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Review article

APPROACHES FOR LEARNING ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN THE DIGITAL ERA

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P. Jagadeeswari, PhD Research Scholar, Hindustan Arts and
Science College,

Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore.

 

Abstract

            Communication is an important medium
and an everyday requirement for knowledge acquisition and information sharing
in higher education. India has one of the largest English learners as a second
language in the world. Our country introduced the English language while the
Britishers began to taught  their people.
As the most of the people in India are first time learner, they are very eager
to learn and practice the language skills through Information Communition
Technology enabled tools. In view of emergence of the information communication
technologies, tools are developed to improve the writing, speaking and
vacabulary skills. A noticeable disconnect between the goals of students
(better writing and speaking skills) and a referred strategy (reading) points toward
a need to overtly teach learner strategies in order to make students  feel successful and thus empower them. This
paper reviews the various ICT tools to 
improving the learning, vacabulary and writing skills. It is observed
that qualitative approach has described the way multimedia devices, internet,
powerpoint, audio-visual aid are used to facilitate the teaching and learning
of English Language in class room teaching.

Keywords

ICTs,
Internet, Communication tools, Classroom interactions, skill developement.

Introduction

            The impact of new information and
communication technologies (ICTs) on globalization is so significant that it is
no longer exaggerated to say that the 21st century will most certainly be that
of advanced technological communication and culture. In other words, future
economic growth and development are likely to come neither from the
availability of natural resources, nor from manufactured goods, but from easy
access to information and communication networks and their interactive multimedia
applications. Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become a
fundamental part of our everyday lives in this technological age (Aborisade,
2012). Information and communication technology is a multi-dimensional concept.
Information and communication technology can be conceptualised in four
different ways namely: tools view, computational view, ensemble review and
proxy view (Harindranath and Sein, 2004). Using information and communication
technology as a tool sees it as a means to achieve something while the
computational view emphasizes the machine in it. As the globalaliation started,
communication and information technologies (ICT) have also changed the sphere
of education and research.

            The use of ICT is widespread in the
contemporary process of second language teaching and learning. The new
technologies are crossing over borders at a very faster rate than is possible
in physical terms. Suddenly, unexpected encounters with other languages and
cultures confront people throughout the world with new choices, objectives,
opportunities and challenges (Fitzpatrick, 2004). One of the most important
developments in second language learning over the past three decades has been
the realization of the importance of culture in learning countries. ICT have
undoubtedly facilitated the integration of authentic intercultural
communicative activities into the classroom. They have offered new
possibilities of access to plenty of current, up-to-date materials from the
countries of the target language and even to contact actual speakers of other
languages in distant locations.

            Canagrajah (1999) emphasized that
learners should learn “to use English not mechanically and diffidently, but
creatively and critically”. While developing students’ English language skills,
literature simultaneously appeals to their imagination, develops social,
cultural and political awareness and simultaneosly encourages critical
thinking. Literature can be helpful in the language learning process by
ensuring reader’s personal involvement in the acquisition process. While core
language teaching materials concentrate on language as a rule based system and
as a socio- semantic system, literature enables learners to achieve control
over second language going beyond mechanical aspects of the language system.

 

            Though ICT plays a powerful learning
environment for both learners and teachers (Smeets, 2005),  all over the world, the concern is very high
on the impact that electronic communication especially ICTs are having on the
development of teaching and learning techniques in general. It draws evidence
from our local good practice at FUNAAB, in e-Learning that has enriched the
English language learning experience of students who put under the practice.
This review is on the use of digital technologies (ICTs)/electronic
communication like internet, audio-visual aid, white board, power point
presentation and language lab to enrich classroom interaction and facilitate
teaching and learning.

 

Theoretical issues

            With the advent of computer, different
terms have been used which imply its overall usage in the sphere of language
education: CALI (Computer-Assisted Language Instruction, 1960s-1970s) based on
a teacher-centered approach (instructional); CALL (Computer Assisted Language
Learning, 1980) focused mainly on a student-centered approach; TELL
(Technology-Enhanced Language Learning, 1990) which refers to the use of the
computer as a technological innovation. Nowadays the term blended learning has
become commonly used, but it is not new. It is a combination of face to face
and computer assisted learning (CAL) in a single teaching and learning
environment (Neumeier, 2005). Many experts prefer to talk about Information and
Communication Technologies (ICT) rather than CALL, focusing mainly on communication
technologies which include Internet, ahats app, face book, wireless networks,
cell phones, and other communication media. Information and Communication
Technologies are concerned with the receiving inputs, storage, retrieval,
manipulation, transmission or receptionof digital data. The data is transferred
or communicated to people over long distances by electronic medium. In the past
three decades ICT have created “global information space” providing people with
scope of “lifelong learning” and improving vacabulary wrting and speaking
skills.

Audio-visual Devices

            Audio-visual devices such as CD /
DVD player, audiocassette recorder, video camera and computer programs continue
to be the most widely used by modern language learners. Their usage is justified
psychologically, as these are the auditory and visual organs that let the
learners get the main information about the surrounding world. Besides, such
information is easily available for perception and faster learning. The so
called “Communicative Language Teaching”, which is very popular
nowadays for the second language learners, gives credit to the use of the
“authentic language” as it is used in a real life context whenever
possible. “Structured Drills”, which are widely used in especially audio-lingual
method, make the process monotonous and these boring activities direct the
students to look for new tools and materials, to make the learning entertaining
and interesting. Computer programs designed for english language learning can
fall into four categories:

1)
Training programs.

2)
Monitoring programs.

3)
Information retrieval, information and reference programs.

4)
Computer assisted programs.

            There are some other classifications
of computer programs, but what we want to focus on is emphasize their
advantages over traditional teaching techniques. Their main distinct features
are multimedia devices (combination of different ways of information
representation) and interactivity (dialogue- relations between a computer tool
and a learner). They provide a large data capacity, it allows representing any
linguistic model in different contexts, learning, writing and speech
situations. In addition, computer programs stimulate learners ‘self-directed
learning, cognitive activity and intensify their learning and acquintence
skills. Learners can choose their own pace and exercises depending on their
level of language acquitance, it promotes stress relief and creates favorable
learning climate. Some programs have features of adding supplementary exercises
and enable learners to create their own software. learners can choose an
authoring program that best suits their learning skills and design materials
according to their learning level and learners’ needs (Jurich, 2001).

 

Internet

            Internet is one of the best ICT tool
which can be viewed through mobile, computer and lap top. With the emegence of
information revolution in our country, Internet accebility have reached all the
stakeholder of the learners like students and teachers. Teachers and learners
have at their disposal an instrument which combines all the advantages of
audio-visual aids. Internet being a key source of all kinds of information, it
has become an additional means of getting authentic audio and video materials.
Integrating information resources of the Internet in a language classroom
allows completing different tasks of english language.

 • To improve reading abilities with different
degree of complexity.

 • To enhance writing skills using e-mail, chat
etc.

 • To enlarge active and passive vocabulary
with contemporary language units.

 • To familarise the cultural features
including customs, traditions, speech etiquette of the country        of the target language.

            Dane and Maria (2004) reported that
RussNet is empowering programs of Russian at all levels to expand course
offerings into much-needed, new areas, while providing necessary support to
teaching faculty through online tutorials and regularly scheduled workshops in
the use and customization of learning modules. The long-term intent of the
program is to permit departments and faculties to redesign current course
offerings and to be able to respond affirmatively to requests from learners for
specialized courses in Russian for business majors, lawyers, or law-enforcement
professionals. Only then will foreign language study become truly mainstream.
Beyond school and university courses, RussNet also serves as a learning
resource for in-service professionals. It is intended as a virtual classroom
for academics, business executives, diplomats, journalists, or other
professionals who require quality-assured learning resources, whether to
explore and master new discourse domains, or undertake a refresher courses.
Such is the lifelong nature of all serious foreign language acquisition and
maintenance.

 

Interactive Whiteboard

            Interactive whiteboards is one of
the communication tool which have become popular over the last few years and
they seem to have a greater array of educational tools due to software
development. Designing learning process around interactive whiteboards helps
teachers ease their preparation, be more of 
client in their ICT integration and increase learning productivity in
general. Interactive whiteboard is a modern multimedia device and like a
regular white board. It provides possibilities of commenting on screen images
which can then be printed or saved like any other document. It improves
learning environment in several ways, including enhancing the level of student
engagement in the classroom, motivating students and promoting enthusiasm for
learning (Bacon, 2011). Interactive white boards helps many different learning
styles and are used in a variety of learning environments (Chapell, 2003).
Immediate Internet access while working with the interactive white board makes
it a unique tool to interact with digital culture, language content and
multimedia. English language learning activities may include.


Commenting on the teaching material, highlighting the error, correcting the
errors, addition of supplementary information.


Work with the text, translation of some sentences.


Typing using virtual keyboard and its viewing online.


Using numerous pictures helping to understand unknown words and make the lesson
more interesting.


Watching the websites/ video by the whole class.


Conducting online conferences and seminars to improve the communication.

 

Power point

            Digital technology (PowerPoint) is a
needed change in our english teaching situation. The benefits derivable and the
reality of being left behind without powerpoint should be emphasized and
stressed. In a language laboratory study conducted by Jones (2003), observed
that most (52.9%) of the students claimed they have a very good experience of
using PowerPoint and they often use it (51.0%). Majority also indicated that
they use digital technologies to reorganise information (76.4%), aid learning
(75.6%), make inferences (73.2%), make evaluative comments (68.3%) and locate
new ideas (65.0). These finding are corroborated with Aborisade (2012) and
Akeredolu-Ale et al.(2014) who
reported that PowerPoint enriches students’ learning experience in the
classroom. Amongst many other benefits, it encourages active note-taking based
on the course outline thereby facilitating better understanding of the courses.

 

Conclusion

            The research indicates that among
the many ICT tools avaialble for the english learning acquisition the following
ones can be  used effcectively: In this
age of digital explosion, language skills have become the most valuable asset,
making education sector to deliver as per the need. Indian state universities
have acknowledged the significance of ICT in present educational system able to
cope with the morden developments. In the emerging digidal driven knowledge era,
there is a great demand to develop the necessary digital skills to improve the
employablity of students.

1.
Hence the curriculum of the college level education should be suitably
transformed with ICT.

2.
The English Language teachers in turn should be familiar with advanced tools
and techniques to teach students.

3.
It is indeed a need to recommend that state universities should devolop the
computer literacy.

4.
universities should take a step for introducing a massive open online courses.

5.
Establishment of ICT clubs in every colleges apart from increasing the
accessibility and affordability of ICT 
tools will open a new vistas in improving the language skills.

 

            Digital
technologies like power point, audio-visual aid, internet and interactive
whiteboards are excellent aids for acquisition of english language. When used
appropriately and based on the creativity of the user, the digital technologies
are flexible tool to improve and facilitate the development of interactive
teaching and learning among faculty members and students.The concise nature of
digital tools is beneficial to the students as they are able to take in the
cogent points presented. Teachers should be involved in the preparation of the
contents and must be competent to present in the context of learning. Also
access to ICT tools should be provided in class rooms with an encouragement for
preparative viewing and practicing the vacabulary, reading, writing and
speaking of english language.

 

Reference

Aborisade, P. A. 2012.
Supporting English Language Teaching Using 21st Century ICT Tools.
English Language Teaching Today (ELTT). 9, pp.16-22.

 

Akeredoluale, B.I., Sotiloye, B.S.,
Bodunde, H.A and R. R. Aduradola. 2014 Impact of the digital age on the
Teaching and Learning of English and Communication Skills (ECS): Exploratory
Observations from A Nigerian University. Paper Presented at the 7th
Edition of the International Conference on “ICT for Language Learning.” Held at
Grand Hotel Meditarraneo, Firenze – Italy, between 13th and 14th
November, 2014.

 

Bacon, D.
2011. The interactive whiteboard as a force for pedagogic change. Information
Technology in Education Journal, 15-18.

 

Chapelle,
J. 2003. How Is the Interactive Whiteboard Being used in Primary School . Becta
Research Bursary. Retrieved February 15, 2014, from http: // www.virtuallearning.org.uk/whiteboards/ IFS
interactive whiteboards in the primary school.pdf.

 

Dane.E. D.
and Maria.D. L. 2004. Information and Communication technologies in the
teaching and learning of foreign languages: state of the art, needs and
perspectives. UNESCO.workshop P78. Mosco, Russia.

 

Fitzpatrick,
A. 2004. Information and Communication Technologies in the Teaching and
Learning of Foreign Languages: State-of-the-Art, Needs and Perspectives.
Analytical Survey, UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education,
Moscow. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://iite.unesco.
org/pics/publications/en/ 
les/3214627.pdf.

 

Harindranath,
G. and Sein, M.K. 2007. Revisiting the Role of ICT in Development. Proceedings
of 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers
in Developing Countries held in Sao Paulo Brazil, May 2007.

 

Jurich, S.
2001. ICT and teaching of foreign languages. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://www. techknowlogia.org/TKL
Articles/PDF/335.pdf.

 

Jones,
A.M. 2003. The Use and Abuse of PowerPoint in Teaching and Learning in the Life
Sciences: A Personal Overview BEE Journal 2; Accessed 20 April 2015 from

 

Neumeier,
P. 2005. A closer look at blended learning parameters for designing a blended
learning environment for language teaching and learning . ReCALL, 17/2,
163–178.

 

Smeets, E.
2005. Does ICT contribute to powerful learning environments in primary
education? Com- puters & Education, 44, 343–355. Retrieved January 28,
2014, from http://users.ntua.gr/vvesk/
ictedu/article4 smeets.pdf

 

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