Integrating iPads into language education: tech newbie shows how its done.

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One of our Mandarin teachers, Tania Wei, walked into my office this morning with a couple technical questions about the iPad and her posterous blog which she uses to post Show Me and YouTube videos of her lessons and her students’ work.

Now, I had no idea Tania had even set up a blog for her class. She’s a tech newbie. But she’s also an exceptionally professional–meaning fearless–teacher. So she’s figured out how to set up a blog and two different video accounts and record and uplaod video to them.

I see three great things happening here:

  1. As Tania says, the kids scramble to be the ones recorded and shared on the services: “The students are more engaged and practice more,” she says. 
  2. Tania posts videos demonstrating proper pronunciation of Mandarin and proper form of characters. This is important, she says, because many of the students have no Mandarin speakers at home.
  3. Tania is a tech newbie. Increasingly, I find, these are the best users of technology. Experts are often distracted by the tool itself. For Tania, and others like her, the technology is just a means to an end. Though she’s using the iPad for leverage, she’s kept her work focussed on her teaching and her students’ learning. The technology in her classroom is invisible and transformative.

 

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