CALL - Importance of pre-screening and fallback lessons

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CALL - Importance of pre-screening and fallback lessons

Post by mlordon » Tue May 29, 2012 2:13 pm

A class assigned reading for an ESL Teaching and Assessing class described several principles of CALL which stands for Computer Assisted Language Learning that hopefully all teachers are aware of as they are mostly common sense principles.

That being said, I found the two most important to be pre-screening the websites and the necessity of having a non-technology lesson to fall back on if the technology is not working.

I often use smart board lessons as my elementary school students are very engaged in simple spelling, vocabulary, and phonics lessons mostly because they are on the smart board and very interactive. However, I have had classes where it took more than 25 minutes to figure out why the smart board was not working (plugs, lights, computer problems) and it was absolutely necessary to have a backup plan for whatever skill you were planning to teach. You cannot ignore a whole class while trouble-shooting technology problems. I have also found if you are prepared for the breakdown, it doesn't happen, a reverse Murphy's Law, so to speak.

Also, never use a website that you have not pre-screened for age appropriateness, ease of use for all learners in your class and school material appropriateness.

I think all of the CALL principles are important to be aware of, but these two principles need to be used for all resource websites.

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Post by AnnJ.Ring » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:57 pm

I found those points to be the most important, as well. There have been so many instances where teachers get hung up on troubleshooting technological problems and lose sight of their objectives. It's also frustrating to the students, but they seem to move on after about 10 minutes and I think many teachers do not realize this because they either are not prepared for a non-technological lesson or they don't want to use their backup plans.

As for the pre-screening of sites, this is an absolute must, especially when using YouTube. One time while I was tutoring, the student's homework was to watch a clip about something he was learning in Science. We went to the YouTube link the teacher provided, but it must have changed because it was a clip of someone doing dirt bike races but whoever was filming was using foul language. I immediately turned it off, and the student, being an ELL, thankfully didn't understand the curse words. I wrote a note to the teacher explaining why the homework wasn't completed and warned about the link and he admitted his mistake. This is just one example of why pre-screening is so important.

Thanks for bringing these point to light, I completely agree!

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