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Artificial Intelligence (AI): Language Tools, Implications, and Limitations

Artificial Intelligence has become a buzz word in the academic arena

Lesson planning is and has always been a very significant part of language teaching

Kuma Raj Subedi | Australia

The use of computers in language instruction is not a new phenomenon; there have been its use over twenty years in the form of Computer Based Teaching (CBT) and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). These language teaching models. Although these models were quite useful in terms of instruction, these were not highly individualised to address personal needs of the language learners. However, in the recent times, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a buzz word in the academic arena. However, there has not been significant research yet in how it can be used as a tool in teaching English language.

The Oxford dictionary defines AI as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. So, a closer look into this definition opens an avenue for translation in terms of its use. It can be a game changer in English Language Teaching (ELT) if we can embrace and harness the power of this extra intelligence available to use in academic setting. This write up will focus on what AI is and available tools that can be used in academic setting and explore its merits and limitations.

These tools have their own limitations which should not be ignored while using them

Lesson planning is and has always been a very significant part of language teaching. Lesson refers to a task which is carried out to achieve a linguistic goal through interaction with language learners whereas planning refers to a systematic presentation, organization and management of a lesson which requires careful consideration in the areas such as learner’s prior knowledge, knowledge gap, selection of language functions and assessment. Therefore, failing to plan a lesson is equal to planning to fail. Importance of a lesson plan as a source or tool which guides language teachers through their teaching process. Educators who plan are those that are sure of their objectives. That is why in education to plan a lesson is extremely necessary. Its importance is paramount as a lesson plan has the content, method, activity, practice, and information of resources that a language teacher will use in language teaching. AI comes in handy and as a great time saver for teachers who are struggling to keep up with their daily planning.

Development in Text-To-Speech (TTS) has significantly impacted the digital era

AI developments now can enable language teachers to leverage AI capabilities through innovative apps like ChatGPT and Education Copilot in instructional design. ChatGPT can be used free of cost, but Copilot has a subscription fee. However, AI technology is faster, and it can be used as a highly intelligent personal assistant for achieving language teaching objectives. ChatGPT is a conversational AI model which responds to our queries. Teachers who are looking to increase their lesson planning productivity can use and tweak the results for their suitability.

artificial-intelligence-870jpg Oxford House
Image Courtesy: Oxford House

Development in Text-To-Speech (TTS) has significantly impacted the digital era. It has now been a lot easier to work with computers; all one must do is speak with sufficient clarity so that the AI can recognize the voice pattern and transcribe it. There are various AI tools available in the digital market. However Twee remains free of charge to use. Its pronunciation works effectively and is sync with real world human intelligence. Though no system developed so far can recognize and replicate human like voice error free. Educators can easily get speech transcribed, summarize, and even create questions from YouTube videos for their classroom activities. Furthermore, activities such as creating title, developing questionnaire, preparing led-in activities, preparing dialogue for any topic are some of its key features which can be used to enhance students’ knowledge in listening, speaking reading and writing skills. Other sub skills like matching, gap fill and vocabulary building skills can help educators make their CALL interactive and fun effortlessly.

Glossika is another AI language learning tool which is available to end users in an app and browser. It offers a personalized learning experience. Native speaker’s recorded voice may help some learners who enjoy and want to improve pronunciation skills. However, learners need to sign up to use it with a subscription fee.

Rosetta Stone could be an option for interactive learning platform which also uses AI algorithms. It can offer lessons quizzes and exercises in over 25 languages with a subscription fee through desktop mode and a mobile app.

Google Translate is a free online translation service developed by Google. It uses AI algorithms like other language learning tool to translate text, documents, and websites from one language into another. However, this tool has a 3900-character limit at a time. It supports over 133 languages and is available in an online platform and or as an app.

Although these tools are very useful in language learning and teaching, these have their own limitations. First, these tools lack human interaction and users do not have the same level of emotional support in language learning like that with their language teachers.

Secondly, there is issue of accuracy and credibility of these tools. Sometimes, when we interact with a chatbot the asked question just keeps being ignored. ChatGPT’s reliability is not consistent in different domains, and it has been found especially underperforming in law and science questions.

To sum up, available tools and technologies help language teachers in planning and designing, saving a significant amount of time for language teachers. Their user friendliness and quick response makes them very effective. However, these tools have their own limitations which should not be ignored while using them.


Kuma Raj Subedi - AustraliaKuma Raj Subedi is an accomplished Lecturer at TafeSA, Australia. 





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