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More language teachers using online learning

schedule 17th May 2013 by Virtual College in Virtual College Last updated on 7th July 2016

An increasing number of language teachers are using mobile technology as a way of enhancing their pupils' education. This is according to Joe Dale, an independent consultant and former languages teacher who wrote in an article for the Guardian that there are a range of apps available to educators allowing them to create their own multimedia content. He said each of these platforms - whether they help to build audio, video or animation - promote productive skills of speaking, writing and high-order thinking. For some teachers, the expert explained "using authentic materials or web tools is an essential part of their practice to make their lessons as relevant and pedagogically purposeful as possible". This could consist of audio or video podcasts that enable students to improve their listening and conversational skills in their spare time, while it also means they can access learning resources from wherever they are and using their own mobile devices. Educators have been able to test new learning technologies through social media and Mr Dale pointed to MFLtwitterati, an online community for UK modern foreign language teachers who use the microblogging platform to share best classroom practices and encourage one another to experiment with methods of delivery. As Mr Dale noted, the only problem with using online resources is that it might take some teachers time to get used to becoming so reliant on technology. Moving forward, he said the gap between those who proactively use the internet to promote creativity in learning and those who are only familiar with basic ICT tasks needs to close. "Technology is not going away and language teachers need to embrace its full potential to engage our 21st century learners," he added. Indeed, Ofsted's Modern languages: achievement and challenge report and grading guidelines - which was released in March - made it clear the regulator is looking for increased use of learning technologies in language classes and provided examples of what successful departments have done in the past.
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