Tools

Digital Content in ELT – The Future is Now

Luiz Rose

Luiz Rose discusses the use of digital content and online tools from the perspective of teachers, as well as students. He looks at the gains and potential problems of adopting technology in the classroom.

The idea of a classroom full of students with print materials is gradually changing. More and more, teachers and students are shifting into digital content.

For teachers, it is very easy and convenient to use. One teacher once told me he had to carry several books in his bag and now he only carries his tablet with all the content he needs. Another teacher told me she saved a lot of time by not having to correct homework anymore because her students were doing the activities online and the platform had automatic grading.

For students, it is also very easy and convenient to use. Students don’t need to wait for the teacher to correct the activities as the platform gives them instant feedback. They can also work at their own pace and redo the activities when necessary.

Adapting to online tools

But online content is not merely a replacement for print content. There are several tools teachers and students can use which can enhance learning. One of those tools is the forum, where students can exchange ideas. Another interesting feature is the video tool where students can role play activities and record themselves.

Many school coordinators are still reluctant to change to online content. Some of them had bad experiences in the past when internet connections were poor and online platforms were difficult to use and not very reliable, but the situation is changing quickly. Internet connections are much better now in most places and the platforms (LMS – Learning Management Systems) are much more user-friendly and reliable.

For those people who are reluctant to change, a good idea is to make the change gradually. Cambridge University Press now offers free Online Practice for most of its course books so that teachers and students can get acquainted with the platform and the online activities before making the move to an Online Workbook.

On the other hand, there are schools which have embraced online content and are creating new courses for new markets. With online and blended learning, they can offer courses for people who don’t have time to come to school regularly or who don’t live nearby.

As you can see there are many advantages in shifting to online content but it is not always hassle-free. There are teachers and students who don’t feel very comfortable with technology. There is also the issue with internet connection and hardware, and some smaller issues with the steps students and teachers need to take in order to use the platform properly.

But when we weigh all of those problems against the advantages, it is clear that the gains for using online content usually more than make up for the problems we may have.

So, what are you waiting for?

See the last article from Luiz on ideas for becoming a more effective teacher.


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