Kristin Sherman, Network co-author, looks at how to take advantage of technology in the classroom. Kristin will be hosting a webinar “Help Your Students Get Connected” on 24th October and 1st November.
How can we use our classrooms and technology to the greatest effect? A recent study at the University of North Carolina indicated that a “flipped” classroom helps students perform better. Graduate students who used technology to watch mini-lectures at home and then engaged in active learning in the classroom showed significant gains in performance. The success of such a “flipped” classroom suggests ways we can effectively wed technology and language learning.
Technology serves as both a system of delivery and as content itself. We live in a digital world, one that places increasing importance on digital literacy. Our students need not only to be able to use technology to find and manage information, but also to connect and collaborate with others around the world.
Use technology to deliver traditional content
In a flipped classroom, content, in the form of videos and readings, is delivered to the student outside of class. Teachers can use photos as writing prompts, link to video lectures or articles, and post questions for online discussion. These are all activities that have traditionally been conducted in the standard classroom, but teachers can adapt them and move them online.
Use the tools of the traditional classroom to teach about technology
Our students need to be savvy and responsible users of technology. One way we can help them is to provide content instruction in social media and other digital tools.
Online content is visually rich and stimulating, but it encourages surface-level engagement rather than deep thinking and prolonged attention. Users move quickly from one link to another, often reading only parts of texts. Instructors can use the classroom to help students better understand difficult texts and to think critically about online sources. Engaging, collaborative activities in the classroom help learners practice new language skills and improves social skills.
Teachers come up with new ways to blend technology and language learning all the time. For example, you can teach students important skills of summarizing and paraphrasing by condensing a book to an essay to a paragraph to a tweet.
What are some other ways we can combine technology and language learning?
- The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr
- The Post Lecture Classroom: How Students Will Fare, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/09/the-post-lecture-classroom-how-will-students-fare/279663/
To find out more about using technology to connect with your students, join Kristin for her webinar on 24th October and 1st November.