In my previous post I talked about the concept of Digital Literacy and how it can affects the learning process in our students through the use of technology, and also I mentioned what are the necessary competence that a 21st century teacher must have. Today I’m going to talk about ICTs, ICTs or Information and Communication Technologies is a term that refers to all the group of communication and information devices, applications or webpages (http://searchcio.techtarget.com, N.D). This includes examples such as radio, television, computers, social media, telephones etc. The term it may sound new to you, but the term ICT was created in 1997 by Dennis Stevenson, a successful businessman (Stevenson, 1997). ICT is a great tool for teachers that let us expand the teaching process enhancing the process of learning for our students. Tools such as teaching webpages, educational platforms, social networks, e-classrooms, videogames, etc. are examples of tools that the teacher can use. But, let’s start with some basic ICT concepts:
· Distance Learning: also called D-Learning, is according to the webpage thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk (N.D) refers to the “way of learning remotely without being in regular face-to-face contact with a teacher in the classroom”. Examples of distance learning can be courses or Master’s Program that are taught by mail, through internet, etc.
· E-learning: E-Learning or electronic learning refers to teaching through the use of electronic devices such as videotapes, cd-rom, dvd and computers (e-learningconsulting.com, N.D). A classic example of e-learning would be interactive games such as Brain Age for the Nintendo DS, the Encarta Encyclopedia, and the Duolingo web page.
· Online or Virtual Learning: online or virtual learning consist in teaching through the use of the Internet. By using computers, online or virtual learning class consist in synchronous classes by having in which professors are connected on the web on a certain place and students connected via a laptop or a computer. Most of these types of classes use a certain platform or website that lets teacher to post activities, evaluation plan, or the program of the subject. Educational platforms such as WizIQ, Edmodo, Moogle, etc. are the most used among teachers and students.
· Blended Learning: blended learning consist according to knewton.com (N.D) in the “formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path or pace.”
· Mobile Learning: mobile learning is a type of e-learning that consist in teaching through the use of mobile phones. Mobile phones nowadays are as capable as computer in connecting to the web, log in to websites, share information and also do functions related to educations. Apart from interactive games like “Preguntados”, there are also apps like Duolingo that teaches a second language by an array of exercises that cover the 4 skills corresponding to second language learning. Also there’s the mobile version of Edmodo, a virtual education platform but for smartphones and tablets.
Having some concepts related to ICT and the different means of using ICT in our classroom, let’s talk about my situation in my country regarding to ESL using ICT. Regarding with teaching English using ICT in middle and high schools is something very uncommon because most of the teachers stick to the traditional curriculum that the Ministry of Education sets. However, in Universities , like for example the School of Modern Languages, teachers use online and blended learning in their classes, like for example English from 1 to 4, Composition, Literature and Translation. In my case, I work in a high school in which I apply the use of mobile learning through the Duolingo application since most of the students have smartphones. Hopefully for the next school year, all the teachers will start to apply the Edmodo platform in order to post information such as activities, homework, the program and the syllabus.
To sum up, ICT are a great tool that has many options for teachers to apply in the classroom, by applying them correctly, the teacher can expand and improve the student’s learning process.
· E-learningconsulting.com. N.D. What is E-learning?. Taken from http://www.e-learningconsulting.com/consulting/what/e-learning.html on May 18, 2014.
· Knewton.com. N.D. Blended Learning Infographic. Taken from http://www.knewton.com/blended-learning/ on May 18, 2014.
· Searchcio.techtarget.com, N.D. ICT (information and communications technology - or technologies. Taken from http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/ICT-information-and-communications-technology-or-technologies on May 18, 2014.
· Stevenson, D. 1997. Information and Communications Technology in UK Schools: An Independent Inquiry. (pdf version). Taken from http://web.archive.org/web/20070104225121/http://rubble.ultralab.anglia.ac.uk/stevenson/ICT.pdf on May 18, 2014.
· Thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk. N.D. What is Distance Learning?. Taken from http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/distance-learning/what-is-distance-learning/ on May 18, 2014.