Technology in ELT: to be used cautiously, critically and selectively – Penny Ur (IATEFL 2013)

Penny Ur is one of our plenary speakers in June when she’ll be sharing a bit more on tech in our English classes. Get a head start one what she thinks by reading Sandy Millin’s reflection on Penny’s workshop at IATEFL Liverpool last week.

Sandy Millin

Penny Ur is not a technophobe: she loves her Kindle and uses moodle a lot with her students. But…

There’s a tendancy to see technology as intrinsically good rather than as a means to an end. Does it improve language learning? Or motivation? Does it do this enough to justify it’s use?

There is a general assumption that investment in technology is desirable and to this end there is a massive investment in technology by governments and private companies. Modern is good. Change is good. Technology is good. Stakeholders have an interest in technology being in schools: for governments, shiny new computers win votes; commecial interests are important too. The use of digital tools then becomes an end in itself. People are presented with solutions, but not problems. Ur says that we should be starting from the problem and finding solutions, not vice versa.

A lot of studies have been…

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