Bits and pieces: various quotes on the use of technology in the language classroom

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Photo courtesy ofΒ Katia Grimmer-Laversanne

I have been doing a good deal of reading lately on the use of technology in the language classroom and I have found a few quotes I thought I would pass along. Feel free to add your comments below, send me Tweet at @nathanghall, or email me using the contact page on this website.

“(U)sing technology is a challenge that language professionals must squarely face and to which they must endeavor to find pedagogically principled responses.”

– Blake, Robert. (2008). Brave new digital classroom: Technology and foreign language learning. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. (p. 22).

“New forms of interaction and expression are leading to the emergence of what has been referred to as the culture of interactivity. This fact challenges the typical communication processes of the traditional classroom, calling for more innovative learning materials that combine pedagogical effectiveness with easy-to-use mechanisms supporting interaction between learners, tutors and other peer groups.”

– Evans, Michael. (2009). Digital technology and language learning: a review of policy and research evidence. In Michael J. Evans (Ed.) Foreign-language learning with digital technology. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. (p. 17)

“Along with the pace of technological change and the ubiquitous presence of technology it would seem that there is a need for regular re-evaluation, experimentation and investigation into classroom practices with regard to the means by which computers are deployed to support language learning. As we grow in familiarity with the technologies available to us, it seems that boundaries are there to be pushed back, with newly identified needs emerging that would have been previously undreamed of, and are subsequently characterized by improvements in ICT design.”

– Hamilton, Miranda. (2009). Teacher and student perceptions of e-learning in EFL. In Michael J. Evans (Ed.) Foreign-language learning with digital technology. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. (p. 150)

“(T)he ability to analyse critical incidents in teaching and to understand them in relation to relevant theory can be seen as a core competence of a teacher as a reflective practitioner. Using educational portfolios helps to initiate and guide such processes of informed reflective practice. To make the most of reflection on action, it is important to base reflections in a portfolio on more than just subjective data from self-observation. The integration of video and feedback from a mentor or peer can help to base reflections on a more complete and objective database. Furthermore, the use of standards to guide the reflective process makes sure that professional development is consistent with the requirements of the given educational context.”

– Raith, Thomas and Hegelheimer, Volker. (2010). Teacher development, TBLT, and technology. In Michael Thomas and Hayo Reinders Task-based language learning and teaching with technology. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. (p. 156)
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6 thoughts on “Bits and pieces: various quotes on the use of technology in the language classroom

  1. I like that you’re piecing together quotes on technology like this. Due to my MA, I’m faced with reading a lot on various technologies and find them almost too much to bother with. On one hand, I recognise the value in evaluating the pedagogical underpinnings to technology use and the affordances they provide. On the other hand, everything seems so much more intuitive to learn from trial and error.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tyson. I understand where you are coming from. I often felt like there was too much theory and not enough practice, but I am starting to understand the importance of marrying the theory and the practice. I too am a ‘trial and error’ type of person (probably more error, then success).

  3. Haha, I doubt that, Nathan. πŸ˜€ Much of the technology we’re ‘trying out’ and ‘looking at’ in one of my MA courses (blogs, wikis, voicethread, etc.) is stuff I’ve already used and recognised what works and what challenges using them face for the ELT classroom. Now reading what others have written on their use just seems backward and redundant for my practice. Maybe I’m just in a down place, right now.

  4. I find we spend too much time on finding "the magic tool" that will engage our students and transform our classes. What I’m finding is that consistency of usage is more important. Students need some form of routine, even if other units change around them. The tools themselves start to vanish into the background giving the students the freedom to focus on knowledge building instead.

  5. When we’re talking specifically about technology for language teaching, I’m interested in how to evaluate the effectiveness of technology in helping students learn language. Have you come across any kind of framework for evaluating the effects of technology on learning language?

  6. I don’t know of any specific framework, but there are plenty of research articles on specific areas of language learning and technology. I can track some of them down if you would like.

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