If you follow my blog, Twitter or various groups I'm a member of you'll have noticed that this year has been a particularly polemical one in terms of discussions about the 'good' and 'bad' of technologies in teaching.

If you follow my blog, Twitter or various groups I'm a member of you'll have noticed that this year has been a particularly polemical one in terms of discussions about the 'good' and 'bad' of technologies in teaching. If you're like me, you may be a little overwhelmed with all this and - yes - perhaps even a little bored!

I suspect it's inevitable that at some point in my month-long tenure here on the site we will have that conversation again. That's perfectly fine, of course, but I'd also like to explore other aspects of technologies in education and I've got some areas which you might want to pick up on to get the conversation started...

For this initial discussion, I'd like to hear from you if you're using technologies in your teaching and training, and what form that takes? Tell us a bit about your classes: your learners, your access to technology, and (and this interests me greatly) describe an activity or class which involved technology which you think was particularly successful. Why do you incorporate technologies and how do your learners feel about that? Has it impacted positively on your teaching (and their learning) or is it simply another part of your repertoire. Is technology important to you as a teacher / trainer?

I'd also like to hear from you if you're not using technology: is it due to availability, lack of experience, lack of interest, target learners, or...?

I have to confess I'm currently putting together a talk for the annual IATEFL conference to be held in Harrogate next April and I'm researching teachers' attitudes to technology (both positive and negative), so I'm interested in both sides of the discussion.

And do you use technology in your own life (perhaps professional development online, or to take a distance course)? Do your learners use technology in theirs? Just exactly where does it fit into your existence, both personal and professional.

I think that's a good place to start, and I'm looking forward to hearing your reactions to these initial questions, as well as anything else you want to throw into the pot. I'll also be publishing a couple of articles over the month, the first dealing with the digital divide and how it impacts on some of the work I do, and the second about teacher communities online and how they help develop teachers above and beyond formal training and peer support in schools.

I'll be away from November 5th - 8th at the TESOL France conference in Paris, but I hope to be able to keep up with all your postings and look forward to the discussion.


Gavin's now finished blogging on the site - check the Guest Writers page to see who our current blogger is.


Dear Mr Gavin Dudeny, I take it a great privilege to keep the ball rolling witha man of your stature and knowledge. I would like to share my teaching experiences with you very honestly and frankly. Though I am an english teacher, trainer, resource person and text book writer, I rarely use technology in the class room. I work in a semi-urban govt high school as a TGT. Here the students belong to rural areas and are very poor. The rich go to either private or corporate schools. Of course there are computers in our school. The instructor teaches the students how to operate computers.Recently I bought a computer for my engineering daughter. She is teaching me how to operate it. I have started learning the computer. Now I have learnt how to use the internet for educational purpose. I have started writing blogs for the BC. Right now I am operating the computer myself. I used OHP when I was at RIESI Bangalore during my teacher training program. At EFLU, Hyderabad I used a  tape recorder once. Though I am academically bright I am poor in using technology. I am somewhat better now. If were teaching in a city I would have been good at using the technology. I honestly say that technology is a must in the present scenorio. Now I feel that using technology like a computer or lcd or some thing else is not difficult but it is tricky.By and by I will become computer savy and start using the technology in the class room to the best of my ability. I dont want to be mocked by my collegues, superiors as I have become a text book writer too. I hope i will live up to the expectations. Any how I am sorry for my poor knowledge of technology despite my brilliant academic back ground and creativity. with kind regards, Yours sincerely. jvl narasimharao

Welcome to this month's topic and thank you for sharing your experiences with us here. Let me, in turn, tell you about my experience in Bangalore over ten years ago...I went to run a two-week teacher training course in the regional teacher training centre, the course was called "Using Computers Creatively in the Classroom", and I ran it with a local co-trainer who was fantastic. However, when we arrived at the centre there were no computers! We spent quite a few hours begging and borrowing computers from all sorts of places (mostly Internet cafes), then quite a few more networking them together and ensuring there was a backup supply of electricity (if my memory is good, this involved a separate room full of truck batteries and lots of cables!) and connecting them to the Net on a single dial-up connection.It was hard work, but we got there and everything was working fine on the first morning of the course. I think the act of working together to get everything up-and-running was an enjoyable experience, and we used all our pool of resourcefulness to ensure that the participants got what they came for. And I also learnt a little bit along the way - especially when it comes to the sort of experiences you describe: some teachers were working in very smart schools with computers and all sorts of teaching aids, other participants (as you say) came from very rural areas where they had very few resources- The digital divide was very much in evidence and, I suspect, still is.If you have time, please take a look at my first article which, among other things, mentions a couple of projects based in India which I find particularly interesting. Your experiences are not uncommon, I think - but what I particularly like about your story is how your daughter is the one helping you to get up-to-speed with technology. Quite rightly (in my opinion) you've given her a tool which is essential for her education and, in exchange, she's giving you something very useful back.With your experience as a teacher, trainer and writer you'll no doubt be able to appreciate the possibilities of the Net quickly and I hope your blogging is going well. Can you give us a link to your blog so that we can all go over and take a look? The point is, I think, that if you do have access, and time (and a patient teacher like your daughter!) then you can learn anything and I hope your experiences with computers and the Net bring something to your professional life (Net access is great for coursebook writersm for sure).Thanks once again for your time and for sharing a little part of your life with us all here.Gavin 

Hi Gavin
My name is Albert P'Rayan.  We have exchanged emails before.  I was one of the moderators of the IATEFL online forum for the past two years.  I met you last year at the English for Progress conference held in Kolkatta, India.
I teach ESP / EST courses at an engineering college in Chennai, India. I'm very much interested in 'web-based English language teaching'.  I have been integrating technology into ELT for about a decade. 
I would like to know from you how effectively we can use twitter in ELT. 
I look forward to your response.
Best wishes
Albert P'Rayan
Editor, ELTeCS-ISL
Asst Professor of English, KCG College of Technology, Chennai, India

                                                          GIVEN BY GOD    Dear Mr. Gavin Dudeney (given by God). Thank you very much for your response. I have a tendency of not using a thing which I don’t own. That’s why I could not know how to use a mobile until I bought it in 2007. I could not drive a motor bike till I bought it in 2001. I could not use a computer  until I purchased it 6 weeks ago. Since I bought the computer, I have been trying hard to learn  it and started blogging for the British council. I  have already created 5 blogs.- 1:teaching English as a second language. 2:narrative as a pedagogic tool. 3:should we teach grammar at all?. 4: how manieth son are you to your father? 5: writing blogs for British Council is a beauty and created two forum topics.-1.the phonology of English.2. teaching English in a multi lingual and religious  context in India. I have already added 6 comments to my own blogs as responses and 3 more to other’s blogs. I have been requesting the British Council to allow me to be the guest teacher. I may be over ambitious. But I can’t help it. I have asked the Duncan English teaching team to grade my blogs at the earliest. But they replied that they would read the blogs of their choice. Since you are interested to look into my blogs, you may please ask them to have a look at my ungraded  blogs. I have written blogs with the names of jvlnarasimharao and vlnraojagatha. The first two blogs were graded grate(average 4). I would like to be the guest teacher by and by. I am confident that I will be successful in my endeavour. I  have read your biography which is really fascinating. I listened to your captivating voice in the video interview too. since you are given by God, you will listen to the prayers of your devotee. I hope you will guide me how to write blogs much better and let me know your over all assessment of my blogs, comments and forum topics.   With kind regards Yours sincerely, J.V.L.Narasimha Rao   

Hi Gavin
Good to see you and technology on this site.  Like you I have been involved in using computers in the ELT classroom for many years.  Increasingly, my work has moved into teacher training at MA level and it was the need to try and link the work of “TESOL-based academics and researchers” more directly to the practitioners whose practice they help to inform that led me to set up WWW.TESOLacademic.org  It’s a dissemination site consisting of web casts in which people talk about their peer-reviewed published  research.   It includes a keynote section with contributions from the “big hitters” in ELT such as  David Nunan and Keith Johnson as well as a books section and a section for people with publications in journals such as the ELTJ.  Hopefully you and your fellow bloggers will find it interesting – I’d certainly be interested in hearing what you and others have to say about it.
Best Wishes
Huw Jarvis

Greetings One of the things that make very sad is the lack of motivation among our teachers to use technology in their classes. During the summer holiday I worked very hard to put together a workshop to train the teachers at department on the use of web2.O tools in their classes. The trainer was Hala Fawzi one of the best trainers in this field in Sudan. The workshop was a great experience for them and from their feed back it was a great success but still very few of them are willing to introduce technology in the classroom. I am trying understand the reasons behind their lack of interest.   Hala Salih (Sudan)

It is very good to hear that Mr Dudeney has been overviewing the state of the art in teaching with technology.
I must confess that I have not been very active with electronic technology but I have worried a lot. (I am sixty-five, Doctor habilitatus, with over thirty years of  experience in teaching university undergraduates in EFL. I am not brilliant in computer literacy but I have widely used and referred my students to the available best teaching sites (BBC, British Council|BBC, Clarity),  exploited the Internet and email in my teaching practice. I have even been asking my colleagues at the international conferences in Poland, Italy, Lithuania and the Czech Republic this year to what extent they employed the electronic technologies in the classroom. The answer was negative.They said that lesson time did not permit it. I have been of the same opinion. But most importantly, I have pined for the diminishing role of the teacher and the overexaggerated emphasis on technology.
The teacher. Not so long ago, when the best tape-recorders had been installed in all classrooms, I used to praise the state of things by saying that the student had the company of at least two teachers - the real in the classroom and at least one recorded, which was a luxury, especially if one added radio and TV. The lesson time used to be sacred time and the teacher was responsible for the content of English and information he provided within the fixed 90 minutes. The teacher had a role to play. At present the teacher has been brushed off in the name of human rights, the psychological comfort of the student and technology. I have taught a descriptive course of English grammar to university undergraduates for the last two years and still hold myself responsible for the content I manage to sqeeze into the 90 minutes and for the result I achieve every day. Let the students exploit the Internet and the teaching sites (the materials of which I provide in handouts at my lessons) at their free time. I keep reminding them of the valuable web addresses.
I can add that the computer is not readily available in all classrooms in which I teach. But I really have a feeling that the Internet and most of the teaching sites may most profitably extend the student's social-professional context rather than taking the precious time of the lesson. Besides, I have not been teaching language practice or conversation skills, which is my final excuse. I look forward to Mr Dudeney's assessment of the state of the art in teaching various aspects of EFL with technology. Thank you.   Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite

Hi Gavin,I'm currently doing some research on why not to use technology in the classroom for my blog and will let you know what I've come up with.Personally, I see the potential but the means seem to be the problem.There are various issues to consider ranging from the teachers' abilities to security on the web.Is it a fad or the future?Hope you had a great time at the Istek conference in Istanbul and see you in Harrogate :)Anita 

Albert,[quote=albertrayan]I would like to know from you how effectively we can use twitter in ELT. [/quote]Good to see you here on the site for my month in the seat! I think Twitter has a lot of potential for learners and teachers - at the moment I use it for my own development by following a lot of people who share my interests (as well as some who don't!). The only issue with using Twitter in class is that it can be very distracting for learners if they're also following lots of friends as your tweets may get lost in the rest of their conversation - this ability to follow a wide range of people is both its strength (in terms of development) and perhaps a potential weakness in terms of focus in the classroom.You might want to look at EdModo (www.edmodo.com) which allows you to create private Twitter-like networks - what you lose in bringing in the outside world may be worth it in terms of focus on your materials. Perhaps it's worth trying both and figuring out which works for what you want to do?Best,Gavin 

Huw,[quote=huwjarvis]WWW.TESOLacademic.org  - Hopefully you and your fellow bloggers will find it interesting – I’d certainly be interested in hearing what you and others have to say about it.[/quote]Many thanks for the link to your site. I've just taken a quick look at it and it looks like an excellent resource in the making. I've bookmarked it and will be returning to it for a proper look around tomorrow (I'm just back from a conference in Paris and have a bulging Inbox to take care of first!), but I think that sites like this are an invaluable resource to teachers. How do you 'twist people's arms' to get the content?Gavin


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