Technology is no longer an option for foreign language teachers. Language labs have been around for many years, but have begun to be supplanted by the availability of a wide variety of tools right on your computer via the Internet. Even websites not originally created for foreign language teaching and learning can often be used to great advantage by foreign language teachers and students. An early example of that is VoiceThread, not originally intended for educators at all. However, teachers of all different subjects quickly recognized its value and made it an educational tool.
Another important factor is the way our students interact with the world today. Many of them have personal computers, many of them have smartphones, and they can often be found interacting with the world of information and other people via these increasingly powerful devices. As a result, it behooves us as educators to meet the students where they live by using the very same tools as an integral part of the teaching and learning process.
This course aims to provide you with both an understanding of why to use the tools, and also a comfort level in how to use them so that you can return to your classroom that much better equipped to help your students learn whatever language you are teaching. Note that most of the tools we will talk about are not specific to any language but instead can be used with every language.
The objectives for the course are to understand the benefits and affordances of a wide range of tools specifically for use in the teaching and learning of foreign languages. This includes all four language skills - speaking, listening, reading, and writing - and how to make use of these tools to, in effect, extend the classroom. Getting your students more involved with the language should lead to more motivated students, more engage students, and better learning outcomes. By the time you finish this course, you should have lots of ideas about how to use these tools in your own teaching, because each teacher’s use will look a little bit different. There's no right or wrong here. You just have to figure out how these tools fit best with the way you teach and with the way your students learn.