Technology is very much part of language learning throughout the world at all different levels. We are as likely to find it in the primary sector as much as in adult education.
I no longer need to make the case for computers to be provided in education, because computers are there in abundance in all their modern forms.We may see traditional computers in labs, teachers and students walking around with laptops or tablet PCs, and many people will have a mobile phone in their pocket that is capable of doing rather more than the mainframe computers that started computer-assisted language learning in the 1960s. I do recognise that there are many kinds of digital divide, and that this is not true everywhere.
What is still sometimes an issue is the reliability of these technologies for classroom use. This can discourage teachers from making use of technology as often as they would want to. It’s compounded by the fact that, if these teachers are working in schools, they are faced with classes of learners who may, on the surface at least, appear to be more digitally competent than their teachers are. Learners can therefore challenge their teachers, in ways that put the latter off using the technologies that could potentially make such a difference to what happens in the classroom.
In my recent book for the British Council, Innovations in learning technologies for English language teaching, I argue that digital technologies are ideally placed to help teachers working with learners, and learners working independently, to do the necessary ‘languaging’ (M. Swain) that makes their language development possible. We are talking here about doing things with language rather than just learning about language. Swain argues that learners can’t simply develop based on input. We must engage with other people using that language, and try to make meaning together. Whenever I speak or write something, if I don’t produce language with someone else in mind, I have no way of knowing whether others can understand what I say or write. Of course, I need to read and listen as well, but unless I progress to this further stage, I can’t complete the process.
The idea of having students doing things with language rather than just learning about language really strikes a chord with me at the moment. It helps to justify the risk we took with our webinar this week. It may not have seemed like a 'lesson' on the surface but students were certainly learning.
"For many schools this year, the dream of having iPads in the classroom turned into a reality. Some schools have brought them in through 1:1 initiatives and other seen them start to flood in after implementing BYOD policies. As with anything else, teachers have seen some pros and cons with this cool, new classroom technology. Here’s a list of some things to expect with iPads in the classroom."
The quantity of students’ homework is a lot less important than its quality. Enriching children’s classroom learning requires making homework not shorter or longer, but smarter.
English Jobs Turkey's insight:
Quality of homework, not quantity, is something I have been thinking about a lot this year. The idea of just keeping the students busy for the sake of it really frustrates me. The spaced repetition idea is really interesting and something I hope to apply to vocabulary practice in the future.
Whether your students are in Korea or across town, for the first time it is possible to coach students with their writing as though you were face to face. And unlike Skype, your students get a permanent copy of your feedback to reference in the future.
Perceived support from teachers and peers, self-regulation skills, and confidence in the selection and use of technology effectively impacted technology use mainly through strengthening perceived compatibility and usefulness. The findings suggest that attitudinal factors deserve much greater attention than currently given in promoting language learners’ self-directed use of technology.
Mindmeister helps users plan, organize and think creatively about new ventures, issues in need of problem solving and everyday activities for free.
English Jobs Turkey's insight:
I have so many ideas scattered across different note pads and electronic notepads this might just help me organise (and remember!) all those ideas. More importantly I can see how it might actually help me come up with new ideas, as I am able to visualise how all the different pieces fit connect.
Juárez Correa didn’t know it yet, but he had happened on an emerging educational philosophy, one that applies the logic of the digital age to the classroom. That logic is inexorable: Access to a world of infinite information has changed how we communicate, process information, and think. Decentralized systems have proven to be more productive and agile than rigid, top-down ones. Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy.
Its a great idea to start the new school year as you mean to go on. Even if you only have time to show your students a screenshot or a quick screencast of the activities or software you will be using later, it will help to capture their attention and hopefully get them looking forward to your next class!
Now, we are working to actually use the technology in new and meaningful ways, making the most of how technology helps us scale, extend, and differentiate like never before. For example, for years faculty and instructional designers spent years creating and curating appropriate content for their courses and programs.
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