May 31, 2010

Being a Teacher in the 21st Century – Can Technology Help?

My reflections after the online courses I participated in during the school year 2009/2010

(TESOL courses: Webheads, Images4Education, TLVW10, Internet4YoungLearners;
AVALON TT Course in SL)


Technology helps in all aspects of a teacher’s professional life:
- Professional Development
- Teaching


Professional Development:
1. getting up-to-date information
2. communication in real time with colleagues all over the world :
• membership in email based groups and lists
• social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Ning)
• COPs
• synchronous online environments (TappedIn, YM, Skype, etc)
• learning through collaboration (wikis, blogs,etc)
• possibility of attending conferences online ( e.g.TESOL, IATEFL)


In the classroom
• motivated students
• students more autonomous in learning
• peer teaching and collaborative learning
• collaboration with other schools
• availability of reference material
• etc.

Lesson Materials
• already available on recommended sites for teachers

some examples:
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/
onestopenglish.com
theteacherscorner.net
edutopia.org
oup.com
macmillan.com
puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com
grammarmancomic.com
quizlet.com
teflclips.com

• other educators’ blogs, wikis, webpages, social networks

some examples:
http://quickshout.blogspot.com
http://daily-english-activities.blogspot.com
http://blog-efl.blogspot.com
http://www.digitalplay.info/blog/
http://collablogatorium.blogspot.com/
etc

• teacher-created and student-created materials using online tools
-always choose free tools

Tools for use with students that I have tried and can recommend:
• blogs - examples: my students’blogs (school year 2009/2010)
http://weplayandlearnenglish.blogspot.com/
http://onedayinthelife-croatia.blogspot.com/

• social networking and international projects – my students took part in:
http://www.icgibellina.it/
http://media.iearn.org/

• writing your own lessons and exercises

http://www.kn.pacbell.com/
http://www.lessonwriter.com/


• story telling and comic creators
Toonlet: http://toonlet.com
Mixbook: http://www.mixbook.com/
Storybird: http://storybird.com/
etc

• voice tools and videos
Podomatic: http://www.podomatic.com/
VoiceThread: http://www.voicethread.com/
Voxopop: http://www.voxopop.com/
Animoto: http://www.animoto.com/
etc

• posters and fun
http://www.wallwisher.com/
http://www.xtranormal.com/
http://www.glogster.com/
etc


A colleague teacher Vance Stevens, paraphrasing Woody Allen on relationships, said in one lecture:
“Teachers are like sharks -
If they don’t keep moving forward, they die.”

Is that true and what is the added value of lessons with technology? Should teachers reconsider their role and let technology into the classroom?

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