Erin O’Reilly, one of our Professional Teachers who has been teaching on italki for over a year now recently presented Going Global: Using italki to Connect with Native Speakers at the 2014 SouthWest Conference on Language Teaching in Snowbird, Utah, USA last month. We were honored that she presented on our behalf. Below she shares her presentation with a guest blog post:
The Changing Language Classroom
April 24-26, 2014
Language teachers love technology. Arguably, they probably love technology more than teachers from most of the other traditional subject areas. This may be because until the advent of the Internet, getting authentic language learning materials meant travelling abroad and schlepping back yellowing newspapers, outdated magazines, and bulky cassette tapes. Talking with native speakers? Never a possibility unless you lived in a major metropolitan city.
For the past year, I have used the italki platform as a language teacher, connecting with language learners and enthusiasts around the globe. While their goals and reasons for learning a language vary widely, their passion and enthusiasm to connect with native speakers is immediately obvious.
Enter italki – the platform that makes it all possible.
This past week I had the opportunity to join with language teachers from around the South Western region of the United States at an annual language teacher conference. I shared with them the research behind live, online language lessons as well as best-practices and creative ideas to get started.
As language teachers, we’ve historically been limited to classroom learning. Creating opportunities for meaningful practice with native speakers has always been limited by geography. Today the tools exist to go beyond the classroom, to connect with a world of learners and teachers.
However, breaking out of the classroom mindset to engage with the language authentically and on a global scale is not something that language teachers naturally consider when designing or delivering their language courses.
Looking forward, I challenge the classroom language teacher to experiment with ways to build and integrate global friendships, partnerships, and connections into the traditional curricula. As one conference attendee commented, “Wow! They’re using real language.” And this is what language learning is all about!
“Wow! They’re using real language.” And this is what language learning is all about!
Erin’s 2014 SouthWest Conference on Language Teaching Presentation – Going Global: Using italki to Connect with Native Speakers