Why Hardware Comes Second In Digital Teaching
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Hardware Is Not The First Thing You Need In Digital Teaching

Does digital teaching mean equipping our classes with funky tools and devices, and then leaving the teachers empty-handed without knowing what to do, when, and why? Is blended learning more about the hardware we have plugged in or the thought generated according to lesson plans and lesson designs? Can the tablet or computer which is brought to class change the game? Can the ultra-modern TV set create the digital learning trend?

What I have been observing in a lot of language schools in Iran is that there is a growing presence of digital hardware in the classrooms, yet the teachers and administrators lack sound digital literacy.

"More Device-Users Wanted!"

Teaching with digital technology only means teaching using the latest hardware to many people's minds. They believe a teacher must have the "know-how" of a device to be able to turn it on, control it or remote-control it, and then safely put it to sleep. A digitally literate teacher never feels or is reluctant to handle a device in their opinion. A digitally literate teacher only touches the buttons, scrolls, and screens in the class every now and then; according to these people's view. They think that installing a wider monitor in the classroom helps students learn to an unbelievable extent. They do not discuss the content, or provide a reason for bringing technology into everyday teaching, they never elaborate on the skill of curating digital materials or the ability to develop them, plus they also fail to recognize the art of blending teaching with technology, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 in various forms, and principles such as flipped learning, digital homework projects, etc. Then, they eventually, neglect the insight into reflecting on what the digital technology did to their teaching and the students' learning. The keyword in their manifesto is ‘device’; "More device-users wanted"!

So, What Comes First In Digital Teaching?

If the result of digital teaching is displayed on screens and is heard on speakers, the initiation has taken place hours before the lesson and in 'lesson planning'. In fact, the new trends in pedagogy not only fail to challenge the existence of planning the lesson in advance, but the lesson planning and the preparation for such classes get to be more meticulous and much smarter. We put the "Lego" pieces together at home, and construct, demolish, reinvent, redevelop, and test to see how they work before delivering the lesson to our learners. This is 'lesson planning' with all its consecutive modules where the digital material or the digital utilization is shaped and adjusted in order to provide our students with a better learning experience. No wonder why the designing of a fine-tuned blended lesson takes more time and demands greater patience from teachers!

The following thought-provoking questions can help teachers of English implement the ‘teaching with digital technology’ practice into their lessons:

  1. Why am I making it blended?
  2. Am I going to teach digital natives?
  3. Am I going to teach digital immigrants?
  4. Am I going to teach both digital natives and digital immigrants in one class?
  5. What teaching convention am I replacing with the digital opportunity?
  6. What teaching convention am I not replacing with the digital opportunity?
  7. What teaching convention am I replacing with the digital alternative?
  8. What digital material do I need to curate?
  9. What techniques should I implement to curate quality digital materials?
  10. Have I already created my digital materials archive?
  11. What digital material do I need to develop?
  12. Do I know the principles behind developing quality digital materials?
  13. How should I critically evaluate the digital material which I have developed?
  14. What Web 1.0 models do we need?
  15. Are we going to work on any Web 2.0 tools and applications?
  16. Is it a flipped lesson?
  17. Do I know the 4 pillars of flipped learning?
  18. What hardware are we going to employ?

Teaching With Digital Technology Is More Than Digit-all!

Teaching with digital technology is megabytes more interesting than just teaching with a device. Hardware comes next as far as digital teaching is concerned! Language teachers and schools should first invest in their digital literacy in order to establish, practice, and demonstrate their digital teaching dexterity, and then choose which hardware to use. Nowadays, you can easily shop for a device online and have it delivered right to your location in less than an hour; however, decent digital teaching ability takes months and years to develop.

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