Saturday, 20 January 2018

Effective Use of Technology in the Classroom : Writing Article

According to Shelly Pasnik (2016), incorporating technology into the classroom requires double innovation. At the same time, teachers need to ensure that they are prepared to use technology effectively in the classroom. Effective use of technology in the classroom should be able to support the learning objectives. 

At times, the use of technology deviates from the main objective of a lesson and focus is given to the use of technology rather than the learning. This happens due to lack of preparation by the teachers.

I think teachers should explore more ideas on incorporating technology in the classroom for effective learning. I have always been using technology in my classroom but it has been one way. Now, I want to make my lessons more interactive with more hands-on activities involving technology in my English language lessons. For that, I  have asked my students from class 4S1 and 5S3 to bring their own laptops and tabs to school two weeks once on every Tuesday. 

My portable wifi
As I teach in an urban school it is not impossible for me to get them to bring their gadgets. Since the internet connection in the school is not easily accessible and I do not want to waste my time to walk the students to the lab, I subscribed my own portable wifi which will be able to connect 30 gadgets at a time. This saves a lot of time.

For this particular lesson, the pupils were to write an article about a famous personality of their choice on an online newspaper generator tool. It is free and user-friendly. Please click here to visit the newspaper generator website. To ensure smooth flow of the lesson students should have identified the personalities before the lesson and gathered necessary information for their articles. They were asked to refer to Besides, students should have also been exposed to vocabulary that is used to describe people. They were given 2 sets of vocabulary list beforehand to study. Please click here and here to download the vocabulary list.

The Lesson Plan

The lesson plan above should be able to draw a picture of how the lesson was carried out. The lesson plan template was adapted from the 'Teacher Collection' facebook page. 

Students were paired up and they were required to type their articles on the news generating website.  Teacher's role here was minimized as it involved a lot of discussions between the assigned pairs. The teacher facilitated the lesson and dropped by whenever he was needed...Students were also reminded that their work should be original and not plagiarised. 

The pictures above show that students were engrossed during the lesson and very busy completing the assigned task. Using the gadgets have definitely made the lesson more meaningful as I could see students were showing interest in their written work for the first time. We all know that writing task is often abhorred by students at all levels. 

Upon completion, students emailed their articles to the teacher. The teacher will print, read through, check and return the articles to the students. 

You may ask, 

This lesson can be done effectively without even having to use internet and laptops, why waste time then? 

My answer : 

I know that this can be done without having to use technology, but I believe that the use of technology has made the lesson smoother and students actually liked typing their essays in the newspaper generator than writing them in their exercise books. Besides, I also noticed that students were more engaged in their task. If you don't believe me, try it! and you will be amazed! 
These are some examples of my student's article done in the newspaper generator. Don't they look interesting? 

Reflection : 
Students find the lesson to be interesting and they were interested. Since they were interested they followed all my instructions. The lesson was not only about using the tools to write an article, it was also about demonstrating the use descriptive words and phrases that are used to describe people. Students have demonstrated effective use of vocabulary in their essays. Grammatical errors were minimal as students have checked their essays in the grammar checking tool .  

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