Using EdTech to Enhance Speaking and Communication Skills in your Classrooms

In a century that is becoming more complex by the day, empowering learners with effective English communication skills is more crucial than ever. This is also true for learners preparing for high stakes spoken English exams such as the Trinity Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE). Yet, a recurring challenge in the education world is the lack of diverse, engaging, and interactive materials, or challenges in sourcing and creating them. This deficit has often led to stagnant learning and has left many educators feeling trapped in a monotonous cycle. Using EdTech is a great way to overcome this hurdle to learning and to be able to boost and develop extremely important communication skills in the classroom.

The Role of Ed Tech in English Learning

There is a lot of potential for learning enhancement using technology. While EdTech can supplement traditional teaching methods, such as reading from textbooks or group discussions, its true power lies in offering opportunities for interactive and personalized learning. For instance, in English classes, students can use platforms like Grammarly to receive real-time feedback on their language tasks and activities. Tools like HelloTalk or Tandem allow them to simulate real-world conversations by connecting them with native speakers around the globe. Gamification platforms such as Classcraft transform the learning environment by using game elements to motivate and engage students. Meanwhile, quiz platforms like Kahoot! further add to this immersive experience, allowing teachers to create engaging quizzes that foster a competitive and fun language environment.

EdTech Tools for English Speaking

EdTech tools tailored for English speaking cater to various elements of language learning, providing support for pronunciation, articulation, and interactive speaking practice. Platforms like Voicetube allow students to practice pronunciation using real-life videos; they can mimic sentences, improving their intonation and fluency. For a more comprehensive pronunciation guide, apps like Elsa Speak use AI to provide real-time feedback on accent and clarity. To further aid articulation, tools like FluentU present students with videos tailored to their learning level, encouraging them to repeat sentences and ensuring they articulate words correctly. For genuine conversational experience, apps like HelloTalk and Tandem serve as a bridge to native speakers worldwide, offering an authentic environment to apply their learned skills.

Strategies for Developing Speaking Skills in Young Learner and Primary School Classrooms

Role-play scenarios: Utilize virtual reality (VR) platforms or apps like ClassVR. These can immerse students in real-world settings, such as a bustling café or a train station. Within these virtual spaces, students can role-play scenarios like ordering a meal or asking for directions, effectively broadening their vocabulary and boosting their confidence in realistic environments.

Peer-feedback: Use video conferencing tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to record short student presentations. Afterward, in breakout rooms or through shared video links, peers can review and leave feedback comments. Platforms like Flip can also allow students to post video responses and receive peer feedback, making it easier to highlight and correct pronunciation or grammar errors.

Storytelling sessions: Implement platforms like Storybird or Book Creator that let students craft digital stories. They can integrate visuals, texts, and even voiceovers, and then share their creations with the class. These digital platforms engage students in a multimedia storytelling experience, enhancing their verbal fluency and narrative skills.

Impromptu speaking exercises: Use Kahoot! or Quizizz to create quick quizzes with random topics or prompts. When a topic appears, students can use tools like Padlet or Jamboard to brainstorm and then present their thoughts on the spot, practicing spontaneous speaking on diverse subjects in a fun, interactive environment.

Five EdTech Resources to Try Now

Here are five resources you can try out in your classroom right away:

  1. Baicizhan: Uses visual aids to teach English vocabulary.
    • Try it like this: After students learn new words with Baicizhan, create a word wall in the classroom and challenge them to use those words in sentences or short paragraphs.
  2. Voicetube: Boasts a vast collection of English videos with subtitles.
    • Try it like this: Assign a video as homework, then discuss its main points in the next class. This encourages both listening and speaking practice.
  3. Quizlet: Perfect for vocabulary flashcards and gamified learning.
    • Try it like this: Split the class into teams and use Quizlet's "Live" feature for a competitive vocabulary review game.
  4. Anki: A spaced repetition flashcard program which can be customized based on the learner's needs.
    • Try it like this: Encourage students to share their Anki decks with the class, promoting peer-assisted learning.
  5. English Central: Engages students with interactive videos and vocabulary lessons.
    • Try it like this: After watching a video, have students recreate the dialogues, substituting in their own words or phrases to enhance creativity and vocabulary retention.

The CertPT: Preparing your Learners for GESE

For many educators, the process of sourcing, selecting, adapting, and creating optimal teaching materials can be daunting, often making them feel trapped in the same cycle. The Certificate for Practising Teachers (CertPT) tackles this challenge head on. Designed for those preparing students for the Trinity GESE and other speaking exams, the CertPT provides teachers with the skills to evaluate, adapt and create the best and most fit-for-purpose materials, both traditional and tech-driven. On the CertPT course, educators will work with a wide range of educational resources. In doing so, they not only enhance their teaching methodologies but will also emerge as experts in resource use. This will improve the learning experience in the classroom and make teachers the go-to person in the school for advice and guidance on materials use.

About the Author

Kevin Clare

Since 2009, Kevin has been involved in teaching English in a range of different settings, teaching adults, teenagers and notably young learners in Australia, Daqing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. He has worked in language centres as a Director of Studies and in various roles in international schools. At English for Asia, Kevin directs courses and conducts online training for teachers in Hong Kong and around the world.

AI for Language Teaching

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AI for Language Teaching


AI for Language Teaching

Master AI, save time and transform your TESOL teaching with our 30-hour course.

AI for Language Teaching


Trinity Certificate in TESOL

Access top teaching positions in Hong Kong and overseas with the Trinity Certificate in TESOL.

Accepted by the Hong Kong Education Bureau for Primary NET teaching positions.