Nowadays, a person who has a good capacity to learn languages and is strong in digital skills can have good chances to develop in various working areas. With this said, we think it’s quite important to mix these two topics in a language classroom. The aim of a teacher is always to make any student feel motivated, involved and retain the knowledge with pleasure, this is reinforcement for the language teachers. Currently, these young generations are all super connected with technologies, and we continue to see and live in an era where this is every day more noticeable. Having said this, there are plenty of benefits of using some technology tools during the classes to support the language learning process, always in order to challenge the students critical thinking, to get deeper into the contents and especially to make students feel more connected to the language and culture that they are studying.
The new edition of the course “Teaching languages in the digital era: the best apps, web platforms and ICT solutions for learning languages ” took place in Palermo from 19/03/2023 to 25/03/2023. We had the pleasure to have participants from many schools around Europe, with Karen from Oscar Romero college in Belgium; Sandra, Ganina, Tatjana from Vidzeme Technology and Design Vocational School in Latvia; and participants who came from 2 different schools in Spain: Maria José, José António and Belén from Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Alcoy in Spain, and Leire from Lekeitio BHI.
During the week we suggested and presented a lot of programs that could be useful for the participants' classes. In order to start, we heard from everyone the expectations they had for that week by using an app and creating a short presentation. The following tool we worked on gave us the opportunity to discover a bit more of every person in the room, because we did a self presentation in a funny and creative way, since this tool is super engaging and diverse. Carry on with the process of getting to know each other, with another app we had the opportunity to situate where the schools of everyone are in a map, their conditions, looks and one more time as a presentation made by themselves.
Then, we explored an app to create presentations with real-time feedback, where you can also add a quiz. As it can be imagined, this is a fantastic way to pick up and challenge the students. For instance, since it’s a complex program, the participants had time to explore it and also prepare one of these presentations to simulate how they would use it for one of their language classes. To demonstrate how education can be implemented in a lighter way, we showed a gaming app, which is the perfect solution for students, to test their knowledge and wrap-up concepts, for example. This happens because the students love the competitiveness (it has to be in a healthy way, of course) and also unites the group spirit between them.
Moving on, the next tool that was presented had a big impact for those who were looking for something more related to the purpose of evaluating. This one, is always supported by a video where during or in the end of it, you can add questions and then compare the answers to see in which level your students are. Having the good environment in a classroom is crucial, in order to make this work you have a great app that promotes a space for safe discussions, in order to create a lot of engagement and to promote creativity, as a form to try it, we opened a discussion on the thesis of debates being integrated into language teaching, where every participant wrote their opinion and we reflected about it together.
Still having in consideration the spirit of being connected, we explored a more professional platform that can be used for the creation of your own website, it can be useful for publishing warnings and materials for supporting the studying process. The idea of creating one website was never so easy and it can be used with different purposes.
The last tool that the participants discovered was once more related to the gaming part, always with the option to create presentations that capture the attention, promote participation and especially pass knowledge to the students. It is very complex, because you can create so many different games, like quiz, board games and escape rooms.
Learning a new language is always a challenge, so that’s why it’s crucial to engage the students since the beginning. And we are pretty sure that the right digital tools (for example, visual content captures everyone attention and it's proven that 90% of the information we capture is visual) result in a perfect base to captivate the students and make the lessons much more engaging.
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Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.