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The use of ICT in teaching English as a foreign language. ,

Authors:
The use of ICT in teaching English as a foreign language
Dilek ÇAKICI
ELT Department, Ondokuz Mayıs University, Samsun, Turkey
Abstract
During the last two decades, the integration of ICT in language education has become a
major interest of topic in language educational realm. Research findings over the past
two decades provide some evidence as to the positive effects of the use of information
and communications technology (ICT) on students. EFL teachers are expected to adopt
a new view of their roles and professional development in the rapidly changing modern
society. It is needed to explore particular skills required for ICT to enhance language
learning. The use of ICT as a teaching tool emphasizes obtaining, analysing and
organizing information, by this way giving chance students to get in touch with
different kinds of media. Integration of ICT necessitates deciding on the use of different
ICTs in each skill, the types of ICT applications to be used, planning the favourite
activities, managing problems arising from the activities planned, and so on.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be regarded as a new model
of teaching and learning.. This review study is framed around to provide a deep and
clear understanding about use of ICT in teaching English and examine ICT to meet the
new educational demands of the current era. Namely, the aim of this paper is to present
a comprehensive review as to advantages and disadvantages of using ICT as an
instructive tool in EFL classrooms. Based on aforementioned considerations, this
review study aims to shed light on how ICT contribute to English learning process and
help identify the factors influencing the success implementation of ICT. Furthermore,
the certain major suggestions will be made to maximize beneficial use of ICT in EFL
classroom settings.
Key words: foreign language learning; CALL; information and communication
technology.
dcakici@omu.edu.tr
Participatory Educational Research (PER)
Special Issue 2016-IV, pp., 73-77 November, 2016
Available online at http://www.partedres.com
ISSN: 2148-6123
The use of ICT in teaching English as a foreign language, D. Çakıcı
Participatory Educational Research (PER)
-74-
Introduction
Over the past few decades there has been an upsurge of interest in searching a
contemporary instrument to promote language teaching. Based on the previous review of
literature, there is widespread consensus that the technological changes paved the way for
meeting the needs of ever changing world. In this shifting educational landscape, a
considerable amount of research has agreed that Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) plays a critical role in the field of teaching English as a foreign language (EFL). With
the blossoming of the ICT as a new tool in language teaching, EFL teachers and
methodologist are expected to adopt a new view of integrating basic ICT skills in EFL
classroom appropriately. It is prerequisite for equipping language learners with necessary
technological skills. The application of ICT requires certain language skills and strategies.
Introducing ICT into language classroom has great implications for curriculum reform,
classroom teaching and student learning. It is believed that the increase of information and
communication technologies (ICT) has dramatically reinforced and created powerful learning
atmosphere. The implementation of ICT into real language context is more critical today than
ever before since its growing power and capabilities are triggering a change in language
learning environment. A great number of studies have been conducted to examine the
advantages of integrating ICT into foreign language education. Therefore, the integration of
new ICT tools such as laptop, interactive whiteboard, LCD projector, internet and social
networks in education support will help learners to use English in a very natural, real,
communicative and stress free language learning environment.
What does Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) mean?
Asabere and Enguah (2012) defined ICT as the tools, facilities, processes, and
equipments that provide the required environment with the physical infrastructure and the
services for the generation, transmission, processing, storing and disseminating of information
in all forms including voice, text, data, graphics and video. Some examples of ICTs; IWBs,
computers, computer assisted language learning (CALL) software, office applications (word,
PowerPoint, drawing tools etc.), the Internet websites and downloadable software,
commercial course book CD-ROMs, DVD players, mobile phones, electronic dictionaries,
digital cameras and videos, DAT recorders, document cameras, data projectors. Livingstone
(2012, p. 13) states that ICT includes technologies specific to the school environment (e.g.
interactive whiteboards) or applications used across formal or informal boundaries (e.g.
education games) and networked technologies. In a similar vein, according to Hennessy,
Ruthven and Brindley (2005, p. 2), the term ICT encompasses the range of hardware (desktop
and portable computers, projection technology, calculators, data logging and digital recording
equipment), software applications (generic software, multimedia resources), means of
telecommunication and information systems (Intranet, Internet). ICTs refer to technological
tools and resources which are employed to communicate, create, disseminate and manage
information (Yunus, Nordin, Salehi, Sun and Embi, 2013). Furhermore, ICTs may be defined
as information-handling tools- a varied set of goods, applications and services that are used to
produce, store, process, distribute and exchange information. They include the ‘old' ICTs of
radio, television and telephone, and the ‘new’ ICTs of computers, satellite and wireless
technology and the Internet. (UNDP, 2003).
Participatory Educational Research (PER), Special Issue 2016-IV;73-77, November, 2016
Participatory Educational Research (PER)
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ICTs in teaching foreign language / Pros and cons
Without a doubt, ICT is a valuable and an innovative teaching tool enhancing EFL
learning. The rapid growth of ICT has naturally influenced the every aspects of language
teaching process. Using technology has positive effects on teaching and learning English.
Technology can be applied to teaching practices to enhance and facilitate foreign language
learning. Computer, internet, smart boards, cell phones, video games, music players etc. are
used in the target language learning process to raise students’motivation and language
awareness (Altun, 2015). The implementation of ICT will lead to variety in English content,
contexts and pedagogical methods in teaching environment. ICT makes English language
environment interactive, flexible and innovative. (Qin and Shuo, 2011). The application of
computer technologies in language instruction provides a student-centred learning
environment. It enables course administrators and teachers to vary lesson presentation styles
to motivate students of varying interests, provides learning opportunities outside the
classroom, and is perceived to cater more for individual differences. Integrating technology
into language instruction reduces teacher-centred understanding and students’ language
learning anxiety, but encourages them to be risk takers to practice target language as they are
digital natives (Al-Mahrooqi and Troudi, 2014). Jayanthi and Kumar (2016) explain the
positive impacts of ICT on ELT under the basic headings such as: availability of materials,
students’ attitudes, learner autonomy, authenticity, helping teachers, student-centred, and self-
assessment. The availability of large body of authentic materials such as images, animation,
audio and video clips facilitate presenting and practicing language. As for students’ attitudes,
ICTs increase motivation. The students feel highly motivated to learn a language as they
displayed positive attitudes towards language learning as they use computer and learn in
stress-free learning environment. In addition, ICT fosters learner autonomy as ICT tools
provide learners to take responsibilities for their own learning. Students are free to choose the
material convenient for their learning styles. Furthermore, ICT provides authentic situations
and real life learning environment. As ICTs offer different types of facilities and availability
of teaching materials, EFL teachers only suggest and design these tools as complementary
teaching materials. Contrary to traditional learning environment, ICT supports student-centred
learning together with teacher-student interaction. As for assessment, with the ICTs both
receptive and productive skills are easily and effectively assessed. The teacher may decide
and design relevant materials to test students’ achievement in all skills. Additionally, the
following impacts seem to be the most obvious ones when using ICT to support foreign
language teaching:
The possibility to adapt easily the teaching materials according to circumstances,
learner’s needs and response;
-ICT allows to react upon and enables the use of recent/daily news, it offers access to
authentic materials on the web;
Possibility to combine/use alternately (basic) skills (text and images, audio and video
clip...);
Lectures become more interesting and less ordinary which boosts learners’
engagement;
ICT enables to focus on one specific aspect of the lesson ( Houcine, 2011).
The advantages of ICT usage in foreign language teaching can be listed as: 1.
Capacity to control presentation. This capacity marks the difference between computers and
books. Books have a fixed presentation, unlike computers, which can combine visual with
The use of ICT in teaching English as a foreign language, D. Çakıcı
Participatory Educational Research (PER)
-76-
listening materials, text with graphics and pictures. 2. Novelty and creativity. A teacher may
use different materials for each lesson, not like in teaching with textbooks, where all classes
presenting a certain topic are the same. 3. Feedback. Computers provide a fast feedback to
students` answers through error correction. It not only spots the mistake but also corrects it,
sometimes even giving the appropriate advice. 4. Adaptability. Computer programmes can be
adapted by teachers to suit their students` needs and level of language knowledge (Padurean
and Margan, 2009). There is significant evidence of the benefits and advantages that the use
of ICT can have on learners. The effective use of ICT impacts on learners and various aspects
of the learning process can be summarized as follows: ICT increases learners’ motivation and
thus enhances personal commitment and engagement; ICT improves independent learning;
Learners’ collaboration and communication are more important; Learners’ attainment and
outcomes are improved (Haucine, 2011).
On the other hand, the integration of ICT in classrooms can also bring certain
disadvantages. Teachers may have difficulty in relation to the integration and implementatin
of technological tools into course syllabus and curriculum. There are necessities to bear in
mind before to use ICTs in EFL classrooms. Therefore, .Livingstone (2012, p. 12) asserts that
ICT “is not suitable for all learners in all situations and for all purposes, and may require
some considerable learner training for effective use.”. The problems in classroom
management, the lack of experienced teachers, choosing the best technological tool matching
with course content, finding reliable and acceptable activities for students’ learning styles, the
costs of new technological tools, and devices, insufficient physical capacity of classrooms etc.
are only certain remarkable issues to be taken into consideration before employment of ICTs
in language classrooms.
Cox, Preston and Cox (1999) state the drawbacks of using ICTs in classrooms as
follows: difficulties in using software/hardware, need more technical support, not enough
time to use ICT, too expensive to use regularly, insufficient access to the resources,
restrictions the content of the lessons, counter-productive due to insufficient technical
resources. In addition, EFL teachers felt it difficult to fully integrate computers into lessons
and the teachers had to give up too much time to instructional and not being able to allow
students enough time to practise and gain experience with skills being taught. Lack of
technical support meant that teachers lost confidence in the equipment and software due to
frequent failures and failure to complete lessons in the allocated time. School have found that
it is vital to effectively integrate technology into the classroom that an on-site technical
assistant be recruited to assist teachers when needed Blackmore, Hardcastle, Bamblett and
Ownens, 2003 p. 203).
To conclude, it is strongly believed that the implementation of educational technology
and communication into EFL context provides flexible and diverse set of technological tools,
promotes problem solving skills of students, gives chance learners to use higher order skills,
develop critical thinking and effective information processing skills, encourages active
independent, autonomous and collaborative language learning, motivates and facilitates
language learning, enhances teacher training. On the contrary, it is clearly evident that the
integration of ICT into language teaching practices has its own limits. ICTs should be
integrated to foreign language teaching as an effective supplementary and a valuable
complementary teaching tool.
Participatory Educational Research (PER), Special Issue 2016-IV;73-77, November, 2016
Participatory Educational Research (PER)
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References
Altun, M. (2015). The integration of technology into foreign language teaching.
InternationalJournal on New Trends in Edıcation and Their Implications. 6(1). 22-27.
Asabere, N. Y. & Enguah, S. E. (2012). Integration of expert systems in mobile learning.
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Blackmore, J., Hardcastle, L., Bamblett, E., &Ownens, J. (2003). Effective use of information
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www.dest.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D63F92A3-931.../ICTreport.pdf
Cox, M., Preston, M., & Cox, K. (1999). What factors support or prevent teachers from using
ICT in their classrooms? King's College London, MirandaNet Project University of
Surrey. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual
Conference, University of Sussex at Brighton, September 2-5 1999.
Hennessy, S., Ruthven, K. &Brindley, S. (2005). Teacher perspectives on integrating ICT into
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http://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/istl/WP042.pdf
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Jayanthi, N. S. & Kumar, R. V. (2016). Use of ICT in English language teaching and learning.
Journal of English language and literature, 3(2), 34-38.
Livingstone, S. 2012. Critical reflections on the benefits of ICT in education, Oxford Review
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Padurean, A. &Margan, M. (2009). Foreign language teaching via ICT. Revista de
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http://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/istl/WP042.pdf
Yunus, M., Nordin, N., Salehi, H., Sun, C. H. & Embi, M. A. (2013). Pros and cons of using
ICT in teaching ESL reading and writing. International Education Studies, 6 (7), 119-
130. doi:10.5539/ies.v6n7p119 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ies.v6n7p119
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Use of ICT in English language teaching and learning
  • N S Jayanthi
  • R V Kumar
Jayanthi, N. S. & Kumar, R. V. (2016). Use of ICT in English language teaching and learning. Journal of English language and literature, 3(2), 34-38.
What factors support or prevent teachers from using ICT in their classrooms? King's College London
  • M Cox
  • M Preston
  • K Cox
Cox, M., Preston, M., & Cox, K. (1999). What factors support or prevent teachers from using ICT in their classrooms? King's College London, MirandaNet Project University of Surrey. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Sussex at Brighton, September 2-5 1999.
Pros and cons of using ICT in teaching ESL reading and writing
  • M Yunus
  • N Nordin
  • H Salehi
  • C H Sun
  • M A Embi
Yunus, M., Nordin, N., Salehi, H., Sun, C. H. & Embi, M. A. (2013). Pros and cons of using ICT in teaching ESL reading and writing. International Education Studies, 6 (7), 119130. doi:10.5539/ies.v6n7p119 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ies.v6n7p119