This book arrived a couple of weeks ago and I was like a small child with a new toy, I just couldn't wait to try it out! It has saved me hours and hours of scouring the internet for free tools that I can use in the classroom. I just knew that most of those applications had to exist already but never had time to look for them. And even where I had been using technology (eg voice recorders like Vocaroo) this book gives me new ideas for using those apps.
I agree with everything in the previous comment about the way the book is organised and the theory behind all the ideas. The suggested tasks are easy to adapt to different target groups (eg different levels, different ages, business students) and different learning objectives (eg IELTS prep). There is really something for everyone.
The suggested tools and technologies are well within reach of any teacher who can use a laptop or a tablet and for teachers who are already comfortable with using technology in the classroom, I think you'll find new inspiration in this guide.
The section on pronunciation is spot on. It really makes sense to use technology for helping students to modify their pronunciation (eg accent reduction for some students with intelligibility issues) and the teleprompter, voice recognition, podcasting and other recording activities described in the book are great fun to do. Many of the activities in the chapters on speaking and listening can also be useful for helping students with pronunciation problems.
Most of all I like the way the book focuses on group activities, many of the suggested tasks get students working together to create artefacts (eg a podcast, a wall) which gets even some "quieter" students involved as everyone can actively contribute, even those who don't like speaking in front of the rest of the class. At the same time, a lot of activities described in the book can be "taken home" which is great for autonomous learning (as individuals or in small groups), whether the course is "blended learning" or not.
I work in a country where nearly everyone has a smartphone and a very open attitude to new technologies, so I guess that helps. But I'm sure there are plenty of simple ideas in this book that could be used with just one laptop and an internet connection.
Finally I would recommend this book for almost any teacher (any subject) who wants to use more technology in their curriculum. Nearly all the ideas can be tweaked for any subject.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough! I have just read it cover to cover while travelling at the weekend, and I just want to start using all the ideas straight away! The examples are mainly relating to the teaching of English, but as a teacher of French and German, I can see that the ideas can be transferred to any other language.
Some of the reasons I like the book so much:
APPROACH - Its rationale is intelligent and very well explained - The 'principled approach' advocated toward technology puts relevant, effective and efficient pedagogy at the core of the decision about its use. Successful learning is more important than using the technology 'because it is there' ('The Everest' effect, as I have now learnt from the book!)
ORGANISATION - The organisation of ideas by 'objective' (integrating technology, building a learning community, vocabulary, grammar, listening, reading, writing, speaking, pronunciation, project work, assessment & evaluation) rather than by technology is most helpful for lesson planning - The clear, consistent lay-out of the ideas makes the book very readable, and a true 'quick reference' for a busy teacher
CONTENT - The short introductions to each section succinctly summarise the variety of ways in which the use of technology allows for learning which could not happen before (as well as how it can enhance existing practice). As well as being enlightening and interesting, any trainee teacher student would find them invaluable for their own study assignments - Just reading about the ideas is engaging, so I am sure that putting them into practice will be even more engaging! - The ideas are presented along with very sensible 'practical' tips which anticipate the reality of a classroom environment - I am sure that the examples will continue to be relevant well beyond 2013. The author has taken care to describe the activities independently of specific software in the main body of the text (very useful examples are given in appendices)and has set up a website to complement the book.
Thank you, Graham Stanley, for sharing ideas in this accessible way.