Technology Acquisition for language teachers and learners

Teaching is an art. We paint pictures with lesson plans. We conduct symphonies in classroom management. We dance with the administration. So it is no surprise that science is a second language. We battle to understand the latest research in language acquisition and teaching methods. Studies with tables and graphs, subjects, lit reviews, statistics, results, and discussions do not come naturally. We do it because the artist needs to know her paints, his baton, or their shoes. The art requires the science, and the science has to serve the art. 

Technology is coming at us faster and faster. Tools are changing. Our toolkits need to be updated constantly. There is no time to rest until you make this acquisition of technology a part of your teaching process. Once you learn how to learn new technology, it becomes a lot easier. Most of us are afraid or angry at this new requirement. But it is not new. Only the pace is. 

Technology acquisition is a lot like language acquisition. As language teachers, we can understand both of these processes because they are so similar. In both, we need to learn new skills. We have to learn new tools, much like new vocabulary.

Sure, there are some differences, but they are small. Probably the biggest difference is that technology is changing a lot more quickly than language is. 

We can use ideas from language acquisition to understand how to learn and use new technologies. There is an interlanguage. There are stages of development. There is an order of acquisition. Paul Nation’s Four Strands is a great example. We can use something similar for technology acquisition.