WebQuest

In recent years WebQuests are becoming an increasingly popular method adopted by language teachers to teach all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking).

The advantages of using WebQuests are:

1. The materials used are authentic and suitable for the learners because they are selected beforehand, as a result students do not search for information aimlessly.
2. Students know exactly what is required step by step
3. WebQuests normally acquire students to work in pairs or groups which encourages co-operative learning and gives the students more opportunities to practice their speaking skills and exchange real information.
4. Students are motivated and enjoy using WebQuests because it is different to the traditional way of teaching and allows them to develop a range of skills.

The disadvantages of using WebQuests are:

1. It can take a long time to plan and takes up considerable amount of time in class.
2. Students can get easily distracted and may get bored going through a number of websites.
3. Students may not follow the WebQuest and go off track

Overall, I am a major supporter of WebQuests and believe it can be an extremely beneficial learning tool to use in the classroom. I feel it is a very useful motivational learning tool and allows individual knowledge to develop into more sophisticated knowledge, aided by online resources. Nevertheless, I believe in order to use WebQuests more efficiently both teachers and students need to be trained.

Ipad

The website below presents a very interesting report on the how the ipad can benefit as an educational tool and the impact it has on both teaching and learning. The study provides detailed information about the many uses of the tool presenting facts, figures, graphs and the views of both teachers and students.

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/07/study-finds-benefits-in-use-of-ipad-as-educational-tool/

In addition, I found the following paper (link below) very useful and highly recommend that you read it. Using two (pilot) studies the paper examines the effectiveness and usefulness of using the ipad for reading and discusses whether or not the introduction of this device can alter the learning and working practices of students.

http://www.pixel-online.org/ICT4LL2011/common/download/Paper_pdf/IBL33-246-FP-Sekiguchi-ICT4LL.pdf

Skype

Skype is a growing form of interaction between people. Teachers and students are using Skype more and more to interact with each other as it allows students to learn about new languages and ideas. It can bring to life conversations where students can learn new languages with a class of native speakers. In addition, Skype is becoming an increasing popular tool used by a lot of overseas employers to interview potential candidates who reside elsewhere.

Learning for students can become more engaging, authentic and also inspirational when it goes beyond the four walls of the classroom. Interacting with other students from different parts of the world can help motivate students as well as make them understand cultural differences. In addition, it allows students to practice their speaking and listening skills.

For teacher’s it can be used in many ways such as having guest speakers speak to students using video conferencing, as a learning tool which can offer extra help to learners who require more information and to also use it to collaborate on classroom projects by taking advantage of the free video calls and video conferencing.

Over the next few years I believe Skype will continue to grow and will be a very useful form of interaction for students and teachers.

Twitter Use

Twitter is an online social network site which allows users to send and read messages which are normally like text messages and are often referred to as “tweets”

Twitter is one of the most visited site all over the world enabling people to interact one another.This has many advantages as people can communicate with each other. This enables users to follow as many people as they like and get an update each time the person they follow tweets.

Twitter is a great form of interaction between people and is easily available especially with the latest smartphones.

Although twitter has many benefits where people can upload pictures and make new friends there are also disadvantages. Twitter can create “trolls” and cyber bullying which can affect peoples lives.

Twitter has been adopted as a communication and learning tool in educational settings mostly in colleges and universities and has been used to promote student interaction. Research has found this helps students communicate with each other, promotes informal learning and allows shy students a forum for increased participation and increases student engagement and overall course grades.