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Don't just substitute - transform

I am a relative newcomer to social media.  I tried Facebook for a couple of months a while back but couldn't see the point. After all, I could tell my friends what I was doing and how I was feeling at any point. I didn't need Facebook to do this. I then tried twitter at the recommendation of Kevin Wild @mflandbeyond.  I quickly saw the point.  So, my twitter birthday, my renaissance, if you will, was 12th June 2013.  With my new-found, on-going, CPD delivered by an ever-growing number of twitterers I was following (and continue to follow), it did not take me long to see the power of technology both computer based and via mobile devices.  What I am trying to say, perhaps in rather a clumsy way, is that I am not an expert.  I am an excited, enthusiastic participant who is eager to learn and to discover.  I want to seek out ways in which I can improve my teaching and discover how technology can play a part in that.  I am lucky in that via twitter I was introduced to the idea of studying for an MA in Digital Technology for Language Teaching at Nottingham University.  Although the onus has been on the impact technology plays in languages the course has taught me a lot more and introduced me to a great deal more than simply what can be achieved with technology in a MFL classroom.


Amongst other things, I have learnt that technology is not there purely for fun at the end of the lesson, nor is it there as an add-on to an activity, nor to substitute for the teacher.  Nor, indeed, in the future, will technology be a motivating factor for students; they are already quite well used to technology in school and in their home lives. 

So then, what part can technology play?

One of the most important things I have learnt through my own practice and through my course is the idea that technology use must be contextual  and must enhance what could have been done without a computer or a tablet device.   Remember now, as I have said, I am no expert but I have read a great deal recently about SAMR and I think it helps explain very clearly about the part that technology should play in the classroom.    There are plenty of images that represent the SAMR model developed by Dr Ruben Puentedura (click here for his website, Hippasus).  Here's my take on it:



For me the key point is that even as you move up the chart the technology in use is not the star of the show.  It is woven into teaching to augment and improve what pupils do.  The idea is that technology is more than a substitute for chalk and talk, or pen and paper.  Technology can transform what students do and what they achieve in their studies.

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