Using a touch screen in class
Maintaining student interest with technology
A generous friend of mine recently lent me his Dell touch screen computer to let me try his Inter- Action (an interactive program with 54 competencies - vocabulary, spelling, games, structure, and reading components; lessons on the alphabet, numbers, sight words, greetings, phonics, and personal information from Kinder to Grade 2; and a Karaoke of nursery rhymes whose tempo can be adjusted to suit our Thai students.
While using the touch screen computer I got access to so many websites like Starfall.com that made my non- readers and beginning readers to progress remarkably in reading. Of course, I was also able to fully make use of many action songs from the internet as if the children were watching a DVD. So, who wouldn't really enjoy using this high tech material?
With 12, 16,6,14, 7, 13, and 10 compositions of my students by grade, the touch screen computer suited my classes very well. Everybody could see zoomed or maximized applications such that even the last person in class could see.
Although it differed from an ordinary computer, the screen was much bigger, and operating it needed neither mouse nor keyboard. Only touching the screen would make the desired word, letter, or picture change.
I felt so overwhelmed by the results of using the touch screen computer for this was my first time in 9 years to use the most updated technology in my English classes. In fact, during my last observation, my inspector rated me excellent in my teaching.
Because of the excitement my students got from the material, they always looked forward to be in my English room. In fact, the next classes would eagerly crowd in by the door to wait for their turn to learn. Every class failed to notice the passing of the time when learning with the computer.
That's why inattentiveness, noise, and lack of interest in the subject were minimized. Although this equipment could only develop reading, speaking, and listening aspects of my students I made my lessons holistic by integrating writing in the lessons by letting them translate sight words in Thai, writing dialogues, spelling, looking up meaning of words in a dictionary, and answering worksheets to test their reading, speaking, and listening skills.
Furthermore, to make the activities more challenging and more interesting, I divided my classes into groups so that there would be competition. Winning groups earned points and received little prizes, a stamp of Winnie the pooh, Casper, the ghost or Jollibee depending on their performance.
Despite all the wonders technology could offer, we have to prepare an alternative lesson in case the machine breaks down or in case the connection is slow.
Next time, when my good friend decides to get back his unit, I will buy my own touch screen computer. I want to sustain my students' much improved learning.
Even though it costs a little bit, I can sacrifice a few things if only to have something to use for my students I am so determined to improve their confidence, change their attitude, deepen their interest in English , and have better attitude towards English as well as improving class performance.
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Sir, you're becoming more like an endorser of gadgets, huh! Just a joke. We know that you're just trying to level up your strategies to education. Miss you!
By Me, Cavite (14th September 2015)