Saturday, September 17, 2011

Feeling "Braver" about a digital classroom

After reading chapter 1 in Robert Blake's A Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology Focus and Foreign Language Learning, I am beginning to feel more at ease with the increasing amount of technology available for use in the classroom. My fear stems from the idea that perhaps technology will "take over" and the traditional classroom (and I know all traditional methods are not necessarily good ones) will become obsolete. Blake addresses this issue, which I'm sure is shared by many others, when he states that technology can be successful, but it "depends on how it is used in the curriculum," (2). Following the communicative goal of second language acquisition, the teacher remains the facilitator and technology is the response "to what practitioners understand or believe to be true about SLA," (11). In other words, technology use should be driven by second language principles, like negotiation, collaborative learning, and peer interaction. Technology, when used appropriately, should enhance the learning environment, not detract from it. 

Learning a second language is an interactive process, and as Blake says, the Internet it "preferred tool" of communication (5). Teenagers aren't the only ones who rely on technology. As a working adult, I cannot imagine what I would do without email. To think if I had to call everyone I correspond with, instead of just typing out a quick note... In this light, the Internet in a L2 classroom (or anywhere) facilitates peer interactions and collaborative learning. While it certainly should not be the only method of communication in the classroom, the Internet provides the opportunity to really enhance student contact with their target language. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the usefulness of technology does depend totally on "how it is used in the curriculum" and we can only learn by doing. Some things will work well and some will need to be revised or discarded.