Web searches for learning. How language teachers search for online resources
Abstract – This paper discusses the results of a project investigating the use of web searching for professional purpose by language teachers of different school levels. The study focuses on language teachers’ actual practice: criteria for planning the web search, identifying and selecting resources, sharing and using them for their teaching practice. Resources (Open Educational Resources in particular) have been multiplying on the web, but finding specific resources is often difficult because they are not uniformly classified and organized on the net, and there are no user-friendly interface/tools that facilitate search. This research project aims at identifying best practices and developing guidelines for web searching in language teacher education. The research questions addressed are: How do (language) teachers search for resources on the Web? What categories of resources? What strategies do they adopt for selecting, assessing and sharing resources? We interviewed and recorded six expert teachers about their web searches for educational purposes; we video-recorded their web searching tasks while they were commenting on their online choices through think-aloud protocols. The results of data analysis show main trends in the strategies used by these expert teachers: personalization of the web searching process by accessing websites suggested by trusted colleagues offline or online; selecting trustworthy websites of well-known institutions; relevance of resources not created for educational purposes; need for adaptation and re-contextualization of resources; web searches for class activities as a reflection on teaching practice and personal development. Ultimately web searching is a heuristic process of personal and collective learning for professional purpose in a lifelong perspective.
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