THE USE OF ICT IN ENGLISH LEARNING
There are many kinds of media used in teaching and learning of English. The media used are developing from time by time. One of the media used in English learning is computer. Hartoyo (1993) states the development of information technology that has followed the development of computer technology has stimulated people especially those work in the field of education, such as teachers, curriculum planners and media designers, to endeavor to carry out experiments and studies on the possibilities of utilizing computers for educational purposes. This endeavor has increased with development of so-called hypertext (hypermedia) computer interfaces. Seeing this phenomena, it seems that next English learning will be more stimulating and more sophisticated as the use of computers media in learning. Writing this essay, the writer hopes can present an adequate topic about ICT in learning in the sufficient way and tries to highlight some aspects in ICT learning.
This essay aims to explain the short history of ICT in learning and its impact in learning.
Review of Related Literature
Any discussion about the use of computer systems in schools is built upon an understanding of the link between schools, learning and computer technology. When the potential use of computers in schools was first mooted, the predominant conception was that students would be ‘taught’ by computers (discussed by Mevarech & Light, 1992). In a sense it was considered that the computer would ‘take over’ the teacher’s job in much the same way as a robot computer may take over a welder’s job. Collis (1989) refers to this as “a rather grim image” where “a small child sits alone with a computer” (p. 11). During the late 1970s and early 1980s, computers became more affordable to schools, permitting a rapid decrease in student-to-computer ratios. While tutorial and D&P software continued to be developed (Chambers & Sprecher, 1984), a range of other educational software was developed that was not based on the premise of teacher replacement, for example, simulation software, modelling and tool software. However, the major argument used to support the introduction of greater amounts of computer hardware into schools concerned the perceived need to increase the level of computer literacy of students (Carleer, 1984; Downes, Perry, & Sherwood, 1995).
In the next development, towards the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s, while the computer literacy rationale still remained (Hannafin & Savenye, 1993; Hussein, 1996), the major rationale for having computers in schools was more concerned with the need to use computers to improve student learning (Welle-Strand, 1991). Broadly speaking, computer literacy is a component of Technology Education, which is distinct, but not necessarily separate from, using technologies such as computer systems to support learning and teaching processes. The latter is generally referred to as educational technology; and is applied to a wide range of technologies such as blackboards and chalk, pencils, books, and slide-rules to television, facsimiles, and computers.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, educators have been particularly concerned that very little of the potential of computers to support learning in schools seems to have been realised, despite a sufficient installed base of computers. Numerous studies (Becker, Ravitz, & Wong, 1999; DeCorte, 1990; Plomp & Pelgrum, 1992) have shown that few teachers facilitate substantial student use of computers. Therefore, while it is assumed in this review that computer support for learning is essential, some discussion of the rationale is required as a background to later discussions concerning models for the use of computing systems to support learning and teaching.
From the earliest times when computers were commercially available, they could be found in use in educational institutions, and educators (e.g. Bork, 1980; Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, 1977; Papert, 1980) argued that computers should be used to support learning. Firstly, computer assisted language learning (CALL) developed and concerned itself with the pedagogical applications of the technology. Students used the computer to develop and practise their English. CALL is, of course, still with us today but in pre-Internet times rather limited text-based provisions were something of a novelty for both students and enthusiastic practitioners; this novelty factor has, of course, long since gone for many who use computers as part of their day-to-day life. A second perspective was in the use of computers for assisting and understanding of what constitutes the English language and how it works. Corpus linguistics and the arrival of lexis as an item to be included within the syllabus began in the 1980’s with Sinclair (1987) and others, and work of this type continues today. This statistical analysis of language, initially analysis of written language, but more recently spoken language, has allowed us to examine the frequency of words and this has informed the profession from several perspectives. It has given us insights into the most useful vocabulary to teach and facilitated the emergence of the lexical syllabus. It has also allowed us to look at form-based words and this has given us insights into the grammar that we teach. One positive outcome from all this has been the arrival of a range of publications for teachers and students – such material can now be based on how the language is actually used rather than what the traditional grammar book prescribes.
The work of Biber et al. (1999) is particularly useful; they found, for example that the modal verb ‘may’ is hardly ever used in spoken language for permission! For students, resource publications such as McCarthy and O’Dell (1994) provide good practice of such real language. We can see that computers have had a role in pedagogical practice and in analysing language – both these aspects have further developed with the arrival of the Internet but the point here is that in pre-Internet days the role of the computer did not fundamentally influence the language itself and it is only with the arrival of the Internet (and related technologies such as text-messaging on mobile phones) that computers began to significantly change language.
If we highlight all the discussions in the previous section, we can see how computers have “taken and dominated” in the term of language learning. The use of ICT (computers) is something more avoidable in learning. Its role in learning has played more significant since its easiness and interesting aspect in learning. The teaching and learning style has changed in the term of form and technique. Using the chalks and board into mother board one is the real change. Since the 1960’s the computer has been heralded, by some, as the solution to many problems in education. Many early computer scientists saw the possibility of the computer replacing teachers in schools. However these pictures of students sitting behind computer terminals for much of the day have largely not occurred in mainstream schools, and most would not like this to be realised (Collis, 1989). There are three main rationales for ICT in schools: one concerns the organisational productivity of the school, and the other two focus on the needs of students: technological literacy and support for their learning. The latter two rationales are supported by the recent Australian report Raising the Standards (DEST, 2002, p. 38) that is, “The need for ICT competent teachers stems from the need for ICT competent students and for ICT-rich learning environments that enhance students’ learning across the curriculum”.
The Impact of ICT in learning
The Impact of ICT in learning
We can see the impact of ICT in learning as the following figure:
Figure 3 Concept map indicating relationships between learning environment entities and external entities.
Summary and Recommendation
The computer is one of a range of technologies now available to teachers and students. In past decades technologies such as radio, television and overhead projectors similarly had little lasting impact on the experiences of students and teachers in schools. In these cases a large amount of money was spent on these resources which some would argue would have been better spent on other resources. It is important that scarce resources to support learning in schools are not wasted and therefore care needs to be taken in choosing to use computers to support learning. The use of ICT in learning must consider some of aspects as follows:
1. The readiness of the resources
2. The readiness of the school in the term of how skillful and familiar they are in using computers
3. The concept of not to use computers as only one resources in learning. It means that, the teacher still keeps the most important thing in learning besides computers.
Teachers should be more familiar in using ICT in teaching learning, since ICT is more interesting and attractive for the students. It offers many challenges and new aspects of how language can be learnt in the more practical without relying only merely on teacher guidance.
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