The world of teaching and learning is rapidly changing. As the Internet and technologies have become an even more significant part of our lives, there has been a paradigm shift from “traditional” classrooms to “21st century digital classroom”, where both teachers and learners need to have “21st century skills” (p. 224).
As an ESL instructor, I always create my lessons based on my students’ needs, their personalities, and interests. I do my best to make my lesson plans relevant to their lives and experiences by implementing technologies in my classroom to make the process of teaching and learning more interactive, appealing, and engaging for my students. It is true that integrating technologies should be done thoughtfully, depending on students’ needs and aims of the lesson. Otherwise, it would be just “… putting a piece of software in the classroom”, and students will not notice any positive outcomes of using new educational tools.
Seven years ago, when I started my teaching career, I did not use as many technological resources in my classroom as I do now. As the world of technologies keeps on developing and my learners are using more of them, I try to be on the same page with them and integrate their favorite applications in my ESL classroom. For example, my students create videos in the iMovie application, or use WhatsApp for interviewing their peers. Also, my students write summaries, essays, emails and post them on Facebook or WordPress, where their peers can read them, collaborate if needed, give feedback, and share their work with their instructor in a low-pressure environment.
In addition, technologies are not only very useful for learners, but for educators, as well. I have taken various courses and webinars for ESL teachers online. Developing my knowledge base and collaborating with other instructors has been an extremely rewarding experience. I have learned so much from other ESL professionals around the world by taking part in several Massive Open Online Courses. With the help of these technologies, I would love to collaborate and share my teaching experience with other professionals in the same field.