WEEK 2: E-learning, definition and classification: Distance learning, online learning, blended learning. Current situation of ICT in TEFL
According to Naidu (2006), “E-learning is commonly referred to the intentional use of networked information and communications technology in teaching and learning. A number of other terms are also used to describe this mode of teaching and learning. They include online learning, virtual learning, distributed learning, network and webbased learning.” In other words, E-learning is using any kind of electronic device to learn something. So you can learn from any kind of device. The good thing about e-learning is that you do not need internet connection to learn. For example, you can use your computer without internet connection and you can learn using programs and encyclopedias that are already installed in your desktop or laptop. E-learning is marvelous because it can be used either inside or outside classes, so you can learn new things everywhere.
E-learning is really important in education. According to the communicative approach it is really important that students learn in real contexts. Learning takes places through conversations and real interaction among people. That is why nowadays e-learning focuses on social software such as wikis, glogsters and Second Life web tools.
B. Distance education
According to Willems (2005), “It aimed to allow distance learners, who were generally adult learners in full or part-time employment to be able to study at a time, place, and pace that suited their convenience. The goal of distance education was to free these learners from the constraints of conventional residential educational settings.” As it was said by Willems we combine teaching methods with technology in distance education. That’s what teachers in all over the world have been doing for a long time. Distance education has its advantages. For example, there is no need of a classroom, you have all the tools that you need on the web (you just need a computer and Internet connection), you can study and work at home, you can learn and interact with people from all over the world. Disadvantages are: if you don’t have a computer or good Internet connection, that can be a very big problem, there is not face to face contact with the teacher and the classmates, if you interact with people all over the world, timing may be complicated.
C. On- line classes
You use technology to learn something new for academic purposes. It is very important to have Internet connection on on-line classes. Nowadays on-line classes are common in academies and even in English courses because these places want their students to learn English in
D. Blended learning
It is the combination of all the terms discussed above. It is my personal opinion to say that teachers and students must be connected with blended learning. Students and technology are already connected because they are native generations (they know how to use a computer when they are very young) and we, teachers, are immigrants generations (we just manage the old technology, but we want to learn more new things). So if teachers are always behind students in the matter of technology, we should work about it and prepare ourselves to be better webheads. I have tried to use technology in my classes, but I think to know more about it, especially for academic purposes.
Naidu, S (2006), E-learning, a guidebook of principles, procedures and practices. The university of Melbourne. Australia.
Willems, J. (2005). Flexible learning:Implications of “when-ever”, “where-ever” and “what-ever”. Distance 429-435.
A. Do you use ICT with your students?
Yes, I do. But I only use basic tools such as CD player, CDs, and video beams. I use smart boards at the CVA (downtown) and I try to use my own laptop for extra activities in class.
B. How often?
I use them almost every class.
C. What do you do in the technological area?
At the CVA I can create games and activities using the smart board. When teaching incompany, I just create extra activities invented by my own with the CD, CD player and my laptop.
D. How would you describe your local context?
My three jobs can have access to technology. CVA and Maritime University of the Caribbean have more access than Effective English Company. Students at the CVA and Maritime University of the Caribbean have more contact with technology because they interact directly with it using web pages and laboratories.
I have three jobs, so I must decide for only one place. I am going to focus my research at The Maritime University of the Caribbean. This university has several systems. For example, they have a platform called “SAID” (Sistema de Aprendizaje a Distancia) and “CAMPUS.” The former is a platform used to teach on line classes to students. The latter is a system which has many administrative functions: grades and assistance records are uploaded by the teachers there. Maritime University has also three OPSU rooms for the students and teachers. They can connect on the Internet for free. They also have a Multimedia room that is a special laboratory only used for the “Coodinación de Ciencias Aplicadas” (This room is more restricted than the OPSU rooms).
Students have Internet connection at the Maritime University. The university already mentioned has broad band connection. This connection has some limitations. For example, students cannot access at any social network pages such as facebook, badoo, etc. This prohibition was created to avoid students visiting non-academic web pages. They cannot use chat rooms such as msn either.
SAID can only be used to TSU students and students of “velero” course because they do not have face to face English classes (velero course is a special course taken by maritime engineering students in order to pass to the first semester). Teachers can use SAID if they do a “diplomado” in distance education that is given at the Maritime University.
E. What's the sudents' performance using TIC?
Engineering students know some basic infomation about technology. They know how to use computers, laptop and they know how to use internet for academic and pleasure purpose. They also know how to use 2.0 platforms very well. Platforms such as facebook, twitter, badoo, among others.