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Usage of Technology in Language Classrooms

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This paper entitled ‘Usage of Technology in Language Classrooms’envisages on the major role that technology plays in aiding the manual teacher to deliver the lessons with both information and entertainment. The importance of English language and the different techniques adopted for effective teaching along with the advantages and limitations are briefly discussed in this paper. At the end of this paper, the reader will have a clear view of the advantages of using Information and Communication Technologies in language classrooms. English is called as a Link language, Global language and also called as Lingua Franca. In the Indian context, it is also considered as ESL (English as a Second Language). English not only helps one in learning but also in earning. The means of teaching and learning English are very traditional, less interesting and ineffective. there arises a need to use modern approaches and tools of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to develop better understanding and acquisition of basic skills i.e. LSRW (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) of the English language.

ICT has in numerous ways contributed to the teaching-learning community for the enhancement of their vocabulary and improvement of the English language skills. Some of these approaches, facilities and tools are CAL ( Computer Assisted Learning), CALA (Computer Assisted Language Assessment), CALI ( Computer Assisted Language Instruction), CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning), MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning) , TELL (Technology Enhanced Language Learning), Blogs, Wiki, e-mail facility, Digital libraries, multimedia, mobile learning, free and open source software and social media, MOOCs, Virtual classrooms, documentaries, Digital storytelling, Mobile Applications, i-Pads, Digital Notebooks, Tablets, Smart Phones, Recorded audio-video materials, Online spoken tutorials, Digital pronunciation dictionaries etc.

These facilities have enabled in the learning process and paved a path for the freedom of learning according to the learner’s need and convenience. Proper steps to inculcate ICT in the field of ELT would ensure that the students become versed in English language skills.

Great scholars say that history often works in a circle. Many decades ago, there were discussions about the need to introduce computers and the Internet into schools. For today’s children, the Internet is not an option, they are born with it. They seem to be permanently attached to a device of some kind. There is a computer in almost every school room. Yet many teachers even at well-equipped modern schools never use ICT in their lessons. There is nothing negative in the traditional means of teaching and learning. After all, if the power goes down, the only “tool” to be used is the teacher.

For example, a teacher shares on how her fifth graders had to memorize a lot of data on cardiovascular diseases, balanced diets and the problems of aging. the teacher happened to jus note the important words and then framed various exercises which recycled the new vocabulary, new conversation games using these words were taken from the internet and a two-minute cartoon clip. the students were asked to prepare little monologues, dialogues, and sketches in groups and make small presentations on the subject with the help of online pictures from home.. students came back to school with PPTs which they made at home, probably with their parents’ help. Everybody was given a chance to show their work to the class and the teacher was surprised to see that their imagery was much more colorful and inventive. Some used every color of the rainbow in their short texts; others found funny pictures and soundtracks to go with their Ppt. These new technologies in the classroom could facilitate students and teacher in teaching and learning process. ICT has been publicized as potentially powerful enabling tools for educational change and reform. The computers play a significant role in the learning process, especially in learning the language.

As Hartoyo (2008) stated in his book, a computer is a tool and medium that facilitates people in learning a language. The need for technological innovation has brought the communication revolution and rapid development of technological application in teaching and learning. Every school has used the ICT to facilitate the teacher to teach the students in the classroom. Many kinds of application that they use in the classroom improved and enhanced the better lesson.

The integration of ICT in the field of language learning is inevitably known that the ICT and language learning are two aspects which support each other like two sides of the coin inseparable (Hartoyo, 2010). Fortunately, the use of Computer Assisted-Learning language (CALL) has increased noticeably by English teachers. Consideration of Computer Assisted Language Learning is using a computer. This tool is flexible, rich and interactive. It is flexible in the term of time and place. This is due to the computer’s ability to present material is more diverse ways than either book or video does. In addition, CALL is able to generate interaction and improve communicative competence, including providing authentic material to the class or self – learning. The method focuses on computer utilization to enhance language learning.

The use of ICT in education is absolutely required. ICT is also used in terms of finding learning materials from the original source. In finding articles from international journals, the students can get it just by sitting in front of computers connected to the Internet network Learning materials that have been obtained and copied and transferred to the USB, it can also be printed directly so that it can be used as learning materials. At the recent time teaching and learning are facilitated by computer has been the demand.

According to Kent “ICT in education point of view refers to “information and Communication Technology (ICT) such as computers, communications facilities and features that variously support teaching, learning and a range of activities in education (QCA Schemes of Work for ICT in Kent County Council. 2004). Moreover, the term information and Communications Technologies includes technologies in which the computer plays a central role, i.e. Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), the internet, and variety of generic computer application (Fitzparick and Davies, 2002)

The development of information technology, the Internet, directs the history of educational technology in the new groove. Online services can be composed of various stages of the process of educational programs such as registration, test entry, payment, learning, case assignments, case discussions, exams, assessments, discussions, and announcements.

Electronic Books

Electronic book or e-book is one that utilizes computer technology to deliver multimedia information in. In an” e-book can be integrated impressions” sound, graphics, images, animations, and” movie” so that the information presented is richer than conventional books. Type e-book of the simplest is a mere transfer of conventional books into an electronic form displayed by the computer. With this technology, hundreds of books can be stored in a single piece of solid disc / CD” or” compact disk (capacity of about 700MB), DVD or digital versatile disc” (capacity 4.7 to 8.5 GB) and ‘ ‘flash” (currently available capacity up to 16 GB). A more complex and require more rigorous designs such as the Encyclopedia Britannica and Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia which is in multimedia format. The multimedia format allows e-book provides not only written information but also sound, images, movies and other multimedia elements. A description of the type of music, for example, can be accompanied by footage of the sound of music so that the user can clearly understand what is meant by the renderer. •

E-learning

Various definitions can be found for the” e-learning”. Victoria L. Tinio, for example, states that” e-learning” includes learning at all levels, formal and informal, which uses a computer network (intranet and extranet) for the delivery of teaching materials, interaction, and/or facilitation. For most of the process of learning that takes place with the help of the Internet is often referred to as online learning.

The broader definition proposed in the working paper SEAMOLEC, the e-learning is learning through electronic services. e-learning is learning by using electronic technology as a means of presenting and distributing information. Included in the definition of educational television and radio broadcasts is a form of e-learning. Although radio and television education is a form of e-learning, it is generally agreed that e-learning reaches peak form after synergize with internet technology.

Internet-based learning or web-based learning in its simplest form is the” website” are used to present learning materials. This method enables learners to access learning resources provided by the speakers or facilitators whenever desired. If it is necessary that may also be provided mailing list specifically for the learning website that serves as a forum for discussion. E-learning facility” complete” provided by a special software called software or learning management LMS (learning management system). Current running LMS-based Internet technology so it can be accessed from anywhere over the available access to the internet. Facilities provided include the management of students or learners, learning materials management, learning management, including management of learning evaluation and management of communication between learners with facilitators.

This facility enables the learning activities are managed in the absence of face-to-face between the parties involved (administrators, facilitators, learners or learners). ‘Presence’ the parties involved are represented by e-mail, chat channel, or via video conference. In today’s era where information and communication technology is rapidly developed and turns out to be a lifestyle for people throughout ages and places, its literacy has undoubtedly become a prior necessity. The sensitivity of the technology helps one in attending a more important task and in attaining a higher achievement in the area of education, professional career, and social relationship at which its literacy is a major requisite. ICT which stands for Information and Communication and Technology is elaborated as follows.

a. ICT

ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots. So ICT is concerned with the storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmission or receipt of digital data. Importantly, it is also concerned with the way these different uses can work with each other.

Information

Information means the processed data in a meaningful and purposeful form according to Shore in Hartoyo (2012:2)

Communication

According to Potts, communication is defined as a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding. Brown (2011) stated communication is a transfer of information from one person to another, whether or not it elicits confidence. But the information transferred must be understandable to the receiver.

Technology

Technology derived from the word ‘techno’ which means technique, art or skill, and ‘logos’ which means science. Therefore, technology can be defined as a scientific knowledge of art or skill.

Based on the definitions of the three components, ICT as a whole can be described as the utility of technology to support the effort of conveying information and communication particularly in the area of education. The technique includes digital technologies mostly of electronic information – processing technologies, such as computers, internet, mobile phones, networks, broadband, and so on.

b. The benefits of ICT in general

ICT is found to be advantageous in several ways as mentioned by Herington (2002), (1) technology facilitates exposure to authentic language; (2) technology provides the access to wider sources of information and varieties of language; (3) technology gives the opportunity to people to communicate with the world outside; (4) technology allows a learner-centered approach; (5) technology develops learner’s autonomy. ICT help people in order to get information and to communicate each other in wider range.

c. ICT Tools in Language Context

There are some kinds of technologies classified into information and communication technology commonly used in language context, such as:

Interactive multimedia

Interactive media is the integration of digital media including combinations of electronic text, graphics, moving images, and sound, into a structured digital computerized environment that allows people to interact with the data for appropriate purposes. The digital environment can include the Internet, telecoms and interactive digital television. (Finney, 2011:2)

Computer

The computer can be utilized with other multimedia learning devices or it can stand alone (a standard PC) and still serves its basic purpose as an electronic medium of language learning. (Hartoyo, 2012:29).

The computer is an electronic device which is capable of receiving information (data) and performing a sequence of logical operations in accordance with a predetermined but variable set of procedural instruction (program) to produce results in the form of information or signals based on Oxford dictionary. It is consist of CPU, monitor, keyboard and some other apparatus.

Audio devices

Audio devices can be used with other media to form an interactive multimedia. However, it can also be utilized separately as an independent tool. Audio devices include a speaker, earphone, CD, and etc.

Internet

The Internet can be used as a medium of language learning through email, www (world wide web), text, audio and video conferencing.

Television

According to Oxford dictionary, television is a system for converting visual images (with sound) into electrical signals, transmitting them by radio or other means, and displaying them electronically on a screen.

Telephone

This telephone medium has not been widely used for language teaching because of the poor quality of analog transmissions. However, there is new invent of digital quality and lower connection cost which potential for conference calls.

Mobile gadget

Mobile gadgets such as cell phone and smartphone which are equipped with programs like a computer, which enable it to perform as a mini personal computer. By using this gadget and its internet connection, everybody could enjoy chatting, browsing, and discuss each other with the wider range. The advancement of science and technology makes the size and price of those gadgets are getting cheaper and reachable.

Social interface

This media provides facility or example that enables an interaction between human and computer. People set up more interaction with the computer in a more intuitive way with less effort-through writing, voice, touch, eye movements, and other gestures. (Hartoyo,2012:34) This technology serves as the milestone of the recent development of interactive multimedia, audio-graphic computer teleconference, and interactive television via satellite (National Broadband of Employment, Education, and Training, 1993:5).

Interactive whiteboard

An interactive whiteboard or IWB is a large interactive display (such as a touchscreen monitor) which is connected to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computers’ desktop onto the board’s surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other devices.

d. Current application of ICT in English language teaching and learning

ICT defined as a technology which the function is to support the process of conveying information and communication. The ways of conveying information don’t have to be carried out directly between the communicator and the communicant. The development of ICT makes the process of communication between the communicator and the communicant can be conveyed in easy ways. They can communicate through telephone, internet, e-mail, satellite, television, video conference and so on. The process of those communications applies to language learning. In language learning, there is a communication between teacher and student. The process of learning is not always carried out by subjecting teacher and students in the certain room or a certain place directly. As the example, the teacher can use the internet as the medium to give lessons, assignments, or other information to their students.

In the context of language learning, ICT has an important role as the “media” bridging and enabling the learning process, or direct communication between students and teacher although they are not present in the same room or place in certain time. Language learning program can be created to enable students to learn the lessons with guidance, instruction, information or further explanation. ICT in language learning used as a reference book. The computer can store unlimited lessons or references, which can be accessed anytime, anywhere and accurately. Fitzpatrick and Davies (2002) in Hartoyo (2012) sets out the seven ways in which ICT used in language learning:

a) Presentation

Some material of language learning such as text-based materials, audio-video needs to present to the learners. Presentation helps learners in understanding the learning material well.

b) Practice

Some of the different exercises types are possible to be provided with ICT, incorporating the presentation stimuli in varying combinations of text, audio, and video format. ICT also offers the possibility of the analyzing learners’ responses with appropriate feedback. (Hartoyo, 2012:40)

c) Authoring

In applying ICT in language learning, the teacher can either purchase ready-made materials or create their own exercise materials using a variety of authoring tools based on Hartoyo (2012:40).

d) Computer-Aided Assessment (CAA)

Computer-Aided Assessment (CAA) is playing an increasingly important role in foreign language teaching and learning. This media used for testing and assessing students understanding after learning some courses.

e) Publishing

ICT tools exist to help teachers and learners or students in publishing or linked in their work in a local area network. ICT may use by the teacher and learners to help them publish their work in these ways:

Word – processors and Desk Top Publishing (DTP) software

Doing audio recording and editing tools to record interview, discussions, learning material and etc

Using digital camera and camcorder to record presentations, drama, role play, and so on

Powerpoint can be used as the medium to publish presentations

Web pages using web authoring tools

f) Communications

Technology can help learners and teachers to communicate with another. Some ICT tools which can use as the medium of information are 1) Email, which allows language learners to communicate with ‘web pals’ in other countries; 2) Tandem learning; 3) computer-mediated discussion; 4) web-based learning environment; 5) audio conferencing; 6) Video Conferencing.

g) Simulation:

The computer can act as a stimulus which generates analysis, critical thinking, discussion, and writing. A program which includes simulations is especially effective as stimuli. Examples of language learning tasks which ‘simulate’ real world tasks are: 1) Web Quest; 2) Action Mazes; 3) Adventure games; 4) Sunpower; 5) Expodisc; 6) “Real-life” simulations; 7) video conference.

ICT appears to give both advantages and disadvantages. ICT in language learning reduces the intimacy of students – teacher relationship that it may negatively contribute to students effective feelings in the process of learning. However, ICT appears as a ‘bridge’ to break the distance and ‘survive’ the learning. In case of distance, teachers can use ICT through video conference to enable them to teach or monitor the students learning the process. Therefore, the development of ICT is seen as a better way of teaching and learning a certain language compared to the existing methods. Through the internet, teacher or learners can obtain as many as possible sources related to the learned – language; such as text, songs, stories, etc. Those sources can contribute as models of the learned – language use in the real context and in a proper manner. In addition, the computer can also be used as a more interactive aid to support the learning of language compared to that of a tape recorder, or chalk and blackboard. However, you can see that many of the technology solutions available in the world of education can lead to confusion among the teachers on how to choose the right ICT technology solutions. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of ICT tools for education and finding a suitable ICT education solution for the needs of the school.

Advantages:

The information required will be more quickly and easily accessible for educational purposes

The progress of ICT will also allow the development of virtual classroom or classroom-based teleconference that does not require the educator and learners to be in the same room. System administration in an institution will be more easily and smoothly manageable because of the application of ICT systems.

Disadvantages:

The progress of ICT will lead to the violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for the easy access to the data.

Although the system of the administration of an educational institution like a system without a gap, if there is a recklessness in running the system would be dangerous.

One of the negative impacts of television is to train children to think short and survive concentrated in a short time (a short span of attention).

ICT is a form of advanced science technology must be an optimized function, especially in the implementation of learning. ICT provides opportunities for students in the era of global competition needs to obtain adequate supplies. through innovative ICT-based learning can provide vast opportunities for students to have competence on an international scale. On the other hand, mental attitude and self-reliance in accessing any information necessary for learning independently influence the value of teaching student’s character it does not always depend on others. Mastering current tick is a necessity for every human being inedible age. as well as in education, innovative learning, especially learning can be done by using the Internet to generate device-based learning ICT

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