The Pulse of Digital Language Learning

pulse-waveEven though they are just as critical to a student’s success in the global economy, language-learning commitment and resources have been shrinking in public schools. That said, interactive online software and blended learning have revolutionized language learning in the school setting. Let’s have a look at what’s been happening in forward-thinking classrooms—and what’s possible.

First, what happens in a blended-language learning environment?

Language learning has always been a difficult subject area in which to access multiple levels of taxonomy. It was believed that most of the work had to be done in memorization, a low-level skill. Indeed, vocabulary plays a role. But digital learning speeds up that process by providing multiple vocabulary sources. It also makes it possible to:

  • Bring in native speakers and interactive lessons, deepening students’ knowledge of the culture as well as the words.
  • Makes it possible for students to become content creators rather than just consumers, meaning they can start synthesizing what they learn.
  • As they work at their own pace, ownership and engagement grow. After all, kids are naturally excited about technology.

Not only does digital language learning tend to be cost effective and more efficient, it also opens up possibilities for other languages that might not have enough interest for a whole class. For example, German instruction in schools is declining rapidly even though it’s a very useful language in international trade and commerce. With Rosetta Stone® solutions, educators have up to 30 languages at their disposal.

With those kinds of benefits, it’s no wonder teachers are excited at the prospects digital learning provides to their language-learning curricula. How excited? Let’s see what’s actually going on in the classroom.

  • According to Pearson’s 2013 Mobile Device Survey, if tablets are available to them, 40% of students in middle and high school foreign language classes use their tablet for school work at least a few times per week.
  • 51% of language teachers report using curriculum-based software in their classes at least sometimes, according to the National Center of Education Statistics.
  • 75% report using technology as a homework or research solution for their students.

It’s apparent that there is significant movement toward technology in the K-12 language-learning classroom. Teachers realize that, when used in concert with their already-excellent personal instruction, digital language learning can broaden students’ understanding of the language and help them become more effective users, enhancing their marketability in the 21st century global economy.

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