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Guide Teaching English using ICT: A practical guide for secondary school teachers

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The publishers will be pleased to rectify any omissions at the earliest opportunity. Includes index. ISBN alk. English language—Study and teaching Secondary —Computerassisted instruction. English literature—Study and teaching Secondary —Computer-assisted instruction. Word processing in education. Information technology. Warren, Chris, — II.

Millum, Trevor. R36 We should also like to thank those who have contributed to the NATE projects that are mentioned in this book and who allowed us the privilege of visiting their classrooms. We are also grateful for the support of Richard Hammond of Becta on those projects to promote the practical use of ICT in the classroom. Especial thanks are due to Garry Pratt of Teachit for permission to use material previously published online on the service — the transformation section — and thanks too for the use of screenshots illustrating the Wordwhiz program.

We should also acknowledge the role of Creative Partnerships, whose support for creative practitioners in schools in the UK has enabled some really innovative work to take place; in particular Scunthorpe Church of England Primary School and practitioners Chris Webster and Jon Robson. Introduction Chapter Outline A case in point — poetry Organization of the book 3 8 ICT is now widely used in the teaching and learning of English, as it is in all areas of the curriculum.

However, as most English teachers would acknowledge, there is still much more to do to make effective and enjoyable use of the technology. It is the purpose of this book to provide a very diverse set of inspirations and starting points so that we can make full use of this considerable potential. The writers of this book are not technical wizards and have no wish to become such. We are experienced teachers of English and lovers of language and literature. In our view, English always comes first and technology of any kind, from the old overhead projector or spirit duplicator to the latest digital device or Web 2.

It should serve the subject not by offering alternatives for the sake of it but because new technologies can extend, enhance or make more efficient what they already strive to achieve. It provides an extremely elegant summary of the range of potentials represented by ICT and the way they map onto the teaching of English. The current version can be found on the NATE site www.


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It also indicates a much wider remit than computers at a time when most students carry around at least one mobile device more powerful and versatile than the machines that first started to appear in classrooms 30 years ago. We see the development of ICT in English as a progression, a gradual evolution, rather than a dramatic leap into the unknown.

In the chapters that follow, you will find activities which are well within the capabilities or the availability of resources of those who are beginning to use ICT in their teaching. There will also be ideas to extend and build upon such practice and there will be suggestions which will appeal to those who are already confident ICT users. We all know in theory about the fluidity, the slipperiness and flexibility of language, and we experience it when we talk.

Traditional methods of recording language — typically writing with a pen and ink — tend to lock words in place, fix their form, sequence and impact. The computer, by contrast, accentuates the fluidity of language. It enables experiment and constant readjustment. Not only can the position and form of individual words be altered, a writer can also radically change the visual impact of the text by selecting different fonts, sizes, and layouts.

ICT also allows us to move beyond words on the page or the screen to embrace other modes of communication. Images, still and moving, together with audio recording and editing can be employed in ways which are both innovative and more manageable. Furthermore, we can exploit the still developing world of Web 2.

English teachers need to stand against these designs, however useful they might be in other subject areas. Our subject is characterized for the most part by shades of meaning, by full-spectrum colours, and by deliberate departure from established rules. To sum up, computers applied narrowly can restrict and box us in; we find ourselves cabined, cribbed, confined. Used imaginatively they can make us as broad and general as the casing air!

Teaching English Using ICT : A Practical Guide for Secondary School Teachers

Introduction This brings us to another of the aspects we would like to most emphasize: that of collaboration. Ever since computers first appeared in English classrooms, collaboration has been one of the special contributions of technology to our subject. This book aims to inspire you to investigate and exploit forms of co-operation uniquely enabled by communications technology. Many of the lesson suggestions place an emphasis on flexibility and experiment. The outcome of this approach is that teachers and pupils need to engage, need to debate, discuss, disagree and argue.

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It is sometimes noisy, always enjoyable, exciting, messy, engaging, fascinating, frequently obsessive, and you cannot always be completely certain of the final result. But it can lead to the most exciting lessons you will teach. We start by identifying the unique qualities of poetry and then we match them with the special attributes of ICT.

What is poetry? Poetry is by its nature playful; both in the way that words are organized and the way meanings are juxtaposed. ICT enables playfulness with text; it adds fluidity to words, encouraging a spirit of risk-free experimentation — words can be moved around, they can be changed, they can be deleted and added to in powerfully efficient ways impossible before.

ICT will not only allow this high-level form of editing, it will also enable the writer to choose the final font for the publication of the poem — a function that used to be the exclusive province of a compositor or printer. Computers have therefore added immensely to the sense of control over the shaping and the final form of a composition. What is lost in the process? Looking at the drafts fortuitously left behind by Wilfred Owen you can see the point.

If one wishes to preserve a thought-map of a composition one has to take special steps to do so — switch on track-changes, save regular drafts, make frequent printouts. However, nothing really matches the scruffy handwritten versions for power.

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Most writers operate some sort of mixed economy — some composition and editing on screen, some handwritten edits on printouts. Both forms should be celebrated and their special advantages acknowledged. For some students, handwriting is a source of immense pride, a place where personality and flair find expression. For such students, computers can seem to rob them of something vital.

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For others, handwriting is a private shame and an embarrassment: computers offer liberation and new motivations. Creative, joyful coexistence of ICT and traditional drafting forms should be the rule — not some mutually exclusive regime. Introduction Playfulness with words and by this we do not want to imply any lack of serious intent can be extended to include the physical arrangement of words on the page — the witty recognitions of concrete poetry or careful indentations that convey formal meanings can be experimented with painlessly on a computer.

ICT has a related part to play in the reading of poetry. Teachers can disturb the order of lines de-sequencing , or collapse a text to provide completely new ICT-generated pre-reading activities. ICT allows poems to broken down and rebuilt so that new ways of reading the text can be explored. Typically, lines can be re-sequenced without the aid of scissors.

Rhyme-schemes and other formal features can be mapped. A puzzle element can provide a hook, and ICT makes such puzzles practical to construct. No one watching students working with the Developing Tray software can ever quite forget the moments of revelation, the dawning of comprehension as shadowed meanings begin to light up through thought and discussion.

Something magical happens if you stay with text, if you chew on it for more than the usual half-distracted three minutes. Text Mapping, invented by Tony Clifford, remains a particularly brilliant use of the word processor. All of these features can co-locate on the same word without rendering it illegible. Each feature can be assigned a meaning by students, and the key to the map written at the foot of the page.

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The lesson concludes with full presentations from each group doing the mapping, explaining how they have marked the text, and discussing what they have discovered in the process. The fun of manipulating the mapping tools keeps concentration high; and the challenge of the final presentation ensures inventive, valuable critical thinking is achieved.

Poetry is multimedia by nature; it interacts with other art forms. Visual art the poetry of Blake is a supreme example has always been associated with poetry, and fine poetry paints word-pictures in the mind. Poetry, because of its origins and its strong rhythmic basis, is directly related to music and song.

Drama was written in poetry for centuries and indeed, some of the greatest plays in existence are written entirely in verse, while poetry in song-making pervades every corner of our lives. Modern drama and modern film invariably include elements of song, occasionally direct use of poetry and in the ironic or metaphorical deployment of images and poetic effects. ICT enables multimedia approaches to poetry, the combination of words with images, with movies — cartoons and films. It facilitates composition of music and makes arranging images in special sequences an easy task. It also helps with the final production or presentation.

The key thing to remember is not to take the ICT at face value — it will do what you want it to, though perhaps it was actually designed for a narrow, non-educational context. Everything about PowerPoint says it is there to help adults in a commercial setting to communicate with other adults. However, it can be made to work in other ways if you have a clear sense of your intentions. The irritatingly predictable bullet-points can be subverted, given new life and purpose by underscoring or counterpointing a live spoken performance.

They can be ironic, deflationary, shocking, metaphorical, funny and tragic. Individual words from the poem, or new words chosen for impact, can be blown up to fill the entire screen — often to stunning effect.

ICT in teaching and learning