The idea behind the proposed topic for a travail de candidature revolves around making productive use of modern-day informatics technology in- and outside the traditional classroom environment. As technology has become an integral part of a teenage learner’s life, often accompanying the student from the moment they wake up until the end of the day, the question arises whether and how IT could make a meaningful contribution towards allowing a learner to acquire both transversal skills as well as, in my case, skills related to the English language. In addition to the mentioned skills, it has always been a priority for me as a teacher to look for ways to inspire motivation in order to preserve an eager and curious student capable of autonomy and critical thinking. After having carried out some amount of pre-emptive research, I have identified a useful instrument with which to reach the aforementioned goals. Consequently, this project focuses on how to foster motivation, autonomy and critical thinking while at the same time preparing the learners for their final English exams at the end of 13e by letting them partake in a year-long project throughout which they will create a platform providing sustainable support for the exam the following year and acquire methodological skills which will allow them to organise their research more efficiently.
The core of the project, however, consists of three different areas. First of all, pupils will learn how to use Twitter to do relevant research autonomously and share their results within a community of knowledge. In a next step, the students will identify whether their sources can be trusted and used as valid research results, thus developing critical thinking. Finally, said relevant research will be used to construct a database (Wiki). By creating mentioned wiki, learners will develop language skills relevant to the curriculum, while at the same time creating a sustainable workspace which will help them prepare for the coming year. The wiki will function as the core element in the project, as learners will need to negotiate content, use language in a meaningful context and create a database which will serve as a hot spot for information regarding relevant language topics needed to pass their final exam.
The planned project should result in students developing their language skills in a meaningful context. Even more importantly, I expect learners to develop a certain pride for their year-long project. Small achievements every week will become sources for motivation and will keep the students on their toes. Using IT will not only provide an instrument for fostering motivation; it might furthermore become an invaluable instrument in teaching autonomy, transversal as well as organizational skills and critical thinking, as described above. Repurposing social media platforms for studying purposes will make learners realise the cognitive uses of ICT and make them become aware of the potential of using such an approach. Students will perceive the productive uses of IT in their everyday lives and will be able to profit from a sustainable source of information to help them achieve their goals.