Today, was the day when I hung up my metaphorical power point - presentation -slideshow hat in the context of ELT conferences. The many personal reasons for doing so are not for this blog, but suffice to say, I do have some mixed feelings at my decision. On the one hand, I will miss the adrenalin-rush normally felt when presenting at prestigious institutions (and even those less so), and on the other, I will not miss that feeling an ICT-ELT driven presenter gets when it all becomes clear that the vast majority of teachers in the audience have little hope of implementing the tools I am explaining on stage or in workshops in the near future due to a lack of tech-infrastructure at their institutions.
My reason for blogging about my decision now is that I need to change my personal ELT-focus. I have used that model in all of my presentations: that is if you aren't happy with what you are doing, don't rage against the machine; just make that leap to change and start to do, or continue doing more of, the things you really enjoy. So, I must practise what I preach, right?
Trying to promote ICT to teachers whose institutions have little or no technology-infrastructure in place is thoroughly soul-destroying in Turkey. Promoting tools that the majority of the audiences can use in their own context, although keen to be entertained with the latest tool or solution, basically means there is little hope of many taking the ideas back to their own school. Is that their fault? Of course not! If the teachers' institutions fail to get their technological act into gear, what hope is there for those ICT-enthusiastic teachers from following through.
It has been very frustrating trying to promote tools and methodologies, that work for me at my school, to the majority of participants. My initial reaction three years ago was that everyone would catch up; that their schools, colleges and universities would generate budgets and funds to initialize proper changes to their infrastructure. Unfortunately, however, what I have found, and today's conference was no different, is that the teachers are feeling very frustrated because they cannot develop ICT tools in their classrooms due to the lack of (working) hardware at their institutions.
I am not whining here. I know how difficult it is to find the funds. But, one cannot help but feel skeptical when you hear of teachers being forced to attend workshops and conferences with no hope of an immediate solution. Do the administrations of schools and colleges not get it? WITHOUT THE PROPER HARDWARE, THERE CAN BE NO ICT-ELT in class.
But before I start really really ranting, feel relieved, I am down off my soap-box. I have done enough of that for three years.
On this blog, I have been gladly promoting ICT-Tools and methodologies, ELT-lessons and progressive formative assessment approaches, which I am happy to report WILL CONTINUE. My own school does support ICT and its infrastructure is really good and effective for the most part (internet connectivity in our locus notwithstanding); therefore, I can still feel satisfied in my own context. That is why when I reflect on what I am doing in my spare time, I realize that if I want to capitalize on the amazing advances in technology, rather than presenting to an eager, yet sadly frustrated audience, I should spend my weekends and evenings working to improve what I am doing in my own teaching environment.
I, therefore, would like to thank everyone who has supported me in my presentations of three years. I hope and wish that all the teachers who have been in my sessions can catch up with technology soon, so they too can support their already tried and tested methods with the brilliance that is ICT-in-ELT.
Allow me to share my own phrase, coined two years ago on a creative moment sitting in an airport waiting to fly to a province in Turkey,
"ADOPT & ADAPT ICT in ELT.
REMEMBER it's A TOOL, NOT A SOLUTION".
The main message(s) from my presentation at Beykent University,Istanbul yesterday are outlined in my "take-away" slide