The use of technology in schools has been associated with small positive associations with educational outcomes (Zhao & Frank, 2003; Ager, 2013). However, this does not necessarily relate to a causal relationship as this may relate to the fact that more effective schools are often those that use digital technologies to teach (Higgins et al., 2012). In a meta-analysis of research concerning the use of technology in teaching, Higgins et al.
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(2012) suggest that technology is most effective as a supplement rather than a replacement for teaching. Furthermore, the use of technology in schools may vary according to the context, with some subjects and classes being more suited to the technology uses (Adamson, 2004). This essay will consider the application of different forms of technology to teaching languages. This will consider the teaching context of ten adult learners of an intermediate standard. To examine the possible uses of technology, the traditional uses of technology will first be considered in the use of a number of the more mainstream uses of technology in the teaching context will be considered. This will be followed by a discussion of some more innovative methods of learning that are currently being developed, such as Web 2.0 technology. Audio playback offers an effective use of technology in the language-learning context. The benefits of this include the fact that learners may hear the language spoken by other voices than the teacher (Najjari et al., 2012). Given that when languages are learnt, the teacher will attempt to outline the words as clearly as possible, being able to listen to audio recordings allow the listener to establish the use of language in other contexts where less attempt is being made to establish clarity (Ibrahim, 2013). The use of audio recordings may be used in a gradated approach according to the difficulty of language and the complexity and speed of the spoken word (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). It may provide the examples of language use in everyday situations, such as playing back transcripts of discussions when making purchases in shops. Audio recordings can thus be used effectively and by providing a questionnaire or using it to provoke discussion, the listener may be effectively engaged with the listening task, rather than simply listening to the presentation (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). This allows the development of comprehension to form a part of the listening approach. The teacher may thus use it to supplement teaching by providing clear indications of how the language is spoken. The drawbacks to the use of audio playback to aid teaching may include the fact that listening to spoken language means that the listener is engaging in a relatively false scenario of listening to a transcript rather than being able to observe the discussion in a real-life example (Richards &
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