(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2ChQL6r)
Many people think that we are now getting far too reliant on technology. True in some ways I agree, but lets remember too those things for ESL learners that are really now only possible because of technology.
- Interacting with native ESL speakers when you don’t live near them
Thanks to social media an English learner can now speak with anyone around the world in English. This was never possible in the past unless you had an English speaking penpal you could write to or talk to over the phone. Now it is instant, so the growth of the learners English should be much faster because of it.
- Google translate has transformed communication
This is a fascinating thing I do myself. Even in the last 5 years Google translate has transformed by time management by half by simply allowing my to cut and paste an email directly into Google to find out what it is all about. Of course still we can’t expect that it will be perfect in its translation (though it is getting very close these days), but at least instantly I can get the general gist of what it is about and so forward the email accordingly to the right person.
- Suri translation (Say hi – App)
This new piece of technology allows someone to speak into the app and it will be automatically translated to someone in their own language. There is still someway to go, but imagine if you are overseas on a trip to a land where English is rarely spoken. To simply order a meal in a restaurant or buy a train ticket is effortless. Your time is no longer wasted trying to find a translator. It’s already there in your hand.
- The internet being predominantly in English
For those who are seeking higher education and so need English to take their University course will find that the internet search for whatever topic is related to their course is predominantly in English and so will not only force you to continue your English studies but also aid your English by keeping you exposed to up to date information on your topic in levels of English relatable to you.
- Google pronunciation
The days of the hand held dictionary of slowly passing as google dictionary takes over. Now a person can not only find out the meaning of the word but also listen to how it is pronounced and how it is used in a variety of different sentences. All this is immediate, through the mobile phone.
- Picture capture
New technologies are emerging now where a person can simply take a picture of something and the search engine will identify it and tell you what the object is and tell you how to pronounce it.
- Google images
If you come across a noun in a reading passage and are not sure what the word represents, you can simply google the word for the image and the noun’s picture will appear immediately. E.g. if you are reading about African animals the word ‘giraffe’ comes up. You know it is an animal but not quite sure which – now you will get an instant picture.
There are many more and would love to hear from you some others. But for many young people most of these points above are no brainers as they were raised with them, however for the older people like myself who were raised teaching in the traditional way, these changes above have transformed everything in the classroom, as well as for those students who are self learning also.