Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

The gives learners as well as teachers

The
development of technology in modern life has a major impact on all areas of
contemporary life. It offers people many opportunities to learn, share and
improve ourselves independently and actively. It is a big change which gives
learners as well as teachers challenges to take up and create new trend in
education. To be more specific, there are some aspects for us to focus on.

            Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) has been becoming an integral part of education. In the 21st
century learning, students are equipped with not only skills for learning and
innovation, but also skills for information, media and technology.  Modern-day students are known as digital
natives who are “native speakers of technology, fluent in the digital language
of computers, video games, and the Internet” (Prensky, 2005, p.8 as cited in
Martin, 2011, p.30). The Internet provides great sources of information to
students wherever and whenever they can connect to the online world.

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According to Jonassen et al (2008), there
are many opportunities for teachers to facilitate effective learning to digital
natives in contemporary times by applying technology. First of all, technology
is a tool to support knowledge construction. Learners can represent their
ideas, understandings, and beliefs; moreover, they can produce organized,
multimedia knowledge bases by their own. Secondly, technology helps learners
explore knowledge to support learning by constructing. Students can look up and
access needed information easily and comparing their perspective, beliefs, and
worldviews. Thirdly, technology gives authentic context by representing and
stimulating meaningful real-world problems, situations, and contexts. Next,
technology provides social medium for learners to collaborate with others, to
discuss, argue, and building relationship among members of a community. They
are also described as the “collaboration generation” (Tapscott and Williams,
2008). Finally, technology helps learners to reflect on what they have learned
and how they came to know it and to support thinking. Besides, Bowman (2015)
stated that digital natives in future classroom have to achieve a variety of
complementary capabilities: connecting, speaking, listening, leading, and
writing. They will be not only active but also skillful to meet the social
requirements.

Using technology gives students freedom
to discover solutions for problems both independently and collaboratively. However,
teacher should be used as a supplement to normal teaching instead of replacing
for it (Higgins & et al, 2012). The opportunities of online learning and
the combination of open educational resources and other technologies can raise
educational productivity. We can strive for students to engage to achieve the
learning outcomes for each student’s level by different new kinds of teaching
such as virtual or online learning, full-time online schools, and digital
resources. In other words, as Selwyn highlighted that “teachers still have a
valuable authoritative role in educating, informing, managing and directing the
technological activities of children and young people.”

 

            I am now working as an English
teacher at a language center and as a tutor at home. My classes are located in
Tien Giang province which is belonged to Mekong Delta. Although we still lack
of technologies or supporting devices, I have conducted some successful lessons
based on technology-based teaching. Because I am teaching a various kind of
students, I can experience how technologies can affect positively to the process
of teaching in different students’ levels.

            Firstly, using Youtube is a great
idea to maximize the engagement of students to attain the intended learning
outcomes, especially with kindergarten and kids. For example, the students can
sing songs, read out alphabets, watch short cartoons and make role-play. It
seems that the lessons are more interesting, attractive and easy to understand.
Moreover, it also changes the ways students get information, acquire knowledge
and expose to authentic language sources. To adult learners, they can watch how
the real language is used in life and find the cultural differences between two
countries as the attraction to explore.

            Secondly, social networks including
Facebook and Zalo are effective in teaching and group discussion. Due to the
limit of time in class, I have created some groups for my students where they
can continue to access to lessons and further related discussions. By
communicating in these groups, the gap between teacher and students is closer
than before. I can understand what they still not understand and which contents
they find attractive during class time. To me, it is a great chance to revise
my teaching methods and techniques. Besides, some of students had taken
pictures which were related to the previous lessons such as pieces of pizza and
posted in the topic “Food” to share with friends. Others posted some English
sentences or slogans that they misunderstood and asked for more explanation.
Because these groups are private, we can have a free space to bring all things
outside class into lessons or vice versa without any pressure. Before important
examinations, especially the national entrance exams, when my students were
extremely stressful, we had made a group video call to review the key points
and common mistakes. On the other hand, I could conduct successfully several
guided class journals by asking students to write as daily dairy. After a
period of time, their writing skill had improved a lot in terms of fluency and
accuracy. As for speaking skill, in addition to the practices in class, I often
asked them to record vocabulary for each unit to check their pronunciation and
give feedback. In this circumstance, they did not feel shy to speak out and
reduced the percentages of losing face in front of classes. The students seemed
to pay more attention to the pronunciation, stresses and tones of itself words
and sentences. With passive ones, they could feel at ease during class time
because they could be supported even after school.

            Thirdly, for testing and assessment,
Google Forms is one of the most useful and practical tools that I am very
interested in. Comparing to the tests/quizzes conducted in class by paper
forms, this technology gives both teachers and learners a much more convenient
way. To students, they can take the tests actively and independently to reflect
on what the learned for each lesson regardless of space and location they are.
After the tests, they can receive immediately results and answers to see their
mistakes and learn from it. To teachers, Google Forms allows us to provide a
full formative assessment with the useful technical support such as adding
images and videos to check students’ listening and writing skills. Moreover,
after each tests, I can receive the results and percentages for separate parts
to analyze and evaluate the process of teaching.  

            Recently I have completed an online
course called Microsoft Innovative Educators (MIE). With the Office 365 system,
MIE program is built for teachers and students with full of powerful
technological tools. For example, by using OneNote, I can capture and organize
all my class materials as a digital notebook; simultaneously, I can bring
students together in collaborative space or giving them individual support in
private notebooks within Class Notebook. Although this program is being
popularized, I think it is a synchronous way to delivery productive lessons
effectively.

            According to Siemens (2014), connectivism
theory is the learning theory in digital age which applies technology
capability in teaching and learning in the field of e-learning. It has a great
impact on choosing the new changes in my teaching context. Based on the
principles of connectivism, there are some positive effects that inform the
chosen technologies.        

            The students obtain knowledge by sharing,
chatting and posting a diversity of opinions on “networked learning” (Darrow, 2009).
By using Facebook and Zalo to keep in touch with friends, students can easily discuss
schoolwork, share discussions and improve in school by communication and interaction.
It is a combination of connecting a wealth of information sources and collaborative
learning. Students are motivated to learn from their peers online, to receive and
give feedback to one another.

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