HOW can technology become invisible?

In a previous post, I discussed about the importance of technology invisibility in the classroom.

According to Lehman (2010), technology should be :

  • Ubiquitous = available all the time.
  • Necessary = used when necessary.
  • Invisible = a natural procedure.

Another author who thinks likewise is Bax (2011). The author coined the term “normalisation” to address the issue of technology in language education. He states that technology should be normalised to serve its real purpose in education.

But, what is normalisation? I’ll give an example: have you ever heard technophobes saying “No, I don’t like using technology” and there they are using a pen to write on a piece of paper? The pen and the paper were once new technologies that have been normalised. When we use a pen to write on the paper, the focus is not on the color of the ink or how to use the pen. In fact, the real focus is on the content which is being written down, the message which is being shared.

In this sense, I believe both Bax (2011) and Lehman (2010) agree with the place of technology in the classroom. Technology becomes invisible when it is normalised.

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What about digital technologies in our classrooms? How can they become invisible? Well, there is a piece of technology which is already invisible, maybe inside our students’  backpacks: THE CELL PHONES. When our students use their cell phones, they are not focussing on the technology in their hands, but on the text message they have just received or the photo they wish to share. For this reason, I believe the cell phones might be an interesting device to be used in class to facilitate learning.

However, using cell phones in the classroom involves certain challenges. Some of our students have android phones, others have IOS devices and even other systems. Thus, managing the various apps for the different systems can be overwhelming to teachers.

I imagined it would be a helpful resource if there was a list of apps appropriate for ELL and available for both android and IOS systems. I searched for such a list but as I couldn’t find one, I decided to start an online list of apps which will be shared in my next post.

Want to explore some cross-platform apps with your students? Then, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the follow-up post on 22nd June.


BAX, S. (2011) Normalisation Revisited: The Effective Use of Technology in Education. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, 1(2), 1-15, April-June 2011. Retrieved 25/04/14 from  .

LEHMAN, C. (2010) Science Leadership Academy, speaks at TED. Retrieved April, 2014, from

Ana Maria Menezes

Ana Maria Menezes is an EFL teacher, technology coordinator at Cultura Inglesa Uberlândia, online moderator, researcher and teacher developer in Brazil. She holds an M.A. in Linguistic Studies with special interest in teacher development in online environments. She blogs at, where she writes about educational technologies.

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