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Today technology provides new chance to increase the effectiveness of language learning and teaching. Incorporating well-organized and effective technology into second language learning and teaching for improving students' language skill has been refine by researchers and educators for many decades. As advancing technology has become accessible for English as a foreign language (EFL) learners and teachers and has been combined into EFL learning and teaching, researchers' interest in the relationship between technology and foreign language has grown stronger. Based on the rapidly changing evolution of technology, it is important for language teachers to with utilizing of technology improving students' motivation successfully.
The use of technology in teaching second languages has been increasing unexpectedly over the past few years. University language departments and U.S. government agencies' language training divisions are put into effect various technologies into the course of study on a regular basis. Several school districts across the nation are creating special strongly attractive high schools where technology, international studies, and second languages are emphasized. The use of technology in EFL learning and teaching included films, radios, language laboratories, videos, and computers after the 1980s. Although technology is becoming a bigger part of both in-class and home study, as the traditional use of audio and films is supplemented by computer-assisted instruction and interactive media technologies.
"With the focus on language, communication, and culture in the national standards for foreign language learning (Standards, 1999)", foreign language teachers are continually searching for better ways of accessing reliable materials and providing experiences that will improve their students' knowledge and skills in these areas. As the Internet has transformed communication around the world; it is natural that it should play a major role in the foreign language classroom.
The instant worldwide connections enabled through the Internet have changed the way people everywhere think about communication, information, and doing business.
We can share all sorts of things with the world, get reliable materials from anywhere, and interact with people in distant locations as never before. How can Internet software enhance the classroom experience?
"Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Research," provides additional strategies when instrument of technology in the classroom benefits of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), especially in the areas of improving English language acquisition among English Language Learners (ELLs). A large number of studies in CALL show that ELLs experience increased and equalized participation, better language quality and increased product, and greater opportunities to argue meaning when instructional technology is use to support learning.
One of the first steps in technology-assisted instruction is to decide which technological medium is the most appropriate one for the language skills to be developed during a particular period of time. Some technologies lend themselves better to the acquisition of certain language skills than others.
Computers and computer networks. Computer-assisted instructional (CAI) programs are ideal for growth reading and writing skills in learning language. CAI can be used by groups or individual students within a classroom or media center, or over local or long-distance computer networks. For example e-mail can bring outside world into the classrooms and as a result, student can be displayed to other culture and broaden their perspective. Students waiting for a message to arrive from another classroom or another country are highly motivated to read that message, and in turn, to respond in writing to this real form of communication.
Also web course management software is designed for creating and managing online courses but can also be used to support and develop a traditional class by making materials with teacher notes, list, outline, and assignments available to the students through the Web.
Educators with learning activities and using principles of instructional technology by offering sample lesson plans, learning activities, Web-based resources, classroom implications, and a variety of teaching strategies for classroom teachers to use when growth an acquisition-rich environment in middle and high schools. The strategies do not require the classroom teacher to have an extensive background in technology or a room filled with state-of-the-art computers. Rather, many of the examples involve classrooms with only one computer and require only average computer skills. Many websites and resources are ready to help teachers, and show teachers how to make web based exercises, create social networking sites, use podcasts and PowerPoint, games, start Wikis, and even incorporate text messaging. These things allow language to be used and manipulated in creative and amusing ways.
Electronic tools also enable students to create their own assessment tools.
Teachers should be aware of language production software programs, including reading, writing, listening and speech instructional technologies specifically for ELLs.
Most EFL students seldom have the chance to speak English and are not completely confident in their English speaking and listening abilities. To help these barriers, teachers can incorporate technologies such as Podcasting and Skype into the course to successfully socialize students for English speaking environments, develop their confidence, overcome their difficulties, and lower their anxieties and shyness when speaking in front of people. Such technologies also create comfortable and safe settings that enhance self-esteem for students to better develop their language proficiency naturally for use in their daily lives.
In order to enhance ESL/EFL students' learning productivity as well as stimulate their second/foreign language learning interests, teachers, administrators, course designers, program developers, and all technological experts are encouraged to cooperate together to best develop well-organized technological programs that combining different kinds of computer technologies to assist ESL/EFL students to learn second language effectively and properly.
The fundamentals reason that why educators need to incorporate
computer and its attached language learning programs into second language instructions because of computer technology will be able to provide students with (1) experiential learning, (2)motivation, (3) enhance student achievement, (4) reliable materials for study, (5) greater interaction, (6) individualization, (7) independence from a single source of information, and (8) global understanding. To be more specific, computer technology offers students multiple learning opportunities and activities to help them learn communicatively and actively. Such advantages can help students to strengthen their second/foreign language proficiency, build their self-esteems, excite their learning attitudes, and even develop their own learning styles.
In brief, through the creation of combining computer technology and the Internet, second/foreign language learners not only can explore their learning processes positively, but also extend their universal knowledge communicatively.
In fact, computer technology begins to be regarded as "active partners" than "passive assistants" (Debski & Gruba, 1999).
All students showed positive attitudes to using the teacher-selected websites in their second language learning and considered that the Internet provided a useful tool during their second language learning. Conclusion suggested that second language teachers can integrate appropriate online reference books and commercial websites into their ESL/EFL course design to better help them create more reliable and active learning results.
Traditional classroom arrangement appears to lack a two-way communication and interaction between teacher-student and student-student. In order to best satisfy students' learning needs as well as catch their focus on learning, a technology enhanced language learning environment (TELLE) is encouraged to replace the traditional structural classes which only allow teacher-fronted instruction. TELLE provides students with a communicative environment to work individually, with partners, or even with group members to more effectively and efficiently complete their classroom task (Li Li Lin, 2009). Such a best practical learning environment not only helps students to learn meaningfully and communicatively, but also allows teachers to guide students more smoothly.
Although many advantages to using technology have been proposed almost ubiquitously by researchers in the field of education (Butler-Pascoe & Wiburg, 2003; Lai, 2006; Brown, 2007, Li Li Lin,2009), it is not as easily put into effect as it seems. Difficulties in technology put into effect within study course arise because of the following reasons: first of all, most teachers lack adequate technology training and basic technology knowledge to effectively help students in second language learning and teaching. It is also an issue when the majority of EFL teachers are skilled in the teacher-centered instruction. Therefore, it may be difficult to motivate educational systems to accept improved ways of training new teachers, as well as to motivate the already established teachers to accept technology into their teaching. The second is that some private schools may not have enough amount of money available to afford expensive hardware and software because of poor economic situations in today's society. Regarding limited money and lack of sufficient equipment, schools may not easily combine computer technology into classroom teaching.
Another reason is that low-income families may not have ability to buy computers because of their restricted economic condition and at last some software of CALL programs are still not fully relevant to teaching the four fundamental English skills, such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing. "Warschauer (2004) indicated that rather than focusing on the correctness of a user's speech, it is better to evaluate a program by how it evaluates students' language "appropriateness" as well as to provide students with appropriate technology."(Li Li Lin, 2009).
However, with technology-assisted instruction, there are changes in both teacher and student roles. Students are given more responsibility for their own learning, while the teacher serves as a guide and resource expert who spread among students, working individually or in small groups with a technology-assisted lesson. Teachers observe more of the learning process in action and serve as a guide in that process.
The new technologies offer many possibilities to the second language learner. The
effectiveness of these technologies depends on appropriate use by informed educators.
Finally, it is necessary for the foreign language teacher to combine these tools into the course in a "pedagogically sound" and meaningful way. Indeed, aim of language communication and cultures are easily accessible through current and revealing technologies, and information about using these resources is readily available online. The brave and creative teacher will dare into this virtual reality, find reliable resources, and use them to make the second language classroom a wonderful place to learn.
Predictionally, teachers around the world whom operatively employ technology in their language teaching can influence students' communicative learning outcomes and actively enhance their learning motivation. Ultimately, both teachers and students can utilize from these 21st century technological teaching tools. In fact neither textbooks nor technology can replace the live interaction of the language teacher.