There is general perception that the use of technology is high in subjects like science and mathematics and minimum in languages like English, or any other foreign or regional language. This is a misconception. Successful language teachers are beautifully integrating technology and language in their teaching learning process.
One such teacher is Ms. Smitha Matai from Orient Black Swan Pvt Ltd, who has used Google tools to teach language skills in her classroom.
“In the field of education we are now catering to 21st century learners, therefore we need to incorporate technology in the teaching-learning process. In my language class, I needed to bring about that change and that is when I felt like I needed to upgrade myself. The Google Certified Educator online training program conducted by Tech for Educators thus proved useful. Now I incorporate music and videos in my language class as well and use hyperlinks in my presentations which act as creative writing stimulants.”
The following are 10 different ways that English Language teachers can use Google tools:
Film and Videos
Short-feature length videos can be a great way to test students’ vocabulary and comprehension skills of the language. The teacher can create a YouTube channel and record herself having a conversation with another person in English, the students then watch this and discuss what the conversation was about. Or the teacher can create a playlist of short videos that the students can watch in order to help aid their listening and speaking skills.
Google Earth and Augmented Reality
Many teachers teaching language have one common issue, students can read and write in English, but cannot speak it fluently. So to motivate students to speak the language you can use Google Earth and Augmented Reality Videos for Role playing. For example, one student becomes a Guide while the others become the tourists. The Guide has to take the visitors on a tour in India (virtually) and explain everything in English. This role play using Google Earth or Google AR will help the teacher to motivate students to use the language for oral communication.
With Google Classroom, you can create an online library with a collection of your best videos on a particular topic, reading material, slides, links, quizzes, or any other relevant resources which can help students, rather than only depending on the textbook to make the class lively and interactive.
Through the classroom the teacher can also give assignments, set submission deadlines and grade the students on their work.
This allows teachers to see how their students are progressing, giving them valuable data about specific learners’ needs. Armed with this information, teachers can tailor their classroom activities and instructional approach to suit their learners. For example, a teacher who knows that some of her students are struggling with Direct and Indirect sentences, can review that section in the class or send students some videos for that particular topic, rather than wasting time with examples that are irrelevant to the needs of the group.
Using Forms the teacher can also make an MCQ quiz on different grammar topics and grade the students.
Use Google translate to translate text from one language into another. Schools and teachers can use Google Translate as a helpful way to communicate with non-English-speaking parents and students. The teacher can show an example of a failed translation and have the students speculate why the translation might not be accurate; this exercise can be especially insightful when learning multiple-meaning words.
Individually, when students discover an inaccurate translation, encourage them to modify it and provide feedback. Not only will this help improve Google’s translator, but becoming an “expert” can also help boost students’ confidence. It might even be possible to build an assignment around an activity like this.
Debate and Elocution Forums
We all know the saying, “English is a funny language”, that is because phonetics plays an important role while speaking English. Using Google Groups, you can now create various online groups to discuss various debatable topics on the language. This can be an interesting activity for your students.
Apart from having multiple features to play around with, Google Documents can also be used for collaborative assignments. Have your students review and edit their peer’s documents based on the content, flow, grammar, syntax and other criterias. The teacher can add comments using the ‘Comment’ feature in Docs and can also use this to grade the students in a Spreadsheet.
Slides is a visually appealing way of conveying information. Have your students work together on a project using Google Slides and have them present it to the class. This enables the students a platform to not only work together, but to also communicate their ideas, thoughts and creativity through their presentation.
These kinds of activities are mutually beneficial for both teacher and student.
We have all heard the proverb, “Practice makes perfect.” And thus to learn any language you need people around you who speak the same language. If this is physically not possible, you can always bring people from outside using Google Hangout and help students to interact with them by speaking the language that you want the students to learn. Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are essential ways of ensuring that your students learn the language well.
Arts and Culture
When teaching your students about the great works of Shakespeare and other great authors from around the globe, using the Google Arts and Culture app is an interesting way to provide them with information and knowledge. It is essentially an online museum at your fingertips!
Technology can be a great asset in English Speaking Language classrooms, offering authentic writing activities and endless resources on grammar instruction, lesson plans and other central topics. Bringing technology to the classroom also enables teachers to provide a conducive environment for students to learn languages.
Author: This article is written by Elrica Menezes for Tech for Educators blog. She is a Google Certified Educator and teaches at Jamnabai Narsee International School, Mumbai.