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The sea of opportunities?
ICT tools and resources have been around for quite a while. We saw the advent of the trend as long as about 20 years ago, when desktop computers were no longer a novelty in a classroom. Students wrote and edited their works with the Word processor, and teachers began to consider an email a reliable way to communicate with students.
However, in recent years we have seen dramatic changes. There are now hundreds, if not thousands, ICT tools and resources designed specifically for educational purposes, and I believe that the primary goal of a teacher is not to drown in this sea of opportunities.
I have always regarded ICT tools only as ways to achieve pedagogical goals, which should never shift out of focus, and a teacher should not forget about it when playing and experimenting with all that fancy functionality.
My approach is to make the maximum use of the ICT tools by creating a “digital learning environment” for students, with each tool used having its purpose. It consists of the following elements:
- LMS – the heart of DLE (digital learning environment). Using a learning management system serves multiple needs, and it is easy to adjust it to them. This is where you can make, keep and share the Syllabus with the students, post homework and create additional exercises and tests.
- Cloud storage (like Dropbox, or in my case, Oblako Mail.ru) – ideal as storage extension (for your files and electronic books and resources) of your LMS if you do not have enough space.
- Trello boards. I use this tool for systemizing vocabulary and keeping it always available both for me and for my students any time in any place. More about it in my previous posts.
- I use Powtoon to create fun videos and post them on Youtube. You can check them out here. These videos are part of my courses.
- I also use Quizlet, Cerego, Bookcreator, Vidra, IMovie and Soundcloud in case there is a need (not just for the sake of it).
- I play my audio files in class via my Ipad, and use it to keep files, saving paper and environment.
- And finally, Whatsapp for keeping in touch with my students.
This is what makes the Digital Learning Environment in my classes. The students (adults, corporate setting) do enjoy this way of learning, and regular tests seem to prove it has only a positive effect. There is only one thing worth remembering: the Goal is the King.