Educational Technology or EdTech can be defined as the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management and evaluation of processes and resources for learning, according to Seels & Richey.
Blended learning, virtual classrooms, and learning management systems are all examples technologies that teachers are now adapting to language learning.
Foreign language teachers’ job is to teach learners a whole new language, including the nuanced rules of grammar and cultural norms. Nowadays, foreign language learning has the opportunities to infuse technology into its learning strategies. How can this be done? Here are some ways.
1. Making learning visible
Using technology to connect to foreign lands and display how natives of that country live allows students to see and experience the language they are learning in an interactive and real life manner.
Technology tools give teachers additional resources to reach learners with different strengths and needs.
3. Engaging learners
It is definitely a way to engage learners because of its interactive nature
4. Applying language
It gives learners numerous opportunities to use the language with others to be able to apply using the language.
What exactly are the benefits of using technology in foreign language teaching?
There are quite a few! Let’s discuss some of them to get a better understanding of it.
1. Remote Access to Language Education
Technology gives the ability to reach audiences all over the world. It allows teachers to be hired locally and learners can access courses that are taught by native language speakers to ensure immersion.
Technology has also opened the doors for endless and limitless resources to be accessible regardless of the learner’s location, language fluency or economic status.
2. Blended Language Learning Courses
Blended learning means combining online and face-to-face learning. In this set up, the learner completes online courses and the teacher supplements these with classroom teaching that is more focused on actual needs of learners rather than just focusing on the rules that can already be discussed in the online course.
3. Interactive and Collaborative Learning
According to Dexway, the best way to learn something is through an interactive learning environment created by technological tools and resources. The same is true for language learning, the application of the language has to be present and it for the learning experience to be better, make it more interactive and engaging.
Tools that promote collaboration are also a great way to learn the language and develop collaborative skills as well.
4. Real World Problem Solving Made Possible
Language learning apps are regularly updated and even feature current events and news as a way to teach the new language. This allows learners to learn in the real world with true-to-life scenarios amidst a virtual learning environment.
5. The best complementary tool for teachers in the classroom
Traditional education is not so effective anymore. Teachers need to motivate their learners more than ever when presenting something in the learning environment. Technology helps the teacher complement traditional methods and enhance the learning experience.
6. Ease in managing and monitoring learner progress
Managing courses, keeping track of learners progress and other administrative tasks is now easier with the birth of online educational platforms that provide numerous functionalities tailored to educational centers’ needs.
Below are 4 Useful Tech-based Tools that can be used for Foreign Language teaching.
1. Music and videos
Audio listening exercises can be good for testing what learners can identify on their own. The combination of pictures, intonations and gestures provides learners context clues that can help them understand the language even better.
2. Educational Websites
Educational websites like Quizlet and FluentU can help enhance the learning experience by providing meaningful and fun activities that are focused on grammar and current events respectively.
3. Collaborative Tools
Tools such as Facebook, Classting, Google classrooms can help learners use the language they are learning and engage in collaborative activities as well.
4. Smartphone and Tablets Apps
So many apps on smartphones and tablets such as Duolingo, FluentU and Memrise give learners an interactive and fun way to learn a language by using their phones and tablets.
Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, not immune to that is the way we learn new concepts. It has completely enhanced the language learning experience for both teachers and learners.