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The growth of online technology over the last few years has created a new world of possibilities for language learners. Many teachers continue to avoid or ignore online technologies in favor of paper-and-pencil homework, but the growing population of digital natives makes it essential for teachers to examine online technologies and take advantage of their usefulness for language learning, whether supplementing in-class instruction or even . For ESL and EFL teachers, a variety of online tools appeal to students while focusing attention on improving English proficiency.
The most common types of technology that can be helpful for EFL learners are online quizzes and games. Sites like UsingEnglish.com offer hundreds of free quizzes students can use to practice grammatical concepts, and online games that require focus on English usage and grammar. Many other sites offer similar activities, but teachers should be careful to review them first to make sure that they are level-appropriate, user friendly, and free to use.
While creative use of technology can be used effectively to supplement English language instruction, teachers must be careful not to allow technology use to overshadow the importance of interaction with English speakers. Without face-to-face interaction, language learners may never develop the communicative competence essential for proficient, fluent English. However, with a computer and an internet connection, to some extent even this concern can be addressed through strategic use of technology. Videoconferencing tools such as Skype make it easy and inexpensive to talk face to face with instructors, conversation partners, and native speakers of English all over the world.