New Media and Foreign Language Teaching in Italy
3. March 2016
Systems for foreign language teaching through new technologies are spreading in Italy. We believe that this phenomenon is related to the simultaneous increase in the number of computer, tablet, and smartphone users, and to the much higher possibility of using a fast and reliable Internet connection.
At first this phenomenon concerned almost exclusively adolescents and adult learners. Now – with an increase in the number of digital citizens – even younger children are beginning to be involved in such teaching experiences, although they are still fewer than those available to older learners.
Digital materials for children represent a new frontier in language teaching; however, as is typical of every new frontier, there are still many points to be explored and there are still issues which need testing and tuning.
This appears as a period of transition between a world of pioneers, where everything seems possible and where computer use would ensure an improvement in L2 competence, and a yet-to-be reached world of consolidated experience, whose results are reliable and empirically verifiable.
What we therefore need are projects which create learning materials based on new technologies as the result of solid theoretical reflection on the part of researchers, teachers and computer engineers from different countries and L2s, whose results can be tested in schools.
In other words, it is necessary to ensure an ever more successful connection between research and teaching, which is the drive to knowledge advancement in our field.
All the initiatives in new technologies carried out by the Italian partnership during these years move in this direction. For this reason, we joined the project THE LANGUAGE MAGICIAN with great enthusiasm, as it fulfills all the quality criteria listed above and represents a great opportunity to develop an efficient and reliable teaching method based on new technologies for children in Italy.
Author: Project team leader of the University for Foreigners of Siena –Andrea Villarini