Summer Institute Reflection  - Adeolu Ademoyo
award_nite_319

As a participant in the Summer 2011 Technology Workshop, I am basing my reflections of our experience at the workshop on the origin of human beings. This allows me to draw the inseparable connection between we humans  and technology. To you the audience I ask: what is the origin ofhumans? And what next after the Summer Institute and the Technology Workshop? I know that we are capable of giving different answers. But it seems to me that the creation of the human being was the first “technological miracle.” Based on this, thelogical question is: which came first? Technology or humans? If we look closely at human activities from creation to post-creation we will see that the symbiosis between technology and human can be likened to theproverbial egg and chicken. It is in this context that I reflect on my experiences at the NALRC Summer 2011 Technology Workshop, and answer the human question which we all always ask privately: what next after this?

 

Go back to the earliest human. Going back to thetree-throwing, stone-throwing early human, we will observe that in the process of fending for themselves, stones, sticks, tree branches, parts of the body like hands and the mouth, all are simple and basic“technological tools” with which the earliest humans on earth fend for themselves, and we will answert he question: what next? Refinement of technology tools follows after creation. It follows therefore that technology is indispensable to our lives. It is the tool with which we realize and extend ourselves.

 

It is the indispensability of technology to our contemporary world and by extension, to the teaching of African languages, and the need for humans to dominate, simplify, and domesticate technology that was part of the template upon which Professor duPlessis, the instructor of the Summer 2011 Technology Workshop, rested the workshop. From day one, he simplified and demystified the presumed complexities and myths that are often wrongly associated with technology and its use in the teaching of languages. His instructional methodology shows that the simpler the technology, the more we are able to turn technology into our servant, and the better and the more beautiful it is.

 

In this process we jointly explored technology tools that best serve the interests of languages. Some of the presentation tools we learned were PREZI, “Jing,” Audacity, how to create Google Sites, and how to use Drop Box. On my part, I find the use of PREZI, “Jing,” and Audacity useful for the teaching of my language. I teach the Yoruba language, and these tools simplify for me the teaching of tones  and vocabulary in the Yoruba language. With the hands-on instructional modality in the workshop, we were able to create and work on projects in our languages. This way, we aretaking our experiences  with us in an immediate sense and for use in our classrooms.

 

Given the changing dynamics of the contemporary world, especially a world which is increasingly technology-driven, African languages as part of theless commonly taught languages must step up in their pedagogy. We are also in a contemporary world where languages are being taught in a virtual world created by technology. It is in this regard that the NALRC Summer Technology Workshop has become a veritable and indispensable tool for African language instructors. Our students are heavily technology literate. Wemust follow them into this technology space and environment; otherwise, the job will not be done effectively. If we as instructors are not empowered technologically, we will not be able to follow and teach our students, who can be highly demanding interms of technological needs. This is the connection between the NALRC Technology Workshop and the other Summer Institutes. I will therefore suggest that our newly “minted” Summer Institute graduates should come back to the NALRC Summer Technology Workshop and deepen themselves with the technological aspect of African language pedagogy, so as to expand the horizon of African languages here in the U.S.

 

All these successes were made possible by thecollective strength of the NALRC staff and theinstructors. Thus, on behalf of my colleagues in theTechnology Workshop, I am thanking the NALRC and the staff for facilitating the efficient realization of ourworkshop. Without them, this would not have been possible. I want to thank our instructor Professor duPlessis for his instructional mode, making it easy to learn, and making practical the technology aspectof African language pedagogy. Thank you so much Professor du Plessis. We are grateful to the NALRC forconsistently being an invaluable and indispensable toolfor African languages in the U.S. and in the world. The answer to the question, “What next?” is: take your cue from the pedagogical mandate of the NALRC, domesticate technology, and follow your students to the technology environments  and spaces they are in by taking technology to the African language classrooms. Imbibe the new way of thinking! Think creatively.Think tech!

 

Thank you all.