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!



  1. Dear Janine,

    I agree with you that blogs or rather any tools need to be used with some pedagogical purposes. I have been using various tools like - internet (mails and websites),computer, blogs and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Ning etc. It indeed creates scope for interaction among the teacher and students as well as student/s and student/s. It also helps the teacher to help them learning English in the ways more than one because they read, think, reflect and write.


  2. Hello Janine,

    Learning technology is as old as three million years… or, if you prefer, closer to the era “Lucy” lived on earth, one million years later. Man has always been afraid of new knowledge, wisdom, tools… even learning technology, learning to survive, particularly ICT. Web skills are needed to survive in the so-called knowledge society —when I listen to this utterance it makes me reflect if the previous ages had lack of knowledge (now-a-days, in Mexico it is often to hear people talk about knowledge society). What is, in my opinion, a good idea to free some of our students of that instinctive fear to ICT is reflecting with them on how technology has changed not only human lives, but the way we, as humans, conceive life. Why not reflect on how Neolithic Revolution changed the face of earth with the use of agricultural tools, for example? Technology is the gathering of certain knowledge (a previous one) and tools for a definite purpose. Same happens with web technology. If we use it with pedagogical purposes, results should be great. Let’s encourage our students —and some teachers— to overcome fear to technology.


  3. Hi Janine!

    I really appreciate the resources you are using and the way this course is organized.

    Best regards,

  4. Hello, Jenine:

    I’m Hsu-Wan Chen from Taiwan, a graduate school student at National Taiwan Normal University. Currently I’m writing my master thesis which is entitled Applying Social Networking Sites to Teaching and Learning: from Teachers’ Perspective. Right now I’m looking for school teachers to be interviewed with their experiences of using social networking sites for educational purpose. If it is so, I would like to have a skype interview with you. Surely I will send you the interview protocol in advance and the interview will take about 20 minutes. Please feel free to contact me at: chenshuwan@gmail.com. I really appreciate for your help!

    Hsu-Wan Chen