I am found of using the Internet and other IT applications in the classroom. In my opinion, education can be made more colourful by using these new technological developments in the teaching and learning process.
Especially, high-speed Internet has changed education all around the world. In addition, we cannot definitely forget the fact that virtual learning is becoming more and more popular because students are able to learn and study even though they are literally thousands and thousands miles away from the teacher and from the other fellow students.
Technological Revolution has completely changed our lives and our way of perceiving the world that surrounds us. Technological developments have radically influenced the way we think and our lifestyle. In our ever changing world where anything is possible and literally the sky is the limit.
Nowadays, information is accessible for everyone and we cannot imagine our life without computers, tablets, Internet, smart phones or social media. Processing information has become a vital skill, which explains why the language learning objective has to be supported by appropriate strategies for representing data in the form of graphs and charts. Technological aids also contribute to fostering students ‘self-knowledge and awareness of themselves as learners because they can find whatever they need online, only they need the knowledge how to find the appropriate information.
As an English teacher, I constantly encourage my students to use any kind of communication software which allows them to communicate with other students who have got different cultural background. Furthermore, students can talk to each other electronically no matter where they are since they can log on from any location in the world. So, they can interact and help each other. This is why any communication software is one of the most effective learning aids which can enhance the language learning process. By using this software we can also present to our students the complexity of human existence.
Our mission as a teacher is to encourage our students to become inquirers, inner and outer learners who will connect to wider and wider circles of a dynamic society (Fullan, 1993).
I personally think that technology is a real aid to teaching and learning. One of my favourite technological aids is overhead projector. It is the greatest invention which is the most appreciated by teachers. This genuine invention is great for showing patterns of language, making feedback more effective and also making presentation more interesting and varied. In addition, we can save precious time by using overhead projector instead of writing on the old-fashioned blackboard.
Personally, I adore the idea of using tablets in the classroom. Tablets can be used as dictionaries, for taking notes, for recording the lesson. Online dictionaries are well-designed, have wealthy information. The user of online dictionaries does not have to worry about alphabetical order, so the searching of a word is easier and quicker. They can find what they want just by typing in a word or a phrase, plus they can listen to the correct pronunciation of the unknown word. Users of these kinds of dictionaries can go from words to phrases and associated language at one click rather than having to turn pages backwards and forwards. These online dictionaries are more useful than the old-fashioned ones. All students and classrooms should have access to good online dictionaries and language teachers should train students how to use appropriately these dictionaries. It is essentially important that teachers not only show students how dictionaries work, but also give guidance how to access information from them.
I hope more and more schools will offer the possibility of using tablets because tablets are great as additional resources.
Other technological items that I like to use are the video and the DVD players which allow us to show students films, cartoons, television programmes and so on. The quality of the machines and monitors are vitally important. And it is also important to make sure that students do not watch passively. As teachers, we should ensure there is a good reason for watching, and an appropriate task for them to undertake. We can use a short video extract as one component in a longer lesson sequence, whether to illustrate the topic we are working on, to highlight language points, or to settle a class after a noisy activity. Furthermore, movie or cartoon extracts can be used to introduce new language, practise already known items, or analyse the language used in certain typical exchanges and genres. When a class is working on an area of language, whether grammatical, functional, or lexical- or a mixture of three- the lesson can be greatly enhanced by a movie or cartoon extract which shows that language in operation (Harmer, 2007).
We should use technology in a way that enhances the learning and teaching process rather than hindering it. And we should keep it in mind that nothing is perfect, so we cannot forget the fact that technology can let you down by not working properly, so every teacher should have a plan B, and definitely we should not overuse the technology in the teaching and learning process. Technology should be used as a teaching aid and not as a substitute for the teacher.
In conclusion, we can say that the great inventor Thomas Edison was completely right when he once said, “Books will soon be obsolete in the public schools… our school system will be completely changed…”
His prediction has become true eventually, because the education system is improving at the present and the classroom experience has become more colourful due to the new technological innovations.
Fullan, M. (1993) Change Forces-Probing the Depth of Educational Reform, London, The Palmer Press
Harmer, J. (2007) How to Teach English, Oxford, Longman.