The Benefits and Risks of New Technology in the Classroom
Having worked in South Korea for almost 8 years, I have been fortunate enough to experience a rapid influx of new technology in the classroom. As a hub of new technology, Korea promotes the use of new technology by teachers in public schools. These new technologies include the use of touch-screen TVs, Ipads and tablets, as well as VR systems.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Hannah P.
Touch screen TVs can really benefit the teacher in the language classroom. It makes creating interactive materials a lot simpler, as well as allowing for students interaction during the class. Interactive games and PPTs can make the materials more fun and help to increase motivation in the learners.
iPads and tablets
The use of individual iPads and tablets by students can help the teacher in a number of different ways. For examples, it is possible to level differentiate PPTs so that students can work at their own pace. As well as this, students can annotate and complete worksheets online, helping to save paper. It also allows the teacher to assign various different tasks during the class. For example, some students can use the iPads to complete a listening task, whilst others are completing a reading task. This allows for much more flexibility when it comes to planning lessons, as well as increasing the range of materials the students have access to.
VR systems in the classroom can allow students the ability to experience language-use situations, which they might never have had access to otherwise. For example, meeting an English speaking foreigner on the street, ordering in a restaurant or buying a ticket in a foreign country. It is essentially an elevated style of role-playing, however with the inclusion of VR, it helps to make the scenario much more realistic and therefore, potentially more useful to the learner. This kind of new technology in the classroom can give students, who might not be otherwise able to practice what they have learned, an opportunity to practice their language skills in a realistic way.
Potential drawbacks of new technology in the classroom
However, there are some downsides to the new technology in the classroom. Although they bring a lot of new opportunities to the learners, they can cause stressful situations for the teacher if they break or malfunction. In these cases, it could cause a teacher's lesson to become completely void, which is negative for both the learner and the teacher. In addition, teachers can start to rely too heavily on the technology, which can cause them to lose touch with their students, or become unable to react to a situation when the technology fails.
“We must ensure that teachers are provided proper teacher training so that they don't just rely on the technology to teach.”
It is clear that new technology is definitely an advantage in the language classroom, however, we must approach it with some care. We must ensure that teachers are provided proper teacher training so that they don't just rely on the technology to teach. It is my opinion that there must be a good balance between traditional teaching methods and the use of new technology. This would ensure that learners can get the benefits of both worlds; ensuring that they have the most productive learning experience as possible.
Unfortunately, some teachers in Korea rely too much on the new technology and now their students expect to be taught in that way. It is possible that, if the number of cases like this rise, teachers may only be reduced to clicking buttons in the future. I highly doubt that this extreme would occur in Korean society, however, as teachers, we should ensure that a balance between old and new is strongly maintained.
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