I believe that Facebook is a great tool for interactive language learning given the amount of specific language-related affordances it provides, and the amount of background knowledge that most students will already have. In the study this article examines, students exchanged pictures, videos, participated in discussions on various topics of their choice, and used Facebook to showcase the results of their group work. I believe that this type of collaborative interaction is a necessary part of language learning, and I'm sure that social networking sites such as Facebook will play a major role in language learning in the future yet to come!
With more and more schools investing in mobile technology such as iPads and laptops, the problem of how to use them and what exactly is a suitable app to use in the classroom arises. Teacher-produced audio or video podcasts are useful for encouraging autonomy and distance learning outside of the classroom, a commonly employed tool in recent years. The article also looks at MFLtwitterati, a UK-based community of foreign language teachers on Twitter, and many of the things they have to offer. Technology is not going away and language teachers need to embrace its full potential to engage our 21st century learners.
First and foremost, student writing is improving by leaps and bounds. When I read their blogs (which, by the way, are mature, insightful, funny and engaging), I don't find myself pulling my hair out over the careless mistakes they make in formal papers. Not every post is perfect, but the majority are well written and free of grammar and usage issues that I am so familiar with seeing in their other work. If they become sloppy, all I need to do is politely comment about it on their blog, and I don't see it again.
First and foremost, I think it is safe to say that student writing is improving by leaps and bounds when it comes to technology. Blogs are a brilliant way to for students to keep an ongoing "journal" where they can write about whatever they want and improve their writing skills as a result. This article looks at a teacher who introduced blogging to her junior students and found huge improvements as a result. "When I read their blogs (which, by the way, are mature, insightful, funny and engaging), I don't find myself pulling my hair out over the careless mistakes they make in formal papers". Blogs are motivational and more interesting than conventional writing assignemnts, and students are consequently more open to learning from them as a result.
Developing a strong vocabulary is an important area of focus for ELLs who are building their reading comprehension. Educators use a variety of strategies to grow readers in their classroom, and there are many free iPad apps that support vocabulary acquisition.
We all know who important vocabularly acquisition is, and so free apps to aid in this process are certainly a bonus!! This article looks at 4 apps: Kids' Vocab by MindSnacks, English First High Flyers, Flashcardlet, and Futaba, with details about them all and the way in which they can support vocabulary acquisition.
After having been looking at digital literacy skills in class this week, i found this to be an interesting aritcle which looks as four 17- to 20-year-old students from Mexico and the way in which he develop their literacy skills through such tools as Facebook, work, and entertainment. However, the research suggests that these developments do not cross over into school life, and so the article also looks at both the classroom implications, as well as the broader implications too.
A look at ways we can enhance our language learning through global classroom exchanges without having to leave the classroom itself! I.e. via online communication and networking. For example: Edmodo, Skype, Epals, Twitter, Mixxer, and many more. The article also examines a few problems, before looking at others ways language students can communicat offline, for example community speakers, mentors, and community involvement, etc.
Perhaps not 'technology-based', but I personally love this magazine as a means of learning to read (Japanese), particularly for beginner students/lower intermediate. The entire magazine is full of up to date, informative articles of current issues written in both English and Japanese paragraph by paragraph so the reader can follow along with what is being said in the target Japanese language as they go. I have used this in my own study before I foudn it to be a great resource!
Perhaps a modern, technological take on grammar learning is exactly what is needed go motivate learners in the modern society. No longer can we expect learners to copy gramar from a text book dozens of times and expect them to learn it-- it needs to be fun! This site give us a nice starting point from which this concept could be further expanded upon.
An interesting look at technology in the classroom from two case studies, one examining the use of avaliable software, the other examining freely avaliable web 2.0 tools. The results found that many of the softwares (such as Achieve3000) are dry and at times disconnected from classroom cirruculums because many software developers are more focused on developing science-based software than those related to languagre learning. On the other hand, free web 2.0 tools such as Collaborise Classroom allowed students to engage verbally with both their peers and online and was esay to intergrate into the everuday classroom/curriculum.
This is a very interesting PDF article on Interactive Technologies in language teaching, focusing on the Interactive White Board (IWB) including what it is, IWB based materials, and how to use it in the foreign language classroom. Definitely worth a read, although it is definitely targeted at a very specific audience as not every classroom has an IWB.
A league of linguists hailing from almost every sizable Asian nation has released an iPhone application called “U-STAR.” Their goal: disseminating technology that can ingest speech in any widely spoken language and regurgitate a translation on the...
Linguists have developed an iPhone appication aimed to understand majority of the widely spoken languages of the world and produce a target translation on the spot to break the language barrier between nations. I downloaded this to checked it out for myself, and to be honest it's not too bad! It's very good at actually picking up on what is being said- however the translations leave a little bit to be desired for, but oferall I was impressed! Looks like we're heading towards that seemingly impossible concept of a 'universal translator' afterall!!
The U.S. Department of State has developed this free online game for learning English vocabulary and (American) culture for youths. Had a brief look, but a username and password is required, however this can be easily created for free with little effort. Potentially a very good idea if it can take off in foreign English learning countries!
One of the best articles to really sum of Digital Literacies, which is "an umbrella term for the media literacy skills and digital competences which appear in national curricula, digital literacies refer to our ability to effectively make use of the technologies at our disposal". Definitely worth a read!
Having looked at the process and criteria for evaluating web-based tools and curriculums in class, I found this article to be an 'interesting' look at sites in terms of usability, versatility, engagement, motivation, cross-platforming, goals, appropriateness, and ownership. This was 'interesting' as it covered a couple of concepts we didn't look at in class, but I thought it told little about the overall evaluation of sites in general.
Finally! This is a brilliant atricle that gives a number of apps that aims to improve language ability in the four domains (reading, listening, speaking, writing) through immersion. Definitely worth a look! I have downloaded a few myself and find them to be great!
Finding the best education technology tools is a time-consuming task. This site provides a list of 50 great classroom tools that are all easy to implement into just about any classroom. Many of these can be adapted well to the language classroom too; definitely worth a look!
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Blake Turnbull's insight:
An interesting look at what's best not to do when learning a foreign language which, in my opinion, is just as important to know as what IS best to do! These include, not squandering, not working against your own strengths, not speaking in anything but the target language, not neglecting certain language skills, not disregarding culture, and not focusing on grammar study, to name a few.
Skype gives students and teachers the ability to connect with the outside world without leaving the classroom, allowing them to meet face-to-face with the subjects of their learning or with students from other cultures.
I came across this in my search on the language affordances of Skype and thought it was quote an interestign article. It states that the teachers using skype for the mentioned affordances are 'innovative', which certainly seems true given the possibilities they've come up with here, but all the same, I think there are some good ideas here for skype use in the language learning classroom.
This is a great site that looks at ways we can help students with disabilities to learn in the classroom, including screen readers, word talk, word prediction, video magnifiers, and subtitling, to name just a few. I think it is great that this has been written, and teachers of all kinds should take note in case they are forced to aid a student with a disability at some point.