Ben Davies is project manager for English at language learning app Babbel, developing innovative and effective English language learning courses for the Babbel app. Previously, Ben taught languages in Secondary schools in the UK, and English language courses to adults in Spain. The Babbel language learning app spans 14 different languages, with bite-sized lessons designed by language experts. 73% of surveyed customers feel that they’d be able to hold a conversation within five hours of using the app.
‘Immersion’ – chances are that anyone who has ever taught or studied languages will have heard this word a lot! In the realms of language education, ‘immersion’ refers to being in an environment in which only the language being learned is spoken. ‘Immersion’ in technology, meanwhile, refers to blurring reality and the digital. Through immersive technologies, it is possible to simulate the real world, and real-world situations, without the need to travel.
The lessons that I enjoy teaching the most are the ones where the children are enjoying their learning. This enjoyment can stem from various sources, including using their interests as an impetus, but always occurs in lessons where I feel secure in my subject knowledge. This security allows me to test new ideas, to give children greater ownership of the lesson and to roll with it if / when things don’t go as planned. For me, this is most evident in my lessons that use technology.
Children love programming. A simple statement, but one that my experience as a Primary school teacher and a Computing subject leader has provided me with a glut of evidence to support. Visual programming applications are commonplace in the vast majority of Primary schools, but what about those pupils who are eager to take the step and cross the divide into the world of text based coding. This can be a huge step and, due to the pedantic syntax requirements of text-based code, can risk disengaging pupils. However, by using a Raspberry Pi and Minecraft, we can offer them an engaging introduction to text programming.