Bringing Technology to EFL Classroom: World Wide Web (www)
This article tries to explore about the global use of internet in the language classroom highlighting several solutions to it. It tries to explain how the global use of World Wide Web is useful to connect with the interest of our learners by enhancing the professional development of English language teachers. It provides various examples of web addresses followed by their short annotated descriptions. It also suggests some practical solutions to browse and save those contents on our computers.
Key Words: internet, blog, browsers, on-line, information technology
English language is regarded as one of the most widely used means of human communication under the sun. It has been in use in almost all fields of human life. English language teaching methodology is influenced as much by linguistic theories as by advances in science and technology. Sophisticated computers, multimedia computers and word processors have virtually contributed a lot for actual practice of language teaching.
Due to the rapid growth and expansion of information and communication technology (ICT), the world is becoming smaller and smaller. This is why; we can view the world with a single click of a mouse. This characteristic of information technology facilitates English language teaching through the use of computers. The learners can get a variety of opportunities to brush up themselves in various skills and aspects of the English language just staying at home. Regarding listening, students may get maximum opportunity to listen input at the computers with appropriate comprehension questions, easily controlled repetition and immediate playback. They can hear the rhythms and accents of the language as spoken by native speakers. Regarding speaking, a speaking recognition technology is adopted to permit the shy students to speak up. Voice and video e-mail play an important role in the design of speaking activities. Likewise, reading, skill programmes are used to enhance reading speed by paced reading activities. Jigsaw paragraphs or jumbled texts can be used to enhance reading in which limited time in provided to read the text just after the time limit the text-lines scroll. Regarding writing, word processing has maximum impact on the pre-set writing habit of the learners.
Hence, as an obedient tool, the language teacher has this machine to teach all four aspects of language effectively. A computer has very important role in the provision of exposure to target language environment to learners; and to motivate them towards learning materials. It is, therefore, regarded as an aid for teaching English.
Use of Internet
The internet has become a chain of a huge network of connected computers, linked across the globe. The World Wide Web (www) is the part of the internet where information can be accessed. It contains ever expanding number of pages which we navigate by using web browsers such as internet explorer, Mozilla, Netscape, Safari, or Google’s chrome. Email, as a part of internet, is a means of communication rather than accessing information. Internet offers many opportunities for students and teachers to compose materials other than using paper-pencil works. We teachers or our students largely depend on the hard copy materials, such as books, teachers’ note, etc. In this regard, internet provides a diverse form to the pedagogical orientation than the traditional practices. For Lewis (2009,) some advantages so using the World Wide Web in our classrooms.
The internet provides authentic content: students and teachers get limitless ‘real’ content in the target language. They can read a real menu, find out when a train leaves Paddington station; listen to a sports broadcast, or watch a movie trailer. The internet can complement your course book by bringing language learning to life. Let’s not forget that the internet also provides teachers with lesson plans, ideas banks, test generators, and pretty much anything else you would want to know as a teacher.
The internet offers meaningful language: Studies have shown that students learn language better when the language they are exposed to is meaningful. The internet creates contexts for language use which, through their authenticity, become purposeful in the eyes of the students. The students actively manipulate the language for a clear and logical purpose.
The internet promotes critical thinking skills and ‘constructivist’ learning: On the internet, knowledge is transient. Unlike course books which transmit information in a predictable order, working with the internet is constantly evolving. Students make choices and ‘construct’ knowledge every time they go online. Each search is unique.
The internet reduces focus on the teacher: Working with the internet can take the focus off you and shift communication from teacher-student to student- student. It you are a bit unsure of your own English-language skills, authentic listening and reading from the internet can help model the language you want to teach.
Internet-based work can increase motivation: It is colorful, exciting, and undeniably ‘cool’. Computers and the internet are a key component of youth culture and lend language learning street-credibility.
Students can be benefitted largely by the use of internet network. They can also be involved in chatting online. They can be able to their own first language such as our Nepali language and can chat in English as well. Teachers can organize real time chatting events by using programs like: Google talk or MSN or Yahoo Messenger or face book. It is also easy to set up a chain of network such as groups where people can exchange messages with each other, such as Yahoo groups. Many dictionaries are freely available by the help of internet. One of the potent ways of sharing the people about your creative ideas is the weblog or blog. This is like a public diary that anyone can see or you can design yourself for institutional purpose. It is free of cost. It helps you to tell others what you want to share and get constructive feedback on it. Blogging is not difficult and there are many websites that can help you to create your own personal such as: www.blogger.com
Browsing the web is the door to the World Wide Web. When we browse the website, web browsers read html code they receive from a website. The code tells the browser to display the information on our computer. If we have this plug- in our computer, it will immediately open it and display the requested content. If it is not available on our computer, we need to download the plug-in from the World Wide Web. Some of the plug-in that are essential to be installed in our computer are:
Media players (such as real player, windows media player, or quick time) allow us to play video and audio files.
Adobe acrobat allows us to display documents formatted as PDFS (files which can be read without a word processing programme)
Flash and shockwave allow us to open web animation files.
Java is a programming system of language which can be used across multiple computer platforms, making it very practical.
In the recent times, there are a number of web browsers available to download free from the World Wide Web. If a web-browser is your gateway to the internet, a search engine is our guide to contents. When we know the URL (Web address) of each site which we wanted to visit, these remains no need of search engine. When we click a simple topic, these appear 100 million websites and 85 million individual web pages displayed on our computer screen. In this mis confusion among the people, e-programmers have created search engines in order to help people to find their way around the internet, ‘Google search’ has become a common search engine, in the today’s world, Like wise ‘yahoo search’ etc. The world has become so much narrower with the help of computer search engines. People create their own personal blogs, web-pages, business sites, job-sites with the help of internet sources.
Web-search engines or e-sources has become a successful means of collecting, sharing our feelings, knowledge, and researches. The trend of online study, face to face chat, and online discussion has become a popular concept in the globe today. Here, I have tried to mention some important URL (Web address) which could be largely useful for English language teachers to derive their professional goals in connection to e-world and helpful to bring the technology into the classroom.
Many (but not all) of these websites have interactive activities which you can use in your schools if there is a computer room or you can recommend to students to access the activities at home.
SPEAKING and PRONUNCIATION WEBSITES
READING, SHORT STORIES and LITERATURE WEBSITES
www.aesopfables.com/ www.darsie.net/talesofwonder/ www.andersenfairytales.com/en/main www.jkrowling.com/
http://repeatafterus.com/index.php www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/mythology/mythology.html http://www.webenglishteacher.com/
www.readwritethink.org/index.asp: www.fictionpress.com/ www.englishbiz.co.uk/index.html www.midlandit.co.uk/education/writingtips.htm www.planet.eon.net/~bplaroch/Write.html
BBC websites include:
YOUNG LEARNER WEBSITES
The Exploratorium Museum
Study Skills, Reference Resources, and Research Strategies
Dictionary and Thesaurus Resources
Your Dictionary, A Global Language Resource
Columbia Encyclopedia, from Bartleby
Helpful Study Skill Links
Advice on time management, test taking, note taking, and much more.
Journals and Magazines
English Teaching Forum (ETF) Online
Forum Electronic Journals
Language and Civil Society
Language and Life Sciences
Once you have added a basic structure (or, URL address) to your bookmarks, you can save in your computer. You can read it on your leisure period. Lewis (ibid, p.49) provides some procedure to organize our book marks:
• Open a search engine and search for two or three websites that you particularly like or that interest you.
• Bookmark the sites (add them to your favorites), then create two folders by clicking on the favorites menu.
• Click ‘organize favorites’/ ‘create folders’.
• Name the folders to reflect the content of the websites you selected.
• Select one of the websites you added, by left-clicking on the title with your mouse.
• While still holding down the mouse drag the favourite to one of the folders you created and release the mouse.
• Do the same for the other favorites you created.
• If you like, open one of the folders, select a link as above and drag it from its current folder to another folder on your favorites list. In this way you can reorganize your favourites according to your needs.
By the stages mentioned above we can easily save the selected documents in our computers. In the leisure period we can read those selected articles whenever we feel necessary.
The use internet in this e-world and e-classroom has occupied a greater space not only in the pedagogical orientation but also in the minds of many learners. Well, all e-materials may not be so authentic as we have speculated. It is us to verify whether internet site is authentic, valid, reliable or updated. If we can verify these matters we can occupy our in own space o in this global IT era to make us professionally equipped.
Suggestions for Further Reading
Bhattarai , G.R. and Gautam, G.R. 2005. English language teachers at the cross roads: The journal of NELTA Vol.10 No. 1&2, Nepal English Language Teachers Association.
Dudeney, G.2000 The internet and the language classroom, CUP, London
Harmer, J. 2010. The practice of the English language teaching, Person Longman
Lewis, G. 2010. Bringing technology into the Classroom. OUP, London.