Gavin Dudeney on Technology and Teaching English

Lynn ZimmermannBy Lynn Zimmerman
Associate Editor
Editor, Teacher Education

I met Gavin Dudeney at a conference for English teachers in Balti, Moldova, in March 2016. He was keynote speaker and gave two workshops focusing on technology and English teaching. His presentations were engaging and informative, so I thought you’d like to hear from him, too. His ideas are relevant to all classroom teaching, not just English teaching.

LZ: Gavin, please tell us a little about who you are professionally.

Gavin: I’m Director of Technology for a company specializing in the use of technologies in education. I train teachers to use technologies and write books in the same area. I also work in online materials and course design and have a long history and background in language teaching and teacher training.

LZ: What do you think is the most exciting connection between technology and English teaching? Why?

Gavin: I think technology is a natural link between what we do in class and what happens outside of class — and this is particularly true of mobile devices, which give students the chance to bring things in from their “real” lives and use them in class, and take things they have learned in class and use them outside in the real world. Technology should engage, enable and enhance. If it gets in the way then it’s worse than useless.

LZ: I was especially intrigued by some of your ideas about using mobile (cell) phones in the classroom. As I told you at the conference, I feel like I am fighting the wrong battle trying to keep my students’ hands off their phones during class. What suggestions do you have?

Gavin: I think it IS a losing battle, so the secret is to own it instead of ignoring it. By owning it I mean working out how to incorporate mobiles into your teaching in a practical, useful and authentic way and making sure phones are only used under those conditions and are not relied upon for the whole class. In my workshop in Moldova, I gave some practical examples of how to achieve this balance, and some of them can be found here (click on the mLearning tab).

LZ: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

* * *

I recommend looking at the link he provides. I especially like his ideas about using the phone to take and share photos.

 

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for this interview and for the wealth of resources, Lynn. It might be worth also exploring mobile resources that are not specific to language learning, but can be used for it.

    For instance, writing with a voice-to-text app will force you to improve your pronunciation if you want to get a decent result.

    Then there are apps that scan a picture of a printed text, and transform it into a digital text via optical character recognition (OCR): it is way easier to check words/passages you don’t know from a digital text. One of these apps – Text Fairy – offers the possibility to have the digital text read aloud via text-to-speech: I’ve copied an example of these digital text and outputs here.

    Best,

    Claude

  2. […] By Lynn Zimmerman Associate Editor Editor, Teacher Education I met Gavin Dudeney at a conference for English teachers in Balti, Moldova, in March 2016. He was keynote speaker and gave two workshops focusing on technology and English teaching.  […]

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