Six technological inventions teachers REALLY want to see

 

We are now fully into the conference season, and there seems to be no shortage of talks and presentations about teaching English with technology. I’m not an anti-technology teacher by any stretch of the imagination, but I occasionally find myself longing for certain gadgets that teachers would REALLY find useful. I mean, Second Life and Interactive Whiteboards are great and all, but imagine how the following gadgets I’ve dreamed up would improve your teaching life!

1 Mute ™. Mute is a simple handheld device that looks like a remote control for your television. It has a big red button on it. Extremely simple to use, all you do is point Mute at a class and press the red button. It will silence the class immediately. Press the red button again to allow talking. Mute even has a single-user function, which means you can just “turn off” a particularly chatty student.

2. Exam-eeze™. Exam-eeze is a software programme that marks exams for you, including pieces of writing. Not only will it do the marking, but it will also add nice friendly bits of praise (e.g. “very nice bit of writing here! Is that true?” or suggestions for the student “you should review past tense forms”). All you do is scan in the exams and let Exam-eeze do the rest. It will even enter the marks into an Exam-eeze Mark Book for future reference.

3. Report-eeze™. Report-eeze is similar to its sister programme Exam-eeze. Report-eeze is equipped to write any boring reports you have to do for your school and can do these in any of the fifty languages available. Report cards for students, group reports, progress reports, class logs, letters to parents, incomprehensible reports for quality control purposes at your school… Report-eeze will do it all.

4. Teacher teleport™. Are you a business English teacher? Tired of spending your days on buses, metros, trams or in cars running from one end of the city to another to do your classes? Teacher teleport will instantly transport you from one location to another, along with all your gear (laptop, ipod, pack lunch, coursebooks…). Beam me up, Scotty!

5. Virtual Substitute Teacher™. Forget your avatar in Second Life, imagine you could have one in real life! With Virtual Substitute Teacher (VST) now you can. VST creates a three-dimensional hologram of you that will cover your classes when you can’t face going to work. It can be programmed with up to twenty standby lessons. Your students, colleagues and even your director of studies won’t even notice the difference.

 6. Pure Genius™. If you’ve ever been under pressure for your students to succeed in an external exam, then Pure Genius is the product for you. Pure Genius is a small black box with a single on/off switch. Switch it on and it emits a series of radiowaves that increases students’ attention, reduces their stress and improves their performance on exams.  With the use of this box, your classes will consistently do well both in internal and external exams. You will be the most sought-after teacher at the school, the darling of the director of studies and the envy of your colleagues. It’s just Pure Genius.

I have now patented the names of all these products and am just waiting for financial backing to begin development. In the current economic downturn this may take a little longer than originally expected, but I am confident. Technology will find a way!

Do you have a fantasy technological advance that would ease your workload, rather than increase it? Post a comment.

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Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 11:41 am  Comments (30)  
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30 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Absolutely the most perfect list so far.

    But Lindsay, you forgot to list the prices, website and shop details.

    Can you pay with PayPal or do we have to fork over visa details?

    Eager customer,

    Karenne

    • Ah yes, well these are still products in development you see… I am fervently hoping that Apple or Google or some other huge company will take notice and pay me a cool million for the idea… but your interest has been noted and for a mere fifty euros you can buy advance shares in my company!

  2. Please let me know as soon as these wondrous tools are available on the market!

  3. How about the Dogme Coursebook Shredder™, into which whole coursebooks, or parts thereof, which contain reading passages about Posh Spice or sentences like “Look, black clouds. It’s going to rain” can be quickly reduced to lawn manure?

    • Nice idea, and thanks for the suggestion! (said after hastily checking that none of MY books contain reading passages about Posh Spice – they don’t – or sentences about black clouds and rain – they don’t, almost not anyway :-(- )

  4. You leave “Look, black clouds…” out of it! :->

  5. I think for me the ideal gadget would be a slot in the back of the neck where we could upload learning programmes that enabled us / our students to do or know whatever we need – whether it’s languages, science or the ability to play a musical instrument. I know this would probably make all us teachers redundant, but the end game for me is an end to ignorance, technology is just a means to that end.

    Best

    Nik Peachey

    • I see, a bit like in the Matrix!

      • A great read along the lines of uploading to students’ brains and the (abysmal?) future English of our young people is: “Feed” by M.T. Anderson. A great work of Young Adult fiction–I highly recommend it!

  6. Yes. A bit like the matrix only without the scary robots ruling the world! The flying would be cool though.

  7. Or: The Grammar MacNugget Gopher™ (aka as The Murphy-ator™) which conducts round-the-clock searches of the web for songs, youtube clips, film transcripts etc in which targeted grammar items are embedded, and converts these into mind-numbingly dull gap-fills, delivered into your in-box every Monday morning.

    (Actually, frighteningly, the technology already exists!)

  8. I want some sort of program, or device, that will bring my ice-cold beer out of the fridge and open it for me, roll a joint, and tell me the best way to chat up that piece of crumpet in the FCE class – all at the throw of a switch (or something), and simultaneously.

    Oh, and a program that can trawl the web and download the best lesson plans for me. I don’t need it to teach my class though – that would be just TOO lazy, and I’d never get to see that student again, would I?!

  9. I was just looking at this list and the comments again and thought that actually Mute™ would need another companion tool. It could be called Speak™, for those stubbornly quiet classes and students who just don’t want to participate in my extremely interesting classes. Like Mute™, Speak™ takes the form of a remote control with a big green button on it. Point and click and hey presto, you’ve got participation and conversation.
    Btw, thanks everybody for your other suggestions, my engineers are working on them as we speak.

  10. What about UnMUTE for the quieter ones?

    Hope to see you presenting at http://www.ted.com/
    Ideas worth spreading are great ideas!

    I’m working on Twitter-eze : a device that simply twitters what you are thinking without needing any hand held device nearby.

    • Excellent! Thanks Valentina, and you will see that UNMute has its own version now, SpeakTM! Twitter-eze is also a good idea, methinks…

  11. SpeakTM is clearly the device for me. Am mailing cheque now as I type.

    Karenne

  12. I swear this is true. My two-year-old daughter just looked out of the window and said “Look, clouds. It’s going to rain”. Maybe I should start my own corpus! I wonder what I could call it….

    • Thanks Mark – and nice blog site (I just checked it out on seeing your comment). Good to see your daughter has acquired the going to / will distinction so early too!

  13. Alas, she hasn’t got ‘will’ yet – it’s ‘going to’ for everything! Still, it’s a start.

  14. How about a chip (in the brain?) which temporarily removes all knowledge and memory of TEFL from your brain and leaves you free to sit somewhere cool, with a drink at your side, listen to your favourite music and read only fiction and poetry.

    Dennis

  15. The chip in your brain, Dennis, is actually the off-switch on your computer!

  16. Not quite true, Sir. Turning off my altar does not make me forget the world, friends and connections I’m leaving.

    Dennis

  17. How about a Learning Curve Eraser?

    Some days, it feels like each link folowed leads to yet another cool tech tool with (yet another) learning curve before I can actually use it in class.

    So many learning curves can make one quite motion sick.

  18. On the topic of technology, how about the ‘technofob’ -an application connected to your email that automatically generates an impenetrable (but correct) technical explanation to fob off the unsolicited email we receive asking us to solve people’s annoying technical problems… 🙂

    Nicky

  19. On the subject of technology, here’s one that already exists: The Interactive Wide Boy™ – you see them a lot at conferences these days – men in suits flogging the latest in high-tech hardware (the software costs a little extra, squire). Typically, they’re demonstrating some tom-fool game like “Shoot the phoneme”.

  20. […] one of my earlier postings, Scott Thornbury made a comment about certain sentences reoccurring in coursebooks. He was […]

  21. […] a technological invention that teachers would really find useful. I have already blogged about that here, and am still waiting for a rich patron to come along and sponsor one of […]

  22. The Plantastic(TM). It looks like a small laminator, but when you feed a few notes scribbled on an envelope about activities you fancy doing today into one side of it, out the other side comes a beautifully typed, detailed lesson plan written in British Councilese. Saves untold time and tedium.

  23. […] Six Technological Inventions Teachers Really Want to See […]

  24. […] Summary: Lindsay Clandfield is always coming up with great lists. In this post, Lindsay gives away a few of the good ideas he never plans to use. I’d love to take his first idea (school door mums) and run with it, but sadly I am too busy with my own English language teaching responsibilities. I wonder how many new teachers would be interested in training on Lindsay’s virtual class simulator? While you’re visiting Six Things, be sure to click on #6 for Six Technological Inventions Teachers Really Want to See. […]


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