ICT Use in the Classroom

An Information Based World

                   

          Living in an information-based world, we can no longer separate teaching from Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Even if some teachers tend to be reluctant in their ignorance of the fact, students seem so ardent and more inclined to use them whenever granted an opportunity.

          In fact, even when banned from schools, we still hear the bird-singing phones. Even though experts keep warning us about media-addiction, parents still find it difficult and hard to make their children abstain from being enslaved to those magical screens. The last resort then is to find how to orient this generation so as to appropriately use those technology tools.

          An experience I had these last two years has taught me a great deal about students’ fervent enthusiasm for the use of ICTs in class and even in their everyday life. It all began when I started using ICTs in class. I noticed my students’ eagerness at assisting me showing their great computing skills, they proved to be my real partners. This was the harbinger of their successful project presentations two months later. All I did was inviting colleagues for a class observation and how spell-bound we teachers were when discovering students’ ability at managing technology use in learning English. The least-performing among them showed great skills at using a camera to film the presentations. With other classes this year, I was astonished and flabbergasted at students’ willingness to use ICTs. In every presentation, technology tools facilitate the development of some competencies. Some learners proved to be good interviewers, or excellent photographers, others efficient actors who perfectly used mobile phones in acting out their plays. Owing to that, I understood that being assigned real roles in authentic contexts helped students better use their English. Technology thus was just a tool that facilitated their tasks and improved their performance.

         As a matter of fact, the impact the aforementioned experiences had on my teaching performance was considerable and so engrossing. Instead of monopolizing the stage and acting on my own, students were handed down different roles and in all of those situations, their English was put under study. They learnt a lot and they taught me one important thing: a teacher is no longer the only transmitter of knowledge. Instead, he is the head of the crew and the one who turns the boat wheel in the right direction of the wind. His duty taken over by the crew at times frees and relieves him to a great extent. Besides that, I felt that all along the project preparation and realization phases, students’ responsibility in learning grew to a great extent. Not only did they develop their learning styles but the social ones too as many of them asserted that when assessing their work. Below are some of their opinions.

Khadidja Boussaid wrote, “from group work, I learnt the value of working together and exchanging ideas. A very important thing in that is making difficult things …”

Houaria Koulel said, “people should work together to satisfy their needs. Group work has an important value which helps learn quickly and avoid weaknesses. I learnt that I must respect others’ opinion. We mustn’t be afraid to do things. Group work is striking.”

Rabab Bouchakour admitted saying, “I learnt new vocabulary and got new information but the most important point was learning how to behave towards other persons.”

Mohamed Djilali Ayad said, “group work is very important. It helps me improve my English. It makes me more cooperative.”

Farida Kallouche said, “group work enables us to show our abilities to work to work together and do magical things.”

Hadjira Bali wrote:, “while working with my friend Rabab, Kheira, Houaria and Asma, I learnt many things. For example, they gave me advice to avoid mistakes.”

Latifa Cherni declared, “working in a group is very important. We did not have much difficulties because we shared and exchanged ideas, divided the work and everyone took a short part and worked hard to find information. I learnt to respect the ideas and opinions of my friends. It was beneficial: we corrected mistakes, selected the best ideas and pictures and chose a way to present our work.” 

Benmoussa Menoura said, “all projects were nice because they were made cooperatively. This collaborative work gave me a chance to learn from my classmates. It is a good way to obtain information, which I hadn’t before. Collaborative learning makes my mind work better because when I’m with them, I correct both my mistakes and theirs. This drew me close to them in  working for success.”

Yasmina Selmoune agreed that group work is interesting saying: “We met at the library. Everyone chose his work and understood it. I looked for information in books and newspapers... I brought photos, statistics...I usually proofread my work to correct mistakes. I gave my work to a member of my group and they gave me their opinion.”

Mustapha Benouddane said, “together we are  as members of the same family.”

Aicha Djait confirmed, “ I learnt how to do a journalist’s work when  making the interview with the doctor and having had to translate what he said.” “I also learnt how to work with others and give the best of what we have.”

Asma Maghraooui concluded  “ group work is enjoyable and valuable.”

 

                                                           Chahrazed Boukhiar   (A teacher of English)

                                                                         Oran, Algeria     /        April 2008