E-Learning…what a journey it has been. I have really enjoyed this course, and definitely learned a lot more than I thought I was going to. I honestly thought of myself as a person who was well versed in the big world of computers and internet, only to find out that really, I am a digital immigrant! I found this interesting to learn about myself, I am 33 years old, and I sometimes feel like I am right in the middle of being a digital native and immigrant. I was in my late teens when computers and internet were really getting going, and I feel that I have learned a lot and can converse quite well in the digital world; I know all the right things to say and the correct acronyms to use when having a chat online. However, I never looked at it as a fact that I did not grow up with this language. I quickly learnt that children today are growing up speaking this language, and they expect us, as adults and teachers, to be able to communicate in this way with them (see blog entry “My journey so far..”). As you will see in my blogging, I am very quickly learning how effective and necessary ICT’s are in today’s classrooms.
I am predominantly and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher and that is how I look at the difference between myself and learners today (I am not currently in a teaching position). I honestly, never thought that using technology and computers in classrooms was a great way to learn, I guess I was a bit old school, but wow…was I wrong. Just through this course I have learnt about so many websites and applications that can and will be useful in my future of teaching ESL, the VOKI for example. I think this a fantastic application and can have so many uses when teaching ESL, students would be able to create these to send to their friends or teacher, using their own recorded voices or typing in some text that has possibly been pre written in class for this specific purpose. I can see it now, how much fun students can have with this.
I also found the use of WIKI quite fascinating. I think that I as an ESL teacher, I would possibly use this more than the students, but I can see that if you were teaching an older ESL class whose English skills were more advanced, how they could use this (see blog entry “Using WIKI”). PowerPoint was another skill that I thought I was great at, but once again, I learnt that there is so much more that can be done with PowerPoint (see blog entry Using PowerPoint). As an ESL teacher, I would not use it frequently in class, but now knowing the different applications you can apply to make it more interesting I think that I would try and use PowerPoint more often, depending on the age and skill level of the class though. Younger students do not respond enthusiastically to PowerPoint (but now I can add animations and sound) maybe.
Interactive whiteboards are fantastic…I have used one briefly (see blog entry “Interactive Whiteboards”) and I think their uses are endless. There are websites that you can visit and obtain different programs and games for students to play on the whiteboard, so much fun. I can guarantee that the use of interactive whiteboards in and ESL classroom would be an instant hit. Children that are learning ESL can very easily get bored and frustrated, but the use of the whiteboard, and the students being able to get up and participate, is fantastic. I really hope that one day I get to use one in an ESL classroom.
All the other topics and my thoughts on uses in the classroom can be viewed on my blog; they are short to the point entries that relate to how I felt about using these applications.
As for the course, at first I was a bit overwhelmed, but the further I got into the course, the more I learned and the more fun I had. Everything that I looked at, I found could be used in the ESL classroom. I have definitely bookmarked these sites for future reference and have been sharing them with my friends. I was not looking forward to the blogging, but that turned out to be a lot of fun. I was only a follower of 4 blogs, as that is all I think I could handle to start with. I tried to comment on all of the different blogs. My comments can be found at the following blogs and the title of the blog (I will only name a few)
http://clairegoodman.blogspot.com - Thailand, File Storage, Quiz and I commented on her pics in VoiceThread.
http://troygill77.blogspot.com - My first blog, Introduction to Flynn, Flickr, Classmarker, YouTube.
http://suddenlybananas.blogspot.com - Voki (I think maybe she left the course, not many blogs)
http://rett66-3ps.blogspot.com - My first avatar, Img 0265
I certainly tried to make an effort to keep up with the blogs and post a comment, having said that, I was highly disappointed that I never received one comment on any of my blogs, so I am not even sure if anybody ever read them. I can tell you that is a bit disheartening, but I am just hoping that people read them, just did not comment.
Overall, I have found this course to be particularly useful and fun. I definitely have a better perspective on the use of ICT in the classroom and out of the classroom. I think that there are so many options for teachers as well to share their information with other teachers. I am excited to see how much further technology will go in the future and also very excited about using all of the fun new technologies in my classroom in the future.