To learn geographical and economic knowledge about an East Asian country
- To improve digital literacy through the experience of using Voicethread.
I will continue to expand my research area related to online learning environments with the perspective of multiculturalism.
I plan to concentrate on research in the field of online learning and as a former English teacher, I will research the effectiveness of online learning environment in the context of second language acquisition with a multicultural perspective. To accomplish this goal, I made a model of teaching English online with cultural content. Each area or step of the model stands for an area of research.
Although my main interest lies in teaching English online with a multicultural perspective, I am also interested in the professional development of instructional designers and teachers in terms of multiculturalism and social injustice in online learning environments.
Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. Teachers College Press.
Irizarry, J. G., & Raible, J. (2011). Beginning with El Barrio: Learning from exemplary teachers of Latino students. Journal of Latinos and Education, 10(3), 186–203. http://doi.org/10.1080/15348431.2011.581102
Nieto, S., & Bode, P. (2011). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education (6 edition). Boston, MA: Pearson
Passel, Jeffrey S., & Cohn, D’Vera. (2008). U.S. population projections: 2005–2050. Pew Research Center.