Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Students and teachers 2.0

In “the last few years the World Wide Web has changed dramatically both in the way it looks and in the way that people expect to use it” (Learning technologies, Module 11). The Web 2.0 is a powerful technology to be used with our students, it gives more motivating and useful language learning activities, the opportunity to interact and collaborate with other peers and to generate new content. Social networking sites, wikis, blogs, video sharing sites, web applications are examples of Web 2.0.
This change needs a change in the way we teach. We know that our students are not the same as many years ago, they definitely are students 2.0, a new generation of learners, they are digital natives. They learn from experience, interacting with others, taking part in collaborative projects. Some young teachers are also digital natives, but the challenge is for those, as me, who are trying to manage all these new tools that can benefit our teaching situation, and, a more difficult goal, to achieve changes at the schools where we work and become teachers 2.0 too.

Communication in a Global World

“There has never been a time when so many nations were needing to talk to each other so much. There has never been a time when so many people wished to travel to so many places… And never has there been a more urgent need for a global language” (Crystal, 2003, p. 14)
School links projects are the first step to become global citizens. They involve schools in different cities and countries. Students can benefit from them learning from authentic resources, showing their work, understanding other cultures, sharing ideas and learning from peers. Teachers can also benefit from these projects motivating their students to participate, collaborating with and learning from colleges, and developing themselves professionally.
To plan a successful project, it is important to take into account some recommendations as to have a clear topic and objectives, the need of an international relevance, that last two or three weeks and students’ knowledge with the applications to be used.
Tools like eLanguages, and epals are available to any school in the world. They offer teachers the opportunity to share authentic resources and suggest appropriated projects to use in their schools. Facebook, Skype, and Wikis are also useful sites to consider when doing this kind of projects. They are useful tools to improve our students’ skills giving them exposure and practice to the English language.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Digital and technological generation. How lucky we are!

Doing modules 8 and 9, I remembered my days as a student. The time and paper wasted in front of a type writer because I forgot to write a paragraph or to leave a space to draw a picture, my teachers’ presentations on cards or transparencies projected on the wall, and all the time writing on the blackboard and on our notebooks.
How lucky we are! We are using computers and other technological devices that help us to do our work in a better and faster way. We have many tools to use in the classroom that can engage and motivate our students to participate in the suggested activities. Nowadays, using traditional tools, students can be actively engage in whole class activities for short periods of time because they feel bored, they are very different from XX century students. Using office applications for whole-class teaching or in a computer room, are two ways to update our teaching work and to do what they like to do: using technology. Which one is better, it depends on our objectives and the availability of the devices. Both need training and an appropriate and accurate plan to follow.
I am lucky to be part of this course too. During the development of the course units and activities, many ideas have come to my mind, many others from my mates and from the course itself. I need to assimilate all the new information but I know I will put into practice all what I learned very soon.