I think it’s time we made a habit of asking what students think of EdTech. Over the next while, I’m going to stimulate and curate that conversation – both online and off. If you’d like to join in the conversation – as a teacher with a question or by encouraging your students to share their thoughts – then fire off a tweet to #ELTyak. I’ll respond as they come in.
Won’t somebody please think of the children?
Like most of us in the ELT blogosphere, I watched and read (and occasionally commented on) IATEFL and its aftermath. Time well spent.
However, it struck me that none of the EdTech sessions I watched, to paraphrase Helen Lovejoy, thought of the students. Or rather, none of them talked to the students.
In fact, I wager that Busuu and Duolingo have spent far longer speaking* to users about their EdTech experience than any school I’ve ever worked at has to students. In ELT I think we approach EdTech the same way we do curriculum: the response of the students is important, but we don’t want too much of their input when we’re making decisions.
* (or at least watching them, according to Jo Sayers)
Here are some questions that might arm us better in relation to Sugata Mitra’s seemingly controversial plenary at IATEFL:
- Do you like working without a teacher?
- Would you enjoy working in a small group with a computer (ie a SOLE)? (Teachers: you can set one of these up if you have a computer lab)
- Would you like English help from my Mum (ie a grandma)?
- When do you think your English improves most: in class or outside?
However, looking beyond IATEFL, I’ve come up with a list below:
- Apart from textbooks, what do you use outside of class time to help you learn English?
- What technology do you use to learn English when you’re not in school? (what technology, social media, websites, apps, etc?)
- Why do you use them?
- How do you know if they are helping you learn?
- Do you use them in class? What technology do you use in class?
- What language is your phone and things like Facebook set to?
- What do you think about using technology in class?
- What English skills do you think technology can help you with?
- Would you like to do homework, or communicate with your class, on the train home?
- Do you study English outside of class with other students? If so, do you use any technology to do this?
- Is there anything you want to do with technology and learning English, but can’t?
If you’d like to point us all in the direction of someone who has done this, then let us know below. If you’d like to add or alter a question, do so below or via Twitter at #ELTyak. Finally, if you’d like to join in the discussion with your class, then they can fire off a tweet to #ELTyak.