On Language Learning and technology

21st_Century_Educator

It is only logical that the first official blog post is related to language learning and technology. I´m currently taking a course called exactly like that and several issues come to mind when thinking about the use of technology in the classroom.

There is no doubt that the learners in our classrooms today are completely different from those we had 10 years ago. What seemed to work then flops now.  These changes stem from the revolution in communication and information technology that, even though has failed to catch up in mainstream educational practices, has meant a significant change in the way the brain gathers, processes and uses information.

In my humble opinion, using technology for the sake of technology does not make sense. The use of technology in the classroom or for learning objectives needs to address that fundamental issue, which is if it is the most effective way to carry out that particular learning task or to approach an area of knowledge.

As with every activity we do in the class, it needs to be cost-effective. There needs to be a balance between the time we spend on the activity and the output generated by it.

The use of technology needs to be easily accessible for the teacher and for the learner in the institution. If teachers and learners need to spend most of the time just getting access to that particular piece or require extensive permissions to be used, then it would probably be more efficient to tackle that learning aim in a different way.

Related to the above and also as a consequence, using technology in the classroom needs to be flexible. That is to say, teachers cannot be forced to use it and render it senseless, but also it means that students should have the choice to use it if it facilitates their learning process. Particularly, I´m thinking of the use of dictionary apps versus traditional printed dictionaries. Most teenage students simply give up due to lack of appropriate dictionary skills but with the use of a simple dictionary app on their smart phones or tablets, they are able to do so.

Bottom line is technology in the EFL classroom makes sense if it aids and facilitates language learning.

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