I can remember the day, in the late 1990s, when I first started to use e-mail. I might have, however, explored the internet a little bit earlier. At that time I was already a university graduate, in my late twenties and I intended to start working on my Ph.D. thesis. I was instructed by my thesis supervisor to set up an e-mail box and use it for communication with her, since it was the least disturbing or annoying and the most convenient means of communication.
Today’s students will never remember their first encounter with technology, since it has always been present in their lives.
Ask your students what they think is the best invention of the XX century. Many of them will mention a computer, a mobile phone or the internet.
I, therefore, believe that not using technology is irresponsible…
I am a Legal English teacher from Poland. I work with very demanding young lawyers-to-be who want to develop their Legal English skills in an attractive way. I believe that using new technologies in a conservative Legal English classroom is possible. I believe that technology, used with moderation and under no compulsion, may help add variety to Legal English classes and organize them better, as well as enhance the language learning process. I am not a “techie” and I do not want to convince anybody to use technology. I am not a “dogmeist” and I do not want to prove that technology should be denied. Falling into extremes has always been dangerous.
Technology, used with moderation and under no compulsion, may help add variety to Legal English classes and organize them better, as well as enhance language learning process of young university students, since the internet, Wikipedia, blogging, and social networking has become part and parcel of their daily routines.
The advantages of using technologies in LE classroom can be manifold.
E-learning platforms facilitate communication between the teacher and the students and become the place where they meet, discuss, exchange materials, leave messages, upload their works, develop team building skills through Wiki.
Technology enables teachers to design attractive classes. They can introduce an element of fun and game but also have 24 hour access to the latest news, and can encourage lawyers-to-be to debate on current topics on blogs, mailing lists or discussion forums.
Teachers can introduce cross cultural issues by taking the students for virtual tours of the UK Parliament, the US Congress, Australian magistrate courts, playing videos and podcasts.
And last but not least, the internet is probably the richest source of content knowledge which non-lawyer LE teachers will need to feel well-qualified for discussing specialist legal topics with students. Google Book Search, Wikipedia, free Legal Advice sites, official websites of various government institutions must be saved on the reading list of any LE teacher.