by Francisco Morales
For many years, I have been using a variety of devices and applications to improve my skills and productivity as a doctor. I think of technology as a toolbox which helps us in everyday life as soon as we understand how and where to use it. Recently, as a student in the Academic English Program (AEP) at Keiser University, I had the opportunity to double-check the necessity of using technology in our daily tasks. The AEP introduces students to a vast use of web applications.
Firstly, most of web applications are oriented to reinforcing the link between students and teachers. For instance, when I was in level eight, we had to work on a research paper, and we wrote it on Google Docs and saved it in Google Drive. The use of these web apps helped the teacher to correct my writings without wasting time on printing and submitting. Currently, a huge percentage of the corrections were in real-time, and I did not need to stand up and disturb the teacher every time I need to consult something, even though I had the right to do it. He sent me the suggestions and I was able to take advantage of the time to look for the possible corrections. The practice was very convenient.
Secondly, AEP instructors use MyEnglishLab as an alternative to traditional homework in lower levels. Besides, MyEnglishLab, also referred as “the platform” by many students, is an online web application used by teachers to assign grammar homework to their students. The exercises are very clear and include a brief review of the main topics in its grammar chart, just like a book does. The main difference between the traditional workbook and this web application is the real-time feedback students receive. Using the platform, I did not have to wait until the teacher checked my homework, in case he was able to. I received a real-time feedback from MyEnglishLab, including a short explanation about my mistakes. As an English learner, I had the time to look for more information about my mistakes and prepare myself for the next day’s classes. In addition, I did not have to buy any books or carry them every day in every level.
Thirdly, teachers promoted the use of web applications to improve our TOEFL Skills. From level five to level eight, we have been working on TOEFL Skills, and teachers assigned us different tasks based on TOEFL exercises. Similar to MyEnglishLab, I could receive a real-time feedback from the different web applications we used, and I practiced all the areas. Ranging from reading to listening exercises, the continuity of facing us with these types of assignments reinforced myself with the necessary abilities to overcome the TOEFL.
One of these web applications that deserves a special mention is ReadTheory. As a doctor, I used to read a lot on my native language, but reading in English and comprehending are totally different things. It was not so easy at the beginning, but practice makes perfect, and it is here where ReadTheory takes place. On the website, we had meaningful readings sorted by different levels of comprehension, as well as questions for every reading. Every mistake I made had a clear explanation, and those pieces of advice are very useful. From the time that my teacher gave me access to this website, I started reading at least one or two passages per day. Now, I am a very fast reader, and my vocabulary has increased a lot too. Thus, I am satisfied with all the practice I received.
In brief, I am very grateful for having had the chance to use different tools to improve my abilities as a English learner instead of those old-fashioned learning techniques.