According to data compiled by the Statista website, 83% of Spanish homes had internet in 2017. This means that there are more and more spaces where we can be connected to the network. And it is that according to the annual report The Connectivity Scorecard of The Economist Intelligence Unit, the western world has become a "digital continent": 98% of households in the United Kingdom and the United States have access to fixed broadband internet , while 44% do it via mobile.
When it comes to social networks, Facebook remains the undisputed queen: it has 2.23 billion active users worldwide. YouTube, for its part, is the second most used social network and, according to data from the Social Media Today website, 300 hours of video are uploaded to this platform every minute.
The importance of new technologies in education.
The importance of new technologies in education is increasing. According to the British Council's Education Technology 2019 report, 73% of teachers surveyed consider ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to be "extremely important" or "very important" for the future professional development of students. Regarding the role that ICTs play in the classroom, 40% affirm that they serve to improve the motivation and performance of students, while 36% think that they facilitate the learning of new skills.
Regarding the benefits that technologies provide in the educational field, we can highlight the following:
-Academic performance: According to a study carried out by Fundación Telefónica, the use of ICT in the classroom allows an improvement of 9% in academic performance. Likewise, another study carried out by the University of Oviedo concluded that the use of laptops in class increased student motivation by 20%.
-Digital skills: Technologies allow students to acquire essential digital skills to successfully face their adult life. According to data compiled by The Connectivity Scorecard, more than 90% of adults surveyed in Western countries consider digital skills to be “extremely important” or “very important” for the future.
-Elimination of barriers: technologies also make it possible to eliminate barriers, such as geographic ones, since students can be in contact with other students in the same course even though they reside in very distant places. Something that is ideal to do during the year before doing, for example, a summer course in English abroad or staying in an Ireland homestay . Likewise, access to education is also facilitated for children with disabilities or with difficulties in attending class for economic or social reasons.
Irish schools and educational innovation.
Irish schools are not a benchmark in educational innovation by chance: the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has launched an action plan to improve the use of technology in the classroom. This plan, known as Digital Strategy for Schools: A blueprint for the future, is based on five fundamental pillars:
-Guarantee that all Irish students have access to the necessary technological tools so that they can develop their digital skills. An aspect that students who do an educational stay with a host family in Dublin will be able to verify.
-Promote the use of ICT in the classroom, so that they become another tool available to the teacher.
-Develop teacher training in digital skills, with special emphasis on those teachers who are taking their first steps in this field.
-Promote research on the impact of ICT on the academic performance and well-being of students.
-To ensure that Irish students are prepared to successfully face the future, in an increasingly digitized world.
According to data compiled by The Connectivity Scorecard, 67% of Irish children between the ages of 6 and 17 use laptops in the classroom. In addition, according to a study carried out by Microsoft, 96% of the teachers surveyed consider that ICTs are "extremely important" or "very important" for the education of students. Regarding the impact of ICT on the academic performance of students, a study carried out jointly by the University of Cambridge and Microsoft found that those students who used laptops in class had an 11% better academic performance than those who did not. they used.
Ways to learn English with new technologies.
New technologies are changing the way we learn English. According to data compiled by Eurostat, 86% of young Europeans between the ages of 15 and 29 consider it important or very important to know English. And it is that English has become the universal language of the global economy and the main language of international communication. For this reason, more and more children and young people are enrolling in English courses to develop their fluency in this language. And thanks to new technologies, we can study English more effectively:
-Mobile applications: there are a large number of mobile applications specially designed to facilitate learning English. Of course, what we always recommend is to be able to do an English summer camp at least once a year, since it is the best way to learn the language.
-Online games: online games are also a very fun and effective way to learn English. World of Warcraft, Farmville or Candy Crush are some of the most popular games today. But always with great caution and adult supervision.
-Video conferences: video conferences allow students to be in direct contact with native teachers and to practice English fluently and naturally. Skype, Zoom or Hangouts are some of the most used platforms today. This is ideal to be able to talk with friends that we have made in previous summer camps.
-Online courses: there are numerous online courses specialized in learning English, such as Englishtown or ABA English.
-Blogs and social networks: blogs and social networks are a very entertaining way to learn English. In them we can find an infinite number of contents in English on all imaginable topics. Twitter, Facebook or Instagram are some of the most popular social networks today. We also recommend these tools for adults.
Now that we know the importance and role that new technologies play in our language learning, there is only one thing left: Put it into practice!