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In response to: Thoughts on the Dell Streak

Vicki Hollett [Visitor] · http://http//
Thank you. I really like the sound of a 5"/12.7cm device.
PermalinkPermalink 2010-07-29 @ 12:30

In response to: On (e)textbooks in the (ELT) classroom

Vicki Hollett [Visitor] · http://http//
Just wanted to check in and say thank you for your response,l Eric. I value your opinion and think you're right.
PermalinkPermalink 2010-07-29 @ 12:27

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Paul M [Visitor] ·
One thing that I find really interesting is that only 24 people out of 80 responded to the polls. Having, and being able to use technology, is not the core issue. I get adult learners who travel halfway around the world to study in our school, and on their first day don't bring a pen or notebook. Some never bother to buy the course book. I'm betting we have all experienced that. I regularly ask my new students if they want to learn English. They say, 'yes'. Then I ask then if the want to have learnt English? They smile, nod, and we have reached an understanding.

If we expect teachers to engage with technology because it will aid their learners, or if we expect learners to engage with technology because it will help them, then I believe we are certain of disappointment.

As to the OP's question: I think it is unreasonable to expect my profession to accomodate my choice of not using a mobile phone.
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-28 @ 17:25

In response to: On (e)textbooks in the (ELT) classroom

HlGarden [Visitor] ·
Thanks for taking the time to explain the terminlogy to the beginners!
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-28 @ 04:40

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Mark O'Neil [Visitor]
About 4 years ago I taught a demonstration writing class from Curtis Kelly's 'Writing from Within' to University ELT teachers in Taiwan where the actual writing activities were done entirely on mobile phones. I also had one teacher who felt 'excluded', even though the activities were originally paper-based and she had participated fully.

And thanks for alerting me to SMS Poll. What a great tool.
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-25 @ 07:53

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Jotex [Visitor]
Well, the old saying 'different strokes for different folks' comes to mind. First, these were not 20th century students. I find that some long-standing faculty members are not prepared to change their methods, etc. and perhaps some of those came to find out what to expect from their audience, rather than participating as mambers of an audience (e.g. of 'learners').

I find the whole experience you described was really successful. The challenge in the future lies perhaps less with the students accepting updated methods of participating, and more with those at the literal chalkface.....!?
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 20:32

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Evan [Visitor]
Hi Eric

Nice post. No, certainly not unreasonable in the context you describe.

I find it interesting that there seems to be an assumption that it is us teachers who need to keep up with the new technology. This may be true for those of us who work in tertiary education, but many (like me) do not. I work in adult education, and find that many of my Ss are older than me and also (even) less familiar with social networking. Many use mobile phones just to phone, and for nothing else. The EFL market for retirees / pensioners is potentially huge, and I suspect some of us will be teaching low tech for quite a few years yet because that is what is most appropriate for our Ss.

PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 20:19

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Jeremy Harmer [Visitor] ·
Hi eric,

I think Sara is (typically) on the ball when she says you could have asked them about mobiles first.

But I wouldn't have done (I will now!) because I would have made the same assumptions as you.

Some people may be ideologically opposed to cellphones, but I can't help thinking that a teacher has no right to be cut off from technology. It's no longer a question of IF you sue it, but HOW you use it, I think.

I am not sure I would want to employ a teacher who eschewed modern from of working and communicating...

Am I being too harsh?

PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 19:26

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Claudia Ceraso @fceblog [Visitor] ·

Eric, Thank you for sharing this experience at your conference.

This post sets me thinking. Having mixed ideas, so please excuse me if I do not make complete sense. Trying to talk to myself too as I write this comment.

If I get it correctly you had three purposes for the activity in your mind. I think you were successful in 1st and 2nd aim, not the third.

Allow me to explain. If you got someone from your audience to speak directly to you and bypass an access to a tool limitation, you must have been pretty inspiring and engaging in what you presented. This is a good thing.

However, learning in the 21st century to me is all about making people self-directed in their learning choices as well as tool options. I definitely agree with you about the attitudes we need teachers to have when thinking about (new) technologies. What I think I may be viewing differently is that I would not pair attitude to tech with access to tech.

If your third objective, to show an educational use of a mobile, had been a number one objective an not in a conference but in a classroom, I think we would frame things with more allowance to exceptions. For starters, I would definitely wonder whether a student has not exceeded their free amount of sms in their monthly plan from the phone company (usual in Argentina. Why? Because they would excuse themselves for not participating in class. This is a very 21st century pic for me. Lesson plan changer.

Thinking of the title of the conference, you honoured it well Eric. You were not unreasonable in your expectations. Objectives one and two were important enough and worth the while.

Exploring the site, I think I am left out being in Buenos Aires! Lol. Wish there were services like that reaching this far.

Thanks for this conversation.
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 17:20

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Nergiz Kern [Visitor] ·
Great idea, Eric!

I'm not so sure about Germany but in Turkey, you would have a hard time finding anybody — young or old — without a mobile phone. Young people mostly use the SMS service (I have students who send 5000 SMS a week!) and listen to music on their phones while older people mostly use it to make phone calls.

I let my students use their phones to listen to podcasts and record themselves and they use the dictionaries. I would love to use them more but am hesitant to ask them to use paid services like SMS or the Internet.

I believe that mobile learning will become increasingly important and widespread so it is great to see these issues discussed.

I agree that educators need to familiarize themselves with their students' "live styles" and current technological developments to a certain degree even if they decide not to adopt a certain technology (approach, or methodology,…).

PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 16:02

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Sara Hannam [Visitor] ·
Agreed Eric. I guess the skill is identifying the different categories of people and trying to engage them in a session so everyone feels included and perhaps some people reconsider their thoughts about the value of mobile technology?

PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 15:03

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Eric Baber [Member] ·
@kfbunny "If I were one of them, it would motivate me to learn how" - I'm hoping that'll be the effect on that particular lecturer, but I can't be sure (!!)

@Gareth - "with, or in spite of, their teacher". Exactly. What happens though if the mismatch between teacher behaviour and student expectations grows and grows? (A rhetorical question, that.)
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 14:58

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Eric Baber [Member] ·
Thanks Sara, very useful. I hadn't considered the "ideologically opposed to mobile" category, but I suppose it exists. I completely accept that not everyone is into Twitter/Facebook etc, it just seemed to me that mobiles were such a common denominator nowadays that it didn't even occur to me to ask whether someone didn't have one.

"But, as technology grows, the counter voice will grow too". Yes, no doubt, but I do think that as educators we have the responsibility to know what it is we're opposing. If people have had a mobile, lived with it, and then rejected it, I don't have a problem with that; at least they know what they're missing, and what other people (in this case students) are doing. But if someone rejects a mobile out of hand without ever having lived with one then I think they are likely to have all kinds of misconceptions about it which isn't helpful if 99% or whatever of their student body actually use one on a daily basis.
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 14:56

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Gareth Knight [Visitor]
Can't imagine this happening in Asia, Eric.

Learners will always learn what they want in ways that they want despite, or in spite, of the teacher. The teacher's own relevance depends on keeping up.
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 14:54

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

kfbunny [Visitor] ·
I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that everyone should have a mobile phone. They most certainly do. However, in Canada at least, I definitely wouldn't expect all participants to know anything beyond answering and placing a call. You probably correct in assuming that the complaints came from those who didn't know how to utilise that function.

Despite the 20% that "were left out", I wouldn't much worry. If I were one of them, it would motivate me to learn how, especially given your activity was pretty damn cool.
PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 14:51

In response to: Of teachers and mobiles

Sara Hannam [Visitor] ·
Hi Eric,

How interesting! I don't think you were unreasonable first off. But I am not surprised that you had the reaction you did from one or two people. There are some amongst my colleagues (both academics and students) who do not own mobile phones through choice, and I have noticed a few who were previous owners have abandoned them in the last year or so. They tell me the reason is because they do not want their life disrupted by their mobile and want to 'return' to a time when people were not available 24/7. It is not "my" way to be honest as I do have a smart phone, use twitter, have a blog, am online almost all day and all the time. But I have listened carefully and patiently to their views as they exist across the generational divide and do represent a group that are important.

What I have come round to thinking is that we must assume a) that some people are not constant users of technology or mobiles (i.e. those who left their phone in the staff room, routinely leave it at home etc - it is not an integrated part of what they do) b) there are those who have ideological objections to the development of communication technology. The latter have developed arguments for the reasons why and this can easily become polarised when compared to a pro-technology approach.

What I would have done, in your opening activity (which by the way I think was fine) would have been to have asked "is there anyone here who doesn't have a mobile?" and then just said "OK thanks, can you link up with someone sitting near you who does". I might even (after having done the survey) just reflected for a few minutes on those who didn't have mobiles and their reasons why. That way everyone feels included. I don't know if that makes sense, but I can't see any strong argument for you to abandon your activity which was a neat opener to your session.

But, as technology grows, the counter voice will grow too. I guess the point is to try and convince teachers and students that mobiles and other technology do not have to replace the kinds of networks they may feel are under threat. You are right when you say "and how can we as educators prepare the next generation of the workforce if we're not comfortable with the major trends of today ourselves?" but I think if you want to convince people that they need to get on board, their fears need to be addressed. Its really a fear of change, of being left behind, of behind "taken over". This is perhaps what needs deconstructing and in my opinion, need to be carefully listened to.


PermalinkPermalink 2010-06-24 @ 14:49

In response to: Of eBooks and eBook Readers

Eric Baber [Member] ·
And voila, here's the first dual-screen device - colour/backlit screen plus second e-ink screen in one:
PermalinkPermalink 2010-03-01 @ 13:57

In response to: Of eBooks and eBook Readers

max everingham [Visitor] ·
There was a mildly interesting address at GDC recently, saying that 'technology is not convergent, it's divergent', with the exception of 'pocket' devices. I agree. I have a netbook, am typing on it now, in fact, and it's great for proper typing (near full size keyboard), on Facebook, email and other websites. I have an iPhone too, which I love. But I hate using Facebook on it, because the keyboard, for a touch typist, is rubbish. Web surfing is terrible, too. I use my phone to call people, to send SMS, to check Google Maps occasionally, and that's it. And I have a Kindle, probably the best gadget I've ever owned, and love it for the one, single, thing it does superlatively well. Technology has never been convergent: I don't want everything to converge, any more than I want my car to turn into a boat or a plane, or my shoes to turn into rollerblades or skiis - because every convergent device is a disappointing compromise. It always will be, in my opinion. Technology is divergent, and that's the way I like it. :-)
PermalinkPermalink 2010-02-23 @ 09:36

In response to: Guardian article: Phil Beadle on the demise of the whiteboard

I don't think the whiteboard will ever disappear. I think people assume that technology is going to take over the world but the fact remains that sometimes the old things we use are simply the best.
PermalinkPermalink 2009-11-24 @ 13:18

In response to: On (e)textbooks in the (ELT) classroom

Eric Baber [Member] ·
Hi Barry,

I do indeed think there's a need to have a customisable "coursebook". I put that into quotation marks because that sort of customisation takes us into a different genre, really.

It's pretty much that need that Cambridge University Press is addressing with its partnership with English360 ( E360 is a platform that allows teachers to take materials that have been created or imported there already (and Cambridge is importing content), add materials of their own, and deliver that whole course to a (group of) learner(s). So that's effectively what you're talking about.
PermalinkPermalink 2009-11-16 @ 19:27

Eric Baber's blog

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