Home > technology > We get it, technology is important. Let’s move on!

We get it, technology is important. Let’s move on!

Well, one thing nobody can say about the EFL industry is that we don’t understand the importance of technology to our profession. If the recent IATEFL conference is in any way representative of the industry as a whole, then we seem to be obsessed with technology.

There were again a huge number of technology talks over the four days, if you ask me, far too many.

I do honestly get it, technology is important and we need to adapt to it and include it in our classroom. However, don’t we know that already?

I was extremely disappointed with the majority of tech talks at this year’s conference. All but a handful seemed to be obsessed with the following questions:

  1. Is technology useful in English teaching?
  2. Should we be using technology in our classroom?

Well, I think everybody knows that the answers are 1. Yes and 2. Yes. Why do we need to keep talking about it? Where are all the talks entitled ‘how to use technology in the classroom”? There are some but you have to wade through a huge amount of irrelevant rubbish to find them.

There were a few excellent, practical workshops that just gave people solid ideas on how to incorporate technology into their teaching. However, the majority of talks seemed to focus on the ethics of using technology and whether it has a place in the classroom.

The answer is YES. Can we move on please? We have technology, its good. Let’s start seeing all technology talks providing people with what they really want; practical ideas on how to use the vast array of technology successfully in their classrooms. Conference organisers, if a technology talk isn’t practical, please don’t accept it, enough already.

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  1. May 6, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    It is difficult to move on when teachers don´t adapt. How many BE teachers know what an LMS is Ed? How many teachers actively promote the use of apps, or voice recognition tools inside an LMS to a corporate? How many teachers or schools provide online solutions for their corporate accounts? How many schools promote blended learning or flipped learning? In answer to all these questions – the answer is ‘very few indeed’ despite the publicity. So, for all the talks at the recent IATEFL conference about technology, there are still very few teachers or schools actively integrating technology into the curriculum to help students learn faster, and reduce the costs of language learning to those who need it most. Indeed many teachers are still fearful of it. Where I work – here in Brazil, there has been a significant shift this year to online learning. Adoption is increasing at a rate of 15 to 20% per year, and corporates are leading the charge,closing the door to traditiional classroom teaching and switching to online systems – it is too costly to maintain the status quo and traditional class time doesn´t provide the management, monitoring, and reporting tools required by HR teams – in real time to effectively monitor employees. So, Ed when you say ‘enough already’ – I would respond by saying ‘we haven´t even started’. We are just beginning.

    • May 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Robert,

      Sorry it took me so long to reply. I completely agree with you. There’s not enough promotion of ‘good’ technology and not enough people know how to use it effectively. However, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s no place for technology in the classroom, there’s a big place, but there’s not being enough done to help teachers use it effectively. As long as the debate revolves around whether we should be using technology we’ll never move on. What I’d like to see is people like yourself, who understand and use the technology, giving talks on how you can do the things you mention in your post. Until this happens, nothing’s going to change. Maybe it’s time to put your money where your mouth is, Robert?

  2. Richard
    May 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    a very big, clean whiteboard and a nice selection of coloured markers (good markers though – Bic are best)

  3. May 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Using technology has become quite normal for trainers with a certain set of standards, I’d say. I really like this nice list of apps http://leoxicon.blogspot.ca/p/essential-lexical-tools.html

  4. October 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Hi, Ed! I completely agree with you. I for one want to use mobile apps in the classroom. But I don’t see much language apps and which ones are useful. I want to see more quality mobile learning apps so we could really integrate the use of tablets and mobiles in the lessons.

  5. April 21, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I’d go further and say don’t have (or don’t go to) sessions on technology in EFL, just incorporate technology-based ideas into workshops on needs analysis, homework, pron, etc etc etc.

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