Blog Challenge, Teaching English

RTBC Day Thirteen: What’s in your edtech toolbox?

So, I totally fell off the wagon with this 30-day reflective teaching blog challenge…which I started back in September or October of last year. But I’m BACK on board!

Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rate them on their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

edtech1. The internet (via my laptop connected to a large tv monitor): I don’t use the internet in every lesson, but whenever I do (to show pictures, YouTube videos, websites) it always clarifies concepts, and provides examples that are real and relatable.

2. PowerPoint: I play a lot of games with my students, many of which require the use of a powerpoint (like Jeopardy review games). While not always the most engaging or dynamic way to present a lesson, a colorful powerpoint filled with more pictures than text is always better than just a plain lecture in my book.

3. The chalkboard: It doesn’t get much more low-tech than this, and it doesn’t grab students’ attention the way a funny video clip will. But the advantages of a chalkboard still shouldn’t be overlooked. I’m always using the board to write out what I say (giving students a second way to understand and absorb directions/content), draw illustrations and write example sentences. It’s also a great way to involve students (getting them to come up and write an answer on the board, or form teams and have some sort of relay game). It draws them up, out of their seats, and into the lesson. And besides, who doesn’t like to write on the board?

3a. Mini whiteboards: Tying the chalkboard for third place are my mini whiteboards. Actually, they’re laminated sheets of blank paper. But they get the job done. Like the chalkboard, the mini white boards give students a chance to interact more directly with the material and me. And whenever I bust them out, the white boards are always perceived as a welcome change from just writing on paper.

4. School English blog: I haven’t implemented this yet, but I’m working on developing an English blog for my school which will consist of posts, pictures and videos produced by the students. It won’t be an every day/every class thing. But it will be another way to get them to engage with the language and use it to produce something that is relevant to them. And once it is up and running, I anticipate it being among the most effective teaching/learning tools I’ll have at my disposal.

Even though I don’t use crazy amounts of technology, or the most sophisticated/advanced tech toys, the edtech tools that I do incorporate definitely make for more dynamic and interesting lessons. ‘Makes me wonder how ESL teachers, or teachers in general, managed before all this stuff came long!



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