I found myself in Bulgaria last week (and very beautiful it was too). I was giving a new talk (as requested) about the impact of the digital world in language teaching. I started by showing the following photo (taken in 2007 and used in a recent book of mine) and asking the audience to reflect on what technology they could see. Hell, you can imagine all those teacher training sessions 2000 years ago on ‘the impact of chalk in language teaching’.
The first time I did the presentation I then showed the following video clip about the Plan Ceibal (the one-laptop-per-child project in Uruguay). It takes a full 5 minutes, but it’s well worth watching.
And various questions are posed by these two ‘extremes’ – and suddenly became immediately relevant in the context of ITC access in Bulgaria. And that’s what this blog is all about. Here goes:
1 If you can ‘teach with a stick in the desert’ why do you need fancy technology?
2 If you were able to get the money to equip a whole country with free broadband and one-laptop-per-child, would you do it? And if so what would you do with it? How suspicious are you when (as in a country – not Uruguay – recently) governments hand out tablets or IWBs as a mark of progress?
3 How relevant is discussion of the digital age when, as in Bulgaria, very very few schools have access to the kind of technology. Would I have been better off talking about desert & stick techniques?
4 And just because kids are completely familiar with (and use) digital technology, does that mean we need to (or that they want us to)?
5 And (a question I posed at the IATEFL conference in Glasgow) does being a good teacher automatically include (in 2012) being IT-competent?
(for the record, in the talk last week I referenced Vicky Saumell’s digital storytelling blog, talked about Bruno Andrade’s use of Skype (and talked about how @TEFLpet uses it too), pinched a lovely idea from @feedtheteacher and then referred teachers to Eduardo Santos’ lovely use of QR codes, took them through one of Jamie Keddie’s Youtube ideas, showed mini video interviews with various teachers (incl @little_miss-glo), told them about the work of Languagelab in Second Life, showed theme videos from Essential Teacher Knowledge etc etc etc)