Sunday, September 22, 2013

What is the internet?

This semester I'm taking a couple of Educational Technology courses at the University of Northern Iowa. What's really fantastic is how to balance each other out and both feed ideas for me to share in each class! A couple weeks ago I saw this video in my Technology in Foreign Language Education course and I almost fell off my chair laughing. It's a discussion on the Today Show in 1994 about the internet and the @ symbol. I remember when the internet became popular, because I'm just on the cusp of being old enough to remember what life was like without the internet. My 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Moeller, taught me that the @ sign meant "around" and used it as such (she "corrected" me because I had been using it as a symbol for "and").

I learned in my class that day that only 27% of web users access the internet in English. I was astounded at that fact! We tend to think of English as the "lingua franca" and assume that everyone uses it around the world. This is true to an extent, but it's amazing how much is available for Language teachers in their target languages. 

We, Foreign Language Educators of today, have access to so much good stuff. Why are we not using it constantly? Most teachers (who are a generation or two older than me) don't know where to begin. Creating web pages is manageable but can be difficult. Google Sites is a great tool to help teachers who want to create web pages get started. It's easy because all the formatting is done for you; all you have to do is input your information! Using Java to add animation and sounds can be a way to spice up lessons. The best use of the internet for Language teachers is obviously the use of authentic materials in the target language. There are so many available. What's important to remember, when letting students use the internet, is that is needs to be facilitated well and should fit the interests of your students.

1 comment:

  1. hey Emma,
    google sites is a pretty awesome tool and there are so much more that can be done to improve and engage student learning in the classroom. An example of some foreign language ideas would be to skype a classroom from a country who speaks that language. This will help your students immensely.