Tuesday, May 10, 2005

General Information: The Internet as a Tool for Teaching EFL

http://www.freepint.com/issues/270400.htm#feature : Article: The Internet as a tool for teaching English as a Foreign Language, By Rachel Arenstein

This is an interesting article for understanding how one uses the Internet to teach EFL. While specifically addressing 10 -12 year olds, it has relative information for all ages. It might inspire you to write your own uses for the Internet in YOUR classrooms.

Sotir Commentary:

Weblogs have been around since 1998, although they were not necessarily named as such at the time. Sometime around 1999 Peter Merholz announced that they were to be pronounced 'wee-blog' but of course that was shortened to 'blog' and you were no longer a weblog editor, you were a 'blogger'. Sites started springing up with blog templates, such as Pitas and Blogger, and were originally link-driven sites with commentary, personal thoughts and even essays and photos. They were also originally written in HTML code by people who already knew how to create a website.

Even though the current crop of blogs has maintained the same format, they are much easier to create, thanks to templates and programs that add the necessary HTML for you. (see www.blogger.com or http://www.squarespace.com/ for the tools and templates you need to create your own blog or Website). It is a revolution, and one that you can join with relative ease. Blog commentaries are to be taken with a grain of salt, as are most Web-based sites. You define your belief parameters, and are your own judge and jury as to the value of the content and authors. It is a brave new world, with instantaneous, unfiltered information delivered on demand.

I'm a relative newcomer, since I just started blogging about 3 years ago, but often feel more like a pioneer. Just as it is difficult to imagine the World Wide Web has been used by the general public for less than 15 years, blog formats are becoming just as ubiquitous in our current age to express beliefs and share information. Blogs are everywhere, as are bloggers. They were even christened a legitimate form of journalism by both the Democrats and Republicans at their last national conventions, and continue to explode daily, if not hourly.

As instructors, we are obliged to address the new forms of communication and to explore how they change the psyche of our students. Just as previous generations explored the impacts of radio, television, computers, the Internet and the World Wide Web, we should explore how the newest communication tools can be employed today. While these tools are not necessary to teach effectively, they can certainly add multiple dimensions to our classrooms.