Technology in the Foreign Language Classroom

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

We all know that teachers use technology in classrooms every day across the nation. What about foreign language classrooms? How does technology enhance learning another language? Read on to find out.

Technology Basics

Instructors use technology in teaching to enhance, engage and motivate students. What is educational technology? It refers to the broad range of devices used in the classroom. Think about all the technological tools you use on a day-to-day basis - smart phones, tablets, and computers. Schools use all these and more as teaching tools, and such technology has a special role in foreign language instruction.

The Importance of Technology in Foreign Language Instruction

Depending on the school, student body and subject matter, the use of technology serves many purposes. Foreign language teachers have a specific niche: Their job is to teach students a whole new language, including the nuanced rules of grammar and cultural norms. Technology offers foreign language teachers a chance to supplement their instruction by:

  • Making learning visible: Technology can bring another culture into the classroom. Using technology tools that connect to foreign lands and display how others live allows students to see and experience language in a whole new way.
  • Differentiating: Not all students are the same. Each one has with different strengths and needs. Technology tools give teachers additional resources to reach all learners.
  • Engaging students: Technology these days is often interactive, allowing users a chance to be engaged in learning experiences. You can't do that with a book!
  • Applying language: With language acquisition, you either use it or lose it. Technology gives students many opportunities to use their broadening language skills in real-world applications.

The Promethean ActivBoard is one technology tool that allows for interaction in the classroom.
promethean board

Teachers must utilize technology in a way that's intentional and purposeful. No matter how they utilize devices, when planning technology use in foreign language classrooms, teachers should make sure they're meeting an educational objective.

Tools of the Trade

So, now we know what educational technology is and why foreign language teachers use it. But what types of technology do they use, and how do they utilize it for language learning? In any foreign language classroom, you will generally find the tools found in most others, including a computer, tablets and an interactive whiteboard. While such devices may have a variety of purposes in other subjects, language learners may use the above tools for two important functions: listening and speaking. Students need to hear and use language in order to remember it long-term, and the use of technology provides opportunities for students to practice their language skills by hearing and speaking.

Here are some applications that can be used with educational technology:

Listening Programs

Think about how you learn a foreign language. In order for it to sink in, you need to hear it in small chunks or pieces. The teacher speaks the words slowly so you can hear the different words and sounds. But this isn't how the language is spoken by natives. Using audio programs helps students hear what the spoken language sounds like in real life. Students can pick up the accent and notice the rhythm of another language by hearing native speakers conversing. Teachers can use listening programs on any device that has an audio component, such as a tablet, smart phone or computer.

  • Tip: Use audio programs every day for a warm-up or review exercise. This gives students a chance to connect to their learning and see how the language works in authentic ways.

Speaking Programs

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account