Tesol Greece has just launched a blog, and started off the interaction with a challenge:
” During an economic crisis, resources (books, budgets, infrastructure) are limited but high standards and qualifications are required so that learners can survive on the job market. Can the use of technology help learners and teachers overcome this problem? If so, how?”
My answer, without any doubt, is YES, especially if the concerns are budgetary.
Technology in and of itself is a tool, and the current tool of the Internet is providing opportunities that very few language-learning tools have ever been able to offer before. A nice example of this is in Nik Peachey’s recent post on Two Contrasting Views of Educational Technology where he writes:
“The role of the computer [has evolved] from being a storage place for predefined information… into a conduit by which knowledge is shared and constructed through the interaction between people.”
Today’s technology is a new conduit unlike we’ve had before and yet the value of this conduit remains in what moves through that conduit, more than the conduit itself (bad water in a the world’s most expensive pipes is still bad water). Quality learning materials, and effective teachers are equally important parts of the equation without which any “new technology” or delivery method will fail.
This new conduit is all the same revolutionary
Not only in the way it’s morphed into a greater and greater communication tool, but the Internet in and of itself has actually made distribution of materials more affordable for learning institutions.
But… isn’t that obvious?… actually, it might not be to the learner or teacher who haven’t followed the evolution of internet technologies and server costs.
“[The internet] is just bits shipped to devices and $1,000 made in 1,000 ninety-nine cent increments is the same as $1,000 made in one-hundred $10 increments.”
The costs are in producing content and delivering it (marketing and server costs), and whether a publisher sells to thousands or millions does little to change their overhead (unless they have outrageous marketing costs, which many do… and drive up our prices).
With this thought in mind, my team at Edulang is very excited to be in the position we’re in and very pleased to be able to offer our 9 stellar ELT applications to those who might not be able to afford them at “current industry prices” with our pay what you want model. Technology and conscientious business models have great potential to help where limited budgets are an issue and we’re proud to be a positive force in changing our industry!!!