Monday, May 23, 2011

The current situation of ICT in TEFL

      The enthralling use of technology in Education leaves no doubts that most teachers should be updated. We are not anymore the teachers using just a piece of “chalk” and an “eraser”. It seems that the techno era is definitely building up its foundations on solid ground in the Education field, and it is growing so fast that those who are yet reluctant to its use are being left behind.

     Today, words like e-learning, online learning, and virtual learning, among others, are being heard a lot. Basically, all these terms refer to Educational processes that “utilize information and communications technology to mediate asynchronous as well as synchronous learning and teaching” (Naidu, 2006, p.1). According to Naidu (op. cit), e-learning includes “all educational activities that are carried out by individuals or group working online or offline” (p. 1). This author also refers to e-learning as “the intentional use of networked information and communications technology in teaching and learning” (p. 1).

     The use of ICT in the educational system is growing up, although, there are some constraints. One of the main limitations is the infrastructure. In the field of TEFL, it is not the exception. Based on the expensive costs in providing computer labs to higher educational institutions makes it difficult to promote the use of technology to favor teaching and learning.

    At Universidad Marítima del Caribe there exists a platform which could be used to expand and exploit the use of internet and computers as a resource to enhance English learning and teaching, however, its use is limited. Students are not allowed to enter some sites which are very useful for them to practice their listening and speaking skills. To muddy these waters, there is not a modern English lab.

     Being in a constant interaction with English learners is of great importance as it is the only way to practice English in a Spanish environment. As an English teacher, recognizing the paramount relevance of using technological devices to promote learning, I definitely pose to teach my groups of learners taking advantage of cell phones, internet out of the university settings, that is, I pose for a blended learning.

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