Okay, so this time I’m going to try posting from my new trial of Office 2007. It’s all sleek and pretty, but I’m not sure if I’m up to paying around $500 to upgrade to that and get a copy of Vista! This is the first time in my life that I’ve not been able to buy cheap copies of Windows products through university licensing…sigh.

I wanted to add a little on to Nancy’s comments in Reflection on some good questions, on some topics originally posed by Illya.

On being better teachers if we use these technologies: I think that we have the potential to be better teachers using these tools, but there’s also a chance we could end up worse than before. By experimenting and trying new techniques, we grow as professionals, but we must continue with our experimenting in order to truly be “better.” I don’t believe that a technologically-enhanced class would be “better” than a “traditional” classroom with books and such, only different. That said, maybe some day this will truly change. Maybe some day everything will be digitized. But not yet. We only become “better” teachers when we step out of the box and use our creativity to improve our teaching and our students’ learning. Getting stuck in any kind of routine for too long is no good. It’s not so much the medium, but what the teacher does with it.

On teaching different skills: Yes, yes, yes. I was reading an article (which, incidentally, I printed, read, and left at work by accident, ’cause my eyes are crossing from spending so much time in front of the monitor; I’ll post the link to it tomorrow!) that discussed how RSS is changing how we look for, organize, and disseminate information. A little over a year ago, I began to use Bloglines to keep up with news from different sites and all of the blogs from fellow TESOLers. I said, okay, this is nice, but do I really need it? Just last week, I realized after reading this article, that Bloglines really has increased my ability to find information that I’m looking for, scan through it, and find information that I might not have been looking for but that interests me. And, with Flock, I can open my feeds on the sidebar. Through these syndications, and the social tools, the way I think about information is changing. I suppose I knew this, in the technical sense, looking back at all of my database, e-commerce, and communications courses, but this was the first time in a while that I’d actually applied those ideas to my current life as an educator and as a general public Internet user. It’s true that through blogs and other tools, the Internet is now read/write instead of just read. To keep from rambling on, I’m intrigued by these changes and what it means to language learning and teaching!

It goes past this, even. I took the GRE for the second time back in October. The first time in 2002, when I was still living in Ohio, was the computer-based version. My complaint at that point was that I wasn’t used to writing timed essays on the computer. Here in El Salvador, I was given the paper-based version, and not informed it was going to be paper-based until a couple of days before, so then it was that it’d been years since I’d written an essay by hand, let alone timed! The way we read, write, research, organize, and share our thoughts…it’s changing. We have the challenge of guiding our students in learning to express themselves in a variety of mediums. It goes past knowing computing basics. And, it can be scary. Or worse than scary; people might just not understand how it’s changing. People could be the students, but more likely teachers, administrators, parents, etc.

The technologies themselves changes plenty fast, so fast that there’s not enough time in the day to keep up with all the changes. It’s how we apply them in our lives that doesn’t change as quickly. Even as we learn how to use one new tool and get comfortable with it, another one comes along.

Lastly, yes, our enthusiasm can be frightening to others! I say to my co-workers and the IT lady, “Let’s use Moodle! It’s free! It’s easy to use! Can I have some server space to try it?!” Or, And they slowly back away from me… J