Teach English in Baoji Zhen - Bengbu Shi

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New technology in the classroomIn this ever evolving technological world we live in it´s not surprising that Teachers can find more and more uses for technology in the classroom environment. Whether it be using computers, photocopiers and other machines to help us prepare for our classes or machines that we bring with us into the class to assist us in a specific task there is no denying that we are slowly becoming more dependent on technology both in our workplace and home lives. Of course there is a divide, the countries who manufacturer these technologies and the lucky ones who can afford to import these modern wonders will ensure that most learning institutions are well equipped with such technologies but there are still classrooms around the world working with their principle and original classroom tool...the good old chalkboard or blackboard. As a continuation I am going to ignore the divides that exist in the classroom budget and look at technologies that I personally think can benefit the classroom now and tomorrow. We are all familiar with modern projectors (not OHP´s) and their benefits such as being able to make our own power point presentations, use them to explain grammar or tasks or show photos, flash cards to an entire class. Many classrooms obviously don´t have these facilities. Recently I was working for the spanish Government in a temporary placement taking two classes a week teaching Business english for two different companies. The first company was rather large and because of this had their own conference room where we would take the class. I had available to me a microphone and speaker system, a projector with surround sound and a white board and pens. You could say I was spoilt. In the second companies workplace it was a little different. We had a backroom that we used with a small window that offered very little light and a few tables and chairs and that was it. I had to take a portable white board with me which just fitted in my small car. This was when it dawned on me what technology could I bring along to help my situation. Most people would think of a laptop first and indeed so did I. Yes the room was small and the students could all gather around the screen but they wouldn´t be sat down at their desks and ready to work and I felt it would be disruptive for them all having to constantly stand and sit to see something. This is when I recalled seeing a new line of portable projectors made for small room of office situations. I thought to myself that the tiny room we use as a classroom had been painted white, there´s nothing on the walls to disrupt the image so I wouldn´t have to carry a portable screen around with me. The only thing I was concerned about was the fact there was only one electricity socket in the room and it looked from the dark ages. Whilst it would be pumping out the right juice who´s to say it´s controlled. I thought about the portable projector all day long but had no free time to investigate the idea more. Driving home it occurred to me how silly I had been in not realising that a lot these machines also include batteries now and can be used like a laptop. Jumping forward a few weeks and the projector was a big success with the students and the environment given to me. Please note this device wasn´t a permanent fixture in our classroom but helped me a lot with some tasks. VOIP technology could be introduced into tomorrow´s classroom using mobile phones or computers. This would allow us to have native speakers at one end of the phone in one classroom and the students completing tasks on the other end of the phone or speakers in another classroom or location. The students would have to complete tasks to demonstrate their understanding of english. It could be anything from a Treasure hunt to writing an essay as a listening exam. This would cost nothing as the VOIP service between devices would be free.