Where I am now
Nowhere really, as I am an absolute beginner when it comes to using iPads. I haven’t got my own iPad and I don’t feel comfortable using one. However, I want to learn how to do that – to some extent, at least – and how to incorporate the device into my teaching. That’s why I am participating in the paducation project. What’s difficult for me (in contrast to many others, I find), is the cryptic surface of the iPad with hardly any text and quite a few symbols which can differ greatly depending on which app you are using. I’d prefer words instead of symbols, but I can see how most people prefer symbols and I understand that they are universal, which languages are not. Moreover, I’m not a learning-by-doing type, I actually belong to those people who read instruction manuals or who need another person to show them how things work and with whom I can communicate about problems, ask question etc. Maybe I will enjoy “playing” with the iPad once I’ve got my own device. Most of what I’ve learned about modern communication technology so far I learned from colleagues (thank you, guys). I also participated in some teacher trainings, but most of them did not really help me.
What I am doing with iPads
At the moment I have my 9th grade English students using iPads in order to film mock job interviews. They have hardly any problems handling the iPads and I find using them as cameras quite easy, too. However, saving the video clips so that the students can watch them again later was more complicated than I thought, but Thomas helped me with that, well, let’s say he did it for me. The students have to watch another pair’s job interview and give them feedback with the help of a questionnaire. After that, the students have to do a second, improved version of their interview. We will then watch both versions and students will be graded based on the improvements they’ve made from the first to the second interview. This could hardly be done without using iPads.
What my general aims are
As far as learning English, or foreign languages in general is concerned, I see the greatest potential of the iPad in using it for the skills of listening and speaking (cf. the job interviews). I don’t see any advantages when it comes to reading, as students can underline words and take notes in the margin on a sheet of paper just as or even more easily. For writing, the iPad’s greatest weakness is the absence of a keyboard, so I’d prefer using a laptop or a desktop for that.
Where I want to be in two years
When the project is finished I want to feel more confident when using iPads in general, especially as far as recording and listening to spoken language is concerned. And I would like to know a few apps which might be useful for foreign language learning, e.g. for practicing vocabulary or grammar.