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We live in a world in which technology has become irreplaceable in terms of improving communication and supporting education. Laptops, smartphones, and other mobile devices also offer almost unlimited access to language learning resources via the web, including video tutorials, authentic language examples, and opportunities for teletandem exchanges. With such widespread prevalence of technology, does the language resource center still have a place in higher education? In the language learning process?
Unequivocally, the answer is yes, and below is an outline of the top 10 reasons LRCs still have a place in higher education:
- Technology – LRCs house a variety of language learning resources, especially those that are technology-based. Most importantly, LRCs strive to offer technology-based resources that are not otherwise readily available.
- Mobility – By providing alternative venues and access to multiple resources for language classes, LRCs enable language instructors to diversify their teaching methods and activities. Often, this leads to increased mobility in language learning, making it more of an anyplace, anytime process.
- Innovation – The work of LRCs is future driven. LRCs provide means, access, and support for innovation in language teaching and learning, including experimentation with new ideas, devices, or methods.
- Collaboration – LRCs offer a dedicated space for language practice. They afford opportunities for peer interaction, guided interactions with experts or native speakers, and a variety of events and workshops.
- Expertise – Many LRC directors offer unique expertise in “tech” and “teach”. Additional staff and student workers are also able to provide support with specific purposes in mind.
- Motivation – LRCs provide opportunities for low stakes language rehearsal through support, resources, and a dedicated space. By building confidence and reducing anxiety, LRCs contribute to motivating students and faculty.
- Development – Building on the expertise of the director and its staff, LRCs are the keystone in professional development and training opportunities for language departments.
- Sharing – LRCs provide open access to resources that would otherwise be sheltered by an individual. Many of these resources carry a heavy cost burden, but cost-sharing afforded by LRCs helps to alleviate this concern.
- Integration – LRCs are often the first stopping place for gathering ideas about integrating a new tool into language teaching and learning. LRCs are pivotal in housing examples for successful integration.
- Centrality – LRCs serve as an agent of consolidation at the center of language teaching and learning.