Learning technology: Just do it… today!


A kid came to school the other day wearing a "Just do it… tomorrow" T-shirt. The first task I suggested yesterday in my talk at the IH Barcelona ELT Conference was intended for those teachers who don't feel very confident that they can use technology; the paraphrased "quotation" I suggested for them was "Just do it… today!".

The task
Take any piece of technology and teach yourself how to use it… properly!

Commentary
Technology isn't going to go away, it's only going to become more important, your learners are only going to become more technologically savvy, so if you're not that confident, get confident, by doing one of the following, or something similar. Believe me, I wouldn't suggest them if they weren't in fact easy.

  • Learn to use a digital camera (or the camera on your phone) and take photo a day for 365 days;
  • Photograph your breakfast every day (Pixlr Express is a wonderful tool for some quick and easy editing, which will improve your photos, give you greater satisfaction… and self confidence;
  • Create yourself a blog and save quotations you come across on it (for blogging, Blogger, Posterous and Tumblr are all really easy to learn to use);
  • Blog your Mum’s recipes (she's probably got them on scraps of paper in a notebook, if she's like my Mum);
  • Do both things: learn to take decent photos and set up a blog, and include your breakfast photos (or whatever hobbies you have)
  • Start a blog for reflecting on your teaching (which you can make totally private; share with a colleague; share with several colleagues… or with the whole world if you prefer [here's how with Blogger]);
  • Digitally audio record your own children (especially fascinating if you're a language teacher and you start when they are very small and still learning their own language); for tools, SoundCloud, Vocaroo and Voicethread are great places to begin; for recording, Audacity is also a great program, though it has a steeper learning curve;
  • Post the audio on a blog (share it with your Mum, etc); if you want to use a blog for posting audio (aka podcasting), I'd recommend Posterous or Tumblr, not Blogger, as you will find that they make it easier to post the audio files.

What you'll get for the time you invest is a little knowledge and a great deal of confidence that you too can use technology. If you don't think you can, it's confidence, not knowledge that you really want.

The operative word in my task is "properly": it's not enough to point and click with your camera: you actually want to take better pictures, ones to be proud of, for which you'll need to find out what else you can do with it, what all the buttons and menus do, what all the options are (for which I can highly recommend the tutorials on Digital Photography School).

The idea is not that you do things for class; though, in teaching yourself, some of the wonderful things you could do with photography or blogging (etc) are certain to occur to you.

Introduction | One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

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One Comment

  1. Another point I'd make: DON'T steal the images you use on your blog from Google images, and don't even pinch images from places like Flickr or other sites where the images might have creative commons (ie. free to reuse) licences.

    "Look, I took photos" or "Look, I nicked all this from Google"…?

    Which is going to teach you more and which is going to make you feel more proud and more confident in your own ability with technology?

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