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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

21st Century Teachers: Are you well-equipped ?

Have you ever given some thought on how to benefit from organization apps and on-line tools ?
How can so busy language teachers make use the available gadgets available to effectively organize their teaching practice and have some quality time off ?
You may be a private language instructor or a teacher who works for a language school or even a regular school, but one thing is for sure : being a teacher and having to deal with and figure out how to enhance students performance is a very rewarding but also demanding activity ! We're always on the clock and busy as can be !

My point in this post being: fellow teachers: there's a tech world which has been advancing in such an impressive speed. We cannot turn our backs to it , instead we should go and learn from it what is meaningful for a profitable teaching-learning experience for both educators and students.
My Experience
In the past two years, I have come across a number of apps that can be used for educational purposes and can integrate real-life resources to the everyday classroom needs. Then it clicked !
So I started researching on my own and decided to start sharing the most useful discoveries with my students and colleagues.
I work in São Paulo and teach an average of 20 students per class. There are usually 4 or 5 smartphones available among students. Also the 3G service is very often expensive and not everyone has it.
So from my observation of the reality surrounding me, I got to the conclusion that Apps which can be accessed offline are the way to go.
Lately with my Intermediate and Advanced level students I make use of a read-it-later offline app , Pocket (they can save internet articles and refer back to them offline), offline dictionaries  and QR Code scanner for activities which involve scanning some piece of information to challenge them with what has been taught during classes. This ways students can walk around, use their mobiles in a meaningful classroom way and exchange ideas in order to sort out what the activity proposed.
The QR Code app can be used with all age ranges and levels and it has added some positive variety to the classroom pace. Also, the student gets to keep the activity on his mobile in case they want to.

Essencial Apps for the  21st century teacher:  

Here are my choices :

Appointment book/ Planner:     Business Calendar   

Offline Dictionaries - I've already mentioned in past posts the ones I use on a daily basis :  
Word Net Advanced Dictionary

Offline Dictionary

News sources:

QR Code scanner:

Google Drive &  e-mail  :
Google Drive enables you to save your teaching material and share them if you want to. You can easily have on-line acess and organize your production .So useful and convenient !


Read it later (to save articles for offline reading):

All Apps mentioned are free of charge and can be downloaded for both Android and iOS systems.
When you get used to having these apps in your working routine, they will certainly help you out with your organization and communication with your students.
Ah, keep in mind that, when it comes to tech, we can always learn with our students ! A very profitable exchange of tips and useful resources.
If you still haven't got a smartphone or tablet, give it some thought, the variety of devices and price range available are tempting and have been very competitive as well.
Most probably this is a good time to start researching and find a portable device that can fit your needs  and get to know how it works better.
This way, when a brand-new school year re-starts, you'll be ready !
Are there any other Apps and on-line resources you make use of ? Let us know and share in the comments below !

Raquel Gonzaga

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