Can we encourage our students with their own tools?
We have always referred to the concept of ICT as new technologies in the classroom but both, hardware or software, are constantly suffering updates so it is redundant to use the term “new technologies”. Although this continuous evolution involves also continuous professional development and pedagogical support, it is not the point of view of the teacher but the one of the student which should be taken into account if we aim to catch their attention and improve their learning process.
Nowadays, the use of Technology is part of any student’s comfort zone, they are used to using revolutionary tools on a daily basis in different environments that make things easier and quicker. Therefore, Technology can be used as another facilitator tool for teaching if well implemented; this does not necessary mean teachers must always depend on technology, but as society is evolving into a more technological lifestyle, educational institutions that are preparing those students for tomorrow, should tend to create a similar environment for learning.
CLIL & ICT seems to be a perfect marriage as the technological improvement we have experienced the last decades have had an important impact on education as well as in students life. Besides, English teaching and learning have never been as needed on the curriculum as they do now.
For ESL, Bilingüalism or CLIL environments, ICT is an ideal platform which allows to develop interaction, peer and independent learning as well as language use for real communicative purposes in real scenarios. When classrooms are provided with tablets, digital interactive whiteboards, computers, laptops or even chromebooks with internet connection, it is the time to develop learning strategies implementing these technologies.
We, the teachers, already have at our disposal some tools; what we need is to clearly understand our needs and select out of that wide variety the one that allows us to move forward to implement pedagogy, strategies and skills to transform and improve the learning/teaching processess.
The implementation of CLIL programs require greater participation from our students to create, not just to memorise the content, but the learning of the language through which to access that content.
In this context, the use of technology in the classroom becomes a magnificent resource. It is motivating and productive for the student, as long as it allows themselves to become content generators.
For instance, creating text, audio or video contents implies storage, distribution and content curation. Critical thinking, linguistic tasks, language picking, or even the focus on intonation and how to converge all this in an integrated learning environment is part of the new digital competency demanded for CLIL teachers
This combination of CLIL and ICT in the classroom can result in a highly encouraging process for the student, and definitely rewarding for the teacher.
Encouraging your students with their own tools obviously will start reducing the distance between education and educational needs.
So when the process of transforming education is taking place, the question is, do you want to be part of it?