Online language teaching: Future technologies

24-Jun-2013

Previously in the series I discussed how new technologies are helping to shape the course of online language training, but with technology advancing so quickly, what could be in store for us in the future?

At the top of every technology geek’s ‘must have’ list are the new Google Glasses, these seemingly innocuous spectacles hold a powerful secret, the full might of the internet is available before your very eyes.

As soon as I read about this new technology it struck me they could be used effectively for language training and translation. Imagine you walk into a shop in a foreign country and don’t know how to ask for something. Easy, just ask the glasses, in seconds the answer could literally be right in front of. Or that is the theory.

It has also been speculated that Google Glasses might be able to utilise software such as Google Talk and Skype. Therefore English lessons online could become even more involving, with materials and tutoring presented to the student in a truly absorbing fashion, with corrections sent to the glasses and a display that allows you to be totally mobile.

Another technology that has been talked about more and more recently is ‘hologram 3d display’. Once the stuff of sci-fi; in the near future Princess Leia could be making her way onto your smart phone. Hewlett-Packard Labs have built a new displaythat is small enough to be fitted to a phone that will allow users to view 3D images from any angle without the use of 3D glasses. In the future, we could be seeing live hologram broadcasts on our smart phones, tablets and other online devices. For language training this could offer a leap towards a more personalised online language lesson, with your teacher seemingly appearing in your room, or on your web device right in front of you!

Lastly – and perhaps the most speculative, is the concept of a microchip implanted into the brain. This is a hugely controversial idea, but one that has been dreamt of and researched by scientists for many years. Today microchips have been used to help paraplegics regain some motor skills and control certain basic computer functions. It might seem a logical, if not scary, step in the future for this technology to be used to help people learn. Perhaps, a whole language could be learnt in seconds just through a simple software update. This would clearly raise many ethical and philosophical issues regarding the nature and worth of human learning – but the march of progress is hard to halt! Although, learning and intelligence would take on a new value; it would be handy to download the latest language app and be fluent in seconds for your next holiday. It would however mean that most language school would be out of work!

James

 

 

 

Read more in the ‘Online language teaching’ series by following the links below:

Introduction

Modern technologies in language training

Language training for charitable organisations

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