Educational Technology and ICT

Posted in Labels: ,

Technology , the century term by excellence , is becoming increasingly crucial in both our professional and personnal lives . It has facilitated our life to the point that we become very much dependent on its use in our daily acitivities . We will not talk about technology in its broadest scope but we will instead narrow it down to a particular field called Educational Technology (ET ) and ICT ( Information Communication Technology ) as it is straightforwardly related to our profession as teachers and educators .
The question here is ; why educational technology and ICT ? The answer is very simple , our learners and students use technology more and more while a very large portion of teachers are lagging behind . Unfortunately , there are many teachers now that are far less skilled and knowledgeable than their students when it comes to using current technology .This situation is even worse in Africa and the Arab world in general . Being myself part of theis geographical location , I know exactly how needed teachers and educators are to this wealth of technological innovations without which our teaching and professional development have no meaning . This blog , therefore , is a simple and modest try from my part to help in this this gap by providing non technical descriptions of new technological tools and by demonstrating how teachers can use these tools in the classroom . In brief , we will be talking about the practical applications of technology to teaching especially TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign language ) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language ) .
This work is primarily meant for teachers with little or no experience of ICT tools and how to use them in the classroom and also for those who are already ICT knowledgeable but still lack in some fresh ideas about its effective use as well as links to new development in this field . Please not here that any proprietal software programs and operating systems that will be listed through the whole posts DO NOT mean in any way that we are endorsing these products but are included just for the sake of simplifying and concretising instances of tools that teachers can use in their classrooms .
Web2.0 in Education
Finally , we would very much welcome any kind of feedback from you and if you are working now on a certain ICT project or are implementing any other application or tool with your students then share the knowledge here and let others benefit . Our aim is to develop foreign language teaching through technology .

Sendspace : a free file sharing service

Posted in Labels: ,

Sendspace is one of the best online file sharing service.It is completely free and does not necessetate registration . As teachers and educators, I think the use of this web2.0 application is indispensable withing our schools and institutions and with our students and learners.It is really a great software that provide a large storage capacity to host your files and share them with others . Click on read more to learn how to use this tool .
Sendspace is one of the greates web2.0 application and one of the featured ICT tool inside classrooms and schools .It is a free service and doesnt call for any registration but if you decidce to open an account there ( which i would highly recommend )it is also free to do so .
Why do you need to regsiter ?
As i said before you can benifit from Sendspace without even being a registered member ; but if you want to get the most of this service then you need open an account . It is free , easy and quick , all it takes is a couple of minutes .Once you are registered you can benifit from a bunch of extra features such as :

  • Monitor and edit files
  • Recover downloaded links
  • Delete files
  • Use the wizard tool
  • Create email groups to send links to
  • Automatic receipt of upload confirmation
  • Free of spam space and no third parties acces to you email address
These are just some of the services you can get from being a registered member . However , there are several other extra services that Sendspace provide for Pro or Max members but these are paid services .

How long does a file remain available ?

Files can be hosted in Sendspace for unlimited period of time until they become inactive only then they are deleted from your account .A file becomes inactive if it has not been uploaded for about 30 days .File deletion is not an issue with Pro and Max members .
Can i group my files in an online folder ?
Yes sure .Once you are registered you can organise all your files into a folder in the "My files " tab . Folders are private by default but you can change their setting in the "folder options" and generate a folder URL to share with others .
To learn more about Sendspace you can either :
How can i use Sendspace ?

To start using Sendspace follow these steps :
  1. Unregsitered members
go to sendspace and fill in the spaces and click upload . Look at this screenshot as example

To register click on sing up for free in sendspace homepage and provide your info . . Look at this screen shot for illustration :
When you click on register you will then get an email with an activation link . Open your inbox and and confirm your address and complete the registration process .
How can we use Sendspace with students ?
There are several ways we can use Sendspace with our learners :

  • an extra resource of materials where students can download files .
  • Create email groups of students and share files with them to help them with their learning especially the slow learners .
  • Assign tasks and projects to students and tell them to use Sendspace to share files between each other and with you too for a later verification and correction .
That’s it for now . I hope you like this web2.0 application and I would like to hear about your experience when using it with your students .
Please leave a comment if you like this article , if you do not like it I would also welcome your reaction , but if you do not want to leave your feed then just SMILE .

Using Websites withing The Classroom

Posted in Labels: ,

Using websites is one of the easiest and less stressful ways of integrating technology into the classroom. There is a plethora of constantly expanding collection of resources on the web , at a variety of levels and covering an amazing array of topics. You can choose from authentic ( written for internet surfers in general ) sources or ELT specific sites ( made by , and for , teachers ), monolingual sites , sites with multimedia , or just simple text for those on slower connection.
there are several ways you can use web pages in the classroom :

  1. as printed pages in cases where there is no computers or where there is a limited access to the net. Teachers can just print out a couple of pages containing the targeted items they need to use in the classroom and then zerox it for the rest of the class to have .
  2. with one computer with an internet connection .There are many schools that do not have enough computers to cover all the needs of teachers and students , in this case one can have access only to one computer and with the use of data projector or an interactive whiteboard the visibility can be greater for the whole class and the benefit is generalized.
  3. In a computer lab with a set of networked and interconnected computers . This is the ideal situation any language teacher would aspire for .

It is very important that teachers should organise regular get-togethers with their learners to explain to them the advantages of learning through technology . It should be clear to all language learners that the use of internet is an intrinsic part of their overall language development process and is not a pass time or an occasional activity that has nothing to do with their study program .
Talk to your students and explain the reasons for using internet and discuss their attitudes to technology in general .Show them how the coursebook can be enhanced by extra materials from the net .When you are home by your computer trying to assemble a set of authentic ELT sites for a possible incorporation into your teaching , keep in mind that you have to look for sites that :

  1. have easy structure and navigation.
  2. smaller chunks of text by page.
  3. have visual and multimedia materials
  4. approachable and understandable content

you can also provide for your learners some useful online dictionary sites to help them along their electronic classroom learning.


Technology in The Classroom

Posted in Labels: ,

Technology in language teaching is not new . In fact , the use of technolgy in education dates back to the 1960s and 1970s . Tape recorders , language laboratories and videos were in use in many classrooms in all around the world . Computers were the primary source of materials in the form of visual stimuli to which learners had to respond and carry out different tasks. This method is actually the one that gave birth to the Computer Assisted Language Learning ( CALL ) approach . learners would depend on computer programs to consolidate their knwowledge and develop their basic skills . Tasks such as filling in gapped texts , matching sentences halves , multiple choices , and text reconstruction were probably the most renowned CALL activities in the 1980s . The feedback learners would get from computers used to range from simple true/false answers to a more sophisticated system of response that would even brief the learners about the whys of their mistakes and would provide the necessary remedial work .

With the rise of internet phenomenon and its widespread easy access , CALL has shifted its focus from depending wholly on computer programs to embracing the use of internet and web-based tools . The term TELL ( Technology Enhanced Language Learning ) appeared in 1990s thanks to the wider possibilities offered by the internet and communication technology .
Language teachers were, thus, integrated into the ICT on a larger scale and with a differing degrees .Thier old-fashioned ELT ( English Language Teaching ) practices have been replaced by new sophisticated web-based tools and techniques that provides :

  • opportunities for authentic tasks .
  • access to a wealth of ready-made ELT materials .
  • opportunities for collaboration and communication between learners who are geagraphically distanced.
  • Prolific online links and resources for learners to deepen their knowledge and sharpen their skills.
These techniques have far improved the quality of language teaching and is still helping with the normalisation of technology in language teaching , where the use of technology in teaching would be just as natural as the use of books or pens and papers. Unfortunately , a general lack of ICT training for teachers means that we still have some way to go until this normalisation is completed and the digital divide is bridged . Unless the training bodies seriously address the issue of ICT integration into ELT some teachers will still hold negative attitudes towards technolgy and technophobia will still cloud their vision and hover over their heades just to turn them into digital immigrants who have come late to the world of technology , if at all . In many cases teachers become the digital immigrants and our younger students are the digital natives .

What does it take for a teacher to use ICT in the classroom ?

It really doesnt take any sophisticated and technical knowledge of softwares and programming languages much as you dont need to be a mechanic to drive a car . Try to be a technogeek ( a term for a technology enthusiast ) and fight those negative attitudes about computer .Befriend technological tools and see by yourself the benefits of using technology in the classroom.
Do you know how to use email, a word processing program ( like word) and the internet ? I am quite sure everybody handles that easily .This knowledge is certainly enough to get started with usning trechnology in the classroom . There are also several online platforms and teacher development groups dedicated to exploring and learning about the use of technology in the classroom for teachers to join .You can benefit alot from them , ask for help from other colleagues and read others' experiences with ICT, they are just people like you who have started from scratch and turned their classrooms into a real language laboratories. Don't be afraid you are not alone , there are several teachers out there who are ready to give you a hand .Don't hesitate to google it and you will have access to a plethora of technology-based resources and materials that would tremendously facilitate your teaching and render it enjoyable .Dont forget , it's only the first step that counts.

The Internet League You Need to Know about

Posted in Labels:

I have always been advocating the use of cartoons inside classrooms. I have devoted whole sections of this blog to provide free tools for teachers to help them use cartoons, comic strips and infographics in their teaching. You can check Free Tools to create comic strips and  Educational Infographics to explore more. In this regard, This post will be an addition to the above mentioned resources.

Below is an infographic that  talks about popular online websites  such as Facebook, Google, Reddit, Google Plus and Amazon. It does not actually provide so much information about them but rather summarizes in a satirically funny way how they are represented in the mindsets of internet users.

Please in case you want to share it male sure you give credit to its designed T-shirt designer Caldwell Tanner

5 Informative Funny " infographics " for students and teachers

Posted in Labels:

In this post I will be sharing with you some " informative cartoonic images". This is a term I personally coined to refer to images which kinda look funny and hunourous  but contain a respectful source of information. They do resemble infographics but this latter is much more bigger and contain more information.

These informative images are taken from different sources which you will find under each one of them. They cover different topics ranging from technology and social media to societal issues. One awesome idea for teachers to use these images is to print them out and have some of them posted on your classroom wall. If you have a notice board in your classroom then this would be the ideal place to stick them.

Here is the list of titles you will find down:

  • Funny Infographic about Internet ( This is too long to be included here click on it to see it in a post alone )
  • The Internet League You need to Know About ( This  is the same as the previous one click to see it alone )
  • If Websites were pets 
  • Smartphones are the new cigarretes and here is why 
  • Good or Bad : The website alignment Chart 
  • The art of procrastination 
  • Innovation
  • Internet Vices

1- If Websites were pets ( source : Collegehumor )

2- Smartphones are the new cigarettes and here is why (  source :  Loldwell )

3- Good or Bad : The website alignment Chart (  source :  Smosh )

4- The art of procrastination (  source :  Superpasta )

5- Innovation (  source :  Joyoftech )

6 Internet Vices ( source Patrickmoberg )

Funny Infographic about Internet

Posted in Labels:

The State of the Web is a beautiful infographic/ poster that shows some interesting facts about the web in such a humourous way. I like how it is designed and think you would like to have a look and probably share it with your students and colleagues I have done my best to cross the F words included in it but some phrases though have no F words but still not proper to use with students, so be selective as to what parts you want to print out but do not alter the poster in any way if youare sharing it online Keep the credit of its owner please.

Just a little note, Thank you all for your emails over the weekend and please for those who did not hear from me I am so sorry I have a very busy schedule. my master studies and blogging ( 8 articles per day . Four for  this Blog and  another four for my second website The Best of Educational Technology ) eats up all my time.

The source of this infographic is Oatmeal