Educational Technology for Language Learning & BYOD for MFL

David7 months ago2 min read

From its global headquarters in Finland, Sanako has a long history in the field of educational technology for second and foreign language acquisition. It dates back to the 1960s when first commercial language laboratories changed how speaking based language activities were organized in the language classroom, enabling the teacher to increase the amount of time they spend speaking with individual students.

But the efforts to integrate technology into the language classroom has at times presented various challenges to educators due to rapid advances in technology and occasional changes in language teaching methods. Physical language laboratories that are established in a dedicated classroom might not be attractive for institutions looking to make physical space flexible and usable for multiple purposes. Shift to online and remote learning creates the need for accessibility.

Therefore, modern educational technology tools need to allow teaching and learning to take place regardless of time and space constraints. However, at the same time it must retain the class activities of the language lab. This is where Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for languages really comes into its own. Please see how Hill House School MFL Department has embraced this methodology to great success.

Helping educators to be capable of harnessing the benefits of modern educational technology is important as we believe that the adoption of educational technology within language teaching can have a significant impact on fundamental elements of language classes. Below are 3 key benefits of using educational technology in language teaching and learning.

1 - Enables a more flexible language lesson format

In Further and Higher Education many students learning a new language are often looking for flexible and personalised pathways, enabling them to learn through a process developed on the basis of their own learning needs and time availability. Educational technology provides a new environment for teacher-pupil interactions in addition to the physical classroom. 

By relying on a dedicated MFL digital learning environment the teacher can design learning paths based on a mix of face-to-face and distance learning activities ("the blended learning approach"), or on the integration of classroom and self-study activities at home (such as the flipped classroom). Without technology such flexibility and freedom would be impossible to achieve.

2 - Gives access to ready-made content and helps teachers to create tailored learning content

There is no shortage of quality learning content today! Even if it doesn’t always meet the exact needs of the teacher & student. Several language learning platforms are populated with ready-made content for most of the modern languages and it starts to be common to find content also for speaking and pronunciation based exercises targeted for advanced learners. 

This universe of ready-made content is possible only via educational technology platforms.

But there is also a second big benefit here: Nobody knows pupils and their needs as well as their own teachers. That is why being able to create teaching materials adapted to their needs is a priority shared by many language teachers. 

Modern language teaching software platforms are ideal for storing and sharing your own repository of language resources. It will be just as easy to update the archive of teaching resources if the need arises to customise resources for specific training.

Every cohort of students is slightly different, with different needs and skill sets. So the ability for the tutor to quickly edit or adapt existing content is an extremely useful facility, even if it is only slightly. Most copyright laws on ready made content prevent this, but with Sanako Connect it is considered a very useful tool.

3 - Increases the accessibility of your teaching activities

Browser-based software tools are readily accessible to anyone with an internet connection, and are well suited to different target groups of learners. Making teaching materials and exercises available on cloud-based platforms makes it possible to meet the needs of everyone, from the primary school class to the group of young professionals that only has time to study after work.

Additional benefit: Supporting educational institutions to adapt to current and future needs

While the use of educational technology clearly benefits individual teachers, it should not be forgotten that this type of technology also provides structural advantages for school, universities, and language centres as a whole.

In fact, the services offered by teaching and learning platforms are one of the most valuable tools for integrating distance learning with traditional face-to-face teaching methods. 

It is therefore no coincidence that educational technology, such as Sanako Connect, is often at the heart of educational institutions’ strategies to equip themselves with more agile and accessible IT infrastructures for all students, of all ages, on any device and in any location around the world.