Open Discovery Space

Society is rapidly becoming more modernised, with advances being made on a frequent basis. New discoveries and technologies are being successfully assimilated into our daily lives. In particular Information Communication Technology has permitted us to connect on a more broader scale with other people within a globalised world. Education technology has allowed teachers and students to develop a more egalitarian relationship, connect young pupils with others internally and externally, and is starting to become a valuable tool for personal development. Interactive devices such as I pads are making their way into school systems, and language teachers are exploiting these new smart technologies.

Creative and innovative approaches to study has been suggested by those within the teaching profession. For instance, proposals for mobile apps that have multimedia content such as audio, video, animation and eBooks have been backed, as they can facilitate progress in speaking and writing skills. Moreover, apps can allow students to post their results to the wider public, thereby tapping into young competitive spirit and the desire to challenge oneself for personal development.

Education technology can promote seamless learning, as it can restructure the class environment, from informal to formal, and individualistic to interactive. Additionally, the use of technological devices can help teachers to harness, control and direct lessons to become more specifically relevant and pedagogically purposeful.

In terms of personal development and encouraging e learning, technological tools can make a large impact particularly in language lessons, as the main ethos of the subject is communication. Teachers can produce audio or video pod-casts that can encourage distance learning and revision. Interestingly, encouraging students to access material independently can equip them with research skills, and the ability to methodologically separate and digest available resources and make calculated inferences and conclusions from them. Video conferencing, blogging, recording and editing audio, can all improve pronunciation and extend speaking skills. Whilst, filmaking and animation can stimulate a creative mind, promote personalised learning and improve teamwork skills. Allowing students to freely speak within an open creative environment, can enhance confidence and build communicative skills necessary to establish social skills in the future professional future.

Within the teaching community itself, modern technology has also had an impact. The pioneering success of ‘MFLtwitterati’ a community of on-line UK foreign teachers who discuss innovative classroom practices, has helped teachers improve their lessons with a more inventive outlook. Through the exchange of information on Twitter, teachers can learn from each other best practices. encourage each other to experiment and provide formative feedback. This collaborative effort allows colleagues to get to know each other, collectively infuse themselves with renewed confidence and show a front of solidarity. Successful ideas have come off the bat of the Twitter activity; including an e daily magazine entitled MFL Times, collaborative drop-boxes, and a rise in ICT and language conferences held by the University of Southampton.

Ofsted in its most recent report published in March 2013, concluded that more should be done with integrating education technology with language lessons. However, hurdles must be jumped first. Many teachers are still unfamiliar with modern age technology, or do not have the time to invest in such tools, whilst others are not sure about relinquishing control to their students who are ‘digital natives’. There are also still teachers who prefer to use regimental and traditional ICT tools such as Microsoft Word which is more repetitive and isolated; due to its easy familiarity that overcomes the uncertainty of new technological mediums. Therefore, breaking down barriers and placing training on the forefront of the agenda; can help solve such issues.

This case is of importance to Open Discovery Space as it discusses how ICT tools can help facilitate e learning, develop personal skills for young students and innovate the education system.

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