This article is a guest post – written by Anna Kokkali.
What do you know about Educational Technology, or simply EdTech? It has definitely become a buzzword lately, as technology is evolving with a fast pace.
Putting it in simple words, EdTech refers to the facilitation of learning and teaching processes through the use of technological resources. Facts have presented that technology can increase the effectiveness of education by reducing, for example, the cognitive load on teachers through automating processes. However, there is an ongoing debate about whether technology at the end adds value when applied in education. Instead of reinforcing those fears, I will focus on how technology can help English teachers teach.
1. Gamification through language apps:
Considering today’s digital environment, gamification has become very popular in education in order to increase engagement, motivate, and reinforce the learning process.
Learning English can take years, and teachers have to keep students interested. That’s how the online learning apps started. Tools for learning English like Duolingo, KnowbleReader, FluentU and many more aim to provide students with additional learning material and promoting an interactive way of learning English. It’s important for teachers to remember that gamification has to be applied to the whole process, rather just focusing on the outcome. Most of the time students have the impression that learning English is a boring and time-consuming process. They are not always able to identify the benefits they gain while learning English. So it becomes the teacher’s job to find the right way to convince them that it’s an interesting and fun adventure.
Hence, using these tools can transform education into a more appealing process from the students’ perspective. As a result, teaching will be more efficient. At the end the results will be positive, with students improving expeditiously. Learning English will never be the same. Also let’s not forget, that these online apps also have the benefit of no or minimal costs and thus are accessible to everyone.
2. Personalised Learning:
Personalised learning might seem like a time-consuming process, but is not. We have to focus on the benefits that it has to offer.
Students can study and learn on their own pace, and material can be adjusted to their personal level and free time. Teachers also gain more insights about every student, and teaching becomes more efficient. Adding on that, with technology integrated in the teaching process, it will reduce the teachers’ workload, eliminating manual grading and administrative tasks. This will eventually lead to a better structure of education and a system that will be more efficient.
Personalised learning aims to cut down extra time, as the material delivered to students is relevant to them and adjusted to their level of English, which will eventually lead to more engaged students. Moving down the chain, higher engagement derives from on going motivation and leads to better results. Students have the option of choosing where, how, and when they learn, and therefore, boost their will of learning English and teachers can create a trustworthy and loyal relationship.
3. Eliminates borders:
Technology is eliminating the borders. Of course, by borders, we mean the ones mentally, which has led to the fact that the concept of “classrooms” has changed.
Nowadays, there is not the absolute need of a room with the physical presence of people. The idea of “far” is becoming closer. Teachers can have direct contact with their students, exchange instantly material and all the processes are being simplified.
Further, technology increases availability of the teachers as well. They can assist and provide solutions to their students growing their daily contact. Through online groups and forums, students from all over the world can connect and engage in multilingual discussions.
Why Technology Will Not Replace English Teachers
However, technology of course, can’t replace human interaction. There are situations that technology can’t replace humans, even if we investigate into the field of artificial intelligence.
It is true that the achievements are great and machines will be able to substitute many of humans’ everyday tasks.
However, when it comes to teaching, a machine will not be able to be “proactive” regarding some circumstances. Technology can’t fully replace the empathy, the warmth and the nuances that an English teacher provides his/her students. Thus, we must keep in mind that there are many things that technology isn’t able to provide.
Demonstrating critical thinking is another example of a skill that technology can’t fully replace. Technology will evolve everyday, and its developments are going to integrate in our lives constantly.
Teachers should not fear this evolution. Instead, they should leverage the opportunities that are designed to improve the learning process and deliver better results.
In the end, teaching English can be difficult and complicated. Every situation can be different, and it largely depends on the students and circumstances. There are many variables which need to be taken into consideration, like the developments of technology, which can have a major impact on the outcomes.
By using tools like apps like KnowbleReader or Duolingo, teaching English becomes an adventurous and enjoyable process. A process that turns to be interesting not just for teachers but for the students as well. Good luck in your English teaching journey, and remember that sometimes patience is the most valuable asset.