Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thoughts on Teaching "Webskills"

I have to admit that I am personally not a very avid blogger although I really enjoy reading other people's blogs.  However, I find that blogs are very useful in this course and in teaching in general.  Blogs are one of the most popular tools we teach in this webskills course.  Not only are they a lot of fun, but they have so many applications for the language classroom, and they can be used as course management tools as well.

What I love about teaching this webskills course is that it is a process of discovery for everyone.  We all find new tools that we can use to make our professional lives easier and our classes more engaging.  And the tools we explore are not limited to what this course has to offer.  Every term course participants find and share other tools, which we all benefit from.  I think you will find that this 10 weeks will be an exciting process of filling up your "teaching toolbox" and provide you with  many new options in the classroom.

And for those of you who don't feel comfortable with technology, don't worry; you're not alone!  A few years ago, my use of technology was limited to email and the occasional websearch.  Learning new technology felt frightening and overwhelming, but every time I learn a new tool, it becomes easier and easier.  I think you will find the same.  I always say, "If I was able to do it, anyone can do it."

For those of you who are already comfortable with technology, I hope that you will both learn new tools that are useful to you and serve as a resource for others.  This course really is a venue for all of us to share our own experiences and give "tips" to others.

One final thought: while tech tools are a major focus of this course, it's always important to remember that it's the pedagogy behind the tools that is important.  Technology does not lead to learning per se; it's all in how we use the tools to achieve our learning goals and objectives.  We must constantly be asking ourselves, "How can this tool help me achieve better learning in the classroom?"  If it can't, it's like using a hammer when we need a screwdriver.  This is a question we will revisit again and again over the term because we are all here to become better teachers.

Those are my thoughts for today.  I look forward to getting to know you all and exploring the world of technology together!