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Friday, May 2, 2014

Digital Literacy and the 21st Century English Teacher

Right now we are living in a world almost covered from head to toe with technology. 50 years ago in order to get in touch with someone who lived abroad, we must write a letter to that person, this said letter could arrive one month even three months after it was written, making it hard to communicate with friends, relatives or the people we hold dear. Nowadays we can communicate with people abroad in the commodity of our homes through Skype, Facebook or even with our smartphones. Another example is shopping, nowadays we have webpages such as Mercadolibre.com, E-bay, Amazon.org and many more that let us buy things at any time in any place. 

Tecnology connects us all around the world. 


As a whole, technology has become an integral part of our lives making living quite easy. In the case of education, especially in English Teaching, technology is a huge tool that can improve the teaching experience, enhancing the learner’s learning process. But by only knowing some English Teaching websites makes you a teacher who adapts technology to his or her classes. First off, the teacher must know Digital Literacy, but, what is Digital Literacy? Digital Literacy is the ability to understand and process information and create more information through the use of technology (library.illinois.edu, N.D). But how Digital Literacy can help English Teachers? The answer is rather simple: since we are living in a world where digital media, social media such as Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr and technology are part of day to day routine, teachers, professor all around the world can use this useful tool to their advantage to improve the class experience, breaking the mold of the old school style of teaching that sometimes is difficult for both teachers and students.

Digital Literacy, The New Frontier. 


A good example can be: instead of using expensive course books, a teacher can upload the program, syllabus and the necessary material through a Cloud like Dropbox where the student can download it to their smartphones or tablets. If one day the teacher wants to change things around, he or she can use a digital classroom like Moogle or WizIQ where the Teacher can use many resources to explain a certain unit from anywhere he is. Another possibility of using technology in developing for example writing could be through the use of the Edmodo platform. Let's say for example, that the teacher wants to evaluate the student's ability to create a declarative paragraph or essay, the teacher by using Edmodo can post a forum for discussion in which the students will post their ideas or opinion on a topic that the teacher has previously explained. But as the concept of Digital Literacy say, teachers must know some competence in order to apply technology, in here I put, to me, the necessary skills that a 21st century Teacher must have: 

·         Know your group of student: this is something that every teacher, from the old school teachers to the new ones, they must need their students and their respective needs and not throw information at random because you are a teacher and you are the authority because that will cause distraught in your classroom.

·         Use whatever that is at your disposal: technology is everywhere and you can get it anywhere at any time. Most of the software for teaching purpose, blogs, social networks, are free, so take that into account. However, the schools or institutes are not well suited, that is sometimes that teachers must take into account and adapt to what the school or workplace are providing us.

·         Know the technology: as I said before, just because you know some websites it won’t make you a “techno” teacher. No, you must read beforehand what you are going to apply with your students, whether is going to be positive or negative for them. Also to know which software or webpage is going to improve or decrease their skills, wether ir oral, written or readinf.

·         Adapt to new technologies: with the lives we are living, sometimes what we think is brand new, two hours later is old and outdated. We as teachers must learn to adapt to the running course of society and the technology that it keeps updating almost frequently.

In summary, to me, teaching through the use of technologies is a huge advantage that we have over the teachers that were before us, why? Because it let us explore roads that weren’t explored, it let us use mediums such as videos, movies, images even video games that let us create a better teaching/learning environment to our students. I think this won’t stop because technology keeps growing and growing, improving each and every day making the task of teaching more suitable.

Before I finish my first blog entry (wohoo!) I invite you all to visit this websites that talk about digital literacy:
With nothing else to say, I’ll see you on my next entry. Over and out!




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