9 de septiembre de 2019
TIPS TO THE PROPER USE ICTs
Alejandro González Celia
Profesor Facultad Ciencias de la Educación
Here are some helpful suggestions for teachers to make good use of the advantages provided by technological instruments aimed at improving the teaching-learning process.
When using virtual teaching strategies and technological resources to ease learning, it is fundamental for teachers to pay close attention to the written communication held with their students. Since it is not a possible to use intonation to convey ideas or complement our statements with body gestures as we do in face-to-face activities, teachers should follow the rule patterns to achieve a successful and productive educational experience.
- Use the basic principle “less is more”. Send short important meaningful messages. The more words expressed the more varied the interpretations.
- Avoid writing when experiencing negative emotions. Do not reply an e-mail message when being upset, sad or tired. It is better for students to wait for a while to receive a proper answer, rather than a fast impulsive one.
- Read what you wrote before delivering it to the students. “Step into their shoes” and write in the way you would like receive a message.
- Get used to writing messages at the end of each class unit to summarize the students’ most valuable interventions to gather contents and achievements.
- Do not write messages in upper case letters. In virtual contexts, it means shouting addressees/ receivers.
Plan a clear chronogram
Defining a work plan and a clear chronogram allows students to know what their responsibilities are throughout the course. This is a key aspect to assure the success in virtual contexts. The fact of not being present may interfere with the students’ rhythm of work if the teacher does not often remind them about their duties. It may also lead students to neglect their homework and commitment. That is why, it is necessary to agree about specific dates and periods of class to show a sequence of activities to foster confidence and good performance.
- Schedule dates to start and finish each class unit and let students know them in advance.
- If it is possible, make agreements about dates to hand in work assigned, class activities, and exams. When students are involved in class planning, they are more committed with activities.
- Use a virtual calendar to share with your students (google and Outlook have this function) to schedule class activities; update it when necessary.
- Try to follow the chronogram, but be flexible to modify it to achieve the class objectives.
State accurate instructions
Having in mind that in virtual education built on ICTs the students’ performance mainly depends on written instructions, it is mandatory for teachers to draw their attention to the way they write, and the aim of the activities proposed. The purpose of the instructions in a virtual learning context is to let students know what they have to do, why they should do it, how to do it, and the way to verify if they did it right or not.
- Write simple accurate words; instructions must be written in such a way that any reader can understand them.
- Name the stages that students need to follow when doing their work.
- State dates to hand in the work assigned, and the means to deliver it.
- When proposing work, connect it with learning objectives and the class purpose; do not waste resources when assigning useless work.
Guarantee accessibility to helpful resources
One of the greatest advantages of the ICTs, especially surfing for web resources on the Net, is the possibility to access to countless aids not available at once. There is numerous data base, e-magazines, repertory of university productions, among others, that allow availability to information and high quality issues about different areas of knowledge. The key is to remember that as teachers we are the experts in the discipline we teach. Therefore, we should provide our students with the best resources dealing with research and information.
- Search data base as often as possible and consult latest articles related to your field.
- Consolidate a structured collection of different types of online resources allowing you to strengthen topics linked to the area you teach.
- Revise links associated to the resources you use constantly; some pages change, or are not available anymore.
- Build your own collection of links to updated valid web pages for your area of expertise.
Finally, a crucial suggestion for virtual education through ICTs focuses on the creation of a learning community. Some teachers insist that learning is not achievable without a face-to-face activity. However, the follow up tools and the personal support provided by technologies can be helpful when generating interaction among students, which boosts the creation of a positive learning atmosphere allowing a successful class performance.
- Suggest an activity to start a class where students bring an object they like, and explain the reasons why they like it.
- Maintain a permanent discussion in the forum; assess them permanently, and solve all participations.
- When necessary, e-mail your students personally, to encourage their participation.
- Propose group work activities (mainly based on the principle of cooperative learning).