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Teachers are the key to maximizing potential of technology in language learning

Technology alone does not increase motivation for learning, according to a new, global position paper from Oxford University Press (OUP), the world’s largest university press. The paper – ‘Using Technology to Motivate Learners’ – highlights that the potential of technology as a motivational tool can only be realized with the right planning, implementation, and support from the teacher and institutions, regardless of student proficiency and enthusiasm for using technology in a non-educational setting.

In fact, teachers who advocate and believe in the benefits of technology, and who think carefully about how to best adopt and integrate technology into learning, can have a transformative effect on learners’ motivation. The findings also show that the effectiveness of a teacher using technology to inspire learners is further heightened if they receive support from their institution.

The paper captures the opinions and findings of a group of leading researchers and practitioners in education, with the aim of showcasing the opportunities and challenges that must be made to optimize technology both inside and outside of the classroom. It provides recommendations and practical solutions for English language teachers looking to incorporate technology into their teaching.

The insights reflect earlier research conducted by OUP. The ‘Addressing the Deepening Digital Divide’[1] report, published in October 2021, revealed that 56% of teachers surveyed cited a lack of digital competency to be a barrier to effective teaching. To help address the digital divide, OUP called on governments, policymakers, and those working in education to focus on building digital competency skills among educators, students, and parents

Speaking on the importance of the findings, Stephen Fahey, Product Strategy Director, ELT, OUP, said:

“Despite extensive research being conducted on technology and language education, teachers continue to face the challenge of deciding how to use technology in a way that motivates learners. By collating current research and expert opinion, we aim to empower teachers and inspire confidence in using technology to motivate learning, while also calling on institutions to support teachers in integrating such technology consistently and effectively. In this way, we will support greater language learning in an evolving world.”

Hayo Reinders, TESOL professor and author, said:

“It has been a privilege to lead on this critical piece of work and support the greater understanding of technology and motivation within the English language learning community. The value of technology exists only in the good pedagogical use that teachers make of it, and I hope that through our findings we can inspire and enable teachers to support learning in new and powerful ways”.

[1] OUP surveyed 1,557 school and English language teachers across 92 countries.

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