The influence of new technologies in foreign language learning
Trigueros Rueda, Yasmina
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The new technologies have become part of our societies especially in the so-called developed countries and it is hard to conceive our daily routines without them. This paper explores the use of new technologies in foreign language teaching and learning, in this case, English. In particular, the aim of this paper is to show the effects of new technologies in the process of English teaching and learning by using different tools, such as, students’ own computers, wikis, blogs, social networks and videos. In order to do so, I have organized this paper into two parts. First, I provide a characterization of new technologies and provide a selection of the main tools used in the classroom. The educational benefits and drawbacks of four main groups of tools are discussed: computers, the Web 2.0 (blogs, wikis, social networks, YouTube and videos), the interactive white board and electronic dictionaries. The second part of the paper presents a practical case study in which the use of the new technologies at a small school in Bergara (in the Basque Autonomous Community) is researched and reported on. The study includes an interview with the English teacher, a questionnaire on the use of these technologies which was filled out by 51 students and a report on 4 weeks of class observations I conducted. Two are the main research questions that will be addressed: (i) are the new technologies useful for foreign language teachers and foreign language learning?, (ii) do children find the use of technologies in their foreign language classroom useful? The main conclusion is that most of the students and the teacher like working with the new technologies and that they are helpful to learn a foreign language, despite a few disadvantages. Finally, in the last part of the paper I relate the theoretical part and the practical part of the paper in the conclusions.