Wednesday, 11 April 2012

EFL In The Information Age

Guest post by Sofia Rasmussen.
Sofia is a graduate student in journalism who writes for blogs and newspapers around the world in her free time. Her primary interests are science and education. When she's not reading or writing, Sofia enjoys traveling, hiking, and cycling.

Classrooms around the world are becoming much more accepting of different types of technologies as the educational potential of different systems improves daily. As educators in English as a Foreign Language, or EFL, classes are discovering how technology can be used to disseminate information more quickly, expedite the process of gaining fluency, and even improve a student’s desire to study independently.

Industry organizations for EFL and related disciplines are working hard to spread the word about technology use and increase access to those tools. The global education association
TESOL, or Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, reports that there will be at least five EFL, TESOL or ESL conferences during 2012 that focus mainly on the use of technology in EFL classrooms. Accreditation programs around the world, including traditional master's and online doctoral programs in ESL/EFL, are re-molding their curricula in order to ensure that new teachers are teaching students how to harness the power of chat programs like Skype and online vocabulary flashcard sites.

Workshops & Seminars

Some organizations use communicative technologies, such as the Internet, to increase access to workshops, seminars and other educational opportunities regarding EFL. For instance, TEFL Tech, a Britain-based company, develops workshops for EFL educators that inform teachers about new technology advances in EFL and ESL teaching. TEFL Tech also offers consultancy services to educators who are interested in purchasing computers, software or other technical equipment for EFL classes.


Teachers of English as a foreign language also benefit from the use of ebooks in the classroom. An article published by Language Magazine reports that EFL students introduced to a wide selection of ebook material are more likely to engage in independent reading, reinforcing the lessons learned in the classroom. Rich text applications that feature illustrations and additional content about authors can also encourage independent reading among EFL students with access to ebooks. eBook content currently available on the market runs the gamut from classic literature to basic instructional communication. The variety of content and the ease of downloading new materials make ebooks a valuable addition to the EFL curriculum.


Hardware devices are becoming smaller, encouraging hand-held use as well as the ability to keep technology with the student instead of tying the student to a computer station. The use of handheld tablets and technological devices among students is becoming more acceptable in educational settings. An April 2012 story published by
The Greenville News talks about the use of smart tablets and related devices by elementary school students near Greenville, S.C., for English language instruction and other subjects.

The use of educational technologies like tablets and other smart devices can be enhanced through learning management systems, also known as LMS. An LMS can be used to store lesson plans and group activities online for access by students while away from the classroom. EFL classrooms utilizing an LMS can store English educational videos and other types of English language learning content for students.


Writing in the English language helps to cement the lessons learned in class by English as a foreign language students. Many blogging services offer free blogs that EFL students can publish their work to. This also allows for teacher feedback as EFL educators can read these blogs and offer constructive criticism on the student’s use of the English language.

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