CPD: Surviving the 21st Century

EdTech Wordle

Recently I went to the Cambridge Seminar for Business and Academic English in Amsterdam. There were several talks throughout the afternoon, but the one that really caught my interest was the one by Nick Robinson; 21st Century ELT Teacher’s Survial Plan. It was all about how technology is impacting on our jobs already and how it’s likely to in the near future.

Buzz words:
Big Data, BYOD (Bring your own device), cloud computing, digital classroom, efficacy, blended learning, flipped classroom, convergence, adaptive learning, m-learning, ed-tech, mooc

What I took away:
Technology trends affecting ELT are…

  1. constant connectedness; this can be seen in 3G, 4G, Wifi and cloud computing.
  2. devices; There is a plethora – computers are being replaced by tablets, e-readers, smart-phones etc. And there’s convergence = one device can now do the job of several old ones (nowadays a phone can also be a music player, video player, games console…).
  3. video; now eclipsing text as the dominant form of communication online, think about all those user-generated videos on YouTube, which seems to be replacing Google as the go to search engine.

Key trends in ELT are…

  1. mobile learning; using mobile devices to provide motivation and create context. As well as actually communicate!
  2. the digital classroom; “paperless classrooms” (not virtual ones), print vs. digital coursebooks.
  3. the flipped classroom; Input is provided as self-study to do at home and class time is used for collaborative communicative activities (homework in class and classwork at home, therefore flipped).

-Think mobile/tablet first
-Be aware of device trends (and what your students might have access to or with them in class)
-Assume everyone has connection to the internet during classtime and exploit this
-Plan how to use video as a way to deliver content

Action points:

  • I want to try and incorporate mobile learning into my classroom with some ‘device slots’/activities (the challenge is how to keep students focussed and on task, I’m a bit worried that there is a huge potential for distraction!).
  • I have one in-company course where all the students come to class with their company (internet-connected) iPads. How can I use this to our advantage? What about using an e-textbook?
  • I need to explore more the concept of the flipped classroom, I have a feeling that I’ve been doing this for a while now without realising what it’s called and that there is a whole movement!
  • I will continue to work out how to use my new iPad in class more effectively.
  • I would like to research the controversial Sugata Mitra and his Hole in the Wall project.

Over to you:

  • Are you actively working on modernising your teaching practice?
  • What have you done?
  • Does it work for you?
  • Are you worried that technology might one day negate the need for real live teachers?
  • I’m looking for a great iPad dictionary, can you recommend one?




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