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Using technology to support learning

A new 5-part ‘Teachers Talk Tech’ podcast from our English language learning and assessment team offers practical tips and advice on how teachers around the world can best use technology to support learning inside and outside the classroom. 

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As language teachers we are always on the lookout for new ideas to inspire us and to learn from our colleagues around the world.

                       Hayo Reinders, Teachers Talk Tech host  


Over the last few years, teachers have had to adapt their practices in the face of continued upheaval and uncertainty, and many have looked to digital technologies to support them. The Teachers Talk Tech podcast brings together leading experts in the use of technology in language learning and teaching and members of the Cambridge University Press & Assessment Language Research Team to explore topics such as digital wellbeing, learner motivation and digital literacies with the aim of helping develop teachers’ skills and confidence in teaching with technology.  


Podcast host, Hayo Reinders, shares a short summary of each episode with key takeaways: 

Increasing learner motivation 

The essential point for me is to think what are the students’ needs and then what activities or what tasks can I do so that they will learn what they need to learn?

                      Marta González-Lloret, University of Hawai’i 


With insights from Marta González-Lloret from the University of Hawai’i and Delia Kidd from Cambridge University Press & Assessment, our first episode explores the potential of technology to support learner motivation and the need for careful planning and integration into classroom practices for long-term motivation to result. We look at how, to motivate learners, the use of technology should be driven by learners’ requirements and consider what it is that students will need and want to do with the language; what is important for them and what will they naturally require outside of the classroom.  


Listen to episode 1

The importance of digital wellbeing 

Self-observation will lead you to a better understanding of how you can help others.

                       Aga Palalas, University of Athabasca 


Whilest digital experiences can bring numerous benefits to teachers and learners, we also need to consider the potential harms of technology. Aga Palalas from the University of Athabasca and Jasmin Silver from Cambridge University Press & Assessment discuss what digital wellbeing means in the context of teaching with technology and its roles in the language classroom, and share ways in which teachers can implement digital wellbeing in their own setting. In this episode, we discuss how to avoid harm from such disruptive forces as digital distraction, digital disorder, and digital disconnection, and exchange ideas on how to enhance wellbeing by using technology to create connections between learners and communities.  


Listen to episode 2 

Augmented and virtual reality for language learning 


What’s important in education is not what we can do technologically, what’s important is what we can do pedagogically.

                       Dr. Mark Pegrum, University of Western Australia 


Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can open up a wealth of new possibilities and perspectives, however what do these mean in the context of language learning and crucially, how can teachers draw on these technologies in their own classrooms – even with no prior experience? In this episode, Dr Mark Pegrum from the University of Western Australia and Andrea Vinkler from Cambridge University Press & Assessment discuss recent studies that have shown a number of language learning benefits of AR and VR in the classroom, notably in the area of vocabulary. The conversation also highlights the even greater potential of these technologies outside the classroom, where AR games prompt students to use their everyday environments to support real-world language learning.  


Listen to episode 3 

Developing digital literacies 


Start small, work with a colleague if you can, and keep it simple.

                       Gavin Dudeney, Consultants-e 


The ability to understand the trustworthiness of online sources and to monitor and regulate our own use of digital information have become critical skills in recent years, and as such, digital literacies are playing an increasingly important part in language teachers’ repertoire. In this podcast episode, Gavin Dudeney from Consultants-e and Jasmin Silver from Cambridge University Press & Assessment look at ways in which teachers can help their learners develop digital and critical literacies, through activities such as fact checking and referencing. A key point to come out of the conversation is the importance of integrating digital literacies in a ‘little and often’ manner to build good habits by creating activities which have both a language aim and a digital literacy aim and meld them together into a coherent whole. 


Listen to episode 4 

Digital skills for the future 

Joining online communities and sharing ideas and experiences with like-minded peers is a very effective place to go for help and support. 

                       Nicky Hockly, Consultants-e 


Over the last few years teachers have had to suddenly adapt their skills and practices to meet new challenges and unforeseen circumstances. One benefit of this shift is the resulting best practices that have emerged in teacher professional development. In the final episode of the series, Nicky Hockly from Consultants-e and Delia Kidd from Cambridge University Press & Assessment exchange ideas on how teaching skills will change in the years to come and how teachers can prepare themselves for the future. We look at some best practices in professional development and share ideas on how teachers can draw on these. One clear lesson that comes to light is the need for collaboration, both between teachers, as well as in the form of support from managers and institutions in providing teachers with sufficient time and resources to improve. 


Listen to episode 5 


You can listen to all episodes of Teachers Talk Tech wherever you get your podcasts from (e.g. Spotify or iTunes). Find more information on getting the most out of digital resources on our English Digital learning hub or on the World of Better Learning blog.  


About the author: 

Dr. Hayo Reinders ( is TESOL Professor at Anaheim University (California) and Director of its doctor programme. He is also Head of Education at Unitec and Editor of Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching. Hayo's interests are in CALL, autonomy, and out-of-class learning. His most recent books are on teacher autonomy, teaching methodologies, and second language acquisition.