The Impact of Technology on Language Learning


Technology has made a large impact on education. There are many advanced tools and programs that are now being used to make learning easier and more exciting. Technology has introduced many tools to improve the classroom experience. Additionally, learners are no longer wholly dependent on their teachers and can learn at their own pace and in their own time. When it comes to learning a new language, immersion in the language, practice time, and the feedback one gets can make all the difference. Advanced tools including automation, virtual and augmented reality, as well as voice recognition are all capable of radically transforming the language learning space.

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The Advance of Computer-assisted Language Learning or CALL

Computer-assisted language learning or CALL has been known by a number of different names. It is essentially the application of computer technology in the teaching and learning of languages. It was originally used in the 1960s, but since that time, it has seen many modifications and additions by different scholars, researchers, and educators. It has taken on new forms as technology changes. When it was first applied, mainframes were in use, but these days, the internet, virtual reality, and mobile technology are at the forefront.

CAI or CALL went through roughly three phases as the times changed. In the 1950s through to the 1970s, structural or behaviorist CALL relied on question and answer type of learning materials. Some examples of this include listen and repeat, multiple choice, and fill in the blank questions. This rule-based kind of learning was transformed to incorporate a more interactive approach. The 1970s to the 1990s saw the use of communicative CALL. In this period, language students also got to practice the new language rules and vocabularies they had learned. Computers were used to bring more interactive learning materials including videos of native speakers, better audio quality, cartoons, and other interesting material. Since 2000, CALL has entered its integrative phase where the internet and multimedia resources are commonly used. Learning is fluid as the learner progresses. Some examples of this are tutorials and video scenarios where the learner’s input affects how the story ends.

New Technology Tools for Language Learning

Modern technology has influenced the way we communicate, do business, and find entertainment. Technologies such as voice recognition and digital assistants are making our mobile phones even more interactive, personalized, and helpful. These features can also make learning a new language more exciting and personalized. Virtual and augmented reality allows learners to immerse themselves in the foreign language through games and other interactive materials from their devices. Better voice recognition and translation software are also very beneficial.

Other Benefits of CALL

Computer-assisted language learning has many benefits already touched on. It allows for the two I’s of CALL. Firstly, the use of technology in learning new languages is individualized. This helps learners to progress at their own speed. More emphasis can be given to the areas that they struggle with, and the computer program can keep track of their scores and progress. Secondly, CALL is interactive. It is every language instructor’s wish to find a way to keep their students engaged and interested. When the learning material is pushed to the student without their input, it’s easy for them to lose interest and even give up learning the language altogether. Technology caters for different learning types with visual, audio, and other multimedia tools. There are many different learning apps that are making a huge difference this way.

Technology can be used to complement the work of a language teacher. Many people are also opting to teach themselves new languages from home; something that could have been very difficult several decades ago.

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