Sometimes it feels like we are working in an international school with the worst technology available. Looking around, teachers only see laptop computers and iPads that are so outdated that their battery life is almost non-existent. These schools might also have interactive whiteboards that are not so “interactive” anymore, and staff just use them as overhead projectors instead.
Some international schools even have teachers that are scared of technology. They think they can’t or don’t need to use it; depending on the staff they work with to “take over” when a certain technology is needed for a lesson.
It is not fun being de-motivated by technology that depresses you, confuses you, or just plain doesn’t work.
On the flip side, many of us are working at international schools that are well-resourced with the latest technologies. Everywhere a teacher looks, there are new technologies popping up around the school. Maybe there’s a teacher down the hallway who is using a new App and having success, thus inspiring and prompting the other teachers to quickly get that app on their device as well. Exciting times!
These “technology-friendly” schools typically have an inspiring group of ICT teaching professionals on hand that are making sure the technologies are being used (and used effectively for that matter). The ICT teachers educate the students AND the teachers on how to use these technologies in an educational setting. Furthermore, they also collaborate and team-teach classes with classroom teachers during lessons that integrate the use of technology.
Cool technology is great in schools, but there’s a downside. If the technology is not literally in your classroom all the time, often it is not being used to its full potential (meaning the impact it can have on the students’ learning). Having all technologies available in EVERY teacher’s room is just not a reality in most (all?) international schools.
But, there are dream stories that do happen. I heard a real story about a private international school situated in the mountains in Switzerland. This school wished to have some new computers, and surprisingly, one of the parents came to school the next day bringing with her many Mac computers (you can assume they were the latest version as well). There were enough new computers for all the students at the school (the school’s population wasn’t that large by the way). Now that’s a nifty 1:1 programme that the school just adopted!
Not all international schools are so lucky though, and their teachers are left with years-old technologies to use with their students with little to no hope of a plan to upgrade everything (I mean it costs thousands of $$$ for schools to even try and stay up-to-date!).
It is also a time-consuming job to keep a school updated with new technology. There needs to be a clever person in charge and one that has a master plan on how to fund and organize a school’s technology resources. The big question then is which international schools have just gone through an overhaul of their technologies and which ones are currently at a standstill?!
Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out what technology an international school has and how they use it, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.“
Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 672 comments in this comment topic (April 2023). Here are a few that have been submitted:
“Classroom PCs and overhead projectors desperately need an upgrade. You get a hand-me-down laptop when you start at the school. When teaching, you have to connect your laptop to the birds nest of cords lying on the classroom floor near the teacher’s desk. Chalkdust covers the cords. And yes, the classrooms use chalkboards, similar to the 1970s. There are only a handful of Viewsonic TVs in use in the classroom, not enough to say the classrooms are high tech in any case…” – I-shou International School (Kaohsiung City, Taiwan) – 90 Comments
“The technological setup is usually projectors, with Mac and Apple TV connectivity. Most staff use Macs as a result. These are loaned out for the school year. These are supported by the use of iPads (by learners) and a decent WiFi connection (built-in VPN for Chinese-blocked websites). Some classes have Smart TVs and touch screens, although these are limited due to the impending move to the new campus. There are standard printer facilities available as well, with a direct connection via the WiFi system…” – Utahloy International School (Zengcheng) (Zengcheng, China) – 134 Comments
“You are provided a Macbook or iPad which version will depend on the grade level and availability. Students from grade 4 and up bring their own device (apple products are highly suggested) You will at least have a projector in your room but not necessarily a smartboard…” – American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 76 Comments
“All classrooms are equipped with a desktop PC and an interactive whiteboard. The school Wifi connection is sometimes slow. There is a Primary ICT room as well as 2 Secondary ICT rooms. There are 3 iPADS available for teachers to use. Use of technology has not been a huge focus and investing in more iPads would be great…” – International School of Seychelles (Victoria, Seychelles) – 53 Commentscontinue reading
Are you looking to increase learner autonomy in your English language classroom? Integrating technology, specifically ICT (Information and Communication Technology), may be the way to go.
Studies have shown that when students have access to ICT in the learning environment, they have more control over their own learning process. They are able to monitor their progress, identify their learning needs, and construct their own knowledge based on the information available. This can lead to a more positive approach toward learning and increased efficiency in the learning environment.
Here are a few more examples of using ICT to enhance learner autonomy:
However, it’s important to note that many students may not be familiar with using ICT resources for language learning. That’s why it’s important for teachers to provide orienting activities, such as introductions to the ICT tools and instructional objectives, to guide students through the learning process and reduce anxiety.
It’s also crucial that the use of ICT is relevant to the students’ needs and interests. Both teachers and students must be willing to adopt new roles and use technology appropriately in order to truly benefit from technology-based learning activities.
In conclusion, incorporating ICT into your language learning curriculum can be a great way to increase learner autonomy. Just make sure to provide the necessary support and structure to ensure a smooth and effective learning experience.
This article was submitted by Ayoub Chaouch, a teacher with 6 years of experience in teaching English, history, and geography at primary and secondary education levels.
He is currently working at Shenzhen Chenghan Experimental School in Shenzhen, China as a Secondary Education High School Geography and History Teacher and Middle School English and Language Arts Teacher. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Management at Keele University.
His skills include lesson planning, facilitating engaging classroom discussions, helping students improve their language skills, and evaluating student progress through assessments. He is skilled at guiding and counseling students with academic problems or special academic interests. You can reach him at email@example.com