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Web 2.0 and language learning June 10, 2010

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in International education, New releases.
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The summer issue of is (International School) magazine is back from the printers and is on its way to subscribers around the world as I type. is magazine is the official magazine for ECIS members and serves to promote and highlight education in an international context.

One of the themes of the summer issue is the use of technology in the classroom: we featured an article on this blog recently about the use of mobile phones in the teaching of music, and here we follow it up with the beginning of an article written by Victor Gonzalez Guzman, the Spanish and ICT teacher at the International School of Bremen.

Web 2.0 and language learning

Victor Gonzales Guzman explores possibilities the internet may have for language teachers

Let’s imagine that a surgeon of the 19th century travels through time to a 21st century operating theatre. Where would he start to work? Everything would be new, the methods, and the tools, and he would have to learn fast in order to catch up with the new developments.

If a teacher takes the same time machine, the final experience might be different. He or she would immediately recognize the board, the chalk box, the student books  and the duster and would start to do the job in less time than the blink of an eye.

This example, posed by Sebastián Barajas, the Spanish expert in virtual learning, illustrates how little teaching has changed in the past 200 years, in spite of the rapid development of technology. In education, blended learning (a mix of online and face-to-face instruction) has become a necessary trend not only for language teachers but also for all school subjects.

Its authenticity stems from a multifaceted way of presenting content where students can take the role of explorers discovering the world around them through sound, image and text. Communication in ICT-enhanced lessons permits us to take the leap from static text books to the fluidity of web 2.0,  boosting students’ confidence through constant updating, self-development and participation in  society.

Technology-enriched lessons are dynamic and demand networked-dynamic teachers. This means that every language teacher in class should strive to be a creator, facilitator and supervisor in order to let students construct their own learning styles and preferences with the aid of computer mediated tools.  Twenty-first century learners learn by doing, not listening to a static centred classroom teacher.  Their independence and self-reliance makes them take and active role in class, share their knowledge with their classmates and adapt fast to new forms of communicationa and mash-up culture.  Faster than their teachers sometimes!

This shift from lecture to student-centred instruction is not only a matter of technology but also of being convinced about its intrinsic value.  The enormous potential that digital technology has to offer is directly linked to the imagination of the educator…

To read the remainder of this article, visit our ezine website where you can browse the latest issue in full.

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