Technology in Language Teaching

Spencer International’s interest in technology has given us reason to focus our attention on the way in which modern technology can work to make the lives of teachers easier by closing the information gap, or how it may help learners cope with the demands of learning in modern society.

It is easy to dismiss eLearning as 'not quite there yet' because, in many ways, it isn't quite there yet. The only thing experts agree on when it comes to eLearning is how much we have to learn about eLearning.

But living in these pioneering times can also be a treasure trove of exciting opportunities. IT solutions can be developed based on theories and new research with truly measurable and effective results.  Consider, for example, how the internet has changed the educational landscape without there even having been a specific plan for it to do so, by democratising knowledge and allowing teachers to take a more process orientated approach in the classroom rather than the traditional recitation of facts or regurgitation of knowledge.

We note with interest the incredible progress being made thanks to the technological developments available through pioneering efforts of individuals such as Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. And after years of deprecatory snubbing, even the highest echelons of the educational world like Harvard and MIT are finally buying into the powerful tool of distance and online learning with the edX initiative.

The scope for corporations to play a part in the development of eLearning is evidenced by organizations such as Apple who have opened a world of learning with iTunes U and with snappy tools and applications for teachers to use on their mobile devices in class.

At Spencer International, we are pleased to be able to be part of this push towards a more technological orientation to education. Our talented tech team have developed an exciting online classroom support environment in which learners can connect with one another and the teacher outside of classroom time, express ideas, projects and material in online common areas and provide teachers with innovative means for assessing progress and development.

Acknowledging and embracing all these innovations and developments is not hard. What is hard, however, is to let go of the fact that teaching and education is ultimately reliant on human interaction, communication and the creation of a caring connection between a teacher and the students. While we at Spencer welcome technology and are indeed happy to be part of the revolution sweeping educational institutions, we believe strongly in the need for well-trained professionals to do the job of mentoring, instructing, facilitating and leading. And so you’ll notice our ongoing focus on teacher training programmes and in-service development projects in schools in addition to our push for technological developments relevant for tomorrow’s ‘modern’ classroom.

Is there space in the classroom for both the human teacher and the constant influx of technological progress? We think there is, and for this reason, we continually strive to strike a balance and not lose sight of the benefits of both to the well-being and success of the learners.

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