Teach English in YinjiAxi Zhen - Zhangjiajie Shi

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“The use of modern technology in teaching English is broadly understood to encompass an innovative application of methods, tools, materials, devices, systems, and strategies which are directly relevant to English language teaching and lead to the achievement of the desired goals,” Alqatahni, M.A. (2019). Today, contemporary English teachers are actively integrating a variety of technological aids designed to facilitate optimum teaching delivery. Indeed, it is technology that has become the key catalyst for this ever-developing shift, causing significant change to various industries, as well as influencing the way in which we interact and work on a local and global scale. As a result, English, as a means of global communication, has never been so important; learners and educators are now equipped with an endless supply of technological tools in which to engage with the English language. These tools have proven indispensable in the wake of the digital era, and demonstrate just how effective, efficient and rewarding their incorporation into the classroom can be. According to Ahmadi, “it is time to rethink the idea of integrating technology into the curriculum and aim to embed technology into teaching to support the learning process,” Ahmadi, M.R. (2018). For language learners and educators, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to incorporating modern technology. Although authentic materials such as film, TV and radio have been used in English classes for decades, the rise of newer technologies is contributing to the futility of more traditional methods. Computers, the Internet, blogs, social media, electronic dictionaries and other interactive devices, such as iPads and tablet computers, have all transformed the dynamic of the classroom by placing education in the hands of the learner. Even traditional components of English learning, such as memorization of vocabulary, and reading, can now be achieved through the use of devices and online apps. This shift has allowed for a more innovative teaching model to emerge, not only equipping teachers with the ability to adapt content but also in making English learning a more stimulating experience for all involved. In today’s society, the iPad has proven to be a fun and engaging tool that assists in subject delivery in a variety of ways, Tay, H.Y (2015). With children becoming technologically adept at a younger age, it is now commonplace to see a child as young as one or two years old navigating an iPad system, Murkoff, H. (2019). In English language instruction, “this versatile mobile device continues to revolutionize the education landscape,” Wolff (2010). iPads have allowed students to produce their own reports, record their voices, check pronunciation, listen to podcasts, engage in extensive research and reading via the internet, and collaborate with fellow learners online. English learning apps, such as Duolingo and Memrise, which offer interactive programs and spaced-repetition methods, can further enhance learning by making it more accessible and enjoyable. In a three-year study undertaken in an all-girls’ secondary school that channeled the use of the iPad, it was found that iPads had a positive impact on student learning. Students rated their experience as being “engaging, deeper and more collaborative.” They were able to network with their peers, work on various group projects and have “ready and reliable access” to learning content, Tay, H.Y (2015). This demonstrates how modern technology can encourage innovative learning and allow for a meaningful integration of knowledge and information to take place. Not only does the incorporation of modern technology like iPads create a more vibrant and engaging learning environment, but it also incentivizes student learning. One of the key advantages pertaining to this development, is that young learners now grow up with new technology. Everywhere you turn, children and teenagers are engrossed in the latest gadgets. Even older learners have come to rely on technology for their socializing, learning and entertainment. If teachers capitalize on this shift and introduce similar formats into their curricula, they can mimic the perks of personal technology use and create a format that is relatable to the day to day lives of their students. This is especially effective for younger ESL learners, who may not have chosen to study English, and therefore require greater motivation in their learning. For teachers who may not be technologically inclined, the use of modern technology does not necessarily mean giving up traditional teaching-methods and leaping into modern formats. Starting with a slightly ‘older,’ adaptable software program like Microsoft Powerpoint, can be a highly beneficial step towards creating a more productive learning environment. Moreover, since Powerpoint is not limited to presentations, a regular quiz activity can be transformed into a vibrant, interactive display, merely by downloading a pre-made template and adjusting it accordingly. In the ESL world, the user-created, Super Mario Typhoon (2013), is a popular powerpoint model among ALTs in Japan and China that can be adapted to any grammar point. Fit with original Super Mario sound effects and animation, students are not only able to relate to the characters and the game itself (Super Mario is still hugely popular in these countries) but are also more engaged because of their outside association with its original format. By catering to students’ personal interests in this way, learners are able to enjoy English without the tedium that often accompanies traditional learning methods (like worksheets or paper quizzes). For students studying English as a second language, there has never been a better time to be in the classroom. New technology offers enormous opportunity in ESL learning. With digital development on the rise, it is essential that educators recognize the value of integrating new technological platforms into their teaching methods. Something as simple as using iPads or Powerpoint, can work wonders on student engagement and motivation levels. In the wake of unprecedented global advancements across several fields and disciplines, the use of modern technology in education will only continue to prove effective. As the old proverb goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” and in the case of modern technology, joining forces may be the only way forward if we are to maximise positive English learning outcomes for both students and teachers in the classroom. Reference List Alqatahni, M.A. Aug 2019, The Use of Technology in English Language Teaching Frontiers in Education Technology, Vol. 2, No. 3 2019, p.169 Ahmadi, M.R. Jun 2018, The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review, International Journal of Research in English Education (IJREE), p. 116 Tay, H. U. 2016, Jan 2016, Longitudinal study on impact of iPad use on teaching and learning, Cogent Education, Information & Communications Technology in Education Research Article, p. 2, 16-18 Murkoff, H. 2019, Kids and iPads: the Pros and Cons, Everyday Health Group, accessed 11 December 2019, Wolff, G.J. 2011, Useful iPad Tools for the EFL Teacher, accessed 11 December 2019, < https://www.garyjwolff.com/useful-ipad-tools-for-the-efl-teacher.html> Super Mario Typhoon, 2013, Microsoft Powerpoint 2010, Alexander Grant. Available at