Technology to Empower Learning?

As a blogger and a teacher of English, I have a habit of reading a lot of posts and other internet sources to keep myself updated with what is going on in E.L.T. and what other teachers are doing to promote better learning in classrooms. I also like to think that this habit is most beneficial for me that I usually feel refreshed especially when I read reflections of those who try new practices or integrate technology into their lesson plans.

However, life in reality is never so perfect and teaching is never a walk in the park at all times.


My students don’t even know why they are at school. I ask them what they hope to gain from the day ahead, the response is a group of individuals with empty looks. They at times get bold enough to counter ask ” What sort of a question is that?”.

Hard to admit, but it hurts. It is so painful to have to share the same setting with such characters that I happen to lose passion for my work at times.

I still do my best (Or I presume I do that) to change things around and act in accordance with my unshakeable belief that teachers are powerful enough to transform others. However, my students usually tell me that they attend classes only not to fail due to inattendance because they believe they can pass the exams if they can ever take them.

Well, in fact, it is not all their fault or mine at all. Those students I have to teach English are reflections of a community where it is a common practice to look for a short cut to success and make up excuses for failure and even put blame on others for one’s own deficiencies.

Then is there a solution? How can this problem be tackled now that it is larger than it actually looks? Honestly, I do not possess an answer. All I know is that there is such a reality as students who do not care about anything or anyone because they have no idea whatsoever of who they are or what they expect from life. I feel sad to say at this point that no great theory, approach, method etc. could be of use given the circumstances.

The use of iPads and other technological stuff to empower learning? C’mon, don’t make me laugh!


4 responses to “Technology to Empower Learning?

  1. Çağdaş,

    The title of this blog post caught my attention – especially as it came from you (and on the heels of “the curious case of Sugata Mitra” in Harrogate recently). I really wondered what your thunks might be on this wee topic…”the power of EdTech to motivate”, that is.

    However, you never really got there – did you? What you did was totally depress me…(not really) – but instead you reminded me of the conditions that so many teachers are working in…with…under.

    OK – you did point out how futile instructional or motivational strategies grounded on an unquestioning acceptance of technology as a “magic bullet” really are… just so bloody silly! Pretty much like Dina Strasser did when she called technology a “motivational red herring” so many years back. The “tech” on its own is not motivating for LEARNers today – especially in the type of context you go on to describe.

    However, it is exactly that type of “context” that is more interesting…or “worrying”. Students (university level students) who do not know why they are studying…Students who attend class just to get a “tick” on the attendance list…Students who have more belief in the “lottery effect” when they take exams (than the power of real language LEARNing to help them study better…collaborate with others – and even pass exams)!

    So the question for me is not so much one of technology – it is a matter of asking another question: How do we get students to (re)invest in their own LEARNing – after years in the EXAMocracy that is SCHOOLing today?

    OR: What is it about their university prep (hazırlık) programme that makes them feel that nothing has changed (since High School) – especially when so many of them start the year with such high hopes and motivation?

    Then perhaps: What are we going to do about it?

    Technology is NOT the answer… – so what is?

    Take care,


    • Tony,

      I do appreciate this thought-provoking comment. To be honest, I meant to get this type of a response from many other people. I am so glad that you are the first one to write.

      I titled the post especially so because I knew a lot of teachers take technology for granted and assume that it will magically transform everything in class. However, as I wrote, students still lack the most essential thing for success, desire to succeed.

      I admit sadly that I still do not know of a way to convince them that they can do it. As you once said the secret about motivating people is that we cannot motivate anyone.

      And your questions. Make sure I’ll be thinking about them and I hope to discuss with you in length over a cup of coffee either in Istanbul or Eskisehir 🙂

      All the best,


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