Learning and Teaching Online: 3 Myths Busted

myths
Language learning technology is a growing and often standard part of most school curriculum. Students and teachers alike are taking advantage of online tools, websites, apps to support their language learning and teaching goals. A recent NCES survey stated that over 51% of all teachers in the US now use some form of curriculum based software.

Nevertheless, there are some standard myths out there about online language learning technology. As with any rapidly changing way of doing something, there are always fears and apprehensions, misinformation and misunderstanding about that which is new.

Here are 3 myths we find particularly pervasive and would like to address directly given our experience implementing EnglishCentral  video based learning into thousands of classrooms.

Myth 1

Many teachers still believe that online learning and technology in general is “repetitive” and behavioristic. That it isn’t human and adaptive. We at EnglishCentral challenge that. Video offers astounding ways to personalize the learning experience and make it about “reality”, providing motivating information and powerful context to help language learners.

We provide students with tools so they can control and personalize their language learning experience in each video lesson or activity – be it by comparing their speech or viewing video clip examples of words they find difficult to understand. Nothing repetitive when the learner is actually driving their own learning experience!

Myth 2

We beg to differ. Our learners have achieved amazing results through our speech assessment feedback, improving pronunciation dramatically by focusing in on their weaknesses. Nothing better than the variety of language input that students get through video lessons that provide a wide range of samples of language used authentically by native speakers from around the world. Furthermore, by studying a video about New Zealand, students will learn much more than they ever could through a classroom exercise about the country. We pipe in “culture” and make it come alive within the classroom.

Myth 3

In a way, it is about seeing the glass half full or half empty. Technology is essentially neutral and in and of itself doesn’t benefit or negate – it’s how it is used that counts. Language learning online if done well, in a blended fashion and in support of what teachers do in the classroom, offers amazing potential. Teachers are and always will be needed and at EnglishCentral we see technology as supporting strong classroom teaching practices, one of them being, giving students more freedom and control in their own study/learning of language.

Technology doesn’t mean less teachers, it means a different role for teachers. Online language learning offers students the ability to get the necessary time/practice with language that traditional classrooms always couldn’t provide.

Workload. A properly set up program should offer a very simple way for students to access the technology, do the activities and for teachers to monitor the results. We’ve been very careful to do this well at EnglishCentral. Sure, if teachers do want to use it at a higher/deeper level, it will take some learning on their part. But just setting up a class, inviting students and monitoring their achievement can be done by one tech co-ordinator on the part of many classroom teachers. Further, it frees up teachers. Students do the “heavy lifting”, the self study online and in class, teachers focus on the more social aspects of using the language, along with ongoing, formative assessment of students.

So there you go, 3 big myths cut down to size. We are sure there are many others. Have any additional ones you can think of?

 

 

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Halina's Thoughts and commented:
    New technology means a different role for teachers…

  2. Though I’m not fond of technology for teaching purposes, they can certainly help. I’m not fond because I want the contact to be a hundred percent except in the case of developing listening skills. Even here I’d prefer my own voice because I’ve trained myself and this will do for general purposes of the learner. Any way perfect imitation is not possible or necessary, given the environment in nonnative countries. Besides, technology availability can be an excuse for teachers not to train themselves, which in my opinion is not a good thing, and besides, teachers may tend to go online for every little thing and use good and bad exercises available as substitutes.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    • ddeubel says:

      Hi K.R.

      I think what you say is very true but there is also more to the story than just the time a student learns with a teacher. Don’t you agree? Meaning, students also have to learn on their own and do a certain amount of self study. I don’t think any student has fully learned a language (in the fullest sense of that word) exclusively through a teacher. Technology and especially platforms like EnglishCentral, allow students to get that input you refer to (listening practice) without expensive air tickets and travel to English speaking countries. And unlike TV, they have tools to control their learning experience and focus on their needs. Not trying to replace teachers, just give students additional options.

  3. Thank you for a wonderful post, especially the suggestion about “one tech coordinator” setting classes up for “many classroom teachers” (Myth #3, ¶3). Wish we had a coordinator to do that here!

Trackbacks

  1. […] from: http://blog.englishcentral.com/2014/05/02/learning-and-teaching-online-3-myths-busted/Language learning technology is a growing and often standard part of most school curriculum. Students and teachers alike are taking advantage of online tools, websites, apps to support their language learning and teaching goals. A recent NCES survey stated that over 51% of all teachers in the US now use some form of curriculum based software. […]

  2. […] can read David’s article about Teaching and Learning Online: Three Myths busted here. David Deubelbeiss  is an educational leader in the field who has done much to inspire […]

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