Hasn’t the COVID era and the transition back to in-person learning changed the way we think about instructional technology? All of us are thankful to be in a more stable situation, but school administrators are now thinking long-term to find sustainable and equitable instructional technologies that work in any learning model. An unprecedented $122B in federal funding for local schools includes provisions to support this. For world languages programs, this is an optimal time to consider a language lab teaching application.
Let’s look at some key benefits of browser-based language lab technology. We will use the capabilities of LIVE Language Lab On-Demand, one of the SANS language lab teaching applications, for reference.
REASON #1 – STUDENTS THRIVE WITH ACTIVE LEARNING
When active learning takes place, students can negotiate meaning and expand their language capabilities. According to Sarah Wike Loyola, Director of Educational Technology in Raleigh, NC, “Many language teachers think being authentic means decorating their classrooms with flags and other souvenirs collected in their travels. But true authenticity comes from the activities we use during class time and leaves an impact on the communication skills of our students.”
When teaching with language lab technology, teachers have the assurance that active – communication-focused language classes can take place seamlessly in any situation. Activities in all three modes of communication (interpersonal, presentational, interpretive) are easily delivered and students are engaged in active learning immediately.
REASON #2 – STUDENTS GET MORE SPEAKING TIME
Simply put by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), “Oral communication is at the heart of language learning.” The Interpersonal Communication tools in the LIVE language lab make this communication happen with a click.
Teachers may choose to speak to the entire class or speak with an individual student, pair, or group. It is also easy to make a student a model “Presenter” to share with the entire class.
The emphasis here is on the ease and simplicity of regularly taking students from passive to active learning to increase L2 output.
REASON #3 – FORMATIVE FEEDBACK AND SELF-REFLECTION HELP BUILD PROFICIENCY
National and state language learning standards focus heavily on proficiency. Consistent feedback plays a significant role in students’ progress to meet these goals.
With LIVE Language Lab, teachers “listen in” to monitor students as they are working through speaking activities and provide real-time feedback. Many teachers report that students build confidence when they get immediate feedback. At that moment, they will understand what adjustments need to be made, ask a question, or feel a sense of accomplishment with what they have produced.
Teachers really like the ability to record students’ spoken activities using LIVE. In a single step, all the conversations in class are recorded and collected for later review from anywhere at any time. The recording with the teacher’s comments is often used for self and peer review – again engaging students to reflect on their own progress to move forward.
REASON #4 – MORE EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT OF CLASS TIME TO ENGAGE STUDENTS
Teachers are busy. Trying to get world languages students to the 90% in-class target language goal, recommended by ACTFL, is often challenging. The tools in a language lab teaching application like LIVE Language Lab makes it easier to facilitate in-class speaking activities.
Authentic resources including videos, images, or websites are distributed to everyone simultaneously so students begin working with no wasted time. Transitioning from one activity to another is seamless. We like to think of the tools in LIVE as a teacher’s assistant. This technology will never replace the teacher but can help to make classes more fluid, more interactive, and more engaging for students.
SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch this short video about LIVE Language Lab On-Demand detailing the key interactive teaching tools. You will see that there are many more “reasons” to teach with a browser-based language lab like LIVE.
With school administrators working on technology solutions in all subject areas, this may be the right time to ask about any funding to support instructional technology for your world languages program.
At SANS, we provide on-site or virtual meetings for world languages staff, administrators, instructional technology folks, and other stakeholders to see the teaching tools in action and ask questions to determine if our language lab solutions are right for your program. We are here to help. Contact us here or email at email@example.com.