New Media in Foreign Language Education

Personal evaluation of the course

Personal learning environment & the tools

For me the course “New Media in Foreign Language Education” was very interesting and helpful. In the seminar we covered a wide range of topics and became familiar with a lot of new tools. The first thing we did in the course was to create our “Personal Learning Environment” and therefore we were introduced to new tools I had not heard of before. We used tools such as e.g. “” or “” that helped us to organize our PLE and I consider some of them to be pretty helpful, so that I will probably continue using them in the future. I really like the variety of tools presented to us and that each one of the tools serves a different purpose. I give further explanations of those tools in Task 2, “Personal Experience with the New Tools”. I think it was a good idea that many tools were integrated into tasks we had to work on, for instance we had to use “” to create a mind-map on a certain topic we had to do research on in groups. Later we would present and explain our mind-map to the whole class. This way, we were able to become familiar with the tools immediately. One session of the course was exclusively about the interactive whiteboard and it was explained to us how it basically works and also some of its various functions were demonstrated. For me this was very important because I have never really worked with an interactive whiteboard before and I think that in the future every teacher has to be able to handle this new medium. You find further information on the whiteboard in the piece of work named “The Interactive Whiteboard”.

The 1st field trip

Later we went on our 1st field trip to the “Martin-Luther-Schule Marburg” which I consider to be a very good idea because we were confronted with the reality of the use of new media in schools these days. We had the chance to interview a teacher of that school and learned a lot about how this school is equipped and about to what extent and how new media are integrated into the everyday-life at school. It was interesting to not only talk about the use of new media in theory, but to also take a look at what the situation is like in reality. This is an approach that is not common in many other seminars. You can read more about this field trip in Task 1, “1st Field Trip”.

The use of new media in foreign language education

Throughout the whole course we always considered how one could use the new media or the web tools in the context of a lesson of foreign language teaching and what might be the benefit of it. We talked about the didactic background and also dealt with the different learning theories, always keeping in mind how one could involve the use of new media. There are the three learning theories behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism and we had the task to find appropriate web tools that match the respective learning theory. I consider it to be very important to keep in mind at all times that one should not use a tool or a medium for the sake of plainly using these tools or media but rather the use of it has to make sense and should be appropriate and profitable.

The teaching ideas, the teaching session & the 2nd field trip

In groups the students had to create several teaching ideas involving the use of new media and web tools with regard to a certain topic, e.g. “publishing on the web”. One of those teaching ideas had to be performed with the whole course as a teaching sequence. Later, each group individually had to execute a 2nd field trip where they would present their teaching ideas to an experienced teacher of their choice. The purpose was to have this teacher make suggestions and remarks about the teaching ideas, so that the groups had the chance to create an improved version of their ideas. Afterwards, the groups had to present all of their teaching ideas including the suggestions of the teacher to the course via the presentation tool “”. If you are interested in further information, take a look at Task 3, “Teaching Sequence”, and Task 4, “2nd Field Trip – Group Presentation”. In my opinion these tasks were very realistic, because as a teacher one also has to think about which tool serves which purpose and one has to create tasks for the students to complete. It was very interesting to hear the opinion of an experienced teacher and I also like the idea that all the teaching ideas will be collected and printed as a booklet, so that you can make use of it in your future career as a teacher.

The web conference/ expert talk

Twice, the students of the course had the opportunity to talk to an expert, in other words an experienced teacher, in a specially arranged web conference. The attendees of this web conference were the experienced teacher, the instructor of the seminar and a number of participants of the seminar. During the web conference the screen was split into four windows, one window displayed an attendee list, another one a chat where the participants of the web conference were able to communicate and another window served as a screen for things the leader of the conference wanted to share with the other participants. The last window showed the face of the conference leader and you could also hear him speak via microphone and speakers. Here the students of the seminar had the chance to ask the expert the questions about the use of new media in foreign language education that they had prepared in advance, but of course they could also ask the expert anything that came to their minds. I found the web conference very interesting and I had the feeling that the expert was very enthusiastic and experienced concerning the use of new media and web tools. He gave me some further inspiration on how one could involve web tools into foreign language teaching. He shared his experience with us and this again gave me the feeling that this seminar is generally very close to reality.

The e-portfolio

Throughout the course of the seminar each participant had to complete several tasks and individually chosen pieces of work and upload them onto his or her website. The websites were created via the free website-creation-tool “”, which is very easy to handle due to its drag-and-drop-handling. I like this approach a lot because it offers a well-balanced combination of given tasks and topics that were chosen individually according to the individual interests of the students. Furthermore, the students can be creative when it comes to choosing a website-design or a layout and I consider this point to be very motivating. Moreover, the website not only can be accessed by the other participants of the course but by everybody, which means that the results of your work may be noticed by a variety of readers. In my opinion the aim of completing an appealing and interesting website is motivating and even fun.

The course in general

In my opinion this course is very future-oriented and close to reality. The attendance of this course is useful and even important for future teachers because it makes them become familiar with tools and new media, of which many are very likely to be used in the future at school. For example: gradually the traditional blackboard will be replaced by the interactive whiteboard and therefore the teacher has to be able to handle this medium. New media and web tools increasingly become part of our everyday lives and therefore it is important to make the students become competent in using them. The proportions of theory and practice were very balanced in this seminar, which was really pleasant. I think that the schedule of the course was well constructed and I have the feeling - opposed to many other courses - that I will be able to make use of what I have learned in my future career as a teacher.