Integrating technology into English language teaching
In an interview with thehindu.com, Nik Peachey, language teacher, teacher trainer, technology trainer and educational technology consultant, talks about the impact teaching- and learning-technology has had on students and teachers. We’re proud at New College Group to offer engaging, innovative and technologically enhanced learning environments for our students. Our Techno-Hubs bring tech-based learning to the ELT classroom improving the way students and teachers communicate and interact through language learning.
Does technology make language learning easier?
Peachey claims that although advances in technology and improved accessibility have improved the level of resource available to many classrooms, it has not made the act of learning a language easier. Students are, however, given access to almost infinite learning materials, which compliments their efforts in the classroom. Indeed, Peachey admitted technology helps students think more critically. It encourages them to question what they are learning with access to a “wider range of opinion”.
The Techno-Hubs at New College Group play an important role in our student’s education. As well as the learning opportunities it offers, it also affords collaborative learning to improve creativity and evaluation.
Truly integrating technology into English language courses
Tech should not run alongside lesson plans, but compliment or even enhance them. Here’s what we feel the Techno Hubs and technology-based lessons have contributed to NCG:
Motivation in learning
Technology plays a massive part in day to day life for so many of us, it makes sense that it is incorporated into learning. Technology fascinates us, and engages us. Encouraging students to take part is arguably the most important part of any lesson plan, incorporating technology – especially creatively – could be the element that transforms a dull lesson into a captivating one.
As so much of learning comes from practice outside of the classroom, motivating students with innovative ideas is also important. If a student is interested in what is being taught, they are far more likely to seek more information on their own.
More than just a wifi code, having access to technology in education will play a big part in its success. Again, this counts both inside and outside of the classroom. Learning materials are now so much more than simply reading from a textbook, extending now to tablets and smartphones. Learners can continue to teach themselves beyond the classroom, in real life situations.
Practice makes perfect
For those students who are less familiar with the technology used in the classroom, using it in lessons provides much-needed practice. Technology isn’t set to take a back seat in learning, nor in life in general, and so students value the opportunity to familiarise themselves with using different devices in different ways, not just in developing language skills
Obviously, technology is not to be used in place of effective teaching, but interactive tasks, text-to-speech conversion and online tutorials allow students to translate on-the-go. Independent learning, with access to relevant teaching material for support, means more practice and therefore more confidence to push perceived limitations – students are given the courage to try books beyond their current reading level, for example.
Providing context for English language
For our students, practicing English outside of a lesson offers exposure to English culture, and so context around what they are learning. Opportunities to practice English in a real life setting are far more readily available. This can be from news sites, through social media, or visiting online forums, all of which provide a variety in language use that is difficult to replicate in the classroom.
We’ve worked hard at NCG to understand how the technology we’ve introduced to our schools will benefit our students. We’ve made it work so that not only do classrooms benefit from the latest tools for learning, but our teachers benefit from time-saving, efficient teaching practices. As Nik Peachey states in his interview, technology “has a huge potential to transform education on a global scale” and we wholeheartedly agree.