How Educational Technology Enhances Language Learning: Focusing On Reading Comprehension
In this article, we will take a look at how technology can be used to teach one of the fundamental pillars of language learning – reading comprehension.
Reading comprehension is introduced to students from grades 1 or 2 onwards. Initial sessions of reading comprehension classes designed for students in grades 1 and 2 comprise of reading aloud stories or passages to students, which help them expand their vocabulary.
Later, in higher grades, reading comprehension sessions are crafted to teach students how to analyze short stories and information–based passages. While reading stories, students learn how to identify character traits and the relationships between characters, comprehend the essence of the plot, and analyze it. Information-based passages allow students to analyze information, draw connections between different concepts, form conclusions from it, and perhaps explore the topic further.
So how can technology play a role in crafting reading comprehension lessons for students?
Well, technology is equipped with a host of tools that make it possible to embed meaningful pedagogy into reading comprehension lessons.
1. With The Use Of Audio
The use of audio narration in a tech-based reading comprehension session allows learners to listen to the story or passage at their own pace. They can pause narration to reflect on information provided or even replay vital bits of narration if they so wish. They can replay the entire story again if they feel the need to listen to it another time. This is especially helpful for students who are auditory learners – they find it easier to comprehend and analyze information when they hear it rather than when they simply read it. And the icing on the cake is that the use of audio helps students build on their listening skills as well.
2. With The Use Of Rich Media
The use of media is yet another powerful tool in reading comprehension sessions. For young learners, stories or passages can be largely image-driven bolstered with minimal text. Young learners are likely to relate and respond better to media + text passages rather than plain vanilla text passages. Technology offers immense scope for creativity here as passages or stories can even be presented through videos, animations or in comic-strip format to make the story come alive for users.
These creative tools are guaranteed to grab learner attention and create an instant connect between the users and the instruction on offer. The use of media is especially beneficial for visual learners as they can better comprehend the passage, make mental connections between the concepts presented in the passage and respond to the quiz that follows.
3. Supporting All Types Of Quizzes
Technology supports the use of quizzes and exercises based on the passage or story students have read. Again technology offers scope for tremendous creativity while designing quizzes and exercises. Questions can be in varied formats ranging from purely text-based questions to questions supported by audio or media inputs. Media-based questions are especially helpful while crafting vocabulary questions for young learners. Technology supports the use of different question types such as fill in the blank, match the following, multiple choice, and true and false questions. Technology also supports the use of game-based quizzes and exercises.
For older learners, technology supports the use of more complex question types, perhaps even branching questions. Students can be provided a set of progressive questions in which a correct answer will allow them to move to the next question while an incorrect answer will prompt them to revisit the information before attempting the question again.
Another advantage of technology-based quizzes is that feedback is instant which appeals to young learners who foster a mindset of ‘tell me what I want to know and tell me now’. Feedback can be simple in the form of correct/incorrect answers. Or it can be a little more complex providing information on why an answer is incorrect or building further on a correct answer to reinforce instruction. Students can also be given the freedom to retake a quiz or exercise to improve their scores or enhance their learning.
These technology tools add a whole new dimension to the reading experience converting it from passive reading to a more hands-on active reading exercise. The use of rich media not only allows learners to better comprehend information, it also takes it a step further and allows them to build on their imaginative skills.