Keeping up with the Digital Revolution in the Language Classroom

21st Century teachers of English as a Second Language are faced with the dual challenges of helping their students master academic skills in a new language and utilize the tools provided by modern technology to further their learning and facilitate their achievement. Language and the thinking skills referred to as 21st Century Skills (as proposed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills) are necessary for success in the 21st Century workplace. This workshop is aimed at showing how the development of these skills can be supported through the use of technology in the second language classroom.

Specifically, this workshop explores the “Learning and Innovation Skills” component of 21st Century Skills, which is divided into these areas:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and Collaboration

We’ll focus on three sample tasks, using freely available (open-source) applications. Only basic computer literacy on the part of the teacher is required for these activities.

Task 1 (Creativity and Innovation): Develop or adapt a Webquest challenge relevant to the content area of the class.

Task 2 (Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, Communication): Introduce digital storytelling by using presentation software with additional multimedia content: narration, audio, or video.

Task 3 (Communication & Collaboration): Start a shared blog, Pinterest Board, or Twitter feed for your class.