Teachers are the key to maximizing the potential of technology in language learning – FE News


Adoption of technology by schools and colleges has undoubtedly been accelerated by the pandemic. For example, it has accelerated the integration of video software and cloud-based platforms into teaching practices, making remote work a possibility for students learning from home. It has also enabled the introduction of different types of content to support the language learning experience, from interactive quizzes to extensive video and audio resources, to on-the-go language learning apps.

However, today’s teachers continue to face the challenge of deciding how to make the most of technology for learning, while balancing the varied needs of students impacted by a disrupted learning experience and juggling multiple multiple pressures – lack of time, parental expectations, curriculum changes to name a few. Learners often lack the skills to learn effectively through technology, and it goes without saying that teachers need the right kind of professional development and support to help them engage students through digital technology. the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) developed a set of standards that recognize that teachers play seven different roles when using technology: learner, leader, citizen, collaborator, designer, facilitator and analyst. Teachers are therefore essential to the success of technology in the classroom – it cannot be considered intrinsically motivating. The technology needs a teacher to take on each of these roles when it is implemented, to ensure its success.

For example, one of the main hurdles teachers must overcome is selecting, adapting, and implementing technology in a way that engages learners, not just in the short term but throughout their studies. To engage learners on an ongoing basis, teachers and other stakeholders need to have a thorough understanding of the limitations and potential of specific technologies, the realities of their implementation, and how best to support learners and teachers in this. process. Meeting this challenge is essential because motivation is a key factor in achieving good learning outcomes and encouraging lifelong learning.

This has led us at Oxford University Press to commission a report summarizing the opinions and findings of a group of leading educational researchers and practitioners with the aim of presenting the opportunities and challenges of effectively using technology as a motivational tool inside and outside the classroom. At its core, our report found that no matter how engaged learners are in their personal lives, technology alone does not increase motivation to learn. We need the human touch.

This is partly explained by the fact that motivation is based on the satisfaction of psychological needs, namely autonomy (to feel responsible), relationship (to feel connected to others) and competence (to feel efficient and capable). . Therefore, teachers need to understand the nature of motivation, the factors that influence it, and the role and limits of technology in supporting it. The report – Using technology to motivate learners explores how the potential of technology as a motivational tool can only be realized with the right planning, implementation and teacher support, regardless of students’ skills and enthusiasm for it. use of technology in a non-educational setting. In fact, teachers who champion and believe in the benefits of technology, and who think carefully about how best to embrace and integrate technology into learning, can have a transformative effect on learner motivation. The results also show that the effectiveness of technology in inspiring learners is further increased if teachers receive structured support from their institution. Our research has consistently shown that there is a clear and persistent digital divide in teachers’ and learners’ access to technology. More than half (56%) of the teachers we have interrogates cited lack of digital skills as a barrier to effective teaching.

We must empower teachers and inspire confidence in the use of technology to motivate learning, while calling on governments and policy makers to support teachers to integrate this technology consistently. In this way, we will strengthen the digital skills of educators, learners and parents, which will support better learning in a changing world. The value of technology only exists if we put it to good use.

By Stephen Fahey, Director of Product Strategy, English Language Teaching, Oxford University Press

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