Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dogme Blog Challenge No. 7–And now for something completely different…

So far on the Dogme Blog Challenge, I’ve enjoyed doing things a little differently using a variety of web 2.0 tools: I recorded my own video and uploaded it to YouTube for challenge no. 4; I used Wetoku to have a split-screen intercontinental conversation for challenge no. 5; and I made an animation with Xtranormal for challenge no. 6. This time, I’ve decided to answer the latest challenge with something I have yet to try…..

…. I’m going to write a regular blog post!!!

But first things first. Here’s the obligatory…

power plug (rosipaw)
…picture of an unplugged plug
Image by rosipaw

So, onto the myth: dogme = no technology…?

I think there is a real problem here of people taking things far too literally. I believe many people look at the phrase ‘Teaching Unplugged’ and make some connection, consciously or otherwise, with literally unplugging the computer. But isn’t dogme really about focusing on what the students need and want to say? Isn’t it about breaking free of prescribed, artificial materials? Isn’t it about finding ways to bring authentic language into the classroom?

So what better tool than an internet connected computer to bring authentic language into the classroom? What better way to acknowledge and exploit the students’ interests? What better way to give them a voice than to encourage them to broadcast it, blog it, podcast it, share it?

Of course, there are ways to misuse technology: CD-ROMs with multi-choice questions, gap-fills and drills; ‘İnteractive multimedia’ that actually offers no interactivity; reading and listening comprehension tasks with no scope for student-generated content… It all comes down to the old saying: “It’s not the tool, it’s how you use it.”

Technology at its best (specifically the internet) offers the chance to break down the classroom walls and bring the real world into our schools. At its worst, it leads to another pile of meaningless language practice activities. As teachers, it’s our job to ensure technology is used at its best to support the needs of our learners.

Other posts in response to Dogme Blog Challenge No. 7

And for those of you who feel deceived having come over here expecting some Monty Python-esque humour, here you go:

2 comments:

  1. Great clip, Dave. Have you considered it to be a metaphor? Constant negativity about the potential of technology = annoying small fish slapping, big fish whack = a potential response! (Just a thought, not suggesting going round taking people out with a large, slippery sea creature).

    As for the post, of course: no method, approach, way or philosophy of teaching need 'outlaw' what is only a medium.

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  2. Hmmm, the metaphor idea is interesting. I guess it came to me subconciously!

    I'd see it as the small ineffective fish slaps representing the use of technology for its own sake with little thinking behind it. The big fish slap comes with the weight of pedagogical reasıning behind it and therefore makes a splash!

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