Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 7 July 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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Using Technology in the English Language Classroom

Renu Gupta, Ph.D.


This paper examines the use of technology in the language classroom. It examines the role of the language class (specifically, the English class) and how this frames the use of technology to support its academic and communication roles.

1. Introduction

Technology in education is not a new concept. In the 1960s and 1970s, lessons were broadcast over the air; for language teaching, audio tapes and films were available and some universities (such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) had sophisticated language laboratories where students could practise their spoken skills. However, for the most part these technologies were not used in school and university classrooms.

Today, the scenario is very different. Technology is not 'out there' but part of our daily lives in devices such as mobile phones, portable music devices, TV, and computers, and activities such as sending SMS messages, listening to music files and audio books, watching cable TV, and surfing the Internet. The drop in prices has brought technology within the reach of more people to the extent that it is cheaper for an institute to buy computers and software than to hire faculty. Today's students are comfortable using technology and, if they are not, they are expected to become computer-literate for the workplace. These changes have led to a push for incorporating technology in educational settings.

However, technology means different things to different people.

2. Technology of Education vs. Technology in Education

Technology can be used merely as a medium to transmit the prepared learning material. For instance, in many distance education programs, a digitized version of the printed material is sent to learners; another example is a video of the teacher's lecture (perhaps with students asking questions) that is either broadcast or stored for students who are in remote locations, at a different campus, or are working adults. These are examples of the technology of education that is used to optimize delivery.

In contrast, technology in education is used to meet and further curricular goals. Technology is used to enhance learning in ways that may not be possible through traditional methods such as printed matter (textbooks) and verbal explanations. For instance, simulations in economics and finance allow students to input numbers and examine the impact on other variables. Through graphics and animations, science students can visualize elements that static images cannot replicate. For an example, see Smart Class ( where the congruence of triangles is represented by manipulating two triangles. Technology may even impact the curriculum if it returns teaching/learning to ways that the classroom has abandoned. For example, textbooks were created to provide teachers and students with a set of materials that was limited, but the Internet is a window to authentic texts.

When we examine how technology is used in education, we find examples of multimedia lessons, learning objects, and simulations in content subjects, but a similar orientation seems to be missing in the field of language teaching. For example, a handbook on multimedia by Mayer (2005) discusses the design principles for several content areas, but there is only one chapter on using multimedia in language teaching (Reinking, 2005). Instead of examining the design of multimedia, the discussions revolve around the use and effects of word processors, communication tools, such as discussion threads, chat, and email, and research tools, such as the Internet and webquests.

3. The Goal of This Paper

This paper examines why and how such technologies are used in the language class. The 'why' comes from two formulations of the language class: the academic role of the language class and the social role of language. In terms of its academic role, the language class is now viewed as central to the academic endeavor; there is a realization that students need to 'learn to learn' and it is the language class that can address this need. In terms of the social role of language, there has been a shift away from teaching isolated linguistic components to viewing language as being embedded in a social context defined by audience and purpose; as a result, the technology is used to foster communication and collaboration. The 'how' is addressed in Section 9, which describes how technology can be used in the language classroom to teach for academic and social purposes. The final section raises the issue of 'multiliteracies' arising from digital technology that may shape the future curriculum.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

EAT Expressions in Manipuri | Learning from Movies - 'Slumdog Millionaire' and Language Awareness | Maternal Interaction and Verbal Input in Normal and Hearing Impaired Children | Role of L2 Motivation and the Performance of Intermediate Students in the English (L2) Exams in Pakistan | Problems in Ph.D. English Degree Programme in Pakistan - The Issue of Quality Assurance | Using Technology in the English Language Classroom | Teaching Literature through Language - Some Considerations | e-Learning of Japanese Pictography - Some Perspectives | Is It a Language Worth Researching? Ethnographic Challenges in the Study of Pahari Language | Using a Reading Material for Interactive Reading | Importance of Task-Based Teaching in Second Language Acquisition - A Review | Skill Enhancement Techniques - The Necessary Tools for the Indian Management Students | African American Literature and Ishmael Reed's Novels - Hoodism | Instances of Code Switching in Indian Television Serials | The Role of Compounding in Technical English Prescribed for Engineering Students in Tamilnadu | Polite Request Strategies as Produced by Yemeni EFL Learners | Manju Kapoor's Difficult Daughters - A Saga of Feminist Autonomy and Separate Identity | Reflections on Partition Literature - A Comparative Analysis of Ice Candy Man and Train to Pakistan | Mother Tongue! The Neglected Resource for English Language Teaching And Learning | Breaking the Good Mother Myths - A Study of the Novels of Amy Tan | Effect of Teachers' Academic Qualification on Students' L2 Performance at the Secondary Level | What Is Most Important? Fluency or Accuracy? Is Learning a Second Language a Conscious Process? | Let Us Learn from Our Standard 1 Textbook, Again! - A Brief Note on the New Standard 1 Tamil Textbook in Tamilnadu | Eugene O' Neill's The Hairy Ape - An American Expressionistic Play | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF JULY 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of July 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Renu Gupta, Ph.D.
4 Cornwell Road
Richmond Town
Bangalore 560025
Karnataka, India

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