At the IH Director of Studies conference last week Gavin Dudeney did a session about managing technology. In it, he expressed the hope that technology in the classroom will eventually become normalised. As he said, nobody talks about ‘pen-assisted language learning’, so why CALL? He also wants it to become an integral part of teacher training courses, rather than something special or tacked on. He mentioned me as someone who does this and, of course, immediately after the session someone approached me and asked me how, to which I had no ready answer, probably because for me it already is an integral part of my teaching and training!
I started thinking about it, and in conversation with Anthony Gaughan, we decided that we use technology when it’s necessary to solve problems. So here are some of the ways that tech is used when I’m working as a CELTA trainer:
- For the occasional PowerPoint-based input session (thought I’d better get that out of the way!)
- To show longer videos for observations and shorter clips as part of input sessions.
- To help trainees find out about language by demonstrating how a corpus works (I normally use BYU BNC).
- Getting trainees to take photos of each others’ whiteboards during TP (teaching practice).
- Trainees also sometimes video/audio record themselves/each other, although we have to get the students’ permission first.
- To send out relevant extra links to the trainees, particularly to my diigo bookmarks.
- (On one course) To provide after-hours support via email – this got a bit much for me, so I only did it in emergencies on later courses.
- (On one course) Experimenting with Edmodo as a way of giving handouts – this got a bit overwhelming for the trainees, although they still have access to it after the course. Hoping to ask them in the future whether they ever look at it.
- Trainees show images using their own tablets or a projector, rather than printing off endless pictures.
- Where available, trainees can use the overhead projector (old-school tech!) to display answers/texts etc.
- Teaching trainees how to put images into PowerPoint, instead of spending hours formatting them in Word (not that this frustrates me at all…) – amazed at how many people, especially under 25s, are still petrified of PowerPoint and/or have never opened it in their lives!
- I also have a 75-minute technology input session which I’m happy to pass on to anybody who needs inspiration – just message me below or on Twitter. A key part of this session is demonstrating how to use Quizlet and another is introducing online professional development, if it hasn’t already been done in another input.
I don’t feel like any of this is particularly revolutionary, but maybe that’s because tech has always been normalised for me. Is there anything else you do?
I’ve just rediscovered this very comprehensive post by Marisa Constantinides showing how she integrates technology into the teacher development courses at CELT Athens – lots of ideas I plan to steal! She’s also written about whether it’s worth integrating technology into CELTA.
You might also be interested in Kateryna Protsenko’s IH Journal article CELTA Gone Techy.