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Learning Technologies: being sceptical and conservative
When bringing some new learning technologies into class, there is always a possibility - or even a danger - of using learning technologies just for the sake of using them, because we are seduced by bright screens, cool apps, interactivity, sounds and speed, so it always pays to ask yourself if a technology you were charmed by is really going to contribute some valuable angle to your not too hi-tech class before.
Well, at least that's true in my situation, in the context of corporate teaching. I am almost sure I am missing something big, but as for now, I have much fewer opportunities for putting to use smart learning technologies in a really effective way, than, say, school teachers - with all the overhead projectors and smart whiteboards.
I might be wrong - or just conservative - but I would (boringly) narrow down the use of learning technologies to dictionaries in my students' smart phones and Internet access in a classroom. So if we decide we really need some fresh breath or talking heads, we'll turn to the Internet, but the main process for the classroom will still be people's communication - with people. That said, I can't see any restrictions for promoting all the progressive features outside the classroom.
I usually try not to overdo the technology use just for the sake of it, so I prefer to leave it for independent studies - after class. I tend to encourage and recommend using smart phone apps for learning vocabulary, watching videos and playing flash (educational) games to practise it, and visiting a couple of language exchange sites for communication, as well as listening to learning English podcasts on the move.
Another effective employment of technologies is lessons preparation - I don't know what I'd do without Wordle.net and Tagxedo.com, as well as a number of other sites and programs.