42. Technology: to Use or Refuse?
I’m about to start the materials module and I have the impression that a lot of the focus will be on how the world of EFL materials is moving away from paper-based and toward digital materials.
If I’m honest, feel a little apprehensive about this, as I’m a big advocate of pen and paper and hard copy. While I don’t have anything against digital materials per se, it isn’t an area I’ve been hugely inspired by so far. With these feelings in mind, I thought it might be useful to make some notes about how I use technology in the classroom, my own studies and other areas of my life. It’s a broad area, and in terms of my feelings about technology a complex topic, but might offer some deeper insight into what at the moment are just feelings, or intuition (not to belittle the value of such things but more clarity can only be helpful). The process might also help me pinpoint more precisely my position on technology and digital materials.
If nothing else, it will be interesting toward the end of the module to look back on these thoughts and see whether my feelings have changed any.
Here are my thoughts:
This was a really interesting process, as it revealed very clearly that there are two contributing factors to my feelings about technology in the classroom:
- I have a kind of sociopolitical scepticism of the way that technology is headed, particularly with the way that social media contributes to the loss of community and issues regarding personal privacy, as well as the decline of pen and paper in favour of keyboards.
- Part of my fear is an issue of familiarity – I’m comfortable with what I know how to do and can do with ease, less so with what I don’t.
While the first point is a stance I’m reluctant to compromise on – in that I want to promote face-to-face rather than online communities in my classroom, the second point is of particular relevance to my development as a teacher. Acknowledging that I just need to get to know certain programs and digital resources might open up a number of resources that I can then choose to use or refuse in my teaching. It could add to my toolkit – just because I know how to use a hammer, doesn’t mean I have to use it.