Using digital technologies in the Early Foreign Language Classroom
Daniela Elsner & Astrid Jurecka
In order to actively participate in a globalised and digitalised world, students must develop a wide range of competencies from a very early age onwards, among them, communicative competencies in the English language and digital skills. To this end, technology has become a strong ally for teachers, utilizing the strengths of smartboards and the like. Yet, the digital infrastructure in German schools is rather limited. Thus, digital reading pens have become popular, as their use does not require internet access. Whether those pens add any value to formal language learning processes, however, is a question TEFL research has just started to find an answer to. The study in this paper aims to discover the benefits of digital reading pens in a primary foreign language classroom in Germany. Two separate studies were conducted; the first focused on reading aloud competencies and the second focused on English vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling. Both study samples consisted of 3rd grade primary students, who were divided into a control group that worked with the teacher and an experimental group that worked with the reading pen. In both studies, both groups showed an increase in all aforementioned variables, regardless of the source of input, i.e. language model, they used.
Key words: Digital Reading Pen, EFL, Primary School, Language Learning