Putting the Technology Puzzle Together
By Cindy Wislofsky, 2012-13 TELL-IG Coordinator
Integrating technology into our language classrooms can be like a puzzle, fitting pieces together to gradually realize a picture of success. One piece is classroom equipment. As more and more schools are being furnished with up-to-date equipment from which teachers can present lessons (e.g. document cameras, computers with the Internet) and computer labs for students, it can be a challenge to utilize the equipment to its full potential. In the forefront is not just using the equipment, but using it in an engaging, productive way that enhances English language learning. Here are some creative lesson ideas for using a document camera: http://tinyurl.com/docucam1 and computers with students: http://tinyurl.com/techideas2.
Another piece is the equipment students bring to school, i.e. their smartphones or tablets. Why not involve students in the language learning process by having them use their own devices? Check out this list of ideas for using smartphones in the classroom: http://tinyurl.com/phones3 and some recommended tablet apps worthwhile for the classroom: http://tinyurl.com/tablets4.
Improving collaboration and project-based learning with a fresh approach could be one more piece. Group work and group projects may be something you often do in your classroom, but have you tried going one step further and incorporating technology to another level? Here are seven suggestions to consider: http://tinyurl.com/collaborate5.
Lastly, inspiring students to use technology to guide their own language learning while having fun can be an additional piece. When students see their instructors using technology imaginatively and in an enjoyable way, they get enthused and want to experiment on their own. Discover Flashcard Stash, http://flashcardstash.com/, to make flash cards for vocabulary practice and play games with the content; Make Beliefs Comix, http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/, to make comic strips for practicing dialogues; Games to Learn English, http://gamestolearnenglish.com/, for lower level vocabulary and grammar games: or Wordle, http://www.wordle.net/, for creating fun ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide.