You Digital, Me Immigrant

Statistics speak volumes even years after Prensky's classic Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. However hard we may be trying to drop the 'accent', his article still reverberates across educational circles. In an exclusive interview for elearningpost he asserts that 'a big part of our current education problems stem directly from the fact that the Digital Immigrants -who comprise most of our teachers and trainers- are not very fluent in the language the Digital Natives speak.' Digital Land still needs to be explored and conquered. The Natives won't pick up immigrant dialect.

Technology or Pedagogy: Is it a question of one or the other?

We Blog Cartoons via kwout

The ELT profession is brimming over with Web 2.0. Enthusiasts plunge into a sea of tools and applications while reluctants avert the flow. The benefits of learning with technology are undeniable. What is at stake is how ICT deploys of pedagogy. Do we need a new science? Tech-pedagogy? Or do theories of SLA and FLL suffice? Plunging learners into Web 2.0 for the sake of novelty, force of habit or to be on the same digital wavelength is to deny the value of thoughtful planning. The whole issue of lesson planning exceeds the bounds of formality, recording or detail. It brings into focus the very essence of pedagogy.

Sitting at my 'ideas table', a message I've just posted to the Enhancing Lessons with Web 2.0 mailing list about lesson planning summarizes my perspective on the integration of technology into classroom practice:

"I wouldn't go for detailed lesson planning either. In fact, I haven't since my teacher training days. I can still hear myself groaning and moaning. anyway, I must have served its purpose then!

You said it Margaret: systematic reflection, self-examination, evaluation of potential uses. These processes are crucial to escape the Web 2.0 collective madness. To me, there's nothing inherently good, or bad for that matter, in Web 2.0 per se. Granted, much has been said about connectivity, creation of content, going public, a genuine communicative purpose, meaningfulness, real-life semblance and the like but if these don't go hand-in-hand with a principled rationale, the best tool or application can fall flat. In thought or in writing, planning is part and parcel of our profession. So why should it be a question of technology or pedagogy? The shelf-life of learning with technology could be short-lived if there were no sound underpinnings. If technology should be at the service of learning, then that's a plus. We have learned the ropes already, and fortunately, technology is user-friendly.

I'd say that lesson planning, in this sense, is a time-and-energy saver besides ensuring that we know what we're doing and why. How many teaching-with-tech attempts have dried because of lack of planning? And then, leaving technology aside, don't students realise when a teacher is going into a classroom without a lesson plan? So, why wouldn't they see that there is or there isn't any sense in learning with technology? Watch out!

There was another interesting thread about 'reluctance' going on. Would any colleague or principal be convinced that learning with technology does pay if we showcase the technicalities or cosmetics only?

Lastly, we're not alone. We've all given proof that we're up to it...."

Here, I would like to highlight the value of belonging to a CoP in working together towards a common goal: Educational Development.