Easily Enhance Your Teaching Practice with Technology
How many times a day do you look at your smartphone? Why do you do it? To find information? To entertain yourself? To communicate with others?
Today, more than ever before, English language educators recognize the importance of using digital resources to teach students in a variety of modalities. Current circumstances have caused schools, universities, institutes, and colleges all over the world to rethink the way we teach and learn. Teaching with technology has suddenly evolved from a gradual shift toward incorporating digital tools into a roaring avalanche, which can overwhelm educators who have only face-to face (f2f) teaching experience.
Here are some technology tools that language teachers and learners can use:
Padlet, a flexible, colorful online whiteboard with infinite space, is one of the easier tools to use and understand. You create an account, and with the free version you have access to up to nine boards (if you need more, you can pay a subscription fee or delete older boards). You have many choices for the board background and how information is presented and can post information in the form of text, video, and images. As moderator, you control who posts and whether the posts are public or confined to class members only. If you wish, you can allow students to comment and add ratings or emojis to the posts. Padlet easily runs on any smartphone.
You can use Padlet in a variety of ways. During class, in f2f or remote interactions, you may ask a question to check comprehension, and students respond on Padlet. This reinforces writing skills and lets you know that everyone has participated. You can also employ Padlet in f2f interactions or in chat rooms using Zoom or Skype to support students by using peer-editing and small-group work.
Students also use Padlet to share group work with one another. When giving presentations, they set up padlets and then ask pop questions to make sure their audience pays attention. This can help the teacher as well because students are given participation points for listening and asking questions, and he can easily keep track. It also keeps students engaged and off their phones when their peers present.
Thus, as a resource, Padlet is versatile. It can be used for summative assessment, gathering information and brainstorming, monitoring engagement, peer editing, and other tasks and assignments.
This tool differentiates the classroom and creates an even playing field. For example, if students watch a video and do not recognize a word or image, they can click on a link or popup, stop the video, and/or replay the video. This gives students at all levels, and those who learn in different ways and at different speeds, a chance to independently practice comprehension skills.
You can task your students to use H5P this way: Make a video on their phone or laptop and post it on YouTube. Next, import the video into H5P. Then, using H5P, create a series of questions: true/false, multiple-choice, or short-answer.
This sounds complex, but it becomes less so if you listen to the H5P tutorial (H5P 2020b); see Johnson (2019) for instructions on uploading a video to YouTube. H5P also has a forum with a wide variety of informative posts from users.
The importance of using tools like H5P cannot be underemphasized. Today’s students learn more via video than text; by offering them learning via video, you as a teacher can assess without standing in front of them and monitoring, and you can allow students to create and present content to their peers.
Students may self-assess and learn at their own speed because they can watch the video repeatedly. And, as mentioned, there are other types of assessments that you can create with text by using H5P—fill-in-the-blanks, drag and-drop matching exercises, and online flash cards.
Kahoot - another free assessment tool that offers engaging ways for students to review materials and/or test their comprehension, either alone or in teams. You can create your own questions, polls, and puzzles, or access the platform’s bank of content. Kahoot! gamifies learning by creating engaging quizzes that require responses in a limited time. This platform does not require f2f attendance in one location to play. Similar applications with free versions, include Quizlet.com and Peardeck.com. I have also found a free smartphone app to assess English learners at Cambridge Assessment (2020).
GooseChase helps teachers create scavenger hunts, which are a great idea because students use their smartphones and organize into interactive, cooperative groups for a friendly, competitive hunt. This tool gets students out of their seats and moving around. The game requires students to take pictures of their group with each object they find and place each photo on GooseChase. You can monitor the activity and choose the objects and sites to ensure safety and a reasonable end time.
Visuwords is a free site that helps students learn vocabulary. This tool is a massive mind map of words and roots that can be clicked to help students make morphological and semantic connections concerning vocabulary. Visuwords classifies specific lexicon and offers different versions, according to parts of speech, as well as derivatives and semantic connections. In effect, it serves as a colorful interactive dictionary.
Vocabulary.com is another free tool for learning vocabulary or reviewing words. The site has a gamified format that looks like flash cards, but it recognizes the users’ success and progressively challenges their abilities, helping students remain engaged. The site has other advanced learning resources for those passionate about morphology and semantics.
This software can be used on a smartphone. Basically, EE is an interactive whiteboard, but it is more sophisticated than Padlet. You create interactive presentations using templates, which can then be stored on the program’s cloud as a video or processed via YouTube into videos. You can use this tool to offer students short video lectures that they can watch during an online class or independently via a link.
The free basic package allows you to create three projects at any given time (if you need more, you can pay a subscription fee or save and then delete older projects). The support services for this company go above and beyond helping everyone using the tool.
Recources: American English At States