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Technology’s role in foreign language learning

Technology–blended learning, in particular–can have a positive impact on foreign language learning.

Although educators and policy makers emphasize skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses, today’s students are competing in a global society–and foreign language skills can help students gain an edge when it comes to college acceptance and workforce success.

Boosting foreign language learning in schools is a global discussion, and when it comes to global competition, some experts worry that the U.S. is losing out on a key opportunity to marry technology and foreign languages.

Blended learning offers a perfect solution to this conundrum, because it combines self-paced study, scalable resources, an immersion environment, increased student engagement, practice with other speakers, and extended learning time, said Gail Palumbo, former director of curriculum and technology in New Jersey’s Montgomery Township Schools Palumbo is now the Lead Faculty – Area Chair for Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Phoenix Online.

Blended learning can help, Palumbo said during an edWeb webinar, because U.S. schools have limited resources, including little time during the school day, finite teacher resources, and, perhaps most notably, declining budgets. Teachers can reach more students, and students can access important resources outside of the normal school day, through blended learning, she said.

(Next page: How districts and countries are changing their approach to foreign language learning)

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