Friday, November 18, 2011

Digital community and using it in ESL classroom

With development of technology, the way of people's life are changing drastically. Technology, especially, the internet, creating information explosion for people, changes the world into a global village. To get in touch with the people living on the other side of the earth became very easy. In this digital world, not only people's life are changed, but also students' life are also changed greatly. Nowadays, most of students' time either spend in school or on media. They put so much attention on the media that educators need to think about how to use the new technology to get students attention. One good way is to use digital literacy. To create a digital community is another brilliant idea to make full use of technology in education. 

Digital community is a community built up on internet where people from different countries can meet each other, share ideas, collaborate on the same project together. For example, ePals is a digital global community for K-12 social learning. Not only a lot collaborating projects about social learning are available there, but also different forums are available in the community for teachers, students, and parents to share their opinions and ideas. Through this community, students can learn the knowledge and also they can gain cultural awareness by getting in touch with people from other countries. These features are very useful and unique compared with the traditional classes. 

Another problem for teachers is how to use it to facilitate teaching? For ESL classroom, this is a great program that teachers can use, for students can learn the language through doing the social projects and collaborating with people who speak English. For example:
1. Talk about festivals and holidays with students in class. Teach them major words and phrases about the holidays in their culture. 
2. Ask students questions in the project.
3. Let students find the answers to the questions by communicating with students in the same classroom in the digital community.
4. Ask students to create a thread in the classroom to talk about one of the festivals in their culture. And answer questions other students ask them.
5. Ask students to report what they learn from this project in real classroom.

1 comment:

Maryanne said...

Those are good ideas for an exchange with e-pals.