Education has never been so accessible and personalized. Thanks to the internet! Not only has it added to the ease of learning consumption but also to its delivery. As internet technology evolves, the scope of elearning expands. It gives both instructors and learners the tools to deliver and consume learning the way they want just when they want, using the minimum possible resources and spending the least possible amount of money. Teaching with the internet takes the learning to a whole new level.
And this is why, every faculty or educator should use internet to the extent possible. The reasons are myriad. The first is reaching the learners from across the world. The second is offering learners a quick access to study materials. The third is recording and publishing live or self-paced video courses. The fourth is transforming your classroom into a networking node.
As a teacher of different age groups ranging from pre-school to pensioners I have always aspired to find teaching methods most adequate to their learning styles. I have taught one-to-one, in small private groups, in large classes from Nursery to High School, in company courses and adult evening classes – each presenting its own problems.
The Scene Until a Decade Ago
My best method until ten years ago involved a lot of advanced planning. I would print the numerous photocopies, sort into the piles and then carry this huge weight to my various lessons.
Unfortunately, it didn’t end here.
Apart from the time needed and the physical effort, I then had all the extra photocopies to take home and sort, not to waste paper, in order to be able to reuse them. I needed to be organised to find them again and ten years later I still have shelves full of photocopies I am now recycling to print / write on the back of.
In my smaller groups I used to tape-record irregular verbs, expressions, rhymes and plays for my students to listen to and practise at home during the week. I used to pass the tape to one student once a month and they would make copies of it for the others and then give me back the original. This meant having a separate cassette for each group which often got forgotten at someone’s house, mislaid, damaged. it could only be used on a tape recorder and as technology progressed, we transferred it all to CD’s to listen to in the car as well. But the whole affair was so time consuming and difficult to realise effectively.
Any listening, watching or reading materials I wanted to share from published sources needed to be lent. So, I gradually lost my personal ‘lending library’ to those who forgot to return the books and listening or video cassettes to me – I now have about three graded readers of the 15 or so I had on my shelf.
Moreover, I worked in many different schools at the same time so my car was packed with bags of materials depending on the school I was going to. Once my car was broken into and apart from a series of corrected final diploma tests having been stolen, all my lengthy years of flashcard preparation and laminating, my school uniform and other materials were stolen – lost forever. I have only just found the energy to start recreating some of those materials.
Then the Internet Happened
Then the Internet came along and my teaching was gradually transformed to the benefit of teachers and students. A couple of years ago, I arrived at a Primary School which had no Interactive White Boards with the wrong bag of materials.
But hey presto! I managed to carry out the lesson by uploading the materials I had planned there and then from my Dropbox onto my iPad. It’s not limited to this.
My students now listen to their recordings digitally where and when they like. Little paper is wasted because students can print what they feel they need and read the rest on a screen.
Digitally published materials can be shared with online links. A teacher especially with an Interactive White Board, can follow the students’ mood and modify the lesson accordingly because all the materials can be accessed online. This helps maintain the students’ interest in the lesson where otherwise they would have been lost in thought…
The Internet has opened a new world to teaching and learning – now all we have to do is exploit all its potential! Learn how to teach with the internet at CO16 – Global Virtual Online Conference on February 5. Click on ‘save my spot’ button to participate in this and other sessions with educators from across the globe.