It does not replace the teacher. Instead, it allows the teacher to be replaced in the classroom, focusing on the communicative elements of language learning that remain a challenge for applications.
Edtech: the evolution of educational technology
In the 1970s, tape recorders were the latest technology. They allowed school children to hear sentences delivered by a native speaker, rather than a teacher.
We look at images projected on the wall, listen to the sentences and repeat them over and over again. The audio-lingual methodology not only used the latest technology, but the pedagogy was also based on the learning science of behaviorism. Bottom line: If you repeat something often enough, it becomes automatic.
Since then, this approach to language learning has been discredited and replaced by the communicative approach.
Need to focus on results
It is not enough to be innovative or novel. The “shiny new toy” it will only engage students for a short time if they don’t feel like they’re making progress. We need to measure the impact on real learning.
However, it is encouraging to see the progress of educational technology. For the first time, I believe we are on the cusp of truly personalized learning experiences for all students.
Many of us are developing AI for more adaptive learning, monitoring student progress and providing feedback on pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, speaking and writing.
At Pearson we recently renewed the GSE (Global Scale of English), a tool that allows us to measure skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing to adapt the content and allow students to continue advancing in their process of incorporating the language.
With the aim of accompanying each stage of learning for students of all ages, accelerating their progress, developing their confidence and keeping them motivated to achieve the desired objectives, as well as measuring progress at a local, national and international level.
We know that feedback has a significant impact on learning. We also know that it is challenging to give feedback on spontaneous language. But that’s where AI is headed, and soon the vision of students interacting with virtual tutors on a variety of subjects will be a reality.
Senior Director, Learning Research and Design at Pearson Education.