Pete Sharma & Barney Barrett
Macmillan Publishers Limited
Blended Learning introduces teachers into the use of technology inside and outside the classroom. Though there is no doubt about the role of technology in our classrooms, it is rather a challenging task to search, combine, and take advantage of all the variety of tools and materials that one may find on the web. Pete Sharma and Barney Barrett have managed to put together a guide where they present different items of technology to be used in a language class. Their objective is to provide instructors with all the advantages of the tools, present possible problems and solutions that may come in handy, and examples of the way to enhance your classes, as they include a few model lessons plans for different levels of expertise.
If you are looking forward to introducing technology into your EFL classrooms and do not know where to get started, this book will take you by the hand on how to promote your classroom into the 21st century, engaging your students in different and diverse ways of learning.
- It provides basic information for new technology users, though it also includes helpful websites for more advanced users too.
- The book not only presents new technological tools, but also directions for the creation of new material.
- It contains two appendices for beginners with detailed guidance for the use of Internet and the World Wide Web.
Check it out!
By Academic Committee
The new trend in companies now geared towards the 21st century focuses on technology and globalization. Millennials, today’s leaders, with easy access to the global market, and native to technological surroundings transform Startups to billion dollar companies overnight leaving their competitive advantage to Talent and Creativity.
Whereas, CEO’s are now enforced to redefine their recruitment process within the four pillars of Talent Management considering as a starting point the Millennial’s way of thinking, use of technology, and globalization.
I. The Recruitment process:
The recruitment process is the first step where changes need to occur. Before, CEO’s through Human Resources office scouted people that would perfectly match the position requirements. In today’s global market, the focus is on talent and adaptability. In the modern globalized economy, companies weigh employee’s ability to acquire new knowledge and collaborate. Also, gaining experience and developing individuals’ skill-sets becomes essential. Employers would now prefer to have energetic, malleable workforces who can learn on the job and help one another to innovate and create new solutions.
II. Learning Development
Today’s candidates are not looking for a career inside a company; they are looking for an experience. This immense change in the status quo of what people wanted at their workplace comes from the changes needs directly connecting to the economy. Thus agile workforce is required.
Millennials’ inherent values and life skills set imply hands-on the job and learning by doing. So, development of learning is shifting towards business leaders who progressively identify the lack of competence as a dominant obstacle to the implementation of their company’s strategies; thus, ensuring the need for creating opportunities and space for learning.
Millennials’ creative workforce considers of high added value the emphasis on continuous learning to the point that when they are not learning, they leave organizations. The key lies in creating conditions for learning to happen as part of their development aligned to the recruitment process and meeting the needs of the changing economy and its workforce.
III. Periodical Check-ins
Annual Reviews are a thing of the past; today proved ineffective and inefficient in fostering high performance. According to talent managers, Annual Reviews do not promote employee engagement or talent. Instead, valuing a year full of work and noticing changes that would require follow-ups until a new year comes and which results directly connects to compensation derives in demotivating collaborators. Millennials whose mindsets focuses towards learning and gaining experience that fosters talent and creativity need immediate input hence constant check-ins lead to direct real-time improvements.
Also, lifelong learning is the key to adjust performance through coaching and skills development rather than just evaluations. Today, Millennials value instant feedback given after direct performance if it is active and constructive. They feel the need to be geared towards their responsibilities and progress within the roles and duties they perform; hence their results drive the companies’ culture and employee’s engagement as they feel valued and take part of the system and for those that need improvement creating a support system that helps them grow. If leaders provide constant feedback on performance they are also building future leaders, coaches, and mentors who drive the economy and their responsibilities to fulfillment fostering teamwork; as a result creating new leaders. Also, instant check-ins goes hand in hand with clear objectives and results since they bring transparency and efficacy to the job performed which Millennials highly value.
IV. Career Development and Compensation
Unlike the traditional idea of career development which meant reaching the next step in the corporate ladder, the 21st Century economy places great importance on providing opportunities and support to middle-level operations to advance and create development opportunities for employees to meet the rapidly changing needs of the company. Talent Managers should focus on three primary drivers- purpose, autonomy, and mastery- to meet Millennials mindsets expectations for development. Ideally, employers should create opportunities for young, talented, creative minds to experience different functions, roles, and markets for them to gain experience and build adaptability to change in employees; from now on, creating a more stable job opportunity to the collaborator. This career development opportunity leads to a change in view and although Millennials are ambitious and strive for financial success, they also prefer a collaborative work culture environment and value transparency.
Millennials focus on collaboration and equality and draw towards projects that connect their strengths and abilities leading to career fulfillment since social networks are their essence, they expect an open culture without barriers of any levels; subsequently, they also favor leaders who create opportunities for training and development.
Millennials now connected to the world through technology; they embrace cultural diversity and change as essential to their environment. The creation of culturally diverse leadership teams and workforces with divergent backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas enables collaboration, inclusion and ensures equipped leaders for future challenges. Lastly, considering that new challenges lie ahead, a succession of employees is essential to the fulfillment of positions with great talents, creativity, and better-equipped life skills. Such replacements can fulfill the needs throughout the organization connected to the economy, and its global trends requiring an immediate change in the Talent Management process where Millennials are taking over.
Haak, Tom. “10 Talent Management Trends for 2016 | HR Trend Institute.” HR Trend Institute. HR Trend Institute, 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.
Martin, Jean. “How to Keep Your Top Talent.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business School, May 2010. Web. Aug. 2016.
10. By Making Relationships a Priority
Learning should result in personal and social change. This requires personal relationships as much as it does academic progress, no matter what the data tells you.
9. By Showing True Content Expertise
As a teacher, you play many roles: colleague, sounding board, designer, task-master, friend. But lost in the hubbub of recent efforts to improve education seems to be a respect for the teacher as a content expert. Most university programs require very limited demonstrations of content expertise, and the folks that interview you in most K-12 schools and districts have for so long focused on assessment, classroom management, and other significant requirements of the job that their content knowledge, while perhaps not entirely perishable, has proven to wane over the years.
Great teachers are constantly seeking not simply more effective ways to teach, but more ways to understand the nuances of their own content area better themselves.
8. By Striving For Personalization
Differentiation of instruction is an excellent response to learner differences. Different learners have different needs—not just in terms of learning styles, but pace, sequence, and content. In a traditional environment, learners must be brought to the same standards and a similar level of proficiency, which is crude and dishonest. Though full-on personalized learning for every student is still beyond the reach of most educators (and thus students), great teachers strive for personalization of learning experiences.
7. By Always Seeking Meaning
Great teachers seek meaning—in the minds of students, in their content, in the role of the school in a community, in the roles technology should and should not fill in their classroom, and so on. While they honor popular opinion, great teachers independently seek their own meaning for everything they do—and not simply as part of an emotional check-list (Find meaning? Check.), but rather authentically, and with a playful, curious spirit.
6. By Modeling Curiosity
Speaking of curiosity, great teachers model it. Content expertise is crucial, but the tone of that expertise should never sound self-assured or arrogant. Teach like your classroom is a TED Talk, full of inquisitive minds that, while exceptionally bright, probably lack the specific sliver of expertise that you happen to have. By modeling curiosity—during discussions, presentations, conferences, meetings, and even Reciprocal Teaching panels—you’ll not only show students how curiosity leads all learning, but more importantly change the tone of your classroom entirely.
5. By Integrating Technology Meaningfully
This one sounds vague and obvious, but let’s clarify what it does not mean: to integrate technology meaningfully doesn’t simply mean to simply do what couldn’t otherwise be done without that technology (connect with global peers, embed a voice-over on a presentation, create a 3D model of a widget before pitching it to classmates). For it to truly be meaningful it has to result in understanding that somehow—in depth, duration, or complexity—exceeds that which it might have without that technology.
Learning is not about showmanship, or even learner engagement, but understanding.
4. By Collaborating With Other Great Teachers
Start with your local department, school, and district, and then make your way to twitter, facebook, and blogs everywhere. Birds of a feather….
3. By Measuring Understanding In Diverse Ways
Understanding is complex. It’s almost impossible to explain what it looks like, and two teachers in the same building teaching the same content might disagree passionately about what students should be able to say or do to prove “they get it.”
Recently I suggested that “the first (step) is to be aware of the ambiguity of the term “understands,” and don’t settle for simply paraphrasing it in overly-simple words and phrases like “they get it,” or “proficiency.” Honor the uncertainty by embracing that not only is understanding borderline indescribable, but is impermanent itself.”
The more diverse the evidence for understanding is that you accept, the more empowered and successful the learning in your classroom—and the more “real” it will all be—less about compliance, more about the students and that critical notion of understanding.
2. By Prioritizing
Great teachers have the same number of expectations placed on their shoulders as good—or evenmediocre—teachers. And rarely do they get more done than these less than breed of educators. But they simply get the right things done. The important things. Like what? That’s another article for another day.
1. By Getting Out of the Students’ Way
Challenge students, convince them they can juggle planets, then get out of their way. So often good teachers—in their tremendous goodness—have tightly scripted the learning process to make sure to elicit all the hallmarks of learning. Only they bleach the learning in the process. Impose an authentic need to know on the students, give them the tools, and get out of their way.
The classroom of a great teacher is not filled with their own voice, buzz, or spirit, but that of the learners.
Perhaps the greatest strategy of all, then, is to know when to break the rules, and be willing to move out of the accepted archetype of “good teachers” to give your students what you know they need.
by Terry Heick