This chapter has discussed professional development opportunities in CALL, presented some resources and tools for teachers, and noted the importance of teacher inquiry to CALL practice. Although taking advantage of some of these opportunities can assist Ms. Plenner (in the opening scenario) in meeting her language students’ needs more effectively, she still has other barriers to overcome. Most important, she needs to help her supervisor and perhaps others at her school to understand that effective CALL use is not the result of being assigned a time to use the laptop cart and available software; rather, it comes from understanding principles for language learning, engagement, and technology use, careful planning, and critical inquiry into the process and outcomes of computer-enhanced tasks.
► Teachers’ Voices
I have made use of ABC Teach as a teacher resource of free stuff. It covers topics like reading comprehension, shape books, theme units, reports, fun activities. It also appears that there are many more tips for $25 a year. It had a special ESL category. The link is www.abcteach.com.
There is a need of an ongoing staff development for teachers to implement and become more knowledgeable in technology. We all need to know how to research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness of electronic information resources to be used by students. Creating a learning community between teachers can really empower individual professional growth.
I love the computer, don’t get me wrong, they’ve got all those fancy buttons and things 🙂 It’s just that there are so many NEW and exciting options for using technology, I just don’t know where to begin! I’d be willing to put the time into trying something out if someone, could TELL me which ONE is the best for me to start out with. I know, I know, there isn’t one ‘best’ program or Web site, just like there isn’t one ‘best’ teaching technique. But I need a place to begin that fits in with my learners (fifth grade, many ELL), my curriculum, my philosophy (everyone should have the opportunity to learn in the style/environment most suitable to them), and my time (limited). Also, I want the program I try out to be interactive, so the students like it, and effective and efficient, so my administration approves it. What do you say? Do you have a recommendation for me?
I have always had the problem of time limitations in the past, and I guess that it is always going to be a problem. However, this year I feel as though I have a better handle on it. I am approaching it a little differently. I just decide what learning or project I want the kids to accomplish. Then [I] figure out what skills they will need to accomplish that, and I give mini-lessons until they have enough background to accomplish the task. The guiding rule in the room is “Ask three, then me.” So students always ask three other students how to do things on the computer before they ask me. They end up learning a lot from each other this way. I let them in the room before school starts, and they get their computer skills nailed down during this time, too. We just started a bulletin board with tech tips, and they check that out for cool things to try out on technology tools. While this seems really simple and like a ‘no brainer’ I just wasn’t using my time very well with technology until this year. Technology training for me has made a big difference in my efficiency in using technology with my kids.