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Monday, September 17, 2012

Boost your learning with Apps :)


"If we teach today as we taught yesterday we rob our children of tomorrow."                                                                              John Dewey

"When students are attending our lessons, we can do our best to make them aware of all these resources. We need to remind them of all the ways they can access English on their own. (…) There is a lot we can do to help our students plan for the teacher-free future."                                                                                                    Harmer, Jeremy

The first quotation above was formulated by John Dewey who was an American psychologist and  a major representative of Progressive Education. 
The second one has a huge field experience as a teacher, trainer, speaker and writer in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL)Jeremy Harmer.

Both sprang to my mind two major issues : 
*The usage of tech resources for pedagogical purposes
*Learner training towards students' independence

When starting a course of any sort, students tend to rely on the teacher and give account of  their learning progress on the teacher's involvement and lesson delivery, among other features.The points mentioned certainly have their place, but giving credence of the success in learning to external factors alone, ought to be reconsidered. 
I have observed from my field experience in the classroom that it is a teacher's duty to reserve some class time to learner training, fostering learner independence and active participation in their foreign language acquisition, as opposed to only assigning the expected homework.
There's no cake recipe here, this post intends to bring up the subject of how the available tech mobile resources owned by students  can integrate learning to their routine.
Throughout the posts in this blog I have tested and recommended Apps which allow students to have useful tools at the tip of their fingers. From offline dictionaries , read it later , vocabulary organization to voice recognition apps  ...
                                    And here I come again:
News Apps !

That's a quick way of keeping up with what has been going on around the world. In all of them you can browse through topics such as tech, business, entertainment, among others.
Very suitable for advanced students and teachers as a way of observing expressions, collocations , new usages of vocabulary within a real and meaningful context .
Keeping in mind the development of the students, a dictionary which can be used even when an internet connection is not available comes in handy.
My current picks : Offline Dictionary and Advanced English Wordnet (both free !)
Another hint - QR Code scanner :
It is especially used to quickly connect to a desired website. The main drawback is that a 3G / Wireless connection must be available. On the other hand, there is also the possibility of using the "plain text" function for sentences , vocabulary definitions to be recalled, quick clues, to assign different questions for each group to discuss ... And this might enable more students to take part of the proposed task.

The potential of using mobile devices in classes from time to time can enable students' to be more participative and apt to interact in the tech savvy world out there. They can also open a new window of opportunity for self-study and having access to reading habits which can challenge them beyond the classroom territory and this is a step towards independent learning or learning management.

 What about you ? Have you ever used tech resources in your classes ? Or have you ever taken part of a class with some tech approach ? 
Let us know your experience in the comments below !


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