The students of my class are in the third grade in junior high school, the last level before moving to senior high school. They are 14 – 17 years old. They have studied English for seven months now. I teach them English as a foreign language (elementary level) two times a week, one hour per session. They have good skills in using computers.
Our classroom is very ordinary with two-seat tables set in rows and the teacher's desk in the front. It can have up to 40 students, but I only have
Another Problem we suffer from is the total absence of any materials in English. It’s been about six years now that junior high school students start to study English, but no materials have been brought to the school.
Why I am saying this? I believe technology would solve the problem. I am not satisfied with the way I have used technology so far because the results have not been satisfactory. I tied to make use of Moodle in my last trial, but it turned to be a fiasco. My students didn’t show much motivation and interest. I have, therefore, done a kind of informal research to find out the reasons.(This might respond to Mohamed Hassan’s questions). Some of the results are as follows in my context:
· Their interest in using the internet differs from ours.
· Almost al the students have got emails, but they don’t use them for emails exchange but for chatting. They don’t like to wait for responses. They say they prefer synchronous chat. Many of them have never consulted their email boxes.
· For some school options, English is not as interesting as other subjects as is the case of the students of Science Maths option or may be engineering. Therefore, the students just do things because they are obliged and skip lesson whenever they have the opportunity.
· Working in Moodle was not compulsory and it was not a part of the assessment system. So, students found it not necessary to do it.
· I only displayed plain texts on www.mernaoui.eduspoke.com. There should have been more interesting things and the design should be appealing.
· An example of how to do the activities should be given in class so that all the learners know what they are supposed to do…
Technology would never be a solution is it is not used appropriately and what might work within a certain context would not necessarily for all. I do consider that the failure of the trial is mine. My project is then to use technology in a better way. It should be more effective. But why should I use Technology in my teaching? Is it because it is the tendency? Or just to make my classes different? It’s none of these. If I am to use technology, it’s because I am certain of the problems it would solve and the facilities it would bring.
· We have no books or English sources in my school that I can use. The internet offers plenty of free materials. I can also make use of audios and videos that provide authentic language. Plenty of websites provide pictures that I can use as visual aids.
· Using technology is motivating. When my students see me coming to the classroom with a CD/cassette player or my guitar, they always feel more motivated without even knowing the content because simply it is not an ordinary lesson.
· Most of the students are now virtual worlds citizens. We should make a move towards them because whether we like it or not they are more attracted live there more. If they are bound to the electronic world where their lives are at risk, we should make a step towards them and make them learn while doing what they like.
· Computers and the internet are good resources for work projects.
· Among the competencies the students should acquire and develop in the Moroccan curricula is technological competencies. Integrating ICT in my classes helps attain this aim.
· Technology facilitates group work. The students can make use of communication technology to keep contact among them such as using emails, SMS, Listsev…
· Using web educational tools would maximize the time the students get acquainted to English in their daily lives.
· Using technology encourages student-centeredness. The teacher would be a mere facilitator and a guide. Technological tools would do the job for him and thereby offer more room for students to observe, think, practise, evaluate…
· It also encourages learning by doing as is the case in web questing or problem solving tasks.
· To set the scene for topics, contextualize issues and so on, technology would be the best tool.
· Technology saves time.
· It is also a good source for me as a teacher to prepare and get materials…
These are some of the ways that make convinced by the importance of technology in education and give the good reason why I keen on being interested in it.