Daunted by technology?

27-Jun-2007

MEC freelance trainer, Jo Scellier, writes:

Jo Scellier

 

‘How has English language teaching changed in the past few years with the increasing use of technology and multimedia? Is my experience similar to other English language teachers in Hong Kong?

I taught general and business English in Hong Kong from 1998 to 2004 at various language centres and companies. In my experience, we mostly tailored our teaching material to suit the needs of the students who were mainly local, Japanese or Korean. There was little use of multimedia in classrooms and although I came across some sophisticated computer laboratories they were used only on occasion. This was because it was seen as a bit daunting having to learn the software and deal with any technical concerns.

I found it quite common for teachers to steer away from the use of technology and multimedia in the classroom. On the other hand, students were very familiar with technology often spending time talking about and comparing their latest phones, cameras and computers.

Since returning to Australia, the use of technology in language learning seems much more prevalent.  Perhaps that’s not so much a comparison of Hong Kong and Australia as it is a sign of the increasing use of technology and multimedia in learning today.

Having been involved with MEC over the past year, I want to point out a few benefits of using technology in the classroom that spring to mind when reflecting back on my days of teaching English in Hong Kong.

  • Access 24 hours a day - MEC offers the opportunity for students to access such a wide variety of over 2800 resources whenever and wherever they want just by having a computer, the Internet and logging onto the system. This certainly appeals to students living in a 24 hour city!
  • Course building - Courses can be built by teachers from the vast pool of MEC resources to supplement any current learning programme. This is a great way to supplement tailor-made materials and offer students a sophisticated and integrated learning opportunity.
  • Use in classroom - MEC is designed for a blended learning approach so teachers can choose from the interactive resources and integrate it into their teaching. This allows both teachers and students to benefit from another dimension of language learning.
  • Simple to use with lots of support - Not only is MEC really easy to navigate but there is also so much support provided by the MEC staff in the form of training for teachers and administrators, and also the MEC support site.

What are some of the benefits you’ve found with using MEC?’

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