Integrating Technology (IT) in the foreign language classroom can change the roles of the students and the teacher.
When IT in any classroom, there can certainly be implications. One of the many issues in IT also is the availability of the resources. Many public school systems do not have sufficient funds to include technology in all of their classrooms. Also, there is a problem with the heavy reliance either teachers or students can have on technology. For example, I have interned in a Montgomery County Public School system for two years now, in which I worked alongside a Spanish education teacher. In this class, I have seen firsthand the dependence the teacher has on technology. In one of her lessons she took the students to the computer lab, to play a game, which would teach them the Spanish words for the animals. The teacher did nothing, while the students happily played away on the computers. The computer now took on the role of the teacher, while the students took the role of a learner. So how do we know when there is too much use of technology in a classroom or too little?
Research your students you are teaching and the technology you are using before IT
Just like you wouldn’t use your laptop only to go on the internet, you wouldn’t give a classroom an iPad to only use the calculator. But you also wouldn’t use your laptop for the entire day, just as you wouldn’t give a student an iPad and allow them to use it the entire classroom time. The use of technology must be balanced and used effectively to successfully reach the students learning point. This can be done by first knowing the students needs. If you have a student in your FLC who heavily relies on the auditory factor in your lesson, it may be useful to use the computer to have an audio piece of a native speaker speaking, so they hear the authentic language and accent. Knowing the piece of technology in its entirety, will also help the balance of IT. For example, if you use the iPad in your class, and you spend the entire class trying to open the internet, because you didn’t practice before, you just took up the students learning time and revolved the entire lesson on the iPad.
The Integration of technology is a huge asset to foreign language teachers.
Although there are implications of IT, there are also benefits. One of these, according to Mohamed Esa, is the accessibility to authentic materials. In the foreign language classroom, (FLC), the use of authentic materials is heavily needed. Authentic materials teach students how the target language is used in the real world. For example, accessing a news article from another country using the internet, allows the students to connect to the culture of the target language, through authentic text. Another benefit of IT is that it can be a great motivator for the students. When you give a student an iPad, they get excited and they are so interested in what it can do, that they do not mind what it is they have to do, as long as they are doing it on the iPad.
Professor Ali Faud Selvi explains the steps a teacher must take before IT into their classrooms.
The research I found on the IT is biased.
What I found in research papers astounded me.Before writing this blog, I knew very little of the integration of technology. I believed that it was a great thing to have, especially in this era. But as it turns out, you must know how to use technology, how much of it to use and who you are going to use it on, before you can use it. While looking for examples of how the IT can benefit the students and have implications, I found that there were very few researchers providing evidence on how technology cannot be beneficial to the classroom. Almost in every paper I found, they all had a great list of benefits. But none of them could find implications. For example, in this article on the “Benefits of technology in the classroom,” they did a great job presenting a benefit, but it was very biased because it was written by two teachers. I would have liked to see the rebuttal of a student in one of these articles, so we could get their perspective on it. So I decided to interview a student in a foreign language classroom, and his response is quite astonishing.