01 October 2011

Introducing my students to ICT

After spending most of my free time this week checking and testing netbooks because our IT man was busy with more important things (totally understandable at the beginning of a new academic year), setting up a netbook logging system for teachers, setting up blogs and preparing lessons plans to get started, the lessons were cancelled. I am sure this is not something new. In fact it happens to me every beginning of the year, and at various times during the year. Basically, our internet connection is faulty. After three years of connected classrooms, it is still hit and miss whether you can use a Youtube video with your classes that day or not.

This is both good and bad. The good is that teachers are trying to make their classes more interesting and relevant to their younger and teenage students by using technology to engage them, something which the academy has encouraged from the beginning and which is also sold as part of "the package". The bad thing is that teachers do sometimes have to spend a lot of time preparing, only to have to abandon the lesson because of some problem with the Internet. Some teachers have given up using more interesting websites, etc. with their classes all together, sticking with the IWB and Powerpoint, or nothing at all. Others are just frustrated - including me.

Perhaps this is one reason why ICT has not taken off very much in language academies. After all, it is only an (expensive) tool that is not a requirement to learn a language, although I believe it can be especially motivating for younger and teenage learners. So, I will persevere, continue to spend lots of my free time preparing for ICT lessons as well as a backup plan, lobby the powers that be that we need a better more reliable connection, and equipment, and continue using ICT with my students - as far as is possible.

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