Saturday, January 17, 2015

Summary of Language Learning with Technology: Ideas for Integrating Technology in the Classroom

I read the following text:

Stanley, Graham (2013). Language Learning with Technology: Ideas for Integrating Technology in the Classroom. Cambridge University Press.

My brief summary and review follows:

I was really excited to read this text, one of very few that I have been able to find that focus specifically on tech use and integration in ESL teaching / learning.  The text was a quick read, consisting mostly of classroom teaching ideas and activities with brief mention of how technology could be incorporated (such as Web sites to use).  The chapters are on the following topics: integrating technology, building a learning community, the skills (one chapter each on vocabulary, grammar, listening, reading, writing, speaking, pronunciation), project work, and assessment and evaluation.

I would say that for a beginning ESL/language teacher (and one who is unclear about how to integrate technology or new to it), this may be a useful text.  For me, it was not that useful.  I have already used or know about the majority of these types of activities, and the text was a bit light on specifics of technology.  For example, the author recommends one Web site or tool per activity, all of which are listed and categorized in the Appendix B.  Many of the sites and tools I already knew about; others are UK-based and not as relevant in USA; while others are defunct. 

However, I was really thrilled (later disappointed - I'll explain shortly) when I saw in the book that the author created an accompanying Web site for updates on suggested software and Web sites by chapter at Language Learning with Technology. When I visited the site, there were only three brief entries from 2013, and the links didn't even work, which tells me that perhaps the author needs to 1) make good on his promise with this site and 2) the author isn't the most proficient tech user himself.  Anyway, no disrespect meant.  The book is so shiny and sleek and looks so promising but doesn't deliver.

I think I'll stick to US-based ESL teaching texts.  In comparison, Michelle Pacansky-Brock's Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies (summarized here), while not specific to language teaching, rocked!  It really delivered on its intended and stated purpose.

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