The advent of digital technology has dramatically changed routines and practices in our society. Advocates of technology in education often envisage similar dramatic changes in the process of teaching and learning. It has become clear, however, that technology is changing our ways of communicating and we, teachers of English, must deal with this relevant issue which influences English language teaching overwhelmingly.
I would like to share “how” from my own experience. I am the author of an online component (http://misspat-englishplus.com/main ) and since 2011, I have been the tutor of that online component at the primary level (5th and 6th grades) in a private school. Misspat-englishplus is an online course developed on a Moodle platform which is embedded in a blended learning context. It aims at enhancing and practising content students see in their face-to- face classes, as well as at helping them develop their independence and autonomy in their learning processes. This virtual component reinforces the work that students do in class by providing activities that they can do on line, outside the classroom, whenever they are connected to the internet.
Going back to my personal experience, I can state that the implementation of my online component was rather controversial at the very beginning. In Argentina, we still have many issues in education to be improved; teachers’ need for educational development or growth, collaborative work , new methodologies in the classroom, better internet service in many areas of the country, capability of adaptation to the new changes, need for public and private investments and so on. Luckily, these negative factors are changing little by little but we still have a long way to grow in educational matters. For the last seven years, my young learners have been able to develop creative stories, outstanding e-books, written work on different topics, speaking situations etc., only to mention some of their activities using different resources on the platform. Indeed, they have had the chance to improve all their communicative skills in their foreign language. For all the given reasons, when used to enhance the learning experience of students, the Learning Platform becomes an invaluable tool in the field of pedagogy, especially in the field of English as a Foreign Language.
In conclusion, times have changed - digital technology, in its all forms, has come to stay. This is the new increasing trend in ELT and we, educators, must try to catch up and provide our learners with a relevant education.
I would like to finish by quoting Marc Prensky; “Our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.”