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Clare Tyrer Clare Tyrer is Curriculum Team Leader of Teacher Education at Newham College of Further Education and is responsible for co-ordinating and delivering generic and ESOL/literacy specific teacher training programmes. She took a 10-week Level 3 course in e-learning at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College in October 2013.

From resister to enthusiast

When I first started teaching English in the 1990s in the Czech Republic, I found the blackboard an excellent way of recording information and clarifying points for learners. But time moves on and so does technology. From blackboard to whiteboard to the OHP, I felt I was able to deliver my lessons just as effectively as those who could extol the merits of voice technology, apps and infographics. Back then, I could have been labelled as a 'resister' (Hill, 2003): someone who is loathe to see the benefits of ICT. For me, at least, technology felt too scary, overwhelming and inaccessible.

However, there is no denying that technology is everywhere. We are likely to be confronted by learners who think nothing of surfing the web, downloading apps and communicating via social media. Furthermore, in the Education and Training Foundation Professional Standards (2014), it is stated that teachers and trainers in the further education and skills sector should “promote the benefits of technology and support learners in its use.” Rather than turning my back on these innovations in learning technologies, I knew I had to face my fears and embrace the digital world. In October 2013, I embarked on a Level 3 e-teaching course at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College. This course was aimed at teachers and trainers who wanted to explore the benefits of e-teaching and to develop engaging resources which would enhance the learning process. The trainer reassured us that he was no 'techie' himself, rather somebody who wanted to make us aware of a range of tools to support learning.

In this article I have provided a few examples of how I have tried to get the most out of using technology to enhance learning on our teacher education courses.

Using blogs As part of my e-learning course, we needed to be able to use a blogging tool to demonstrate and assess a range of resources. I wanted to see the immediate impact of a blog in the classroom so set about creating one with a group of students working towards the Level 3 Award in English for Language and Literacy teaching. Although the students had access to the college's Virtual Learning Environment, I wanted to use a blog as a way of extending discussions outside the learning environment, to post reminders about the course and to encourage collaborative learning. An example of individuals learning from each other is provided below. Using the online noticeboard tool, embedded in the blog, learners posted any websites or other information that had been of use to them in preparation for their timed summative assessments.

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