jueves, 30 de septiembre de 2010

Something to say about: Technology in ELT

I posted my last entry in this blog some 2 years ago. What´s happened since then? Did I retire? Am I enjoying my AFP pension? No, nothing like that, I´m afraid. I just stopped writing here, but today I attended an enlightening session by Lindsay Clandfield, author of the new McMillan series "Global". I scratched my chin, looked up to the ceiling and said to myself: Why don´t I revive my old TEFL blog?... I guess I have something to say (even though what I say might sound controversial -see previous entries). So, I decided to start a "series" of posts called "Something to say about: ...?"

We´ll beging with technology (Lindsay´s topic today -and mine in next week´s Prescott School Conference in Arequipa). This is something I find interesting to talk about since I am not a computer geek (some will refute me, but they don´t know me well, do they?). The thing is that I can defend myself quite efficiently in this Facebook-Tweeter-YouTube world; not because I like it very much (I confess I do... a little) but because I have to be updated... otherwise I will be lost in space when my own children come to me and say: "Papa, I want to download this great YouTube video but I can´t upload it to my MP4 player because the extension in the file is not compatible... what can I do?" Question marks will appear in my eyes. Now, with my children, everything stays home (I hope), but not with my students. "Teacher, I emailed you the jpg of the workbook homework in an attachement, is that OK?" My God, I can´t just sit tight.

But technology is maybe too big a word to be used. Specially when we can live by with only some basic knowledge; and most specially when nobody knows for sure how to actually use technology in our classes. Are we going to tweet every move we make in class for those who are absent? Is it a good idea to share my Facebook profile with my students? Do you want everybody to see you dancing (rather trying to) in a party on YouTube? Guess not. But still there are some spaces where technology can make our (teaching) lives easy.

Apart from the technological gadgets I have at hand at my university (Power Point, Moodle and SmartBoard Software), I use only a couple of (free) tools in my classes. One: Hot Potatoes (Free download) to create online practice materials and, Two: Markin´4 (Free download) to correct homework that is sent to me on the email. They are simple, easy to use and set up; and they are free. With these two, I pass myself off as a great techno-teacher. You can do the same, no problem.

How do (would you) you use technology in your classes?

Contributions are welcome, of course.

Cesar Klauer

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