martes, 28 de febrero de 2012

Reflections on the evaluation of a website week 2

When we -as teachers- are searching on the Internet for educational purposes,  we should consider many aspects that are not clear to most of people who have access to the IT.
In my personal case, I used to write in or the topic I was interested in, and most of the time I was spending my time trying to organize or adapt the material to the class session. In the end, I had to get rid of such material due to the fact that its content was not well structured, or maybe because it had a mixture of different levels in the same set of exercises or theoretical aspects explained in it. I rarely paid attention if a website was updated or not, or about what its host computer name was.
What happened next is that I would eventually find a material from a common library that satisfied my needs in a much better way before searching again on the web.  To be honest, I had become skeptical about online educational materials that could help me to sort my troubles out. However, after reading the aspects that we should consider to assess a website, I have realized that it is relevant for it to provide facilities so that we can find information in a logical structure; it implies that there must be sets for contents for adults and children. For example, the menu displayed in the website of learning English of  the BBC (  allows the reader to go straight ahead to the content needed on the left side of the page. In fact, the content for children has been divided into subsets according to the different high school grades of the National Curriculum.
     In addition to that, it is significant to establish a difference between facts (objective information) and opinions (subjective information). In the specific case of the education field –and the teaching of English embedded in it-, there are a lot of interested people who give opinions and provide information –from politicians to parents associations- as if they were authorities in the area. As a result, we could be caught by trusting in not qualified websites without taking into account this consideration.  Then, we need to check out if the website has a known publisher and authority in the field. Last but not least, the layout or organization of the page is important for students and for us.  Even though I don’t pay too much attention to the visual design, it has a lot of influence on students’ motivation towards learning, as well as the different choices a student has to learn English, regarding his needs or preferences: listening, speaking, writing and reading.

martes, 21 de febrero de 2012

Reflections on week 1

The Learning Technologies are powerful tools that may enhance the process of learning and teaching of the English language. They provide an exposure to real world language and encourage students to look for material that, in the end, help them to use the language from a communicative approach in their everyday lives. As a teacher, I can get closer to my students in the session class from different alternatives: providing resources through technology, creating an essential framework from which the teacher and the students can share common and different points of view in the analysis of technical texts; and, of course, looking for creative and more efficient ways to develop the different skills of the language (reading, writing, listening and speaking). For example, we could assess writing drafts/analysis so that students can have a feedback before coming up to the class session, or simply give hints to students about how we are going to work or what the materials available are, in a way that students figure out what are the possible tasks to do in the class session. The possibility to access to different teaching and learning resources is an advantage we shouldn't miss. As far as we can see, technology spreads out an almost infinite set of opportunities to develop the learning of the English language. It can just be done through the integration (but not imposition) of the learning technologies to a new teaching approach.