iPod in Education: The Potential for Language Acquisition

  • Mcquillan J
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The need for effective language teaching has never been stronger than in today’s global economy. Trade, cultural understanding, and increasingly, political stability depend on the ability to understand the languages of our global neighbors. Despite the potential benefits of second language skills in the marketplace, only a handful of American students leave school with even rudimentary skills in a language other than English.1 In addition to the important job of teaching foreign languages to native English speakers, K-12 teachers have an additional challenge in the classroom:One out of every five K-12 students in the United States comes from a home in which a language other than English is spoken.2 This situation presents challenges in the teaching of English as a second language, in the maintenance of the home or heritage language, and in the teaching of second languages to native English speakers.3 Thus, language teaching is more important than ever in today’s classrooms. Current technology offers new opportunities to increase the effectiveness of language teaching. The purpose of this paper is to outline how one such technological innovation, the iPod, used with the iTunes and iLife software, can serve as a powerful tool for teaching and acquiring languages.With its unique features of portability, ease of use, and file storage capacity combined with its ability to deliver audio as well as text, images, and video, the iPod holds the promise of revolutionizing the way languages are acquired both in and out of school. This paper will: • Outline a basic framework for understanding how iPod and iTunes can be used in language education, consistent with current theories of second language acquisition and bilingualism • Review research findings that support this framework for using iPod in K-12 schools • Discuss ways in which the iPod, iTunes, and iLife software can be best used to support language teaching • Give examples of the use of the iPod in language education • Provide recommendations for further reading Getting

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  • Jeff Mcquillan

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