As the English language supervisor for Kota Kinabalu district in Sabah, Malaysia, I’m in charge of assisting English language teachers in my district with their professional development needs. One of the areas that many English teachers in Kota Kinabalu seems to struggle with is technology integration in the language classroom. Teachers generally find the idea fascinating, yet many lack the confidence to do it.
I really wanted to assist the teachers in my district, so I got in touch with a local expert in the field, Dr Lee Kean Wah from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). Together, we organised a series of teacher sharing sessions. The sessions provided the opportunities for the teachers to learn some technology tools and share best practices with one another.
One of the participants was Tok Fen Fen, a self-professed ‘digital immigrant’, who teaches in St Francis Convent Secondary School. According to Tok, the sharing sessions gave her the confidence to “just go for it”. For a start, Tok decided to use PowToon to make her English lessons more engaging for her students. “I’m no expert in PowToon,” Tok told me. “But I told my students that we can explore this together.” Her students used PowToon to create animated presentations on a variety of topics in English. Through the experience, Tok learned that it’s not necessary for her to be a technology expert in order to be using technology in the classroom. “I thought I was supposed to be the one teaching my students,” Tok said. “But I ended up letting them teach me instead.”