Benefits of Using Technology in the ESL Classroom

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  • 0:04 ESL Learners & Technology
  • 1:00 Technology in Schools
  • 1:21 Instant Access
  • 2:13 Cognitive Reinforcement
  • 3:03 Too Much Technology?
  • 3:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Technology is ubiquitous in the modern classroom. This lesson addresses how teachers can take advantage of the benefits of technology in an English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom.

ESL Learners & Technology

Today, many classrooms come equipped with technology, including computers, video projectors, and screens, so sharing different types of media is easy and convenient. In addition, nearly all students have access to online resources, dictionaries, games, and instant communication through their own smartphones. This personalization of technology can be a challenge for teachers, but also an amazing opportunity.

As a teacher, it can sometimes be difficult to know when and if technology should be used in the classroom. The simple fact is that traditional, analog models of education are becoming increasingly outdated and even unrealistic in some situations. English as a Second Language (ESL) students in particular benefit from technology in a number of ways. This lesson focuses on two of these benefits:

  • Instant access to specific information
  • Enhanced audio and visual experience

Technology in Schools

Each teacher and student has a different level of technology available. Any of the following can be used depending on accessibility and need:

  • School computer lab
  • Electronic dictionaries and translators
  • Personal smartphones
  • Personal computers/tablets
  • Classroom computer
  • Classroom AV equipment (video projector/screen)

Instant Access

When you assign ESL students a task, their first thought is likely to be, I'll look it up on the Internet. While this is a valuable option, it shouldn't necessarily be the first choice. Students should initially rely on their own knowledge before turning to a digital dictionary or translator. While these tools should be secondary, they are hugely beneficial, especially for learners just beginning their English learning journey.

English vocabulary and idioms are full of nuances and shades of meaning, and many times the same word can have different meanings depending on the context. One of the greatest difficulties ESL students have is differentiating meanings based on context. Technology can greatly reduce this difficulty by providing clear and relevant definitions and usage examples. In addition, the Internet can provide information in a student's native tongue, enabling them to better understand and assess information.

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