Using online systems to support learning and assessment in modern foreign languages

The prevalence of online devices (desktops, laptops, tablet computers, net-books, smart phones) has recently brought about some major changes in schools.

By connecting to powerful remote computers over the Internet, personal devices can now be used as a simple, cheap, portable, and easily replaceable educational tool.

The reduced capital outlay and the simplicity of using straightforward web pages are particularly attractive to schools on limited budgets.

The professionally maintained remote computers, to which they are securely connected, perform ever more useful educational functions. The need for technical know-how in IT departments is reduced. The encryption of data and media files safeguards security.

This year many MFL departments have used an online language lab to support their daily teaching, learning and assessment. Using a simple online web page, reading, writing, listening and speaking tasks are set, performed and marked (often automatically). Worksheets, media resources and students’ portfolios are stored securely online. They can be accessed in school, at home, or anywhere with an internet connection.

Online systems and resources are available to help with teaching and learning in most subjects. They can facilitate differentiation, formative and summative assessment and enhance communication between teachers, students, parents and schools.