A lot has already been said about using technology in our lessons and how important it is to achieve our main goal: help students in the process of learning a new language. What we perhaps having heard much is how to achieve this in a practical an easy way.
We need to grasp the difficult sudoku of not only using technology in a way or another but also making it a permanent component of the learning experiences we propose to our students.
First of all, we need to believe in the important effect it has in our teaching. Nothing happens if one doesn´t believe in what one’s doing. When one believes in something, one can take decisions. And that is the beginning of a great change! Second, we need to make a little plan. Go from the easiest to the most difficult. Do not torment yourself!
What would we tell our novice students if they asked for advice to learn English? Would we suggest listening to an interview made to native speakers, for instance? Would we recommend doing that without any specific purpose or guidance? We wouldn’t ask them to listen to it and immediately tell us what the interview was about, would we? Exactly!
Therefore, what we need to consider is the famous scaffolding approach developed by Jerome Bruner. As you may recall, his theory basically states that an amateur learner needs enough support in the initial stages of learning a new subject. That support is removed once the learner is ready.
What does integrating technology mean? To use power point presentations? To use Kahoot? Don´t misunderstand me, if you are doing that already, you are far enough from many who still do not use these tools. They are good but there are many more options. Take a look at the link below; there are many technological tools, the sky is the limit. Let´s just take the challenge, bring back that courage that defines us, the best teachers, and we will create the best opportunity.
We do not need to re-invent the wheel. We can begin by employing ready to be used materials. For example, if we needed to enhance our students’ listening skills, we can use videos. You know that already, don´t you? What about this? Use a video which has all the questions about it to check general comprehension. Use this same video to practise any vocabulary or grammar point. You won’t need to prepare anything but to select what aspect of language you want your students to focus on. Is it a dream? Not at all!
Check the following link:
You will find many videos already prepared. That’s the first step in the scaffolding approach. The program will help you with your first steps. If you want to go further, you can prepare a similar set of video exercises with any video that you want. The program also has a tutorial. You will see that it is a piece of cake!
Like this, there are many more applications that can help us with anything. Here is another example: Which skill is the most difficult to improve? Isn´t it listening?
There are apps that help students develop their listening skills by answering questions of a test built with a song and its lyrics. You will find many songs students love. The application plays the song, stops it and has students complete the blanks by unscrambling the words provided. If you want a more challenging exercise, you can also use another drill in which they talk about famous people, for instance the singer Taylor Swift, and challenge students to complete the blanks by choosing a word or phrase from a set of options.
Check these links:
The bonus: All these tools can even help us improve and or maintain our level of English. It is amazing!
Once you become accustomed to some already made exercises and feel more confident, you can start exploring making your own exercises. Take this break from school and have fun putting yourself through your paces! You won´t regret it! Next year you will be a different teacher, you will be the best technological teacher! Remember, opportunities don´t just happen, you create them!
Now it is your turn:
Have you used any other tools? How difficult has it been to use them?