Laura Alvarado Elizondo, an MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education graduate , shares her personal journey since graduating from the degree in 2016.
I currently run an online language school (www.bubolanguages.com) which I created after I returned to Costa Rica in 2017.
At the moment, the school offers both private and group classes for students who want to learn English or Spanish. The courses are available for students from all over the world.
My experience in the MA DTCE certainly influenced my decision to start a small business that could combine language learning and digital technologies. Courses such as Language Learning and Technology, Teaching and Learning Online, and Multimedia Design and Development, just to name a few, provided me with valuable insights about the use of various technologies in language learning, the challenges of learning online, and good principles for designing materials that can effectively support this type of learning.
Opening an online school has represented many advantages over a traditional school not just because I don’t have to rent a physical place and cover for all the expenses that would represent, but also because I can reach a wider population who is in need of more schedule options and who can’t afford losing time in traffic in order to arrive at their place of study after a long workday.
A stable video conferencing tool and my own virtual learning environment have been vital in order to provide a quality service to learners. There isn’t really anything students can’t do online. They can participate in group discussions, give presentations, and complete grammar and listening exercises. In my experience, online learning has proven to be not only less time-consuming than regular face-to-face classroom time, but more effective to improve learners’ performance in a short time. This has been particularly the case of adult learners who usually have to divide their time among working hours, university studies, and family commitments.
Having been founded less than a year ago, my school is still a small start-up and there’s much more for me to improve and add to this project. All in all, it is a learning process in itself and being able to adapt to new technological innovations, and related educational aspects, will be crucial.
Indeed, I believe DTCE should keep reinventing itself and considering the implications of major upcoming technological innovations, such as artificial intelligence, in education, communication, and people’s jobs in the future. What careers would survive these changes or not, and why? How could that impact society? What new careers would emerge? How much importance will employers give to hard skills in the private sector? These may be some important aspects to focus on.