Technology for ESL
Computer and presentation technologies are becoming an important tool for teachers to use to effectively communicate to their students. It is always important to deliver information to students using a methodology that they embrace. Of course, if students are merely led to computers to do workbooks and drills the impact of the technology may not be effective. Training teachers to utilize technology to improve their classroom delivery is critical to technological implementation.
Change in USA Societal Communication
The importance of using technology is underscored by the current changes in American society. Cable television, the Internet, social media sites and digital cameras have completely changed the way we communicate as a society. Educational delivery platforms are in the process of changing to meet the sea change that is occurring in communications.
Speaking Their Language
The current student has been raised using computer social media, cell phones and iPods and is used to media and colorful information. Information needs to be delivered in short succinct image laden packages to assure they understand the data. They are comfortable with this sort of presentation--and people learn better when they comfortable with the delivery environment.
A Picture is Worth 1000 Words
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth. Electronic media allows the teacher to move beyond words and images. For example, if you are teaching biology, you can actually show a cell dividing instead of using words to describe it. Rich media that is readily available on the Internet can help the student grasp more complex concepts quicker and easier then using the written word alone. Recent studies have shown where technology is implemented correctly test scores rise, there is improved student attendance and increased student comprehension.
Using the Right Technology
The right technology is the technology that teachers have been effectively trained on. For example, if a teacher has been trained on how to use a Smart Board, then their teaching will be effective. If not, the students will know and the teacher will loose credibility, which can be disastrous. It is better not to implement new technology then to implement it without adequate teacher training.
Becoming Technically Competent
Fortunately it is pretty easy to find excellent technology training and certification programs for most technologies used by teachers. In addition, most companies offer significant discounts to teachers on technology and software training. Companies like Smart Technologies offer free training online and at seminars. Microsoft and Adobe offer complete online and print tutorials, workshops and in-depth certification programs. Computer manufacturers like Dell and Apple offer in depth computer training and certification programs some of which are free.