by Karenne Sylvester of Kalinago English:
“When I was about 14, we went on vacation to the US. We were there to do some very serious shopping and my mother had a list of clothes, shoes and stuff for school – things we had little to no access to in Antigua.
When we arrived at the mall in Miami, Mom excitedly trailed me behind her as we moved from shop to shop.
This was heaps of fun until we had to travel one floor up. She led me to the most monstrous of machines, a staircase that moved!
Coming from the Caribbean where you’d be hard-pushed to find a set of stairs within a shop, let alone a series of endless stores stacked on top of each other, the grinding teeth of this metal beast stopped me dead in my tracks.
My mother tried to encourage me, even possibly tried to bully me into getting on to the next floor but I was having none of it. There was absolutely no way I was going to risk my life and limb on some dumb machine.
Auntie Jacqui grabbed my hand and took me to a nearby stand for an ice-cream and my mother went on up alone.
The end of the story is that I got sneakers I didn’t like and a pair of fluorescent green socks.
I kid you not.
ELT teachers who are simply too chicken to try out some of the new media and technology tricks in their classrooms while the Digital Natives progressively enter the market face the same fate as I did back then.
A lot of them are whining about whether or not it’s good teaching practice or just flash and dash.
However while they continue to be afraid, they’re missing out on what’s on the other side and in the end, consoling themselves with friends who are equal Luddites, will find themselves replaced by the those who can.
Are you one of these people?
Or do you want to move on, get up to the next level?
The first thing you have to do is to stop thinking that you need to do all of “it” now, right off the bat.
Start off with baby steps, making a commitment to learn a new skill or process once every quarter. You can talk to your students, discuss your own learning process in this area and get them to help you.
Trust me, they inevitably know more than you do and will get a kick out of being your teacher.
A handful of techie-tips:
(Important! Learn each skill one by one to avoid feeling overwhelmed – bookmark this page and come back after each mastery or simply look at them all and choose the one(s) that feel most practical to you and your teaching style).
Also, remember, we were all once where you are now.
- Use delicious or diigo to store and share your bookmarks about teaching
- Download audacity to record your students’ progress, weak spots and more
- Browse through slideshare and scribd for presentations relevant to your students’ fields
- Download videos and start taking them into class: real dialogue, real teaching
- Create your own youtube page and subscribe to other English teachers’ playlists (example)
- Grab photos, music and more: legally, using creative commons licensing
- Set up a netvibes or page to keep track of your new web2.0 life
- Join a that discusses teaching with technology
- Start virtually socializing with other teachers on LinkedIn/ Facebook/ Twitter etc…
- Buy a netbook so you can easily take multi-media into your lessons
- Investigate Moodle
- Learn about making wikis to share resources with your students or
- Create a blog (edublogs, blogger, wordpress and others) for free: for
- Teach English via Skype, see blog about applying that in practice here
- Play around in Second Life (set up a classroom there ) and
Buy books on teaching with technology by:
(the teacher-trainer who wrote the book that got me to face the escalator of teaching with technology)
The Internet and Business English
Gavin Dudeney and Nicky Hockly
How to teach with technology (with CD)
Read more tips on teaching with technology:
Best of luck and see you around in the web!