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How to utilise technology for productive language lessons

How to utilise technology for productive language lessons

Technology can make all the difference when it comes to language learning. Long gone are the days of chalk and blackboards – language learning is a lot more enjoyable and efficient these days!

From iPads in schools to handy mobile apps today, most language students utilise technology in their studies. The reasons for its popularity are quite obvious. Also, the internet, websites and apps can support language learning in many different ways. From providing access to authentic content to allowing us to chat with native speakers from all over the world. 

Whether it’s giving your memory a boost to helping you learn while watching TV. It’s worth trying to use technology both in and outside the classroom. I’ll be exploring the ways you can use technology to get the most out of your language studies. Whether you’re looking to use these alongside our own Learn&Co courses or in your own studies, I’m sure our tips will take your language lessons to the next level!

  1. Improving your listening skills
  2. Get reading more
  3. Be creative
  4. Have a conversation
  5. The benefits of using technology in language learning

Improve your listening skills

Using technology for productive listening practice is a great way to start. Also, good news! There’s endless ways to do this – so much content out there, waiting to be listened to. If you’re a music fan – why not delve into the music of your target language? If you’re a French learner looking for suggestions, we’ve got song recommendations for you, especially curated by our Learn&Co team! 

Besides music, there's podcasts, audiobooks, Youtube videos, TV programmes, film - tons of video and audio content for every kind of learner.

connect with Native speakers

By listening to your language of choice, hearing natural language spoken in a variety of contexts will really boost your listening skills. You can also learn new vocabulary by using subtitles to your advantage, as well as online dictionaries. There are some websites such as LingoPie and Viki that already have interactive subtitles built-in, helping you learn while being entertained. You’ll get used to the natural rhythms of the language, refine your pronunciation and even pick up colloquial language along the way! 

The best thing is you can learn language the way it is actually used by native speakers, rather than just the way you’re taught in class. This is also really important to master any language. There’s research pointing to the benefits of technology-enhanced learning too. One study found that using technology in language lessons makes learning more fun and increases students’ learning possibilities.

podcasts

Luckily for you, you don’t have to look far to get started. We’ve got loads of content ideas for language learners on our Learn&Co website. If you want to sit back and get lost in the very best French or German drama, look no further. We’ve even got you covered with podcasts – check these out if you’re learning Spanish. Also, look for content that you find interesting – learning languages doesn’t have to be a chore. So what are you waiting for?

HOW TO UTILISE TECHNOLOGY FOR PRODUCTIVE LANGUAGE LESSONS

Get reading more

Looking to become a confident reader in your target language? Maybe you’d like to be a bookworm in more languages than one. Technology can help you there. There’s tons of written foreign language content available online for your viewing pleasure. And the good news is it only takes a couple of clicks to access everything from short stories, novels, articles and even webtoons

You can even study music lyrics to learn new vocab

 The variety of content out there ranges in language level, subject content and genre. You can also have a go at reading simple entertainment articles or attempt a more challenging political opinion piece. There’s several ways you can use this to make language lessons more productive.

foreign language content

Reading more content online can introduce you to loads of new vocabulary and phrases. LingQ is a website that allows you to read foreign language content and build a personal library of new vocabulary. You can also test yourself on the vocabulary you’ve learned using spaced repetition

Using technology in this way will seriously improve your vocabulary, exposing you to tons of new words and phrases, all in their natural context. Learning in context is especially efficient as your brain can remember vocabulary easier when it’s presented in a specific situation. Also, using digital flashcards as well is a really useful technique for memorising vocabulary as recent research has proven.

Whatever your preferences, it’s worth trying to use technology to improve your reading skills. If you’re a Kindle user, read on for more on how you can use your reader in language learning.

Be creative

You can use technology creatively to connect with others and practise language skills in lots of ways. When it comes to practising writing skills, why try using writing prompts which you can find online. You can also challenge yourself by keeping an online journal or diary, getting creative on websites and applications such as Notion.

If you’re looking to connect with native speakers on a stronger level, you may be surprised to learn the practice of penpals is very much alive. Participating in language exchange by exchanging letters online is an excellent way to practise languages and connect with like-minded people. Using websites such as Interpals, as well as social media – Facebook groups and Reddit forums – can also connect you with native speakers and start an online correspondence. 

These websites can help you with any questions you have about your language too, exchanging resources and collaborating with fellow students. There’s also specific Q&A websites such as HiNative where you can share any thoughts and questions on your language learning journey.

Have a conversation

When it comes to learning languages, eventually there comes a time where we have to get talking. To really become fluent speakers, we’ve got to engage with native speakers and do lots of chatting. Technology helps bring native speakers a lot closer to us and overcome the barrier of distance. Finding language exchange partners is a lot easier now with many apps and websites connecting language learners from all over the world.

If you’re keen to do language exchange online, check out Tandem, HelloTalk and Idyoma. You can meet native speakers at the click of a button, starting conversations and building connections. Many of these apps are super interactive, allowing you to share tips, correct each other’s writing, send voice notes and more. And of course you can chat from anywhere, anytime!

If you’re looking for something a little more structured, why not get an online tutor? Tutors can help you identify any gaps in your studies and give you more productive conversation practice. Our experienced Learn&Co tutors are an excellent resource for language learners of all backgrounds, supporting you on your way to fluency. Online tutors also allow a level of flexibility – you decide your language goals, you study when and where you want. Check out this article more on how to find the perfect online language teacher for you!

How to utilise technology for productive language learning sessions

The benefits of using technology in language learning

One of the main benefits of using technology as a language learner is that you’re able to be flexible with your studies. Technology also allows you to learn from anywhere, at a pace that suits you. This is really helpful if, like many people, you’re learning languages alongside other commitments. Whether it’s an online class that fits around your schedule, or revising your latest vocabulary on your daily commute, you get the freedom to fit your language learning around your schedule.

This is one of the best ways to pick up some additional work on the side

What’s more, technology allows for more fun with your language learning, while using authentic materials. By exploring media in your target language, you can choose content that is relevant and interesting to you. This is particularly helpful if you’ve got specific goals or if you’re learning more specialised language. For instance, if you’re studying for a language entrance exam, you’ll be using content that is more tailored to that. And if you’re learning business or academic language, the materials you use will reflect that too.

Technology also allows you to be collaborative in your language learning. Allowing interaction with other students and language learners. Using social media, forums and language exchange apps to connect with students, sharing study tips and tricks. Technology is especially helpful if you’re doing project work or trying to get productive conversational practice. It may even lead to more meaningful connections with people from all over the world. All through the medium of language!

I hope you consider using more technology as you learn languages – using our tips of course! From revising your grammar knowledge using digital flashcards to learning passively by listening and reading foreign language content. Also, there’s a lot you can do in lessons and in your free time. Why not try something new to help refresh your language lessons? For more language learning tips, check out our Learn&Co website!

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