Technology in the Second Language Classroom

It goes without saying that technology surrounds us and it is almost inevitable to be in contact with it in every action of our lives: CD-ROMs, emails, the Internet, ATMs, the World Wide Web seem to be so integrated into our everyday vocabulary that most people wouldn’t even ask what we’re talking about.
They would know for sure what we mean, even those who are not interested in technology.

We all know that technology is always evolving and when we think we have figured out how it works, we have an invasion of new developments, devices and tools that make us wonder if we are not yet where we started. And we are not. We are in the midst of an endless search for knowledge. Isn’t this what education is all about? The words mentioned above are part of our daily life now, and we may even feel like they were never complex in the first place. But they were! As today we can hear about blogs, ipods, postcasting, streaming, RSS, etc., etc. In turn, this will be so that we feel comfortable both hearing about them and talking about them. The quest for learning is on … forever!

However, the point of this article is not to tell you that technology is always evolving, something you already know for sure, but to share with you some of the reasons why I personally love teaching using technology in the classroom and why I believe that each the teacher should use it as much as possible whenever possible.

I have been teaching English as a Second Language and Spanish as a Second Language for over 14 years and in my career I have always noticed how fascinated students are when faced with technology.
You can see it in their eyes, that flash of emotion that they radiate every time they come into contact with him.

However, the same does not apply to teachers. I have noticed that many teachers feel scared or overwhelmed by new technological advances, as if somehow they have to place themselves in a long-forgotten position, that is, as students. And it is true that with new technologies we are all learners. But also in life we ​​are learners! Who could afford to say, “I know everything”? Definitely couldn’t! To narrow it down a bit, who could afford to say “I know everything there is to know about my field of expertise”? I couldn’t say that either. I have to accept that there is a world of knowledge that asks or even asks for exploration and it is up to us to engage in this search to discover more and more every day. Will we ever be able to know everything? I think it would be like asking if we could ever bottle all the water in the ocean. We may not be able to do it, but what a great time could we have while trying to do it!

It is quite understandable that we as teachers are not always up to date with new trends, but if we just try to relax and lose our fear of them, we will notice that they are not our enemies but our allies. It’s true that if I wanted to be in front of my students with an aura of omnipotent power and knowledge, this may not be the best approach, but I wonder, is it ever good to have that attitude in front of our students? Is it good for our development and personal growth to have that kind of attitude? “I know everything and if there is something I do not know, I will do it like an ostrich and put my head under the ground.” Is this what we really want to do? With or without technology, this attitude will often be our main cause of frustration and rejection of both peers and students, in fact with all the people with whom we come in contact.

Sadly, this is what is happening in most classrooms today. Many teachers simply do not approach technology, either out of fear of the unknown, or even because they have to cede some kind of authority to students. After all, isn’t it true that teachers teach and students learn? Well, yes … but let’s not forget it and always keep in mind that we are all learning. The more I teach and see how my students react, the more I learn about them, about myself, about how to reach them, about my teaching practices. Everything is part of the teaching experience. There is no longer such a clear distinction.

Young people are undoubtedly more attracted to new technologies than adults. They spend a lot of time dealing with it and become self-taught experts. In fact, they know a lot! Maybe MUCH more than us! And that? Where some teachers may seem troublesome or fearful, I see a possibility!

Think of the excellent opportunity to involve these students in sharing some of the knowledge they have acquired after hours and hours in front of a computer, for example. You could share so many things with the rest of the class so that you and everyone can learn from your experience. Do not see them as threats, but as allies in your quest for knowledge. You may not know anything, a little or maybe a lot about their favorite topics! Never mind. You can start using new technologies right away! How? Very easily. With a couple of tips and instructions, any teacher can start using them right away. Just think about this:

How much more effective would your lessons be if you could create your own website with exactly the materials you need to use with your students? Think about the advantages of just this in the classroom, if you’ve never done something like this before.

“Yes, of course”, many will say. “I just learned how to check my email and now they expect me to create a website! Sounds good, but too optimistic and unrealistic!”

My answer would be: “Do you know how to use a word processor?”

If your answer is “YES,” I’ll tell you that if you know how to use a word processor, learning how to create a website will take 10 more minutes.

If your answer is “NO”, it may take 15-20 minutes to create your first website.

Yes, you heard right! Ten to twenty more minutes and you will have your own website up and running! How about the software? Do you need any special software?

Well, if you have a word processor like WORD, you DO NOT need any other special software. What will he do!

It is not our goal in this article to explain how to create a website, but I promise that I will do so in another installment of these mini-articles. What I want to emphasize here is that technology does not have to be difficult for us to implement. In fact, it is the opposite. We have to lose our fear and we can perform tasks unthinkable for us just a year ago! Losing your fear of technology is everything! Once you decide to implement new technology in your classroom, you are well on your way to that end. It is your decision that matters the most. Put your mind on it and the rest will be easy.

Why do students love “technology” so much? Simply put, technology has a magical component. It is the excitement of exploring something new, a path left untouched that begs to be explored. I call it “the Matrix syndrome.” If you’ve seen the movie called “The Matrix,” you might know what I mean, that little detail that prompts you to find out more, that doesn’t let you get away until you’ve answered all the questions and have a clue. at once. Once you unravel one, a closely related one appears and sets your mind in motion to try to figure out what might happen next. You can’t stop thinking about it and yearning for more and more, like an addiction that begs to be fed. The good news is that it is an addiction to knowledge.

If you’re not very tech-oriented, think about how much your students may miss, not because your lessons aren’t good enough. They can be excellent lessons. But imagine how much you could enhance your lessons by embracing new technologies and capitalizing on those students with some experience in the field. Not only will you take your lessons to the next level, but you will also bring a great transfer of magic to your classroom. And when you see that twinkle in your students’ eyes, you know for sure you’ve made the right decision.

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