Tămîși Mirela Maria,
profesor la Liceul cu Program Sportiv, Targu-Jiu
The traditional “chalk and talk” method of teaching that has persisted for hundreds of years is now acquiring inferior results when compared with the more modern and revolutionary teaching methods that are available for use in schools today. Greater student interaction is encouraged, the boundaries of authority are being broken down. In almost any kind of lesson, students might just learn what they want to learn and may find success while improving the world around them. The first changes began in the classroom itself. New technologies such as overhead projectors, interactive whiteboards, laptop computers and wireless internet have opened up the classroom to the outside world. More and more teachers who spent their lives managing with a textbook, a tape recorder and a blackboard are now using PowerPoint to present grammar, playing podcasts to practise listening skills, taking texts off the web to introduce reading skills.
The use of technology in the classroom has become important and it will be a normal part of the English classes in the years to come. Here are some reasons for this: Internet access is becoming more and more available to learners; technology presents us with new opportunities for authentic tasks and materials and gives learners exposure to and practice in all of the four main language skills; the Internet gives opportunities for collaboration and communication between learners all over the world; young learners are growing up with technology and it is an integrated part of their lives, so, for them, the use of technology is a way to bring the outside world into the classroom. The way teachers use technology in the classroom differs from school to school, from country to country. Teachers have different levels of access to computers and technology and teach different kinds of contexts to different kinds of learners. Here are some ways to use technology in the classroom that are making an impact:
PowerPoint “Game Show Review” – Many teachers have used Microsoft PowerPoint to create review games based on famous game shows, including “Jeopardy!,” “The Weakest Link,” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” These templates are available online for teachers to download and revise, including their own content.
Complete a written classroom activity as if it was online. – Your students have to write a diary from the perspective of a character or famous person. Why not have them create a blog instead? Use one of the various blog sites (Blogger and WordPress are two of the most popular) and create a template for your students to fill in. If you would like your students to summarize information, simply ask them to tweet the lesson – that is, have them write summaries of 140 characters or less, as if they were writing on Twitter. You may also create a template for a web page and ask students to use it to design a webpage about the content they are studying. While these activities don’t actually use technology, they familiarize you – and your students – with the Web 2.0 world, which can be a great first step.
Webquest – A webquest guides students to search the Internet for specific information. For example, students are asked to serve as curators of a museum on a particular topic. They must search the Internet to determine what artifacts belong in their museum and explain their choices. There are many already-constructed webquests, a perfect way for teachers to begin integrating Internet searches into their curriculum.
Technology as a topic for a writing assignment – have the younger students write a “how-to” piece about using technology in the classroom. It’s a natural fit, as young people usually have a higher comfort level with technology than many adults. Tell the kids to write a piece instructing someone on how to send an email, set up an Ipod, or play a video game. For older kids, have them research the impact technology has had on a particular time in history or science or include a unit on science fiction and technology in your lesson.
Class webpage – A class webpage can be anything from a basic site where you post announcements to a much more elaborate one that includes class photos, a class blog, downloadable materials, and your own domain name. (http://teacher.scholastic.com/homepagebuilder/ or http://www.webs.com/)
The online grading system – Sites like MyGradebook.com (http://www.mygradebook.com) offer the opportunity to track grades, record attendance and seating charts, and compile reports on student progress. You can also email students and parents directly to allow them to view their updated grades.
Email exchange – When we were kids, some teachers had class penpals. Try the 21st-century version of that by instituting an email exchange. Have your students exchange emails with students in another school, city or country – especially valuable if both sets of students are studying the same material, or arrange for a group of experts to accept emails from your students on a particular topic. Students who fail to see the “real world implications” of math or science may develop new interest if you can put them in touch with a video game designer, astronaut, or engineer who uses those skills every day.
Multimedia presentations – Liven up a traditional lecture by using a PowerPoint presentation that incorporates photographs, diagrams, sound effects, music, or video clips. For high school teachers, consider having your students develop presentations as a review tool before semester exams.
Supplement your lessons – When you have taught the same material for awhile, you and your students may find it less exciting. A quick Internet search may help you identify ways to supplement your lessons with interesting new material. Make a habit of searching before you begin each new unit. You may find photographs, sound clips, video clips, and more that can bring your lessons to life. Many museums now offer online “virtual tours” and teachers are constantly developing new presentations and webquests, which are posted online. Add these in to keep your lessons fresh.
Create a class blog or wiki – Take appropriate precautions for Internet safety, but a class blog or wiki can be a great way to integrate technology in the classroom and develop student knowledge. A wiki is a website that uses software which allows many different people to edit it (e.g. Wikipedia). Have your students work together to create a wiki on a topic they are studying. They will need to correct each other’s work and collaborate in order to make it a success.
Podcast – There are lots of podcasts available on the Web. Search for ones that meet your students’ needs. Some colleges are offering professors’ lectures via podcast, which can be great for advanced students. In other cases, you may be able to find an interview with the author of a book your students are reading, or other supplemental material. Make arrangements to download it and play it for your students.
Integrating technology in the classroom offers the chance to increase student interest and teach valuable professional skills.
BIBLIOGRAPHY & WEBOGRAPHY:
- Gavin Dudeney &Nicky Hockly, “How to Teach English with Technology”, Pearson Longman, England, 2007, p.7, 8, 11