Looking At New Technology In Schools English Language Essay

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Introduction

The development of the new technologies in the last decades has driven us to reflect on the possibilities multimedia can bring to the teaching of a foreign language, considering both advantages and drawbacks.

New Technologies are a useful tool for teaching and learning. Nowadays they are so important in all life's areas that we mustn't forget them in the teaching and learning process.

This research want to prove that learn a foreign language (English in this case) using new technologies improves the language acquisition (contents, concepts, aims, skills…).

I am working in two different classrooms. These classrooms are in the same level (5 years old children) and we are teaching the body in both. In the first classroom 'A' we are using the traditional teaching tools (Workbook, Teacher's book, posters and blackboard). In the other classroom 'B' we are using new technologies (cassettes, video, pc-games, internet...) apart from traditional tools.

I got my project´s purpose from my tutor. My tutor helps me to decide the purpose.

Technology can help us save time, stay organized, and proves learning a foreign language, English. Nowadays, it's an amazing time for technology in the classroom. Laptops, interactive whiteboards, and virtual platform are just some of the tools transforming the landscape of our classroom. We have to find creative ways to integrate technology into our lessons. Advocate for using technology effectively in your school and finding the best combination of traditional tools with new tools, can be a great way for improve my future practice. But to obtain a successful results teacher have to been prepared in new technologies and we always have to try to be up-to-date in this subject.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

My tutor helps me to find different articles about with my project research.

I have found two research works about the use of new technologies in the EFL. This is the summary. The first research issue concerns teacher cognition, which has been defined as "what teachers think, know, and believe and the relationships of these mental constructs to what teachers do in the language teaching classroom" (Borg, 2003, p. 81). This research issue complements TIRF's (The International Research Foundation for English Language) priority research theme concerning differences in access to and effective use of technology in English-dominant and non-dominant countries. In particular, the proposed study will investigate the relationship between EFL/ESL teachers' cognitions about technology and their classroom practices in order to identify the interacting and potentially conflicting factors that influence how they use computer-based technology in their classes.

The second research issue concerns the role of computer-based activities in promoting second language learning, which complements TIRF's priority research theme about the effects of informed instruction on language learning processes. More specifically, the proposed study will analyse the language-related episodes (Swain, 1998, 2000) that occur when learners carry out computer-based activities and will determine whether the linguistic knowledge targeted during their dialog is retained. In comparison with my research I have found some similarities and differences.

Similarities:

The three research works talk about the new technologies importance in the EFL.

Their conclusion is the same that our conclusion, the new technologies help to improve the learning of foreign languages.

Differences:

The first research work not only is about new technologies but also it appoints teachers' cognitions about technology. Nevertheless, our research work doesn't appoint anything about the teachers' cognitions.

The second work is very similar to my work but the research seems to be for older children because its activities are more difficult than my activities (It is necessary the children can read and write).

3. THE CONTEXT

The Santa Ana's School is located in Caspe, Zaragoza, in Coso Street. The school is a private / concerted belonging to the Congregation of Santa Ana Sisters, with ideology and Catholic coeducational system.Our school is settle in the center of the village. We are in a middle class school (State School) that counts with Pre- school (3-6 years old) Primary (6-12 years old) and Secondary (12-16 years old) classrooms.

I am going to research two pre-school classrooms, more exactly third level of pre-school (5 years old children).

The first class 'A' has twenty-four pupils, nine boys and twelve girls.

The second has twenty-five pupils, fifteen girls and ten boys.

The majority of pupils are five years old, but ten pupils (between the two classrooms) aren't five years old yet.

Both classrooms are very similar, there are inside the same kind of pupils but in the second classroom there is a boy difficulties to support his attention. The pupils are very heterogeneous, because in a pre-school classroom the children's development is different in each child. Their progress is different and the acquisition learning rhythm too.

I want a funny type of teaching and I always try to prepare classes with games or attractive materials.

In both class we use: English with Ellie 3 (Richmond publishing) this includes a didactic guide for teacher, cards for photocopy, and the workbook for the pupils, stickers, flashcards and posters. And sometimes we use modelling paste, and drawings. In the first class the materials we use are only English with Ellie 3.

In the second class we use:

English with Ellie 3

Dora Videos

Magic English

pc-games ('Aprende inglés con Abby', 'Inglés con los Lunnies')

Cds with songs about Ellie 3.

Internet (http://www.languageguide.org/im/body/eng/index.jsp)

Ellie pet.

Magic hats

I would like to investigate the differences in the both classroom and if it´s possible the pupils will acquire better and quickly all the concepts and the vocabulary with help new technology.

4. DATA COLLECTION

In early childhood education the monitoring of progress must be a continued work, so almost all materials used in class could serve us as tools for gathering data to analyse some problem in a pupil.

We are always going to use tools that allow us to work oral comprehension, oral expression and pronunciation.

The most important data gathering tools that we are going to use are:

Flashcards: cards with pictures of body parts that we are going to used them as a learning aid of vocabulary, as well as review it.[ See appendix ]

An activity which we can use with flashcards to detect failures in the acquisition of new vocabulary is:

"Game on the blackboard of Yes/No"

The teacher divides the blackboard in half vertically and draws a smiley face for the "Yes" and a sad one on the other side for the "No".

Children are placed upright in a row ranging from the blackboard until the back of the room, facing the blackboard.

The teacher shall take a flashcard and shall say in English the name of a body part.

If it matches what appears on the flashcard, the first child of the row has to bring on the side of the smiley face, and if not, he/she has to bring on the side of his face sad. If the pupil does well, the teacher will tell him/her: very good. If he/she is wrong, the teacher will show the flashcards and repeat the word that we had appointed, next teacher shall say "No". Then the child will place at the end of the row and the game will continues.

Other activity that may be useful to see how well the pupils has acquired vocabulary and who has not acquired the new vocabulary yet, is:

The teacher shows the children a flashcard, and she ask: what's this? When someone guess what, she will give her/him the flashcard. The game ends when all cards have been distributed.

Review activity card: that contains a boy picture (with eyes, mouth, nose, legs, arms,...). It will be used to review the worked vocabulary in all sessions (colours and body parts) and to evaluate the progress of children learning.

I am going to work the review activity cards like this:

In the last session, the teacher divides each pupil a review activity card. Teacher has to explain to the child that she's going to tell a colour (red, pink, yellow,..) and this means that the child has to catch a paint of the colour she has appointed. Then, with this paint colour children should colour the body part that teacher appoints below.

When they finish painting with different colours the body parts that appear on the activity card, the teacher collects review activity cards to correct, she returns them and then she asks children it introduced into the portfolio.

To end this section is important to note that we use the same data gathering tools in both classes.

Observation/diary: In early childhood education evaluation is based majority in the observation day a day. (see in appendix)

Questionnaires: At the end, I did a simple questionnaires , the teacher explain that they had painted the activities that they like the most and they had to cross the activities that they like less. (See in appendix).

Teacher´s information. Marks, notes ...

Timescale

The Action Research will take us around a month because this is the length of the unit. The unit consist in four principal lessons that one lesson lasts a week. Each lesson has two activity cards, one for every day. I am going to explain the day-to-day work. Every day we are going to do these things as a daily routine. At the beginning of the class teacher greets pupils, and they greet too. At the end, the teacher and pupils say goodbye. Material to research:

Observation card for pupil.

Flashcards

Review activity card

Blackboard

Observation/diary

Questionnaires

Teacher´s information

Day 1: The teacher explains vocabulary in relation to face (eyes, nose, ears, and mouth).

Pupils have to repeat all the vocabulary and to touch the part of the face.

Then the teacher explains the activity card and pupils do it.

In classroom 'A', pupils draw a face in the blackboard with the teacher's help. And in the classroom 'B' pupils draw the same and they listen the song 'in a tree' and the 'Sticking song' while they are working.

After that teacher explains the activity card's back and pupils do it.

Day 2: Teacher and pupils repeat all the face's vocabulary, and they learn two new words (arm and leg).

In the classroom 'A' pupils play with teacher hiding or showing the face's part that the teacher says.

In classroom 'B' they do the same but with the song 'Everyone hide/show me your eyes/mouth/nose/ears'.

In both classrooms teacher explains the photocopy 'mouth/eyes/ears/arm/leg'

When they finish in classroom 'B' they watch a Dora's video.

In classroom 'A' Children draw their own faces.

Day 3: The teacher revises the colours (red, yellow, blue, green), the numbers (1,2,3) and the shapes (circle and square) with the pupils.

She explains the activity card.

Pupils play with modelling paste making shapes with different colours.

In classroom 'B' pupils listen 'the shape song'.

Then the teacher explains the activity card and pupils do it.

After that teacher explains the activity card's back and pupils do it.

Day 4: The teacher revises colours, numbers, shapes and the concepts boy and girl with the pupils.

Teacher and pupils play with flashcards 'Ellie's biscuits'. They have to say: What shape is it? And How many squares/circles are there?

She hides some biscuits and children have to guess the shape and number.

In both classrooms teacher explains the photocopy 'Boy, girl, one, two, three, circle. Square'. And pupils do it.

In classroom 'B' they listen 'Colouring song'. Later they see a magic English video number 13.

In classroom 'A' teacher reads a story.

Day 5: The pupils revises colours, parts of body and animals (monkey, mouse, duck, hippo).

In classroom 'A', the teacher reads the story 'Goal!' while she is showing story cards.

In classroom 'B' they listen the story 'Goal!' while the teacher is showing story cards.

In both classrooms the teacher shows animal's flashcards and she asks for a pupil to order the flashcards as they appear in the story.

Later they listen the story again to test the correct order.

Teacher explains the activity card and pupils do it.

After that teacher explains the activity card's back and pupils do it.

In classroom 'B' the listen the 'Shape song: circle'.

Day 6: They revise parts of body touching them.

Teacher explains the activity card and pupils do it.

In classroom 'B' when they finish, they play with the computer game.

In classroom 'A' they draw the animal they choose (the animal's flashcards are on the blackboard to copy them).

Day 7: Pupils revise the learned concepts.

The teacher puts a poster on the wall, and play: look a monster! How many eyes/legs, etc? What colour is this leg/head, etc?

They play with the poster again taking off the things that the teacher says. Example: Take off one eye, take off two legs, take off the blue arm…

Teacher shows pupils the flashcard about two children who play with a press-out. Look at the boy/girl. What can you see in the tree? They are playing Snap. The boy and the girl are saying: 1,2,3. Nose. Snap

Pupils make the press out.

Teacher explains the game Snap! And pupils, in pairs, play to Snap!

In classroom 'A' the teacher says a part of body and the pupils show it in the press-out.

In classroom 'B' they listen the song 'In a tree' and they show the correct part of body.

Day 8: Teacher shows a flashcard and pupils say the part of body. She repeats with several flashcards.

Teacher shows a flashcards to four pupils, and they touch this part in their bodies. The other pupils repeat the part of body.

Teacher puts a monster's poster on the wall, and she covers the monster.

Pupils guess what is monster like?

Teacher revises shapes circle and square.

Teacher explains the photocopy 1.4 and children do it.

5. DATA ANALYSIS

At the beginning, I have been working in early childhood education. The context was real, and the majority of materials are used in the EFL classrooms. The rest of materials have been designed or adapted for this research.

I am in contact with all EFL teachers. They showed me the materials that they are using for teaching.

I told with them about my actions research and they helped us with their experiences about this issue. They agreed with me because they can see every day how the children love working with the new technologies.

The children use to have many new technologies at home (computer, pc-games, videogames, videos, DVDs, …). When children use new technologies in class they think they are playing and they enjoy and the same time they are learning.

On the other hand, I collected my information and try to analyse my data using the data collection and my daily of this project.

6.FINDINGS

With regard to question that I made: How new technologies help to improve the English learning acquisition?

I have proved new technologies are useful and motivate tools for the teaching and learning process. I have noticed that children are able to remember better the worked concepts with easy songs because the music supports the words, i.e. melody helps to remember faster and better the vocabulary and the pronunciation. Nevertheless, classroom 'A' pupils would have to make more effort to memorize the same words. With the rest of new technologies happens the same. Other example is computer and the projector; the computer games teach English and they make easier the second language learning, because they are interactive, and they help children to associate words, sounds and pictures.

It is demonstrated it's very important the game in early childhood education and playing is the better way for learning, because playing helps children's integral development.

With activity results I have proved the motivation is very important because facilitates the learning acquisition. When the children have fun they learn better.

Although it is better to use the new technologies for the teaching and learning process, it is important to say the activities in classroom 'A' have been useful too for language acquisition.

The children have learned the concepts using funny material (modelling paste, stories…)

The results:

7. CONCLUSION

In conclusion this is the outcomes of my project: The motivation is very important too to learn a new language. For example, when teacher say: Silence please! Usually they had to repeat two or three times but if you play the cd- player, or see a video or listen a song, in general, all the attention of the students is captured in a second.

In classroom 'A' the pupils would learn same concepts but they learn slower than classroom 'B', and the teacher would need to repeat the same concepts more times.

In classroom 'B' the pupils would pronounce better thanks to CDs and videos because pronunciation of this resources is done by native English, this way, children listen other pronunciations and not only the teacher's pronunciation. It is amazing the memory in this child, class B, their pronunciation, and their attention, and their smile when it´s English time!

I find invent the activities for classroom 'A' more difficult than the activities for classroom 'B' because nowadays some technologies (like video, CDs) are present in all schools, in fact, all English learning books contains CDs with songs stories and interactive activities.

According to my results, I think use new technology with traditional tools, can be a good option. These resources are positive for teaching, apart from they help us, they motivate students and make easier teaching-learning process.

On the other hand, it´s very important to be up to date with new technology and have time to practice and prepare the class. In this case, teacher is learning to use a Digital Whiteboards in Pre-School and they learn to use a new education platform for this school.

The most difficult in this project for me was to collect data in this level. They are four-five years old so they didn´t read and write and less in English. And it was hard too, to have to change activities in ten minutes more or less, they are little and need to change the activities to support their attention.

In this study I have learn it is possible to learn English in pre-school, the importance of motivation have in the learning process and the new technologies could be a great resources in learn English in combination with traditional tools. Traditional tools are a good way if you always are up to date with new methods.

The limitations of this study for me are, firstly I couldn´t work with Digital Whiteboards, next the time research is short and finally the age of the students.

So these are some improvements that I would make if I could repeat this study. Some of them are:

Use a video to record the session.

Probably I could introduce a really new technology like Digital Whiteboards, it is a very new resource that still is not used in many schools.

I haven't used it in this action research because I am learning to use it. When I will be able to use it we will use it, because is a resource very useful and novel. If you have a digital Whiteboard it won't be necessary to have other resources (video, cassette, projector, …). In this school, there is a Digital Whiteboards in Secondary and their students and teacher are very pleased with them.

I probably chose other student level for my project, for example, second or third level of Primary because they can speak, read and write.

I would like to have more time to do this study. In my opinion a month it´s a very short period for do a research. The new activities are always more attractive. Perhaps along the second quarter the results could be more real.

The new question it´s what type of methodology is the appropriate to learn English in pre-school and why?

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