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Do English teachers need ICT? Absolutely!

Tom Rank - NATETom Rank from NATE shares his views on the latest learning technology for the English curriculum

Why should English teachers visit Bett? Let me tell you what I learnt from the Secretary of State at Bett 2012.

Having managed to secure a front row seat for the opening speech, I parked my pocket Flip Video camera on the floor. It hardly matched the BBC or Sky presence, or even the man next to me running a live stream from his iPhone, but captured the announcement that the ICT programmes of study were being scrapped as well as Mr Gove’s response to my request to work with associations representing other subjects, such as NATE. ‘Absolutely!’ he said. Afterwards, using Audio Notetaker from Sonocent (exhibiting at Bett for the first time) I was quickly able to identify, annotate and transcribe the extracts I needed for our press release, as well as produce a clip for our website accompanied by photos from my digital camera.

Your students may not get to meet a Government Minister, though your MP, Olympic hero or local author may drop in to your school. In any case, exploring how real speech is used is an excellent, practical and academically respectable way to learn about language – not just for exams but at any level. This was neatly illustrated by Professor Ron Carter at NATE’s Annual Conference this year. He showed how technology is making it much easier to analyse the grammar of spoken English, choosing as an example of how language can behave quite differently in speech and writing the very first word of Mr Gove’s reply to me: ‘Absolutely’. With the secondary English curriculum becoming the responsibility of  schools and changes in examinations, it’s even more important, in Mr Gove’s words, ‘to listen to those who’ve been particularly successful in engaging students’. Bett Learn Live seminars are a great opportunity to do this – as are NATE events!

For more news and views from Bett visitors and exhibitors, download 2013’s Bett Update


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