Nowadays, technology is widely accessible worldwide and many industries, including education, have made full use of it, leading to considerable changes in the way people work, study, and socialize. Technology has been particularly useful in everyday and business-related communication. Furthermore, it has had a significant impact on how people teach and learn: the sector of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a prime example of this.
Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the latest advancements that has quickly spread from gaming to education. Applying it to everyday teaching practices might seem daunting for some, but it doesn’t necessarily require the teacher to become an IT expert. From virtual field trips to role plays, there is a myriad of ways in which VR and technology in general can enhance your lessons.
One of the main advantages of using technology in the classroom is the great flexibility that it offers, which is perhaps one of the reasons why language-teaching apps have become so popular. Another way in which technology can be exploited is related to finding a teaching job and delivering lessons. Today, connectivity is more relevant and accessible than ever – ideal when you are thinking about teaching or learning remotely and enhancing your user experience as a teacher and student alike.
Working in the TEFL industry from the comfort of your home (or while traveling) has never been easier, with a range of online schools to choose from. Their user-friendly platforms allow teachers to deliver their lessons from wherever they are to any student in the world.
Among others, here are some of the platform-based well-established online schools you could be working for:
- From Lingoda’s platform, you can teach English as well as/or other languages. They provide you with effective lesson materials ready for you to use, and the online work for students’ independent learning is engaging and interactive. Newly qualified TEFL teachers are welcome at Lingoda, as there is a strong support system in place.
- If you want to get into TEFL gradually, Cambly might be the right place for you to start your teaching adventure. Their conversation lessons are for learners who already have some grasp of the language, so you won’t have any beginner classes.
- If you fancy teaching other subjects other than, or as well as English, LatinHire offers lessons in school subjects such as Maths, Chemistry, and Marketing to Latin American students.
- If you are passionate about South-East Asia and want to teach learners from that region of the world, Topica Native is the platform for you. But this is not all. Many institutions, like this one virtual School in Thailand, are striving to make virtual schools the norm. Are you thinking about experiencing the real deal and planning on teaching English there? Here is an excellent article to teach English in Thailand that you can desire to teach English abroad
Technology in the lesson
When you first start using technology in your classroom, you might feel a little apprehensive – as with any other new experience. Luckily, apps nowadays focus on being as user-friendly as possible. There’s no need to jump right in with ultra-sophisticated programs – take baby steps with these fun and engaging apps:
- Do you want your learners to practice vocabulary on virtual flashcards? Use Quizlet.
- Do you need a fun competition to test your student’s knowledge and understanding? Try Kahoot.
- Are you planning a mingling survey? Get your students on Google Forms or Microsoft Forms.
- Do your learners have an artistic flair? Let them express their creativity through storyboards with Pixton.
If you wish to try something more cutting-edge:
- Teach English, German, and Spanish with House of Languages for an experience with VR.
- A lesson about the underwater world? Try Ocean Rift.
- For other subjects, give these a go: The Body VR, Number Hunt, Titans of Space, and KingTut VR.
Your equipment for online teaching.
You might already have all you need to start teaching online or to include some technology in your lesson. However, if you need to start from scratch, rest assured that there’s no need to spend a fortune.
Your basic equipment includes a PC or laptop with an in-built camera and mic and lots of storage. Invest in a headset if you live in a busy household or if you teach while traveling – it’s important to block external noise during your lessons. Of course, nothing is stopping you from going all out and upgrading to an AR (Artificial Reality) and VR headset.
The ongoing debate
The prevalent belief in the past was that technology would slow down the process of learning and would become detrimental to students. While very few still agree with this theory, it has been demonstrated that technology can enhance memory skills and facilitate learning, as well as make the whole process more appealing. However, it is important to remember that extremes are always dangerous, so finding the right balance between teaching with traditional methods and technology is the key to successful learning.
You don’t need to be an expert
Unless you grew up around it, technology can be intimidating at first and occasionally overwhelming, but don’t let this dishearten you. The newest programs and apps are extremely user-friendly and straightforward to use: you don’t need to be tech-savvy to introduce them to your classroom. They are also fun and engaging; so much so, in fact, that they will make a welcome change to your usual lesson structure.