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Using Technology and Distance Learning to Learn a Foreign Language

As school budgets get tighter and tighter, more schools are looking to ways to maximize every dollar. Often, that means only funding classes that are fully enrolled. Foreign language classes, especially at the higher levels, are often smaller classes filled with only a handful of students. Many schools are looking at distance learning technologies as a way to still offer these classes to students, but in a more efficient way.

Distance learning classes for foreign language are often used in school districts where finding qualified language teachers is difficult or when districts are looking to expand course offerings in a cost efficient manner. Many homeschool students look to distance learning programs in foreign language as a way learn a language in an engaging manner. Technology has greatly improved the quality of distance learning foreign language courses.

A strong distance learning foreign language program will be taught by an accredited teacher proficient in the language she is teaching. This can often mean the teacher is a native speaker, but she should be a certified teacher as well. A foreign language distance learning program should be interactive. This means that there should be two way communication, preferably both audio and video. A computer terminal with a camera and microphone are necessities for this. These technologies should be tools for teaching and the students should be proficient in using these technologies before the class begins.

Using these technologies, foreign language teachers should interact with students on a regular basis, both in writing and orally. Especially in introductory level classes, students need immediate feedback on their speaking abilities. This can be done on an interactive basis. Due to the intense nature of the need for interaction in distance learning foreign language classes, these classes should be limited in size. They should include no more than twenty students so that each student is assured of getting quality, real time feedback and constructive criticism.

Foreign language teaching should focus on teaching the mechanics of the language, but should also include teaching the culture of the country. Using technology allows for enrichment in that area, and can even provide the ability for students to connect with native language speakers from that country. The technology being used should augment the textbooks that will be used, which can be online or in traditional hardcover form.

The distance learning environment for foreign language teaching should also involve time and a forum for student collaboration. This sort of collaboration is especially important in foreign language learning because it provides students the opportunity to use their budding language skills and practice with one another. Group projects can be facilitated through the use of technology.

Interactive technology has allowed distance learning foreign language classes to blossom and to take form. Use of this technology allows students to speak to their teachers virtually and to hear the language being spoken. Students can listen to recorded sessions as many times as they need to fully comprehend the language and to develop their skills. This technology has taken the teaching of foreign language through distance learning to a high level and is an excellent choice for traditional school students of homeschool students.

To learn more about accredited, distance learning language programs please visit Laurel Springs School. Laurel Springs School is an accredited, college prep private school offering distance learning programs and teacher services for students in grades K-12. Laurel Springs uses web-based communication tools, a standards-based curriculum, and personalized instruction to offer students the highest quality home education experience based on your child's learning style.


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