Powerpoint remains a critical way to impart important information to students because of its visual and interactive nature. The slides provide more information than the teacher can give by lecturing: showing pictures of Anne Frank’s hiding place and her family, for example, is more powerful than just discussing them. In addition, it is possible to print out a set of lecture guides with each presentation for students to take notes on, so this provides a kind of scaffolding that traditional lectures do not.
Besides just learning the technology, students and teachers should learn some of the basics in responsible handling of computer information, such as storing materials to a thumbdrive, a small electronic storage device that can be kept on a keychain. Asking students to purchase a thumbdrive should be part of every class in which technology is used.
8 a DVD and CD player
DVD and CD players remain staples of technology for teaching. Many ESL books
4 Great Textbooks for General English Students come equipped with CDs for listening practice and DVDs for presenting concepts, so access to both a CD and DVD player is desirable.
9 an overhead projector
Understanding how an overhead projector works remains important even today because many texts—including the one I am using this term—comes with pages to be used on overheads. In addition, many schools have not made the conversion yet to “smart” classrooms, and overhead projects are the extent of their technology. However, overheads are especially useful for demonstrating to students how to fill out a form, for example, or a page on a notebook. Instead of attempting to copy from the book the sentences with blanks on the board, the teacher can simply make an overhead and fill it out on the projector. This saves time, improves accuracy, and reduces confusion for students with learning difficulties, in particular, whose confusion connecting with what is on the board with what is in their book is reduced if what is on the overhead is the same as their books.
E-readers, electronic devices for downloading and reading electronic books, are the coming technology in purchasing and reading books. Their advantages are their portability: an e-reader can store thousands of texts and save space and back pain caused by traditional books filling shelves and backpacks. E-books are also often cheaper: a friend of mine, for example, just downloaded the complete works of Shakespeare—free, because it’s out of copyright. Many e-readers today also come with devices to mark and highlight electronic text, which is not as damaging as marking a print copy. All teachers and students should consider getting one of these devices.
Technology will never take the place of a teacher nor will it cover for poor teaching.
However, technology, used in the correct place and at the correct time, can enhance the educational process greatly.