Summer Institute Reflection - Sami Alkyam

award_nite_308With the growing attention to the use of technology as a tool for teaching languages, educators have become more aware of its capability to generate both self-governing and mutual learning settings in which language learners can acquire and practice anew language. It becomes a necessity for teachers touse the Internet, word processors, multimedia, PREZI, YouTube, and Google documents so their students can engage in individualized instruction designed to meet their specific needs.


In the case of the most commonly taught languages, these technology needs have long been integratedin the teaching materials. Unfortunately, with their lesser resources and funds, the less commonly taught languages have been missing this privilege of both training their teachers and integrating technology into their classes. As a language teacher of Arabic, I have always felt that there is a missing piece that might help me to be in line with the teachers of other languages like Spanish, French, German, Russian, and so on.Therefore, through my participation in the Technology Workshop in teaching African languages, I came to understand why the NALRC is Mecca for the teachers of African languages. Through such workshops, the NALRC continues to upgrade the teachers of African languages. It trains them in a way that makes them equipped to effectively teach their languages and also design their materials. After the workshop, I felt that the NALRC not only helps in strengthening the established and existing programs, but it also creates a confidence in the teachers of African languages that helps to compete with the teachers of other languages, and I mean the most commonly taught ones.


Let me tell you a bit about my participation in this workshop so we do fairness to the great job of both the organizers and the instructor of the workshop. Although it was only a week, I felt that I learned many things that are helpful in my teaching of Arabic. First, we learned how to create a PREZI presentation, which is, for me at least, something I have never heard of before. PREZI, in summary, is a tool that integrates together the concepts of maps, posters,and presentations, all into one unit. This unit, unlike the PowerPoint, is a non-linear presentation which gives us as teachers the ability to zoom in and out on any visual map containing words, links, images,and videos. Second, along with this we learned how to capture the PREZI presentation with “Jing,” SCREENR or CAMTASIA. We also learned how to create audio activities with sounds effects. In addition,we learned how to create a Drop Box in which we, as teachers, can share things with others in the learning community.


As I write my reflections on this workshop, I am reminded here of what the Yoruba teacher Dr. Adeolu Ademoyo once wished for, when he said that he wishes that technology could be used in a way that enhances our teaching style rather than distracting students from learning. To him and to the many wishful and ambitious teachers of African languages, I say the NALRC has made your wish and ours come true. In this workshop we learned how to make technology serves us rather than us serving it. To him also I say, as a participant of this workshop this year, I could not agree with you more when you said “the successful delivery of a new baby is determined by the professionalism of the midwives.” This metaphor, which stems from a rich and powerful African culture,summarizes the collective efforts that the NALRC staff has made from beyond the stage to ensure the success of this workshop and many others. To them all, and most particularly to the chair, Professor Antonia Schleicher, and her assistant Akinsola Ogundeji, we heartedly express our gratitude for your vision in the NALRC. To my colleagues who participated in this workshop, I say I am honored to have been given thechance to speak on your behalf.


Thank you very much.