The Assistance Classroom Technology Gives to Language Teachers

It is common to find people taking Spanish, French, English or German as a second language among other languages. It is possible for language teachers to put lessons on the web where the students can easily access them anytime. This allows the students to have the opportunity to practice what they have learned. Students can learn material covered in class in a systematic manner or replay that which they could have probably missed. The other benefit offered by this type of technology is that many students can access it at the same time. They can watch and listen to the lesson from the web together, which brings up room for discussion. This is turn will assist the teachers by saving them the extra time that they could spend following up on the students.

Putting language lessons on the web also makes it easier for the students to practice on their pronunciation skills without fearing to get embarrassed for poor pronunciation. When the feature of web cameras is available, students can see their counterparts’ response and gauge how well they are performing. The other classroom technology that language teachers can use to assist them in teaching students is PowerPoint. Here, the teacher can place lessons text and students will respond to it without distracting the person speaking. PowerPoint has the advantage that the teacher can place images or illustrations that may clarify points in a simpler manner. Computer software programs such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are advantageous to language teachers for they make it possible to store information that teachers can use later in teaching the class.

Computers as a form of classroom technology make it possible for the teachers to have access to a wide variety of information that they may also get from the internet. For example, they have access to You tube videos and other informative videos for the benefit of the language student. The other form of technology that language teachers can utilize for the students benefits are overhead projectors. They are simple to use and preparing the text to place on them is easy and cheap. Teachers can also project lessons onto whiteboards that assist the students to interact actively.

The other classroom technology that can be of assistance to language teachers is videos showing people speaking the language that the students want to learn. They are a good teaching aid. The other good teaching aid is the use of audio cassettes recording conversations in the language taught. The conversations may range from stories, narratives, reviews, news and even advertisements. It is also possible to get material recorded from educational publishing houses, radio and television to assist the students in better and faster understanding of the new language.

Using these forms of technology will assist the teachers to teach languages in an interesting way that the students will like and most likely enhance how fast they learn the new language.

Technology In The Classroom: Proceed With Caution

Recently, I wrote about the concerns some teachers had about technology in the classroom as revealed by a Pew Research study, especially the concern that many new technologies serve to distract more than teach. However, this was not their only concern. 71% listed distraction as a concern but another 58% said that new technologies were making it more difficult for students to learn to write well.

My wife teaches at a major university where students are required to write in APA format. She frequently complains about the deplorable grammar students employ as they get tired or draw too close to an important deadline. Their prose begins to take on the qualities of their texting, which be sheer practice has become their default writing style. Even though this may be a university problem, it is easy to see how this trend would extend to the lower grades as well.

48% of teachers said technology actually lowers the quality of homework. It should come as no surprise that students prefer Facebook, YouTube and video games by a wide margin, leaving precious little mental space for their studies. No homework yet invented can compete with the life and death struggle of Halo or the social lure of Facebook. We can only hope something that fits that bill will be developed in the future. (Some programs are coming close and show real promise.)

Another challenge involves critical thinking skills. Clearly there is no shortage of opinions on the Internet, though they are not equally well informed. Many programs on the Internet are specifically designed to feed you a constant stream of what you have already expressed an interest in, which means those who spend a great deal of time on the Internet may not see diverse opinions or learn to distinguish between qualified voices and those that are simply wishful thinking.

While these concerns are valid, technology also shows a promising future for those who employ it correctly. The same teachers who expressed concerns about the downside of technology also saw the promise inherent in such programs; 99% said the Internet offered a wider selection of resources than schools could otherwise offer, 76% were mostly positive about search engine results and 65% felt a connection to the Internet made students more self-sufficient. And those are just a few of the powerful incentives for digitizing the classroom. The challenge, therefore, will be to find ways to move ahead in such a way that we maximize the benefits while minimizing the potential hazards.

The future of education will likely be far different from anything we have seen in the past, with the potential for huge advancements. But we need to proceed with our eyes open as we carefully evaluate the results from each step of the process. We simply don’t have the time, money or resources to proceed with anything less than getting it right the first time.

6 Steps to Success in Teaching With Technology

Teaching is changing. Are you?

Two generations and only six decades later, their grandson the student received twenty years of formal English and French education, from dozens of specialized educators on three continents. Today, their grandson the teacher has many new resources, but the challenges continue. I have one class of ten-to eleven-year-olds, access to educational assistants, consultants, administrators, seminars for personal growth, and technological education tools to deliver information to my students in our small town of Penetanguishene, Ontario, from anywhere in the world.

Why is teaching still a challenge? Children are still children, with all the challenges of yesteryear – discipline, attentiveness, self-esteem, peer and parent pressure, and homework. Another significant challenge is that students today reside in a big global village, with big global problems. In this new world, information arrives at lightning speed from all corners of the earth. This high-speed digital highway influences most aspects of their society. Financial services, health care, the military, government services, and transportation are a few examples of where high-speed data collection, storage, and processing have forever changed the way we do business.

This technological tidal wave has now arrived at today’s schoolhouse, revolutionizing how teachers teach and students learn. How is this happening? Computers, cell phones, digital whiteboards, student-response systems, projectors, the Internet, portable media players, software, and email are tools now available to front-line teachers and students.

What does today’s technology allow us to do?

o Access information in various formats from anywhere at any time

o Translate words instantly from one language into another

o Enhance geography lessons with satellite images

o Tap into the world’s webcams to examine our living planet or to interact with other classrooms

o Assess student knowledge using digital tools and adjust lessons accordingly

o At a single touch, access the world’s news programs, newspapers, libraries, and museums

Preparing students to be citizens in this high-speed world is a significant undertaking. As a first step, educators must start teaching with the technology tools their students will use as future leaders and problem solvers.

To implement technology in classrooms, schools must prepare front-line teachers. 6 Steps to Success in Teaching with Technology helps teachers learn about, adapt to, and embrace technology.

Step 1: Understand Why Before an educator can begin to incorporate technology effectively into her classroom, she must be a believer. Step 1 outlines the benefits of incorporating technology into teaching.

Step 2: Adapt Two adaptations must occur for success in teaching with technology. Teachers must adapt to technology, and technology must be adapted to teachers.

Step 3: Plan Having a good plan is a key to success. Step 3 prepares teachers for the Teaching with Technology world by reviewing important planning questions.

Step 4: Do Your Homework Before spending money, teachers need to understand technology options. Step 4 overviews the most popular hardware and software used in today’s classrooms.

Step 5: Implement Effectively Having the latest tools in your classroom may look impressive, but you must be able to use them to deliver quality lessons. Step 5 explains how to do this.

Step 6: Keep Up to Date Technology changes daily. Managing this moving target is a challenge for busy teachers. Step 6 shows teachers how to stay on top of the latest changes in educational technology.

6 Steps also includes helpful tips from my own classroom experiences, and a glossary of teaching with technology terms to help you begin this new and exciting process. Let’s face it-our world is changing. It’s time to learn, adapt, and embrace teaching with technology!