1. Online Language Learning
It should come as no surprise that online learning is still a top trend for 2020. In fact, the market for online language learning is predicted to grow by 18% each year from now until 2024.
The flexibility of online learning is one of the main reasons for its popularity, particularly for post-secondary students. While many educators are new (and sometimes reluctant) to the online world of teaching, it should be seen as a positive for world language teachers. This platform gives more students the opportunity to take a language class, which helps to boost enrollment.
2. VR and AR
Right now technology involving augmented and virtual realities can be too expensive for schools, but as the cost drops (as it does with all new technology) more districts will see the “wow” factor they can bring to the classroom. For example, with Google’s Expeditions AR, teachers can create virtual field trips that completely immerse students in the learning experience. Currently, there are over 900 VR Expeditions available on the Expeditions app. Just imagine taking students on a “trip” to visit famous landmarks located in target-language countries.
The most common way to experience augmented reality is with an app on a mobile device. Now, instead of competing with phones for your students’ attention, you can use them to your advantage! There are dozens of free or low cost apps that use augmented reality for educational purposes.
Robots?! When robots are mentioned in connection with the classroom, folks usually think in the context of teachers being replaced by humanoid machines. Fortunately, that’s not the case! In this instance the student is replaced, or rather, given access to the language classroom via a machine called a Double Robot. The “robot” is actually just an iPad attached to a pole that moves around on a rolling platform. The student using the Double Robot is in front of a computer at home or in a remote classroom. The student’s face appears on the screen and he or she can see and participate in the class in real time.
The Double Robot is an essential tool for students who can’t physically be in school all the time, but still want or need the experience of a classroom setting. However, some districts are also using this technology to keep language programs alive so that students across the entire district can enroll in a class even if they don’t attend the same school.
4. Blended Learning
Just like online learning, blended learning continues to be a top trend and its usage will likely grow over the next few years. Most students do some type of blended learning, maybe without even realizing it. Essentially, if learning is a mix of face-to-face instructional time and online independent studying then it’s considered blended.
Educators and districts have discovered countless ways to integrate this new instructional design into their curriculum, but the most common ways include flipped classrooms, station rotation with an online module, self-directed projects, supplemental blending, and mastery-based learning. Blended learning allows for more personalized instruction, as many online components are tailored to fit the student’s individual needs based on their testing or teacher input.
5. Bilingual Classrooms
After many years of states shying away from, or outright banning, instruction delivered in Spanish, schools are realizing that English Language Learners (whose native language is Spanish) benefit immensely from bilingual instruction. This may seem obvious, however, it wasn’t long ago that it was common to think that ELL students could pick up English almost by osmosis if they were simply surrounded by it. Unfortunately, that rarely works even with very young students, and with the increase in high-stakes testing, districts were left scrambling to give ELL students the support needed to meet standards and graduate high school.
Today, dual-language programs are becoming increasingly popular as districts see what a difference they can make for native Spanish-speaking students, as well as the benefits for their English-speaking counterparts. Bilingual classrooms can range from a 50/50 split between Spanish and English to 90% Spanish and 10% English. The biggest hurdles schools face in implementing dual-language classrooms are teachers certified in bilingual education and bilingual curriculum that can be easily implemented.