Our second ever #AusELT chat was held on September 27th, 2012. The topic that was voted in was ‘Experiences with technology in the classroom’. With this chat being held hot on the heels of the 2012 English Australia Conference and with a number of ‘side show’ workshops still being run, we were expecting a few new faces on #AusELT and we were not disappointed. We were happy to see @cioccas, @JohnAtGELI, @Krisawal, @HawkerLeigh and @LucyBlakemore . @Shaunwilden from #ELTchat even graced us with his presence. The chat session was moderated by @Eslkazzyb. Thanks, Karen!
This summary will not attempt to give you all the answers on this topic. Instead it will attempt to capture some of the ideas and opinions expressed during the chat.
@Eslkazzyb kicked it off by asking for a definition of technology. Here are some of the points mentioned.
- Technology is any electronic device that enhances or improves the learning experience. @trylingual
- Rather too broad. How about ‘educational technology’ ? @forstersensei
- A def. of technology is a bit tricky isn’t it. PPl equate it to new stuff but been in the c/room for a while with tapes etc. @Shaunwilden
- Technology is a medium for conducting educational tasks. @forstersensei
- Anything that helps enhance learning @LucyBlakemore
The notion of fads in technology was mentioned by a few participants and it was posed as to whether Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) could be categorised as a fad. Many participants raised the concerns they had over these devices but there were other opinions too:
- IWBs like any technology come to life in the right hands, right context, right purpose @cioccas
- IWBs still relevant if used well @LucyBlakemore
Within the discussion of a definition of technology, some participants quickly raised the issue of the relationship between technology and pedagogy.
- Tech must support good pedagogy not vice-versa @forstersensei
- I think sound pedagogy should drive a lesson but tech can help or enhance it. @trylingual
@Eslkazzyb then asked for the participants to share their good experiences with technology in the classroom.
- Lots of good experiences with tech, except the past few days while I’ve been doing battle with a malfunctioning Lang Lab 🙂 @cioccas
- Good experiences with Ss interacting online – written & spoken discussion forums @cioccas
- Used a posterous.com blog in class today. Ss uploaded photos of posters and used 2 present. Good ideas from @TheConsultantsE @forstersensei
- Good experiences- Student blogs, video of speaking tasks, multimedia in classes,…etc. @trylingual
- Thinking more on this, my best lessons have been where students controlled the tech @JohnAtGELI
- Good experiences with Ss becoming more independent learners through tech @cioccas
- Good experiences- TED videos are more engaging than the coursebook. Sts love them and they are so rich w lang. @trylingual
- A Good exp with tech are when the students walk away with something that can continue to practise outside the classroom @JohnAtGELI
- I love seeing the creative spirit of sts come through tech tools. Every person can be creative through them. @trylingual
- Using iPads to analyse news websites and then prepare their own news broadcast @JohnAtGELI
- I’ve found students are willing to share experiences info via smartphones and it usually encourages communication @HawkerLeigh
With the good experiences being shared so freely, @Eslkazzyb asked for a hit list of ‘top tech tools’:
- various news apps like BBC Guardian or CNN, Dragon dictation to practice pron, and any video app @JohnAtGELI
- Can’t beat news websites/apps. Love all the Australian ABC stuff. @trylingual
- Top tech tools- the voice recorder on Sts mobile phones. Can be flexed so many ways. @trylingual
The chat session then turned into a discussion of issues that teachers often had with technology and how to overcome them.
- How to manage and encourage uptake amongst Ts. Any thoughts? @Eslkazzyb
- Do we need to provide self-access materials so Ts can work at their own pace? @ElkySmith
- Tool of the week/month- experiment and report back. @trylingual
- Tech Champions in the staffroom, tech mentors @Eslkazzyb
- Found with my teachers that there is a desire to learn but a fear of “breaking” something and panic when it doesn’t go to plan @JohnAtGELI
- Finding one-to-one just-in-time support & coaching works the best – but who has the time?! @cioccas
- No tech PD -> teach myself, tech probs->make friends w the tech support guys, no tech in curricula->put it their myself. @trylingual
- Many barriers: time, fear, motivation… Different approaches work for diff Ts (same as for any Ss really) @cioccas
- Peer-teaching, sharing and support work well. Isolating ‘tech-sperts’ can be less effective @LucyBlakemore
- I think we have to provide adequate scaffolding/bootstrapping for Ts @ElkySmith
- ‘Tech-sperts’ can end up being used to fix passwords and tech support rather than inspiration and ideas @LucyBlakemore
- a) never rely on tech b) always have a backup c) trial things first … d) skip it @forstersensei
- T led tech workshops are good. At T level and from a trusted/likable source @trylingual
It was agreed that it is best practice to always have a Plan B in case you face technological difficulties on the day. Here are a few suggestions:
- If the pedagogy behind the tech is sound, there should usually be a non-tech way to achieve the same aim @ElkySmith
- Plan B means knowing what the lesson aims were and having non-tech ways to reach them @LucyBlakemore
- Plan Bs- a ‘normal’ lesson, coursebook, worksheet, dogme, or…run! @trylingual
- Plan B also means having simple tasks to keep Ss occupied while you check the tech 😉 @LucyBlakemore
- Most tech issues are solved by restarting the device or jiggling cable. Anything else and it is best to go to a Plan B. @trylingual
- Or click refresh if you’re on a website – works 9/10 times 😉 @LucyBlakemore
With the end of the chat fast approaching @Eslkazzyb asked for suggestions for online resources that help teachers integrate technology into the classroom.
- http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ @JohnAtGELI @trylingual
- @TheConsultantsE ‘s Tool of the Month is an excellent place to start for Ts @ElkySmith
- There are lots of options, but @NikPeachey and @russell1955 blogs good places to start @LucyBlakemore
- @AnaCristinaPrts Digital Delights page on Scoop.it has some great ideas… @forstersensei
- http://blogs.ihes.com/tech-elt/ @JohnAtGELI
- https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B8tSftPri7uvd3dhTllNUElpSzA @forstersensei
- @DaveDodgson just popped into my feed – his blog is worth a read too 🙂 @LucyBlakemore
We finished with some final comments from the participants.
- Many tech tools & apps enable you to bring together text, audio, video & interaction in one place @cioccas
- I want my ed-tech to augment what I am teaching, not just replace the textbook with a digital version @JohnAtGELI
- KEY : Teachers need training, and ideas.. Flows through everything. PD… or better connect them to your PLN… @forstersensei
- Final comment- Teach in a way that will help a future citizen of the world, not one of the past. @trylingual
- Don’t panic, don’t over-do it, come back to lesson aims and you can’t go wrong. Accept you will never know it all @LucyBlakemore
- Teachers will never be replaced by tech, but teachers who don’t use tech will be replaced by those who do – said Ray Clifford in 1983… @forstersensei
Thank you very much to all the participants. It was a very fast-paced chat that provided a lot of opportunities for us to follow up later.
We look forward to seeing you at the next #AusELT chat.