Book review: Blending Technologies in Second Language Classrooms

untitled (24)Review

Title: Blending Technologies in Second Language Classrooms

Paul Gruba and Don Hinkelman [ Palgrave Macmillan] Published 2012 pp 181 ISBN 978-0-230-23261-7

Much has been written about Blended Learning (BL). The term and the practice is much discussed in the world of English language teaching. Much of the literature on BL is from areas outside language teaching, including the corporate world and tertiary education. There is general agreement within language teaching that the term BL refers to a study program where part of the course is done face-to-face in a traditional language classroom, and part of the course is done at a distance, typically using web-based materials.

The title of this academic work, Blending Technologies in Second Language Classrooms, helps situate the reader. It deals with blended approaches to learning and teaching which involve integrating technologies into face-face-face environments, with a focus on second language classrooms. The book has a logical structure, with ten chapters moving form theory to practice.

Chapter one looks at the theoretical foundations of BL. The chapter introduces the concept of ‘blended approaches’ to language learning, tracing its origins through the corporate world and into higher education. The authors set out four considerations in blended approaches: purpose, appropriateness, multi-modality and sustainability.

Reviewed by: Pete Sharma. The complete review will be available shortly in the new-style Newsletter via IATEFL Learning Technology SIG



Blended Learning – Update 9 available now!

Delighted that the next update for Blended Learning is now available on the Macmillan Teacher’s Resource site.

This free update is a bumper issue!!! ENJOY………..


The ninth update focuses on three developments in the area of business English

  • the e-lesson warehouse
  • English360
  • Market Leader Activ Teach

It continues with:

  • a brief update on the MED (Macmillan English Dictionary) for the iPad
  • the new look Macmillan English Campus (MEC) plus
  • an introduction to the YouTube downloader

English UK Management Conference 2010 – Reading

It was a great conference last weekend and the Garnet bash was beyond fabby. Fotos on Phacebook.

Good to meet David Bish, who used our definition of Blended learning in his ef presentation – getting Blended Teaching from Blended Learning. David wrote the review for CD-ROM: A Teacher’s Handbook, several light years ago.

A lite version of my Power Point presentation (Blended Learning in the UK) is available:

Innovations in technology / Blended Learning

Practical teaching ideas

Many thanks to Macmillan for sponsoring this talk.

PSA Blended Learning course in Italy

A short note to say thank you to everyone who attended the PSA Blended Learning course at The London School in Thiene in Italy last weekend and, of course, a special thanks to Julie for organising it. We had a great time and were challenged by a dynamic group of teachers to present our information and opinions as clearly as possible and then to help them realise some of their ideas and plans using the technologies and tools covered on the course.

We were royally looked after with endless cups of tea and wonderful cheese sandwiches which kept us from flagging during our demos and discussions of blogs, podcasts, IWBs, Moodles and all the other things that the course covers.

There were many questions we were not able to answer due to time and, sometimes, the fact that we had not thought about those issues ourselves. The answers to questions should start to trickle through very soon.

te4be Newsletter winter 2009 – out now

te4be newsletterOur latest newsletter is now available for subscribers to te4be to download. It contains articles about Pete’s trips to south America and what he found out about how they are using technology in their classrooms. There are also up-dates on the progress of Pete Sharma Associates.

If you would like to receive the newsletter please sign up as a subscriber. If you are a subscriber and have had any difficulties in downloading the newsletter please feel free to get in touch and we’ll make sure you are able to read it.

Interactive whiteboards and learning curves

So, interactive whiteboards!!

This is a subject that both Pete and I have brought up on this blog and is an important element in both the Blended Learning book and PSA‘s Blended Learning training weekends. In fact, even as I sit here typing this, Pete is across the corridor leading a session on using IWBs. He is able to do this because PSA have acquired one for this purpose.

Here I have to make a confession. I have had very limited experience using IWBs. I know the principles and theories or teaching with one and I’ve seen other people in action. But, I’ve not been able to get my hands on one for long enough to really develop any skills or to use one with a group of learners.

This is about to change. The PSA whiteboard has found a home at the school where I teach on a daily basis and I hereby resolve to take advantage of this fact and to blog my efforts.

There is very little to tell so far. The whiteboard is a 600 Series Smartboard and we have installed the Smart Notebook version 10 software to use with it. Connecting the board for use is remarkably simple. It needs to be connected to the computer using a USB lead and then a projector (also connected to the computer) has to be set up to throw its image onto the surface of the board. You then run a little program called Orient which projects a series of crosses onto the board the centres of which you have to gently press with the tip of one of the pens. Once that is complete the board is ready to go.

More to come once I’ve had the chance to learn a bit more.