Well, I may be in dreich and rainy Shetland. I may not be rubbing shoulders with the great and good of the ELT world. And I will not be going home with a collection of free Macmillan pens and OUP mouse mats. But hey, I do have this lovely IATEFL badge with which to adorn my blog! And, through the wonders of modern technology, I am able to tune into the conference from the comfort of my own kitchen table. Therefore, I plan to drop in at least once a day this week, and record my own personal highlights.
Today’s highlight was an interview with Nik Peachey. As I have recently (well, it’s never too late!) gotten into all things techie, I was interested in what Nik had to say about incorporating IT into language teaching. And it was no surprise to hear him say that we teachers should be incorporating (and being trained to incorporate it) it a heck of a lot more.
Less than a year ago I would probably have turned up my nose at the thought of encouraging learners to use social network sites in the classroom. I was (and still am) suspicious of Facebook and bemused by Twitter. I had just discovered Dogme (yes, late again!) and was keen to teach lessons that were truly “unplugged.”
However, like it or not, it looks like social networking is here to stay. It will never replace face to face communication in my classroom. But listening to Nik tonight I started to see the possibilities for creating exciting social networking lessons which empower learners and create a real life communicative need and a desire to collaborate with others.
Having said all this, I realise how lucky my learners and I are to have internet access and a fast broadband connection, I also know that many teachers and classes around the world are not so fortunate. While it is important to embrace all that technology offers us, we should also keep in touch with creative and learner centred ways of teaching English which do not rely on wealth and material resources.