12 Innovations in English Language Teaching

The word “innovation” is used to describe a product or development that is “new” or “enhanced” in some way. True innovation does exist and can be recognized, but it is a complex and relatively rare phenomenon that is context-specific. 

What may be innovative in a rural primary school in a developing country may not be so in a university class. 

Innovation can be defined as:

  • an improvement, a change
  • something new
  • something that did not exist before
  • something that is new in a specific context
  • all of the above combined
  • any of the above, but only when successfully implemented

Innovations in Language Learning Technologies

Technology is very much a part of language learning throughout the world at all different levels. Innovations in Language Learning Technologies help create more independent learners who stay motivated and get the results they are looking for.

The advantages of Language Learning Technologies are:

  1. Engagement
  2. Improvement in Academic Ability
  3. A Paradigm Shift in Teaching and Learning
  4. An Assessment Shift
  5. Collaborative Learning Enhancement
  6. Lower Learning Anxiety Level

6 Innovations in English Language Teaching

These are 6 innovations in English Language Teaching

#1 Digital platforms

When we discuss Innovations in English Language Teaching, These digital platforms come to our minds:

  1. Facebook
  2. Edmodo
  3. Moodle Cloud
  4.  Schoology
  5. Google Classroom

Digital Platforms help teachers and students to create a space in which teachers and learners can connect, ask questions to enhance learning, host your classes on the cloud and create different types of assessments.

#2. Online corpora

A corpus is a collection of texts. Corpora, the plural term of a ‘corpus’  refers to electronic authentic language databases that can be available via the internet or as software installed on desktops.

Now Corpora has been made available for studying linguistic structures, frequencies, etc.

Some of the tools that are available thanks to the analysis of texts are:

  1. Linguee
  2. Vocabulary Profilers
  3. TOEIC Word Lists
  4. New General Service List and Academic Word List

#3 Online Continuous Professional Development

The Internet has made possible that teachers connect with other teachers to seek knowledge that will make a difference in their lives and in the lives of those they teach.

Professional Development Courses are available online, some of them charge a fee to enroll and some of them are offered for free.

If you are interested in taking online course,  have a look at the classes offered by Future Learn 

#4 Mobile Learning 

The development of mobile technology and the proliferation of smartphones has enabled many of us to access the internet and a huge variety of apps on the go.

Have you ever considered using cellphone in the classroom? Consider some of these ideas:

  1. How to Use Mobile Phones to Teach English .
  2. 15 Awesome Youtube Channels for Teaching and Learning English
  3.  7 Best Pronunciation Apps
  4. 10 Great  Apps that Every English Language Learner Should Have

#5. Communicating with People Online

There are numerous ways to communicate online with people outside the classroom, these are some of the most used tools to communicate

  1. Skype is for doing things together, whenever you’re apart. Skype’s text, voice and video make it simple to share experiences with the people that matter to you, wherever they are.
  2. Zoom offers you HD video, HD Voice with dynamic voice detection, full screen and gallery view, dual stream for dual screen and  feature-rich mobile apps for iOS and Android

#6 Online Authentic Materials

There is a variety of digital resources for authentic materials,  these are some of the digital resources that you should check out:

  1. Voice of America English News
  2. Youtube
  3. Facebook

You can download any video from Youtube using Pickvideo.net and any video from Facebook using this online Facebook Video Downloader

#7 Video Conferencing

Video conferencing (VC) continues to be a highly efficient way of inviting visitors into classrooms and for enabling learners to collaborate with each other at distance.

Video Conference helps to:

  1. Expose learners to native English speakers and for facilitating cultural exchanges.
  2. Bring specialist English teachers into classrooms for direct teaching.

There are many free solutions available, such as Skype, ooVoo, iChat and FaceTime or Flash Meeting which are free from advertising and free of charge.


  1. Research a little bit about those tools and tell us which one you would use in the classroom in case that you need to have a video conference. What Criteria would you use to make that choice?

#8 Digital Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning today involves the use of computer and video games specifically aimed to produce learning outcomes. It is designed to balance subject matter and gameplay, and later assesses the ability of the learner to retain and apply the acquired knowledge to real-world scenarios.

Digital Game-Based Learning is appealing to students if they have the following elements:

  1. Competition that provides motivation for students  to start and finish the game.
  2. Engagement means that students want to play and have fun.
  3. Immediate Rewards help learners comeback for more.
  4. Immediate Reinforcement and Feedback must be instantaneous.

Most children in many parts of the world who have grown up with computers and gaming consoles and increasingly ‘smart’ mobile phones are highly conversant with the notion of using them for ‘digital play’. Some educators are capitalising on their children’s involvement with this type of technology by integrating video games into their lessons.


  1. Go to the web and  find some appealing games that you would use in an English classroom to reinforce any topic that you have in mind. What Criteria did you use to choose that game?

#9 Mobile Technologies

Mobile Technology is everywhere and you can argue that mobile phones and what they offer are by far more entertaining than the average class. Do you restrict or encourage their use in the classroom?


  1. Go to the playstore or appstore which are two of the most used platforms to download apps and search for the most useful apps that you would recommend to  learners to improve the linguistic skills.  What criteria do you use to choose those apps over the hundreds available online?

#10 Blended Learning

Blended learning is an education program (formal or non-formal) that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some elements of student control over time, place, path, or pace.


  1. What are some advantages and disadvantages of blended learning?

#11 Technology in Assessment

The range of skills that modern assessments attempt to evaluate is quite broad and reflect our
current views on teaching and learning. It might for example include assessing the students’ ability:

  1. to participate in a pair work oral activity.
  2. to skim a text and quickly look for key information.
  3. to tell a story.
  4. to follow instructions.
  5. to plan and organise an article.
  6. to write for a specific group or genre.


  1. Choose one of the previous abilities, what online tool would you use to assess that ability?

#12 Virtual Learning Environment

virtual learning environment (VLE) in educational technology is a Web-based platform for the digital aspects of courses of study, usually within educational institutions. VLEs typically

  1. allow participants to be organized into cohorts, groups, and roles.
  2. present resources, activities, and interactions within a course structure.
  3. provide for the different stages of assessment.
  4. report on participation, and have some level of integration with other institutional systems


Take a look at Edmodo, SchoologyGoogle Classroom and Free Moodle Cloud, If you had to choose one of them to implement in the classroom, Which one would you choose? Why would you pick that one over the others?

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English