“Technology will not replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational.” – George Couros
English has been an increasing prerequisite in today’s modern world and it has gained a more prominent place in global classrooms. It opens up exciting and stimulating career opportunities for everyone associated with it. The English Language Teaching (ELT) addresses the key language systems of English including listening and reading (receptive skills); speaking and writing (productive skills). Through ELT, both teachers and learners can also examine the second-language acquisition theories and their impact on English language teaching pedagogy. Above all things, the implications of the spread of English around the world, and various cultural dimensions of English acquisition can be effectively explored through English Language Teaching (ELT). The global technological advances, are very much part of language learning at different levels. In particular, the rise of English Language acquisition has fuelled the growth of technology-blended English learning activities. Such a rich blend makes English Language Teaching/Learning more effectual. English language acquisition blended with Technology-aided language activities ensures learns with a chance to understand the properties, the analysis and the process of English language acquisition. Further, technology enabled verbal and visual language learning will promote better language skills.
Thanks to the technological advances in language acquisition! The modern-day teachers can easily assess their students on the four skill areas, while the students can gauge their receptive and productive skills themselves. Now that ELT and Technological advances have become inseparable, this paper takes a closer look at the ever-changing technological trends in ELT and their impact on language acquisition.
Keywords: English Language Teaching (ELT), language skills, technology-aided language skills, blended, language acquisition.
According to Bill Gates, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.”
What if the world is deprived of internet? What would be our first thing to do in the morning? What would we do the rest of the day? How would we figure out what is going on around the world? Above all, how would we learn English in a technology-free atmosphere? Will we be running around to look out for English speakers? Won’t it be slow down the language acquisition process?
Technology has been a permanent fixture in many facets of the world. It has permeated every sector, including language acquisition. While the world sees English as an ever dominant lingua franca, the future of English language teaching and learning inevitably entails technology-based language activities. Audio and visual inputs are the two dominant senses technology can provide and presents greater opportunities for learning language inputs. The aim of this paper is to explore the impact of integrating the technological trends in English Language Teaching and how much they assist the students in acquiring the four language skills.
Way back in early 1950s, some parts of the western world used phonographs, tape recorders and movies as teaching aids in English language teaching while in 1970s and 1980s slide shows and video projectors dominated the teaching methodology. Over the course of time, language labs became part and parcel of language acquisition and by the mid-1990s, multimedia-enabled language learning tasks were available online for both teachers and students. Modern-day CDs/DVDs, pictures, videos, animated games, social websites, manifold apps and the other online resources have turned the teaching/learning community into a global fraternity. They have revolutionized English language teaching and learning methodologies and turned them more productive and enjoyable. The ‘anytime-anywhere’ concept of technological advances has been serving a wider range of language teachers and learners. However, the reliability of these ever changing technologies for classroom practice is still an issue. On the other hand, the learners can be digitally more competent and may challenge their teachers.
Effect of Technology in language acquisition:
Nancy Kassebaum opines, “There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.”
The era of 21st century is often regarded as an era of technology. Technology, today, plays a very important role in our life. It is seen as a basis of growth of an economy. An economy which is poor technology can never grow in today’s scenario. This is because technology makes our work much easier and less-time consuming. The impact of technology can be felt in every possible field and one such field is language acquisition.
Language acquisition in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training or research. Well, several researches stated the benefits of using technology for educational purposes. Technology has positive contributions to
i) teachers’ performance (Assessment, Monitoring, Guiding, Feedback)
ii) students’ motivation, engagement, and learning
iii) students’ higher order thinking skills (Creative, Critical, Reflective)
iv) students’ ability to work collaboratively.
The nations are in interaction with each other. So they need people able to communicate across borders. Language learning has become essential. Improved learning results and efficiency in teaching translates into more competitive institutions and enriched national competitiveness. Using technology in teaching the language labs enables better speaking abilities for the students. but using technology must be easy, intuitive, inspirational, and fun to be effective.
The beauty of technology is that it can be equally accessible to every learner, much to the surprise of some teachers, who may believe that English learners are too busy learning English and content material to be receptive adding bells and whistles. Further, technological developments like digital cameras, projectors, mind training software, computers, Power Point Presentations, 3D visualization tools; all these have become great sources for teachers to help students grasp concept easily. It has to be understood that visual explanation of concepts makes learning fun and enjoyable for students. They are able to participate more in the classroom and even teachers get a chance to make their classes more interactive and interesting.
However, many experts and experienced people say that, due to such technology in education, students imagination is affected, their thinking ability is reduced. Also its sometime-time consuming from teachers’ point of view. It can be costly to install such technology. There can be health issues too when used over limit. Moreover, some students can’t afford modern computer technologies.
It can be concluded that technology is an excellent tool in which to maintain student interest and the use of the iPad, document camera, or digital camera puts the learning in the hands of the students. The teacher can guide them and give them step by step instructions to complete a learning activity but the students will have the opportunity to be creative and show what they know and how far they have come learning the material. The more opportunities that students have to use technology to enhance their learning, the better chance they will have of gaining and understanding of the language concepts.