7 advantages of introducing new technologies in the classroom

The traditional model of the “master class” is one in which the teacher takes the textbook and explains to his or her students what they should learn. They then quickly write down what they understand in their notebooks and copy exercises from the blackboard. In fact this model is already history. The way we teach our children and young people is crying out to be changed.

Teachers are constantly telling us how difficult it is to capture and maintain the attention of students in class. On the other hand, parents and students complain that the aim is to turn children into an encyclopedia of knowledge that they will often never use again in their lives.

The way our children and young people learn has changed. We often wonder how a child who barely knows how to walk or talk can handle a tablet with total accuracy, or why young people look everything up on Google. You’ve almost certainly been in the situation where you don’t know how to operate a new electronic device you bought, whereas your child has no problem in connecting it and making it work, without having read any instructions .

There’s no doubt that in many things our children know more than we do, but even so they need to learn about many other issues, and the teacher, as a guide, can assist them in their discovery so that they can grow up to become successful men and women. However, how do you teach them so that they can assimilate knowledge without it being a burden for them, but rather something that stays with them all their life?

As parents and teachers we would like to tell you about our own experience in teaching using the new technologies. You’ll love it because you don’t need to be a tech expert and you’ll find it easy to create classes that leave a lasting impression on your students.

As a teacher, the role of motivator is still in your hands, but you will change from being the only source of knowledge to becoming an expert guide in the world of knowledge, using content and resources that are attractive because they are the ones students use in their daily lives.

New technologies offer you:

  1. A significant increase in the level of interest among students thanks to the medium and to the audiovisual resources; thereby encouraging students to participate much more, with even the more reluctant ones feeling able to ask questions without fear of their surroundings.
  2. A high degree of customization, since each student can be assigned different tasks according to their skills. The new technologies also allow you to discover each student’s preferences, doubts and concerns, and thus adapt the teaching to their different interests.
  3. A rapid exchange of information. By working in real time from your desktop, you can: discover what each student is doing, send messages, make corrections online, help them, redirect the activity, etc.
  4. Organization of multi-tasking classes, being able to use different media to teach the same topic in a simple way: books, videos, quizzes, games, etc., thereby giving free rein to your imagination.
  5. An environment that is conducive to interactivity and collaborative learning, where you can create work groups with objectives in a climate of communication and respect among students in order to discuss and contrast ideas.
  6. Evaluation, self-assessment and co-evaluation tools that encourage students to grow and aid the work of the teacher.
  7. Encouraging creativity in learning, thus enabling the creation of meaningful learning that will last a lifetime.

Reading this post is sure to have encouraged you to rethink the way the system of teaching and learning takes place in your classes. Make sure you don’t get left behind! Make sure your students don’t get left behind!

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The four language skills and their involment in learning English

The language is the means of thoughts and learning. Thanks to the language skills we receive pieces of information, we provide them and construct our own reality.

Which are the four basic language skills and what do they consist of?

  • Listening. There’s a big difference between hearing and listening: hearing means to percibe sounds vibrations; listening involves understanding and giving meaning to what you hear.
  • Speaking. Children develop this language skill by listening to their relatives. They start relating specific sounds with a concrete meaning in a natural way. A good start for the academic success is a big contact with the language: the more parents speak to their children the better they get prepared to assimilate knowledge in the school.
  • Reading. The development of reading is the key for a good learning; it’s absolutely necessary to understand what you read in order to assimilate the contents.
  • Writing. It’s the way to put on a paper the words you say. For a child it’s the longest process.

By growing, we start losing our capability to absorb languages and we focus on the codes of our mother tongue. We learn our mother tongue by listening, speaking and later by reading and writing. Nevertheless,  when learning English or another language, we have to develop the four skills in the same time. The language Laboratory provides tools for the teacher to permit students to develop these capabilities.

Learning languages developing the four skills

  • The listening comprehension is the key and can be considered the basis of the other skills. The better the listening comprehension of a student is, the better would be his capability to develop other skills. In the language laboratory the teacher can transmit audio and video in real time to the students and create various working groups to do highly motivating activities.
  • On the other hand, reading will provide a “mental structure” and will enhance the vocabulary, which will be useful for speaking. In the language laboratory the teacher has the possibility to transmit a document to all the students for a determinate period of time, so that students can improve their agility and reading comprehension.
  • Writing will give importance to the message and its presentation. It requires a more elaborated communication, so that student has time to work out the message. The teacher can activate various functions such as the group chat, where any students group can share ideas and realize activities on the same task.
  • Finally, speaking is the main purpose of the student.  Speaking will get benefits from all the resources we could provide to students: the more they will read and listen, the more will be their progresses. We can say that speaking is the result of the sum of all the materials and resources involved. Sometimes in a conventional classroom it’s complicated to permit students to have fluent and motivating conversations. A language laboratory permits teacher to create conversational groups or pairs and to record simultaneously all these activities to be listened and evaluated by students.  

In Bilingüismo y Tecnología we give importance to the four skills to learn languages, and at this purpose we offer the use of all the resources and technological novelties available in a language laboratory.

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Learning English through music (1st part, Introduction)

English can be entertaining through the usage of various media, such as music. Thanks to the music, acquiring a new language becomes more pleasant and furthermore it acts as a learning method during English lessons: scientific researches have demonstrated that music helps students to learn vocabulary and grammar. Moreover it plays an important role when memorizing the new language, during its learning process and so it’s useful to reach bilingualism.

Reasons to include music in a language laboratory

Songs contain a lot of expressions and many vocabularies aimed at native speakers’ audience, so what we listen is authentic, it is to say not written for students. This can be very helpful in order to get a quick adaptation to English in everyday life.

Furthermore thanks to music we develop the listening comprehension: we get used to pronunciation, so we can improve ours. And mysteriously, music has the virtue to get impressed in our memory: melodies and lyrics are difficult to forget.

How to prepare activities with songs to motivate your students

  • Find them in websites like YouTube or Vimeo, you can choose among many videos, lots of them also with subtitles
  • It’s important to select songs adequately: they should have a language of general use, not too difficult and neither being sung too quickly. Moreover, it’s even better if students like that music. In this way they will take full advantage of learning.
  • Use the songs lyrics in order to give them a “physical” support to understand them better. In this way they can read, understand and search the meaning of those words they don’t know. This will help them to improve their comprehension.
  • Do not rely completely on the lyrics transcription, as not all the websites are correct. It would be useful to make comparisons among various of them and in case the lyrics coincide, the level of correction is higher.
  • They have to repeat songs, the goal is to enjoy, but also to learn. Thanks to the repetition they will improve the learning process.
  • Singing songs will permit them to practice the pronunciation. Without fear!
  • Your students should include this activity in their daily life, every day, you’ll notice their progresses.

In Bilingüismo y Tecnología we propose music as a powerful tool to learn languages. It has always to be included among the resources of a language laboratory.

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