ICT in English Teaching- written assignment-f version

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ICT in English Teaching- written assignment-f version

  1. 1. Buroni, Andrea Aplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2010 ICT IN ENGLISH TEACHING - 2010 Written Assignment for Final Exam The internet has changed the way in which people communicate and interact with each other, basically because it offers a lot of possibilities for networking and linking and exchanging information with a new community, the online community. The chapter I will be discussing throughout the current essay is called “The Use of Weblogs in Language Education” which explores the use of weblogs and compares them with the traditional paper journal. The author wonders how far weblogs might modify the writing and reading in a foreign language and create brand new genres for which learners need novel forms of literacy. As a consequence, there seem to be a couple of statements to discuss, such as: “learners are aware of the social interaction taking place through weblogs and this awareness of audience influences the writing process.” (Raith, p. 274) The author carried out a research project to find out whether what I have mentioned before is real or not. Raith’s intention is to point out that this Web 2.0 application has created a new place in which the learner can practise the foreign language and take advantage of the fact that this writing is in constant change because the author and the audience will construct it together. In the early days of weblogs, a lot of knowledge in programming was required in order to operate them. Since 1999, Blogs have become more accessible and easier to handle. Nowadays, to publish a comment on a weblog turns to be as simple as to send an email; anybody can do it. As Alby (2007) observes, “these phenomena go hand in hand with faster internet connections via broadband and flats rates that are affordable for the masses.”(Raith, p. 275) The blogosphere is growing continuously and this new community is part of students’ reality and it is useless to deny this up-to-the-minute approach which requires new teaching methods as well. “Bloggers construct content, are part of a discourse community, and blogs serve as an important source of information.”(Raith, p. 276) 1
  2. 2. Buroni, Andrea Aplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2010 What is the difference between paper journals and weblogs? According to the author, “the difference is that Web 2.0 is a Read/Write Web, and the reader can easily interact with the writer or can also become an author.”(Raith, p. 276) Richardson (2006) spots some contrast between blogging and traditional writing: “Writing stops; blogging continues. Writing is inside; blogging is outside. Writing is monologue; blogging is conversation.” (p. 31) And this very last sentence in the quotation shows that weblogs have created a new form of writing called “writing as social interaction” (Raith, p. 277) which demands new literacies, called multiliteracies, and generates new genres. All these demands require specific ways of teaching and learning and educators should be ready to face them. Moreover, teachers have to guide learners to see that author and reader of weblogs become members of a new (online) discourse community, in real time in which the practice of the writing skill turns out to be secondary because the objective of the activity tends to be to get ready to interact in real life. Raith (2009) wonders up to what extent writers are aware of the potential audience (this unknown/known online reader) of their blogs and if this awareness affects the writers’ composition positively or negatively. Ward (2004) mentions that this potential and genuine audience may motivate learners in the writing process and encourage them to express themselves. Hedge (2000) also supports this issue of the audience saying that it fosters good writing because it promotes meaningful communication. A study was conducted in Germany on a group of students of 9th grade who had English as a foreign language in order to measure the influence and impact of the audience on their writing. The study consisted of 29 cases in which the students involved had to accomplish the same task: create a journal about the book If you come softly by Jaqueline Woodson. The learners could choose to start a paper journal or a weblog where they had to write at least one post about each chapter of the book for a period of six weeks. The expected result of this study was to find out “how far students realize the 2
  3. 3. Buroni, Andrea Aplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2010 interactive character of the Web 2.0 and whether this changes their writing in terms of connective writing.” (Raith, p. 280) All in all, the study showed through the reading of the posts1 , guided interviews and questionnaires that students associated weblogs directly with a real and immediate audience which influences their writing. Students who wrote weblogs gave their own personal opinions and feelings in a considerable higher degree than those learners writing paper journals. It is said that collaboration and interaction in Web 2.0 are becoming progressively more important in a globalized world and this networking facilitates learners of a foreign language to communicate with others. However, it is important to deem the aspect of content: students should have something to say. The study has also shown that students who use Web 2.0 applications have their potential audience. As a conclusion, Raith (2006) claims that “Web 2.0 has transformed writing, in particular writing in weblogs. Moreover, Web 2.0 has changed language learning because speakers of a foreign language already use web 2.0 to communicate meaning and generate content in new genres, by using the foreign language as a lingua franca.” (p. 289) Educators should take advantage of these new authentic language practice applications, firstly by getting involved in this new world and secondly by including them in their classes. References: Thomas, M (2009) Hanbook of Research on Web 2.o and Second Language Learning. Japan: Nagoya University of Commerce and Business. 1 The term post, in this case, refers to both paper jounal and weblog posts. 3
  4. 4. Buroni, Andrea Aplicaciones de la Informática Educativa a la Enseñanza del Inglés INSPT – UTN 2010 The Future of Technology in ELT Sharma and Barret (2007) stated that “technology has changed forever what we do as language teachers” (p. 132) because it has provided teachers and students with new opportunities to practise and implement the foreign language away from the confines of the classroom. Technology is in constant transformation and development which make very difficult to predict what is coming because the change is inevitable and the technology that you are using today will be obsolete in a couple of years. Dudeney and Hockly (2007) mentioned the interactive whiteboard as one of the newest and most successful technological devices applied to the classroom. The authors considered that its success can be associated with the fact that this tool is a combination of a familiar instrument in the classroom, the board, and a computer which is placed in an invisible role so it does not interfere in the smooth running of the lesson. Some other applications are mentioned in this chapter, such as: Web 2.0, virtual learning, m-learning as regards the future of online learning. (Due to the number of words that I have to include in this brief piece of opinion, I will not define the above-mentioned applications.) Technology is among us and we can not deny its presence; on the contrary, we should take advantage of the knowledge that our students have in this field and exploit it. References Dudeney & Hockly (2007) How to Teach English with Technology. Malaysia: Pearson Education Limited. Sharma & Barrett (2007) Blended Learning: Using technology in and beyond the language classroom. Great Britain: MacMillan Publishers Limited. 4

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