I seem to be going around in circles with this. The possible ways I could use this tool to foster autonomous learning (or flipping lessons, in some cases) seem to grow by the minute but each visualisation of the steps ahead leads me straight back to the same brick wall.
I don’t even HAVE TO be agonizing over this. It’s that endless itch to create materials that has gotten me into this situation.
As my brother likes to say, here’s ” the thing”:
1) My own students need a lot of extra support when studying the literature program (authentic pieces, not designed for learners). Having pages with a variety of QR codes which would lead to different kinds of support material could decrease their dependence on me as a mediator for understanding basic issues. I could focus more on the analysis and Higher Order Thinking Skills parts of teaching the literature.
The kids have smart phones and we only have one computer – QR codes bring the online material to their desk.
3) I’m a national counselor. If I’m investing in materials I would like to create ones that the mainstreamed student (in a regular classroom) with a hearing loss, could use to get the same support my own students (self-contained class) would get.
4) Mainstreamed students wouldn’t HAVE TO use this material. It would need to be attractive, self-explanatory and accessible for them to want to even consider using the material when none will check if they are doing so or not. “Attractive” and “self-explanatory” are not a problem. The web offers tools for creating materials with immediate feedback and also allows me to use video and color. I’ve been experimenting and am pleased on that score.
Accessibility is the issue.
5) Mainstreamed high-school students would have to use the material on their own. If it is too hard, they won’t use it. If it is too similar to homework (i.e: demands too much investment of thought) I don’t believe they will use it. Ideally, they need to feel as if a teacher answered their question. I don’t see how I can meet those demands without using lots of visuals and mother tongue (these students don’t use sign language).
SOUND OF ME BANGING INTO THE BRICK WALL, AGAIN. OUCH!
An abundance of visual materials and L1 may be good for teaching the story, but is it any good for teaching ENGLISH? When I’m the teacher who is present, I can balance the conflicting needs, intervene when necessary. But I’m not present for all those other students.
So, is it worth bothering to prepare such materials for students in the regular classrooms? What are the chances that they will use it? In addition, if what it takes to get them to do the support activities places English “in the back seat”, do I even WANT to create such activities? Will they be rejected by teachers?