By Sabine Rodríguez - Student of English Teaching and Translation
Besides being a highly appealing tool for students, technology has become one of the great additions to education and language learning. From creating online games to quizzes that provide instant feedback and online applications that contribute to teaching reading strategies, technology has proven to make the language easier to learn. Despite this, not many teachers have had the privilege of taking CALL courses, therefore, many educators might not understand its benefits or how to appropriately implement it to improve the student’s learning process and accomplish their language proficiency.
Year after year we have witnessed the creation of multiple applications and devices that, besides being created with the purpose of entertaining people, also help us improve in many areas, for instance, education. Regardless if it is in or out of class, students feel much more motivated to learn when practicing with interactive quizzes or just listening to a podcast. Nonetheless, for these activities to be effective and to make a positive impact on students teachers need to understand their necessities so that they can find the right tools or activities that better fit depending on their needs. For example, if the goal is to improve vocabulary using CALL, the teachers can develop a lesson plan adding interactive activities by using Kahoot or Menti; by doing this they are allowing the student to have fun and learn at the same time which will create a positive perspective of the class instead of something they are doing as an obligation. Furthermore, some other great activities to evaluate writing is asking students to create summaries using Wikis or to write a journal using Wix.com.
Another area of language teaching where educators have applied the use of technology for many years is in listening. At first, it was very common to see teachers carrying their portable radio player in most of their classes since, at that time, cassettes or songs were used to practice listening and comprehension. Even though that used to be a great way to improve their skills, thanks to all the technology advancements to which most people have access now, students can go online and find podcasts or audiobooks they can listen to which will help them develop their listening, pronunciation and comprehension skills as well as it will expand their vocabulary. During class time the teacher can play a podcast that provides interesting information or even project a movie and then create a discussion group or a quiz where they have to demonstrate how much they understand, in this way the teacher will be able to recognize and work on their learning gaps.
Moreover, to reach the students' language proficiency is necessary for them to practice and improve their language skills and with the use of technology, teachers have the opportunity to be creative and develop different tasks. For instance, teachers can ask students to develop an online presentation using the methodology of PechaKucha, meaning that they will have to record themselves and then add a recording of 30 seconds or 1 minute per slide. Once they have finished, they can either show it to the class or just sent it to the teacher for him/her to provide feedback.
Certainly, there are several ways in which technology can be used to make language content easier to digest and understand. Language applications, collaborative tools, quizzes, online games, among many others, help teachers to create different classes and motivate students. We all have different types of intelligence and therefore different types of learning, some of us are visual, others more auditory and some learn more with kinesthetic activities, and the good thing about technology is that it provides us with sites and resources that adapt to any type of intelligence making it much easier for educators to improve the learning process until achieving fluency and language proficiency.