Friday, December 5, 2014
Week 9: Learning styles - Technology connections
According to Howard Gardner, intelligence refers to the human ability to solve problems or make something that is valued in one or more cultures. He considers that human beings have different ways to solve those problems, but some people are more successful than others when approaching a situation because their brains work in a different way. That is, they have a specific ability that may help them solve the problem or they lack of it and that makes the problem-solving process more difficult. That is what he called Multiple Intelligences and has developed a complete theory about that.
After reading about his theory, we definitively agree that not everybody learns in the same way. Some learners are better at reading, others at calculating, some are excellent in creating a concept map and others by doing things with their hands, listening or discussing with others. For this reason, when teaching a second language, we should provide the students with materials, activities and tasks that can fit to their intelligences and/or learning styles. The use of technology can help us in this task. We can use authentic texts, videos, podcasts, web tools to create mind maps, or work collaboratively in different formats or shapes. It is also necessary to generate situations or learning moments in which the students can be creative and put into practice the target language by using their abilities and skills. Consequently, they can learn in a more friendly way, and feel more motivated and engaged.
In my classes, for instance, although we are mainly focused on reading comprehension, I always design materials or tasks for the students to develop their reading skill; however, I also include some materials and activities that can support their learning process and develop listening, speaking, writing, and grammar. Since we our course is set up in Moodle, I embed videos or podcasts related to the texts they are reading or I ask them to create glogs to graphically represent the main ideas of a text. In their glogs, they can also write short texts, embed videos or songs related to the topic discussed, and images or photos that represent the main idea. We also have synchronous classes through Blackboard, our official platform, or WiZiQ. In both cases, students can use the board to write sentences, underline or highlight, kw words in a text, or create graphic representations.
Using authentic materials in different formats helps the learners approach and learn the target language in a more interesting and enjoyable way. They feel there abilities and needs are taking into consideration and