Technology Tools for the ESL Classroom | Part 2.

Technology for the ESL Classroom.

In my last post, I wrote about the “Essential Tools of the ESL Classroom” In a nutshell, those are tools that I would find hard to do without. Namely, my “Sony blue tooth speaker” with which I could play any recording loud enough for the class to hear, 30 watts RMS.

And also my trusty Aporo headset that saves my voice and stops me shouting in the public school classrooms of Vietnam. Where it is common to have 50 people in a classroom all talking and never being able to hear the “foreign teacher” another 30mwatt output piece of equipment, and protector of my voice.

And my Samsung phone where I store a lot of my lessons on “Google Drive”. Easy to use and I wouldn’t “cry” if my phone was accidentally dropped or misplaced. Unlike a past iPhone that cost me in excess of $1,500 US$. Not a happy day.

In my last post, I also provided information about class sizes and the types of schools, and problems you might come across.

So if you are interested in looking at that information, click on the link “Essential Tools of the ESL Classroom” above.

My Extra Tech.Tools for the ESL classroom.

This post is going to cover the other tools I have and some of the tools I wish I had. Our tech tools make our job so much easier in the classroom and can make it a better learning experience for the students. As well as making it more fun.

Tech Tools I have and Why?

Lenovo ideapad530s i7. Being able to access the various resources online has become vital no longer can you front up to the classroom and be expected to be taken seriously if you can not provide online resources. Also, with Covid still affecting our daily lives, we need to have the option of providing online teaching.

Here are some of the on-line resources I use.” My Top 10 Websites for ESL Teachers

If you aren’t getting the hours you need, you should look at the service you provide. Good services provided means a happy school and teacher.

The webcam and quality of the image on this computer is exceptional. I have now had this for over 18 months and still run it with 20 tabs open at a time. I have no complaints about the SSD storage and I feel it is as fast as the day I bought it.

The only thing I find disappointing is the battery life, as I have to start thinking about recharging after 4 hours. This may have something to do with the number of programs I run at the same time.

Sony RX100V11 Camera. My camera is used for recording the students in the classroom and playing it back to them so they can learn from interacting with the camera and how they sound and the problems they have when they speak.

Go Pro Hero 4. I use this small Go Pro cube for the same reasons as above but generally for the younger students or in a more robust environment where something more delicate could get damaged.

Canon Laser Printer. This is used for worksheets, gap fills, or any exercise not found in the book that is being used for the class. I also use it for any relevant text or image games that are relevant to the lesson. This is one of the tech tools on my upgrade wish list.


My Schools Tech.

Overhead Projector and Smart screen. and Televisions and DVDs are the tech tools that come standard in my schools classroom, however with the use of other technology, these are becoming outdated and not used as much anymore.

The televisions and DVDs will not be replaced, but overhead projectors that work in with computers and smart screens are becoming more common in the classroom. Well, at least mine.

Tech Tools I would like, and Why?

Go Pro Hero 10 creator edition.

I would like this as an all-in-one vlogging unit I can use to record both students and classroom activities or to replay or upload to YouTube or my website. A simple to use all-in-one unit that is ready off the shelf.

Canon wireless printer.

As a busy teacher who does not have time to rely on schools that do not have the equipment or will not provide it, I prefer utilizing my own gear. And I want to move to wireless as the time taken in hooking up a cable between laptop and printer is wasted time. Also, being able to print directly from a mobile phone will be a big time saver.

Don’t Lose Focus.

Having all these gadgets and tools are great, but they will not automatically make you a better teacher. Your style of teaching, the fun you bring into the classroom, and the quality and skills you provide to your students are still the most important thing.

What you do in the classroom is much more important than what you bring into the classroom. These tools are here to help make life easier for you and ultimately provide a better platform for the student to learn.

Most ESL students are still worried about their listening and speaking activities and there is a lot you can do without using tech. Have a look at my post “How to improve English Speaking Skills” You don’t need a lot of tech to make a worthwhile class, but to make a class more worthwhile it can be of great help.

It’s how you teach, at the end of the day, not what you use. Here are some words on teaching styles that, in my opinion, are more important than most of the other resources talked about here today. We just need to prioritize our classroom content.

Teaching Styles

As you gain experience as a teacher, you will create your own teaching style and classroom practices. T.P.R (Total physical reaction), communicative method, meaningful learning, and old-fashioned rote learning are some well-known teaching styles. Most teachers will pick and choose from the instructional techniques listed below to fit their needs.

Total Physical Response

Professor James Asher, a psychology expert, invented T.P.R, a language acquisition approach. TPR engages students in the language learning process by combining words and physical actions.

The Communicative Method.

The communicative approach is founded on the premise that the most effective way to learn a language is to have to express genuine meaning. Learners’ natural language acquisition mechanisms will be applied when they are engaged in genuine communication, allowing them to learn to use the language.

Meaningful Learning.

Meaningful learning is the feeling that all the parts of a concept, idea, theory, equations, or argument come together to make learning meaningful. Meaningful learning is frequently contrasted with rote learning, which involves memorizing knowledge without considering our relationship to other objects or events.

Rote Learning.

Rote Learning is a more conventional method of instruction. It is centered on students repeating the words and phrases until they recall them. Rote learning is the process of memorizing knowledge through repetition.

So use your teaching style and the methods in planning lessons to accommodate the introduction of technology that will put you firmly in the drivers seat.

You can find out more about teaching styles in my post ” Teaching English Abroad in Vietnam“.


Conclusion.

After teaching for 15 years across various schools and regions, I have come to the conclusion that a little money spent saves me more in the long run. And it provides a more seamless environment for teaching in the classroom. I control the flow of the class whether it is in my own school a public school or another private school

My name is Stephen and I have worked in Vietnam for over 15 years. I have my own school and also provide ESL teachers to those schools that need quality.


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4 thoughts on “Technology Tools for the ESL Classroom | Part 2.”

  1. What a unique story that you use as an inspiration to help others! Just out of curiosity, did you teach your children English or Vietnamese first? Or simultaneously? I would have loved to have been taught a second language at a much younger age, I’ve always heard it’s easier to learn the younger you are!

    Reply
    • Hi Shelby, the students I teach in my school are Vietnamese and speak the Language to their age level. So they have their native language as their “ first “ language and we teach English as a second skill.

      And you are correct, the younger we learn a language the easier it is.

      Stephen 

      Reply
  2. Teaching English as a second language, or as a foreign language, can be a real challenge. So it makes it very important to have the right equipment and tools to help you to make this task easier. 

    I specially like the suggestion of the Go Pro Hero 10 creator edition that can be used to record students and classroom activities, as well as being used to upload to a website and YouTube. And yes, having gadgets and tools might not make you a better teacher, but it will make your task as an ESL teacher easier and more enjoyable. 

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comments Line. Yes, I am of the opinion that these sorts of tools don’t define us as teachers but they do go a long way in helping the students understand, and hear clearly and they certainly help the teacher with their lessons. 

      Reply

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