by Helen Johnson, TIUA, Salem, OR, USA
I am a Senior instructor in the American Studies Program (ASP) at Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) located at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. The ASP program is a one-year English immersion study abroad program for students of Tokyo International University (TIU) in Kawagoe, Japan.
I recently presented a teaching tip, the Readlang web tool, at the Fall 2019 ORTESOL Conference in Oregon. My presentation came to fruition from a workshop I attended at the World Languages Studio at Willamette University which is a place where students can use numerous resources to support and enhance their foreign language learning efforts, to engage in learning about other cultures, and to participate in cultural events. At this workshop, I was introduced to a free web tool, Readlang, which functions as an instantaneous translator of text, dictionary and vocabulary builder offered in various languages.
Recent literature indicates that in the era of technology the language learner will opt to use an online translator, dictionary, e- tool, or an app to facilitate language learning. According to Jin & Deifell (2013), “online dictionaries are most often consulted when learners are creating and/or deciphering digitally mediated written texts.” Given that the Readlang web tool is user friendly and ideal for any language learner, I decided to pilot Readlang in my (B1-B2: CEFR) reading class at TIUA.
As educators, we know that in any given class, even though the class may consist of a specific level of language proficiency, we will have an array of students with different capabilities and skills within that level. Readlang was an effective tool for my class; it allowed my students to read any online material, ebook or text that one can import from the internet while using the Readlang tool to translate words and phrases, and check vocabulary definitions while reading. For every word or phrase one clicks, vocabulary lists and flashcards are automatically created to allow for vocabulary review.
The Readlang blog http://blog.readlang.com/about/ is informative and very interesting with details of the history and creator of Readlang. There is a variety of features https://readlang.com/features albeit some of the advanced features may require a paid subscription. The Beginners Guide to Readlang Tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I10qWoQEi5U offers step by step instructions on how to get started and create a free account. There is a Facebook account as well: https://www.facebook.com/readlang/. I continue to use Readlang in my classes to support, enhance and evaluate the progress of my students. Readlang is a teaching tip worth exploring in the language learning process.
Jin, L., & Deifell, E. (2013). Foreign language learners' use and perception of online dictionaries: A survey study. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Fall. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no4/jin_1213.pdf