Technology is increasingly ubiquitous in the world around us. If used in a principled manner, it can support and enhance English language learning, and at the very least increase motivation (see my last blog post on this -and the helpful comments). But research studies aside, the million dollar questions for teachers are:

  • How do I to integrate technology into my classroom?
  • What for? / Why am I using it?
  • How do I make it work well?
  • When do I use it?

In April I gave a workshop to a group of teachers in Seville, where we looked at exactly these questions. Many of these teachers were tech savvy, and had received ICT training. Most classrooms had IWBs (Interactive Whiteboards), but teachers were having difficulty moving away from a teacher-centred lecture approach with these. They needed help in using the boards, the computer room, and class sets of laptops in a principled manner, and to integrate these into communicative classroom practice.

There are a number of questions teachers need to ask themselves when planning to use technology in the classroom. This can help with the initial planning stages of not just individual lessons. They need to be asked when  looking at an overall syllabus, and working out where to slot in specific tasks and tools.

Here is the slide from the workshop with what are (in my view) some key questions:

Before teachers address these questions, they need to know what is available. They need to have a range or repertoire of tools and techniques to draw on. And for each of these tools, they need to be considering how to design effective task types for/with each tool, and how these fit into the wider picture above.

This is where training can help. This can be informal training via contact with fellow teachers, either online through social or personal learning networks, or chatting in the staff room. And it can be formal training, such as workshops or courses, either online or face-to-face. Either way, it’s clear that many teachers need help. The school director who is denying their teachers this help is shortchanging the school, the teachers, and the students.

Read more

  • Sue Lion Jones’ flowchart of considerations for teachers wondering why, how and when to integrate technology into their teaching

(Please share any other related resources that I may have missed in the comments below)

What are your key questions? What things do you think should be taken into account when considering how to integrate technology into your teaching?

Nicky Hockly
The Consultants-E
May 2011