12 ways to use tech in your world languages course
In a world that is more connected than ever, learning another language is more valuable than ever. With just one click we can talk to someone in another country, speaking another language. Our 12 tips break down how to take your world languages course to the next level with technology, ensuring more successful student outcomes.
1. Is that on YouTube?
Gen Z students are visual learners — 47% spend 3 or more hours per day on YouTube¹, so make sure to engage them with videos.
2. What’s on your (YouTube) playlist?
Playlists can help students dive deeper into learning a language by providing an alternative context/voice. By creating playlists of relevant videos, you let your students pursue their interests without wasting their time searching for information (or finding potentially unsuitable content).
3. Don’t be camera shy
Live streaming is a great way to make lessons more interactive for students and give them the flexibility to participate from anywhere. You can take live streaming to the next level by inviting guest speakers from around the world to share their knowledge.
4. Lights, camera, action
Have students record audio and/or video for conversation grades. Students hear how they sound speaking another language, which can help them with their pronunciation and accent.
5. Flip it
Get students to do reading, grammar, and tutorials at home and focus class time on interactive exercises and active learning. Students can practice what they learned at home in class.
6. Take the shock out of culture shock
From readings to videos, don’t forget to incorporate culture. When students learn the culture behind a language it makes learning more meaningful and real and teaches students to appreciate different perspectives and practices.
The options for teaching culture are limitless so get creative. For example, pick a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and start a group where students can share cultural pictures, articles, videos, art, and more. Or have students find a language exchange partner in another country. With sites such as conversation exchange, students can practice their language skills through video chat or email.
7. Embrace automation
Find a platform to have mechanical grammar and vocabulary exercises be autograded. This gives students the immediate feedback they need to correct misconceptions and it frees up your time to grade more free response coursework.
You can also consider having unlimited homework attempts. Homework is a space for students to make mistakes and grow, and some students need more practice than others. Balance unlimited homework out by not accepting late homework. Language learning is something students need to keep up with on a regular basis. You can encourage this with strict homework deadlines.
8. It’s all in the data
You can use data such as homework scores to inform teaching and assignments. If there’s a particular assignment students are struggling with, it could be an indication that students aren’t grasping a concept. Data will help you find issues before they develop into problems.
9. Go mobile
There are many language learning apps out there. 93% of students have smartphones² so an app can make learning more convenient. Students can study on a bus, on a break at work, or even while on a treadmill at the gym.
10. Need a reminder?
Remind helps keep students on schedule by letting you text students reminders (without having to give out your cell phone number).
11. Want to (Google) hangout?
Consider having a mix of in-person and online office hours. Students will appreciate the flexibility, especially if they are working or live off campus.
12. Let students lead the learning
When it comes to tech, you don’t need to master every app or tool — let students explore and teach you and other students what works and what doesn’t. Have them lead a lesson and share what tools and resources they used.
In a constantly evolving world, we need to continue revolutionizing the way we teach world language courses. These 12 ways are just the beginning.
¹ “Beyond Millennials: The Next Generation of Learners,” Pearson
² “2017 Digital Study Trends Survey,” McGraw-Hill Education