Teaching English with Technology believes that educators need to be shown that technology can help teachers teach and students learn and also be provided with models and examples of exemplary technology use. With that goal in mind, we offer a multitude of free online resources presented in the form of a broad tutorial, full of guides, tips, strategies, video tutorials, examples, and annotated links, to help history and social studies teachers integrate technology effectively in their classes.
- A. In History
Technology in Language Teaching is not new. Indeed, technology has been around in language teaching for decades—one might argue for centuries, if we classify the blackboard as a form of technology. Tape recorders, language laboratories and video have been in use since the 1960s and 1970s, and are still used in classrooms around the world. (Dudeney and Hockly, 2007)
Technology is the broad term used to address any kind of media (electronic or otherwise) which help support learning. Technology is used for teaching primarily the same knowledge and skills that teachers teach in the classroom. What is special about technology is that it provides opportunities to supplement familiar teaching strategies in important ways.
- B. Why teaching English with technology
Technology, when used appropriately, can help make the English and language arts classroom a site of active learning and critical thinking and further student connections with the past. Teachers can use technology to enable students to meet people of different cultures, explore ancient and modern worlds, do authentic primary-source research, problem-solve through inquiry-based activities, and much more.
Technology can be used to enable students to explore fundamental curriculum issues and answer core questions. Students can use the Internet, electronic databases and other online sources to gather information. They can use spreadsheets, timelines, and other programs to store, organize, and analyze information. Students can also integrate multimedia desktop publishing, web publishing, video and audio editing, and graphics programs to create and present information in innovative and engaging ways.
There are many fundamental reasons for incorporating technology in the classroom:
- Resources: Using technology can bring traditional classrooms otherwise inaccessible resources, information, people, media, and events.
- Information Literacy: The 21st century workplace requires more sophisticated skills for finding, selecting, analyzing, manipulating, modifying, and distributing information. Students and teachers need more training and experience in information literacy. (The Internet is becoming an increasingly important source of information and young people are the likeliest users of the Internet with 97% of 12-18 years olds reporting Net use).
- Connections: Technology fosters global connections and communication in our shrinking, “flat,” and interconnected world.
- Collaboration: Email, discussion rooms, and other technologies help support collaborative learning and group communication.
- Motivation: Teachers and students regain energy and enthusiasm for their academic work as they create new ways of learning and thinking.
- Personalization: Technology tools enable teachers to provide students with access to instructional materials that better match their learning needs.
- Skills: A growing number of fields include tasks in which information technology has become essential.
- Access: Technology can provide access to instructional materials that would otherwise be unavailable due to scheduling, location, or physical restrictions.
- Results: Teachers can reasonably expect higher results from students who have access to technology tools such as word processing, email, and the Web.
- Expectations: Students and young faculty often have high expectations of access to, and use of, technology.
- Relationships: Technology can help teachers foster mutually supportive relationships with educators across the country and create partnerships with school librarians and media specialists.
- C. Some Advantages and Disadvantages
- Allows students to vary
– the amount of time they spend
– the help they request
– the path they take through a learning activity
- Enables the teacher to tailor instruction specifically to individual learners
- Provides individualized interaction
- Helps learners develop learning strategies that will benefit them beyond the language classroom.
- Provides authentic material in a quick, accessible way
- Students depending on the system
- Technology is always develop
- Easily to get some information or cheating for students assignment
- D. Basic Tips for Getting Started
- 1. Get some training.
You don’t have to become a computer expert, but you need to have some basic understanding how computers operate and what to do when they do not operate properly. You should also become familiar with a web browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer and websites that provide tech-integration resources and tutorials. Your school or college likely has an instructional technology specialist to help you in this regard.
- 2. Don’t Re-invent the Wheel.
There are plenty of credible and experienced educational technology organizations, administrators and teachers out there who can lead you to quality materials, lesson plans and activities for use in your classroom. You don’t have to spend hours using search engines to locate appropriate sites and materials. Some of the best educational Web sites for integrating technology in the classroom are:
- English Companion
- Classroom 2.0
- PBS Teachers: Media Infusion
- Discovery Education: Kathy Schrock “Guide for Educators”
- Establish a Partnership with Your Students.
Many of your students will be excited about computer use, but you and they may be apprehensive about how technology will change your learning environment. Tell your students that computer use in your classroom is new and exciting for you as well, and that you are all part of an experiment whose ultimate success will largely depend on your combined efforts and cooperation. Stress how special this educational opportunity is and how much you need their input. Remember, it’s about the students, not you. Your students will probably appreciate you asking for their help and it may spur them to take ownership of the program. It also may soften some frustrations when technical problems occur.
- Have Plan B Ready.
You are going to run into some technical difficulties in class and how you handle them will go a long way in determining how successful and enjoyable your technology experience is. You can minimize unwanted surprises by getting some training from an instructional technology specialist and by minimizing your reliance on live web connections. However, you will invariably run into technical problems during class that you are not able to solve immediately. In such instances, if you appear overly perturbed and frustrated you will send a signal to your students that they too can moan about technical problems and perhaps use them as excuses to forgo completing computer-based work. Even worse, you may inadvertently cause them to question the ultimate merit of computer-based learning. Instead, try to make a smooth transition to a backup lesson plan, thereby sending a signal that technical glitches are just part of your educational adventure.
- E. Getting started
The possibilities are endless
1. Word processor 5. Wikis
2. Websites 6. Blogs
3. Email 7. Podcast
4. Chat 8. Online reference tools
- Word Processor
– Inserting images and links
– Creating forms (Adding text boxes, check boxes and drop-down menus)
– Using track changes
– Creative writing
– Collaborative writing
– Check: http://edvista.com/claire/wp.html
http://office.microsoft.com/ Search for FORMS
- 2. Websites
– Considering goggling key WebPages before the class to provide them to students.
– Check the webpage for accuracy, currency, content and functionality.
– Save the links to your favourite WebPages in your “FAVOURITES” menu.
– Check: http://www.ask.com for real language searches
http://www.google.com for images and info.
- 3. Email
– Learners submit work as attachments by mail
– Teacher emails learners homework, summaries of class work, extra material, etc.
– The teacher can email regular newsletters about the class and themselves during the academic year as well as over the holidays.
– Learners can email to prepare before class.
– Learners can use email for individual tutorials with the teacher.
– Email can be used for collaborative writing (In groups Learner 1 starts the story and so on)
- 4. Chat
– Chat is a tool which allows for synchronous, i.e. real- time, communication over the internet.
– It may include a video and sound component or only text.
– Advantages Contact with other learners/cultures
– Real communication with a real purpose
– Use of a new medium in the classroom
– Opportunity to practice both spoken and written English
– Check: http://www.skype.com for voice and text chats
- 5. Wikis
– A wiki is like a public website or public web page started by one person, but which subsequent visitors can add to, delete or change as they wish.
– A wiki is like having a publicly accessible word processing document available online, which anyone can edit.
– Check: http://www.wikispaces.com
- 6. Podcasts
– Similar to a radio or TV show.
– You can listen to or watch (or even create) a podcast on a topic that interests you whenever you want to.
– Check: http://www.englishcaster.com
- 7. Online reference tools
– Language translators