There is still a long way to go before new information, such as dictionaries and grammar books, are downloaded directly to the brain from a computer. Thankfully – because that would mean it’s time for all of us to change careers…
But technology isn’t standing still and helping rather than taking away our jobs. They are completing the learning process everywhere, bringing gamification, more accurate assessment of the knowledge, saving the teacher’s time with pre-designed techniques, and designed online tutorials.
It gets better from here. Let us tell you what technologies can change the learning of a foreign language in the next 20-30 years. We agree, the timeframe is long, but we are playing futurologists now.
Maybe it already is…?
Let’s say at once that technology is already changing learning, and it’s not about tablets in school classrooms, not about free courses, etc. Today’s children, mastering the Internet and a variety of gadgets, come slightly prepared for the first lesson of a foreign language. They have already had more than once to meet foreigners on the Internet, register on some site or resource, even perhaps understand a YouTube video (because “well, very funny!”). It doesn’t mean that children won’t have to be taught, but it could well mean that learning will be faster and psychologically easier.
Or maybe we shouldn’t…?
Technology is leading to the point where understanding a foreign language (including English) is simply not necessary. Take, for example, a headset with a built-in translator – artificial intelligence. So, Google suggests a prototype “crutch” (we’re sure that the technological solution will soon become more user-friendly): Pixel Buds headphones, which cost $159, can work with Pixel smartphones and Google translator, providing almost instant translation. There are nuances: for example, normal translation is very interfered with background noise, the whole chain is not easy to adjust, and the headphones themselves look a little strange. But the owner of such a “crutch” does not need to know any foreign language.
Then what will affect the learning process itself?
Learning in the Cloud
Several American schools have already experimented with this practice. Doing homework (e.g., informative essay) in a Google doc will not revolutionize learning, of course, but it will be one of the ways of lifelong learning, including when it comes to a foreign language. Textbooks will be available “in the cloud” as well as a library with foreign books and magazines, and a motivated student will be able to study the language from anywhere.
Learning while sleeping
Scientists had already unmasked charlatans and proved more than once that the sleep learning method is anti-science, but new aspects have appeared. Now researchers are not trying to teach something in a dream but to fix it. And with the help of certain technologies, according to the experiments, they succeed. Who knows, maybe soon our students will come to the lesson 100% ready and won’t need any more assignment help?
Virtual and augmented reality
Virtual reality will allow students to immerse themselves in the language environment without moving anywhere, while augmented reality will allow them to get an idea of any subject, even if it is not physically at hand.
How does this help us? Imagine being able to walk with students around any city in the world, naming landmarks and asking “locals” for directions as you go. And in the classroom and at home, students wouldn’t need any stickers attached to objects to see what they were called.
The technology, of course, is not cheap – it requires not only “hardware” (special glasses) but also “software” (special training videos). However, the companies VirtualSpeech, AltspaceVR, and Immersive VR Education already offer immersion in the world of a foreign language.
Scientists and developers are sure that artificial intelligence will not take away teachers’ jobs but will simply help them concentrate on more creative tasks. For example, a chatbot can explain grammatical aspects to a student; a virtual assistant can check the progress by asking questions corresponding to the level of training and the passed material. And artificial intelligence can perfectly imitate “live” dialogues.
Over time, artificial intelligence will make a personalized lesson plan based on BigData received from each student: his psycho-type, temperament, progress in language learning and other subjects, grades for recent tests, typical mistakes, etc.
Previously, this technology interested the military and security specialists (fingerprints, retinal scans, etc.). Now it has attracted the attention of experts in training, including machine learning.
Using eye-tracking technology (oculography, eye movement tracking), the computer will track how, in which order, with what interest, with what emphasis, with what attention delays the student perceives the learning material. Artificial intelligence will analyze the learning style of a particular student and adjust the teaching material for him.