Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 51–70 | Cite as

The wired classroom: hype and reality in foreign language teaching

  • Victor R. Rivas


DEBATES OVER FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING at institutions of higher education raise questions about the role of instructional technology in the classroom. The public at large is listening to leading inventors, scholars, and entrepreneurs discussing the future of instructional technology with the media, while marketing strategies by publishers of educational materials influence the needs of the foreign language instructor. Like everyone else, teachers of foreign languages are intrigued by, and wary of, the promises of the technological revolution and what it might mean for the future of their classrooms.

The tenured professor who has taught using traditional methods is often at odds with the new assistant professor, eager to implement the most recent technology. However traditional language teaching is not necessarily at odds with the latest technology, but so much hype about instructional technology tends to make the profession anxious. Implementing new and rapidly evolving technology is often viewed as extraordinarily complicated, and this can easily overwhelm teachers who are trying to keep current.

The actual “wiring” of the classroom is fast becoming the new standard of most technical institutions. In this situation, foreign language instructors have unprecedented access to information created in the target language, and the Web can become a flexible supplement to the traditional textbook. The wired classroom allows for a variety of creative approaches to foreign language teaching as long as the proper infrastructure and training are in place. The wired classroom is the first step towards the use of technology that must transcend the digital divide.


instructional technology integration second language acquisition teacher training World Wide Web 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blake, R. (1998). The role of technology in second language learning. In H. Byrnes (Ed.),Learning foreign and second languages: Perspectives in research and scholarship (pp. 209–237). New York: The Modern Language Association of America.Google Scholar
  2. Francis, R. (2000, 12/01/2000).The paperless school of the future is here now!, [Web page article]. Education World [2001, 4/2/01].Google Scholar
  3. Kaiser, M. (1999). A conversation with Thalia Dorwick.Berkeley Language Center Newsletter, 15(1), pp. 1–7.Google Scholar
  4. Kramsch, C. (Ed.). (1995).Redefining the boundaries of language study. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Newsweek. (2001, October 29). The classroom of the future.Newsweek, pp. 60–68.Google Scholar
  6. Rava, S., & Rossbacher, B. (1999). Teaching and technology: A new course for TA development.ADFL Bulletin, 30(3), 63–68.Google Scholar
  7. Schneider, A. (2001). A university plans to promote languages by killing its languages department.The Chronicle of Higher Education, XLVII(26), pp. A14-A15.Google Scholar
  8. Sengupta, S. (2001). Exchanging ideas with peers in network-based classrooms: An aid or a pain?Language Learning & Technology, 5(1), 103–134.Google Scholar
  9. Tonkin, H. (2001). Language learning, globalism, and the role of English.ADFL, 32(2), 5–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyHumanities and Social SciencesUSA

Personalised recommendations