Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

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.
Projector at Beamish Museum

Not quite as old-school as this one though…

  • 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?

Update

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.

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Comments on: "Integrating technology into CELTA" (19)

  1. It may no be particularly revolutionary, Sandy, as it wasn’t for me either, but it’s great to see the will to normalise come together in more and more tutors like yourself. I wrote a similar post some time ago here

    http://marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org/2011/11/21/a-little-often-integrating-technology-on-teacher-development-courses/#.VLmO0YqUeXw

    The idea of ‘a little and often’ has worked for us really well too

    Best of luck!

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  2. As long as ‘integral’ never ever means ‘if you don’t use it, then we down-grade you’ then I’m all for this. However, all too often (Ofsted inspections, college observations, etc.) not using technology is used as a marker to judge teaching as inadequate, but why if and when there are perfectly good and acceptable non-techy ways of doing things. Use of technology should never be the barometer of how good you are as a teacher.

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  3. Amin Neghavati said:

    This has always been the question in my head that why Cambridge Assessment don’t include a ‘learning technologies’ session into CELTA.
    Mike makes a valid point there that use of technology should never be the barometer of how good you are as a teacher but we also need to take this fact into account that teachers we train will most probably teach groups of ‘technology natives’ in their future classes. This will hugely magnify the need to integrate technology into our training/teaching session as a necessary life skill rather than an alternative to our traditional teaching/training methods and approaches.
    It’s quite some time that I have been doing the opposite thing! I plan the whole training course on tech. platforms and devices and add a ‘lessons from nothing’ mainly focusing on activities from a book by Bruce Marsland with the same name. This has helped me a lot to save paper and be green as well. At the beginning of the course I ask everyone to bring their devices and we set up a virtual classroom on http://www.chalkup.com (Edmodo can be really daunting for some trainees so I usually use this similar platform which seems to be much simpler to work with). Hand-outs will be digitally shared on the same platform and the new Google Edit feature in Google Drive helps with the files. Instead of PowerPoint I encourage Prezi and the Haiku Deck and instead of wall posters we create online infographics. http://www.canva.com has made this online creation more fun and much faster than before. http://www.padlet.com plays the role of the classroom wall and presentations will be uploaded to http://www.slideshare.net and linked into the classroom Chalkup. I have to admit that without a reliable internet connection nothing can be done in this regard and it’s sometimes really hard to keep the tech going and maintain everybody’s interest and cater for all learning styles but what I have done has received positive feedback from teachers. The exciting point is when they see a session named ‘lessons from nothing’ at the end of the course, they suddenly notice how much they have improved their ICT skills during the course.

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  4. Great ideas there Sandy, I’d love the input session notes if they’re still on offer!

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  5. davedodgson said:

    Technology in class and on training courses can be a tough one… As you mention with your examples of emailing and Edmodo, it can be a bit overwhelming both in terms of workload for the tutor and suddenly being introduced to a whole host of new tools for the trainees. I imagine it would be very difficult to pick out specific tools for a shot course like the CELTA because a) as you say, trainees often aren’t even familiar with using Powerpoint, and b) edtech trends change so quickly and new apps and tools pop up so often that it is difficult to know where to start.

    I’ve never been a CELTA tutor but the kind of tech-related stuff I would go for would most likely focus on evaluation and effective implementation of tech tools – perhaps giving groups different apps (educational and general) to research and evaluate in terms of classroom potential…

    I have led one teacher training course (not a CELTA as already stated but still a week-long training programme) and the man use I made of tech during the course was to email notes and handouts to the trainees ahead of each daily input session – I only did this as they all had tablets and the printer on location wasn’t working! (Perfect example of tehcnology to solve a problem 😉 ) The only other thing I did was to use Audioboo to record post-observation feedback one day (again, this came about due to the owner of the institution suddenly deciding one day to cancel the afternoon sessions and take me and the other trainers on a local tour). Always good to demonstrate technology in action!

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    • Thanks for the comment Dave.
      I like the research idea but I’m not sure there’s time for it on a CELTA. It would be an interesting task in training sessions once you’re on the job though.
      The ways you used tech to solve problems are also ideas I’ll file away for the future 🙂

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  6. Kate Smook said:

    Really interesting, please could I have the input session notes?

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  7. I would love to have the input session notes please. I found your article extremely interesting. Thanks.

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  8. As ever, this was a fantastic post, and I have favourited out many links you mentioned – not least your own presentation on professional development – thanks! 🙂

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  9. If the technology is available and accessible, I can’t understand why people wouldn’t use it. Of course it won’t take over the teaching profession. Did IWBs? Did whiteboards? I like quizlet a lot but I know it doesn’t work for all students, I know students may ask to do Kahoot but if not correctly designed even an interactive quiz show style programme will get boring, and yes there are issues about competitiveness as well. The world is getting increasingly gamified and this is especially true for learners under 30.

    I think the next challenge will be transferring the addictive nature of today’s apps and casual games to learning. Pearson Education have already started with their Poptropica language app. Teachers will always be needed to design the programmes to use the apps correctly in a classroom, but more engagement can only be a good thing can’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Finlay McCall said:

    Hi Sandy, thank you for the excellent post on your fantastic blog 🙂 May I also have a copy of your input session notes?

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  11. Hello

    Great post and great comments. I’m preparing to take my CELTA course and considering all the ways I can use technology for preparing my lesson plans and giving my lessons. Can you send me the input session notes please. Thanks Tres

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  12. Dear Sandy,

    Really love the blog – thanks for sharing so many ideas. Perhaps this boat has sailed, but can I get a copy of the input session please?…….

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  13. Helen Cherry said:

    Hi SaNdy, I’d love the input session notes if they are still on offer.

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    • Hi Helen,
      I tried to send it you, but the email you used for the comment doesn’t appear to be working. Can you send me an alternative way to contact you?
      Thanks,
      Sandy

      Like

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