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21英语教师网 > 经验交流 > 教学心得 > 正文
新技术和英语教学的结合
作者:21ST    来源:Dr Li     日期: 2011-11-30
导读:埃克斯特大学英语教育专家李利博士发现外语教师使用信息技术的四个相关层面。这些层面在恰当使用技术辅助教学中起关键作用。第一,教师关于信息技术的有效性决定他们使用技术的动力和态度;第二,教师的教学理念决定他们在教学中如何使用技术。第三,教师信息技术和教学理念的职业教育在成功使用技术过程中起核心作用。最后,资源和支持是教师成功使用技术的必要条件。本篇文章讨论教师使用技术是需要考虑的三个方面,并通过实例说明如何更好地使用技术。

Three important issues in using CALL
Li Li University of Exeter
My recent research on language teachers’ integration of technology in language teaching identified our implications for learning, teaching and teacher education. First, teachers’ beliefs about effectiveness of technology link to teachers’ motivation and attitudes towards technology integration; Second, pedagogical beliefs are closely connected to why and how teachers use technology to support their teaching; third, professional development is a core unit of successful technology implementation and teachers must see relevance of technology in their teaching contexts; finally, resources and support is crucial to the technology use. In this article, I will be looking at some of the practical applications of my research and suggesting how language teachers might integrate technology in their teaching.   Anyone involved in language education today recognizes the importance of technology. At the same time, however, administrators, parents, learners and teachers all have different perspectives on why technologies should be involved in language teaching and learning, and what technologies can really do in instructed learning environments, particularly when a test-oriented syllabus is implemented. As a consequence, an important part of English language teachers’ expertise includes a more thorough understanding of the principles of computer assisted language learning (CALL). However, in articulating those principles, teachers and researchers alike encounter three important issues. 1. Understanding affordances of technology Terms such as “motivating,” “authentic,” ‘participating’ and “engaging” might be used in response to a question about what technology can do. These terms may work for the public, but teachers need a more systematic, thorough, and accurate way of considering the benefits of integrating technology in their teaching. An understanding of the learning potential of technology is crucial to its implementation in these interrelated areas: Authentic learning environment. Technology can be used to create new learning environments for language learners to experience language use. For example, blogs can be introduced to allow students to be able to use the language in real-life situations and connect to the rest of the world. Obviously, by introducing blogs in teaching, language learners in China would be able to communicate with language learners in Spain, for instance. The affordance of technology in making worldwide communication possible is very attractive, particularly with adult learners. Learning materials. Typically, a language learner relies on print materials. However, the Internet offers a wide range of multimedia resources of authentic materials for language learning purposes. For example, YouTube, TeacherTube, EduTube, and SchoolTube offer materials for language teachers to use in their teaching. For a language user, online dictionaries like Merriam-webster, offers a great opportunity for vocabulary building. Teachers could organise a group of learners to do a lexical chain activity -- each of them researches a word from the same lexical family at home and explains their findings to the class. Such activities also promote autonomy and independence in study. Application of online communication tools. Speaking skills are probably the most difficult for many foreign language learners. However, if there is an authentic task involving using the language, learners could develop their communication skills more naturally. Consider the programme voik that allows learners to build a virtual avatar and share it with others. For example, even for a young learner, a teacher could ask each student to create a speaking avatar to describe themselves and let the other students guess who she/he is. Collaborative work. Technology also engages students in collaborative work. For example, students could use Google Docs to conduct collaborative writing. They can also use online an interactive whiteboard to discuss projects. One useful and free online interactive whiteboard is Dabbleboard, which is an online collaboration application with a new type of drawing interface. It’s actually easy and fun to use and students can enjoy themselves more when doing collaborative tasks. Now it’s not difficult to understand the terms I mentioned above and technology is motivating and engaging, making the learning process more enjoyable. Technology does offer authentic materials and encourages participation, a key element of learning. 2. Material evaluation In 1991, Garrett asked this question: ‘What is the relationship between a theoretically and empirically based understanding of the language learning process and the design and implementation of technology-based materials? After 20 years’ of development of CALL, teachers and researchers need to take this question one step further as we all agree that there is a risk of information-overload. For any language learning topic, we can find thousands of items and links which lead to more links and items. The challenge that language teachers face is how to choose theoretically and empirically validated materials from the perspective of a language learning process. As in the discussion of technology affordances above, one important question emerges: how do I translate those principles into material evaluation? The answer is never easy. However, there are a few factors we need to consider, for example, learner characteristics, language potential, authenticity and affective factors. In considering these factors, teachers need to systematically evaluate the material from pedagogical, technical and practical perspectives. 3. Factors affecting technology uptake
Sometimes, teachers recognize the potential of technology in language learning and are motivated to integrate technology into their daily teaching. However, they very often feel there are too many constraints in the implementation of technology in teaching. Factors affecting teachers’ use of technology could be external or internal factors. External factors include facility availability (including hardware and software), support (including technical and moral), time (both in and after class), and training (including technical and pedagogical). Internal factors include teachers’ competence and confidence with technology, pedagogical beliefs and electronic literacies. It’s apparent that all of these factors are interrelated and affect each other in the process of technology uptake. My recent research suggests the most popular tool for Chinese teachers is the use of the presentation tool, PowerPoint. PowerPoint does have a lot of advantages and can benefit learning and teaching massively. However, a detailed analysis of technology use suggests that teachers need to particularly consider pedagogical considerations. This comes back to the original question: why does a teacher use technology and what does technology do. For example, if the teaching objective is to help students understand grammar structure and analyse language, such as discourse features, a PowerPoint presentation could be very appropriate as the teacher can demonstrate how cohesive devices are used. However, if the pedagogical goal is to help students to improve speaking, then probably the speaking avatar is more useful. Of course, teachers also should constantly ask themselves a question: what is the role of technology in this activity? Traditionally, technology can be a tutor, a tool and a medium and these roles can be performed in one computer classroom or a network-based environment. Only when the role of the technology is carefully considered can a teacher answer the question: Is technology really necessary in this activity? Of course, from an applied linguist’s perspective, many aspects of a teacher’s pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge and contextual factors are called into play when considering using technology.

These three aspects, as well as other questions about what and why we teach the way we do, are magnified when instruction and assessment take place through technology. Because of the commitment of time and resources involved in integrating technology in language teaching and learning, great care needs to be taken in professional development and teacher support. As a consequence, the use of an online community helps teachers to reflect on these three issues in the process of using technology.
Consider developing your expertise in new technology use in language learning: Study the MEd TESOL with Dr Li Li at the Graduate School of Education in the University of Exeter. To meet Dr Li in person, please see her overseas schedule.




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