tr?id=304425946719474&ev=PageView&noscript=1 6 Online Tools to Enhance Authentic Learning in Language Classrooms

The hidden benefits of language learning – Business Graduates Association

If there is one effective way of bridging the distance between language learners sitting in a classroom and real-world practice of the language without even traveling a mile–it is technology.

Apps, digital tools, online platforms, and other instructional technologies have forever changed how we learn and teach world languages.

So, if you are reluctant about using online tools in your language classroom or get overwhelmed by them, I invite you to reconsider. We can make technology serve us in simple ways and enrich the learning process for everyone involved. Numerous studies speak to the benefits of technology in language learning both for students and educators.

Joe Dale, a language consultant and technology expert in the UK, emphasizes that we can use technology to enhance language learning. And what’s a better way to do it than have students put their skills into practice in authentic and real-world learning environments?

Here are a few educational technologies to include in your language courses and enhance authentic learning for students.


Live Conversations

Live conversation platforms such as LinguaMeeting and TalkAbroad allow students to practice their speaking skills with language coaches from selected countries. Could it get more authentic? You can opt for one-on-one or group conversations, pick the required number of video chats, provide guidelines for the language coach, see the recordings, provide feedback and enjoy many other features. These platforms are excellent spaces outside the class where students can freely engage in authentic language practice.

A great benefit of these platforms is that they can help improve students’ confidence before traveling abroad or even serve as a replacement for studying abroad for those who have travel limitations. In addition, these conversations will expose students to diverse accents and language variations depending on the origin of their coaches.


Touring the World with Google

Google Tour Creator allows teachers and students to create virtual tours worldwide by including 360° Photos, adding historical sites and popular points of interest, and overlaying the selected places with detailed images. In addition, students can listen to information about the included historical sites through audio narration in the target language.

You can easily share the created tour as a link or embed it on a website. It can be a great idea to have students share the tours as oral presentations and invite the entire class on virtual travel in the target language.

Video Blogging with Flipgrid

Flipgrid is a platform for sharing short videos. You can see it as your class blog or social network. Create specific assignments or questions and have students respond to them by recording a video in the target language. Flipgrid allows students to post video messages or comments on their classmates’ videos, which helps promote conversational language practice.

Make the assignments authentic and relatable to the students. For instance, you may ask your intermediate Italian class to share what they did over the weekend by practicing the past tense. Some students take the time to get creative and have fun on Flipgrid.

Language Learning through Songs

Have you ever had a foreign language song stuck in your head without understanding most of the lyrics? Music makes a language more memorable. For this reason, I enjoy incorporating songs into my teaching. Whether it is to have students fill in the gaps while listening to the song, sing along or do any other creative activity, we can now do this with an app to save the preparation hassle and paper.

Lyrics Training and Lirica are like karaoke apps for language learning. Plus, students may choose to do this on their own time as they continue discovering more songs and improving their language competence.

Engaging with Online Video and Audio Content

Digital content has become omnipresent. Many of us watch YouTube videos and listen to podcasts regularly. Incorporating such content in the target language into our teaching can increase engagement with authentic cultural materials and conversational language. For instance, YouTube vlogs can provide extra input when covering vocabulary or cultural information for a specific country. If you are teaching the vocabulary of camping or introducing cultural information about Peru, you may consider including travel vlogs. For example, you may ask your students to find a travel vlog about hiking in Machu Picchu and share their thoughts in written or oral form while practicing the assigned vocabulary.

Ask students to leave a comment or question on the vlog after they have watched it. Such activities contribute to the authenticity of interactions in the target language and inspire students to learn more about the culture by traveling there.

Voice Recordings

Vocaroo is an easy-to-use online voice recorder that teachers and students can use for creative activities such as podcasting and storytelling. The tool allows you to record, download, share or embed the link of the recording in your Learning Management System.

Students can create podcasts on a chosen topic and share them on a class blog, while teachers can use the tool to record brief audio lectures or provide audio feedback on student work.

As Joe Dale suggests in this podcast, we can incorporate technology as an alternative to more traditional aspects of teaching. For instance, you can replace written feedback with audio comments to make this process more personalized and intimate for your students.


Can we take the edge off the challenge of learning a new language by engaging students with tools and devices that are part of their daily activities? Absolutely.

Educational technologies are our best bet in ensuring that students have easy and quick access to authentic, real-world materials when learning a foreign language.

When a student has an authentic conversation with a native speaker via video chat, just as they would do with a friend, communication becomes the primary goal. Isn’t that what we strive for in our world language classrooms?