Initial thoughts for Language Technology

The skopos of this blog will be to help me, and perhaps those that by chance may visit my page, to brainstorm issues within the field of Technology for Language Learning.

Having worked in this field for a few years now I sometimes find that I develop ideas by necessity and implement them often on a daily basis, and at best on a termly basis, in relation to courses that I am preparing. This blog, rather than reflecting some of the ideas that I have already developed and implemented, will serve as the preparation either for papers, conferences, new ideas, or just generally to focus on and address themes that I can see running through and about pedagogy for learning languages in general, and language learning with the aid of technology.

This blog, I hope, can also serve as a much more open forum for any discussions that might arise between those commenting, as this will be one of is main purposes. It is one thing presenting already made ideas, though they will tend to attract a different type of comment, since they have already been presented at conferences,  are current teaching tools, or have since been replaced by other ideas practically.

The mind and indeed ideas will undergo transformations and adapt in conformity with the rigours of a practical setting,  and whilst a traditional blog that presents a project will not perhaps want to elaborate on changes that could in the long run affect the validity of  the ideas expressed at the outset, this blog will do just that, both a priori and a posteriori.

Teaching is a changing science and has to adapt to its audience. To find the common ground between all participants in language learning is a long process that requires years of practice and it is never identifiable as a neat formula. We have to cater for differences in linguistic levels across a variegated group and often find the technological common ground too, since this fast-moving era is producing lay users of technology that are both above and below the level of the instructor. Whilst it is probably good in terms of employability to inculcate some IT skills to Language Learners in a passive way, one must also be careful not to overburden learners so much that the validity of the language learning experience is impaired. The balance is delicate, though as with anything, ‘where there is a will there is a way’ on both sides of the learning spectrum.

The issues presented in this post, though introductory and general,  are foundational ideas that underpin the practices of Language Learning Technologists and Teachers. There is value in discussing them too, since they should always be at the forefront of our mind whilst organizing  projects in Technology for Language Learning, and indeed for any type of Language Learning technique. It is only through discussion that we can produce an awareness not only of the differences in perception between one instructor and another, but elaborate axioms for Language Learning that we will agree on, and evolve products and methods that will survive the test of time and become permanent solutions.