Teaching with Tech

Report: Innovating World Language Education Through Technology

Mobile apps, online platforms and other technologies are transforming world language education programs by "creating more dynamic, interactive experiences that expose students to the nuances of languages and cultures," according to a new report from the New Media Consortium (NMC). The role of technology in innovating language education is being driven by pedagogical trends and challenges.

The report, "Innovating Language Education: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief," was commissioned by the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (LFTIC) at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. It identifies trends and challenges affecting language education as well as developments in technology for language education. It concludes with a list of five recommendations for improving language education through the use of technology and pedagogical approaches. The goal of the collaboration between NMC and LFTIC is to "scale up" LFTIC's programs to help students "achieve superior levels of world language proficiency while also becoming more culturally aware, global citizens," according to information from NMC.

“The task of innovating language education goes far beyond bolstering students’ grammar and vocabulary skills,” said Samantha Adams Becker, senior director of the NMC Horizon Project and lead writer of the report, in a prepared statement. Students also need to develop "a deep understanding of the cultural, business, and other contexts associated with world languages." According to the report, those goals can be achieved with the help of open educational resources, online and blended learning, mobile technology and other developments in education and technology.

Key recommendations from the report include:

  • Integrate design thinking into curricula to challenge learners to develop human-centered solutions to global issues;
  • Build smart partnerships between government, administration and practitioners from different institutions;
  • Enhance the user experience by designing effective online learning environments;
  • Use collaborative tools to foster more authentic interactions in the target language in natural settings; and
  • Adopt data-driven approaches to determine which instructional approaches and content are effective.

The full report, "Innovating Language Education: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief," is available as a free, downloadable PDF on the NMC's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].