Technology in formal and informal learning environments: Student perspectives
Global Journal of Foreign Language Teaching
The aim of this study is to assess whether the ease with which L2 learners/users can engage with their target languages beyond the classroom influences their perceptions of formal environments. In the last two decades, the rapid development and spread of new technologies has transformed foreign language acquisition, facilitating learning through leisure and informal language contact. At the same time, the new media are altering instructional contexts. Having always played a defining role in
... efining role in self-access centres (SACs), their ubiquity may now threaten this setting's raison d'être; and while they can certainly add new dimensions to formal teaching, they are not necessarily welcomed by all stakeholders alike. These potential conflicts triggered our interest in researching students' use of and perspectives on the affordances of technology for language learning in both formal as well as informal environments. Drawing on questionnaires, interviews and the results of the annual SAC monitoring, we will present data from three interlinked settings. Results indicate that despite the abundance of technology-based language learning opportunities, students still believe they benefit profoundly from the expertise and feedback of teachers and SAC advisors. We will conclude by pointing out potential reciprocal influences between the individual settings of a learning environment, and advise how teachers could help students become better-informed consumers of technology-mediated learning opportunities.