We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kevin McManus, director of the Center for Language Acquisition, has been awarded a three-year grant from the US Department of Education’s International Research and Studies program. This grant will research the use of technologies in foreign language education for improving the teaching and learning of foreign languages.
Investigating Teachers’ Use of Technologies in Foreign Language Programs: A Mixed-Methods Study of Attitudes and Practices
Kevin McManus (PI, Penn State)
Jialing Wang (Co-PI, Penn State)
Brody Bluemel (Co-PI, Delaware State University)
Despite the rapid development and widespread use of technologies in daily life, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), the use of advanced and innovative technologies in foreign language (FL) education is understood to be minimal and constitutes a cause for concern (Godwin-Jones, 2021; Lomicka & Lord, 2019; Tafazoli & Picard, 2023). Indeed, as described in the World-Readiness Standard for Learning Languages, technologies can and should be used to support FL instruction, opportunities for practice/use in the classroom, and assessment. A well-discussed challenge to doing this, however, is that teachers’ attitudes and their practices utilizing technology in FL instruction are not well understood, especially in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). Furthermore, how to effectively integrate technology into instructional practice are also not well understood but are needed to support LCTL teachers and their use of technology to enhance FL learning. These knowledge gaps negatively impact teacher preparation, professional development, benchmarking, and assessment in US-based LCTL classrooms.
To address these gaps in understanding, the current project investigates the use of technology in FL programs and attitudes toward its use among LCTL teachers in the US from a variety of educational settings and with a broad range of experiences. Our mixed methods design begins with a large-scale survey to provide an overview of teachers’ current usage, attitudes, and perceptions toward technology in FL teaching. Following the survey, qualitative interviews will be conducted with LCTL teachers to explore and explain the survey results in more detail.
Because this project intends to develop new knowledge about (i) teachers’ use of technologies in FL programs; (ii) the needs for increased or improved instruction in FL; (iii) the use of technology in FL programs emphasizing LCTLs, its results will be critical to research projects and programs with similar interests.
$306,000.00 for 3 years