Every year, English teachers have a life-changing effect on the millions who choose to learn the language. The world of teaching has changed in many ways over the past two decades and technology is playing an increasingly important role for teachers and learners – both inside and outside the classroom.
Our Blended Teacher blog series takes a closer look at all the hot topics associated with the benefits and challenges of using technology in the English classroom. We are thrilled to have gathered together a group of experts – including linguists, teachers and teacher trainers – to give you their views on questions such as:
- Is technology disruptive or a disruption?
- What is the right level of digital blend?
- Is learning technology only for younger teachers?
- Is game-based learning a waste of time?
By discussing these questions, we hope to raise awareness of what it means to be a blended teacher – and address some of the negative perceptions of technology in the classroom. We’ve also provided some great ways of using technology in lessons that are sure to inspire and motivate your learners.
Here, we take a closer look at the Blended Teacher blog series and the articles that have proved very popular with our readers so far…
Is technology disruptive or a disruption?
The first question we need to ask is, of course, what is blended teaching? It’s a combination of using traditional classroom methods and digital technology. But if a teacher is new to the concept, how much technology should be used? And how often? Teacher trainer Paul Seddon discusses all of this in his blog, Do English teachers have to use technology in the classroom?
Paul points out that using technology in the classroom is not new. But it has become more prevalent, and is increasingly an expected part of any ELT course. Today, it is also much easier to use. Read this blog as Paul discusses whether technology gets in the way of traditional teaching. If Paul’s blog inspires you to try introducing technology into your English classes, then Nik Peachey’s blog, 7 ways you can use technology to engage with students, is full of useful suggestions to help you ensure that it doesn’t distract your learners.
What is the right level of digital blend?
How much technology is used in English lessons will vary from classroom to classroom. One of our blog authors, Sue Mainey, has more than 25 years’ experience in the educational sector, working across all areas including training delivery, product development, sales and marketing and executive management. Her blog, Blended learning: getting the right mix, looks at how the boom in digital learning innovations can have the greatest impact on learner outcomes. Her case study of how institutions in the Middle East have adopted blended teaching is well worth a read…
Linguist and author David Nunan agrees with Sue that if technology is applied to lessons in the correct way, it can make learning more effective, enjoyable and engaging – and take some of the drudgery out of teaching. One of his blogs for our series, How using technology in the classroom can work for you, considers the benefits of blended teaching, such as using it to develop individualised learning.
Is learning technology only for younger teachers?
As new teaching methods involving the latest technology are introduced into the classroom, is it difficult for older teachers – who may never have used such methods before – to adapt? The blog, You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Or can you?, by teacher trainer Michael Brand discusses this question and offers some words of encouragement for those teachers who may be hesitant to try something new.
As education expert Jennifer Williams points out, teachers are innovators and are always finding new ways to teach and inspire their students. So, with this in mind, does age really matter? Read Jennifer’s blog, Teacher technology adoption: what’s age got to do with it?, to discover more about her thoughts on the subject.
Is game-based learning a waste of time?
A popular method of introducing technology into learning is using digital games. But do these just distract the learners? And do they actually learn anything from them? Tim Gifford, co-founder of ELTjam, addresses these questions in his blog, Is game-based learning technology a waste of time?
Indeed, if it is not properly understood – or used properly – it could indeed be a waste of time. But there are many real benefits of using games in a learning environment – discover what they are in this blog.
David Dodgson from the British Council agrees that games lend themselves well to blended learning environments. But, in his blog, In search of something epic… Making game-based learning greater than the sum of its parts, he makes a strong point for choosing the correct games. “Gaming has come a long way since the days of Pong,” he notes. “Instead, we have open worlds and games driven by player choice with almost infinite possibilities.” Find out how David thinks that these modern games can be used to enrich English learning.
Have you read some of the blogs in our Blended Teacher blog series? What did you think about what our team of expert bloggers have to say? Let us know in the comments section below…