К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2007
Автор: Беляева А.А.
Computers, CD-players, MP-3
players have become demands nowadays. It is convenient, takes less time
and prestigious to use. There are more and more programs, created for different
aims: teaching/learning, amusement, creating projects and others.
Tape-recorders and books are used less now. There are more and more children
you can see, playing computer games rather than reading books. People prefer
computers to communication. You can do almost all operations using computer:
meet new people, study, buy food and things, even clothes. Computers were
created to make human being’s life easier, helping and serving, but it is
obvious we are becoming slaves of our creature.
As I am going to discover
problems with the use of technology, let me borrow the term “Artificial
intelligent system” for studying using technology. Who made the system
intelligent? And why was it created? The answer is people and for people. The
reflected field of the discussion theme is education. To begin teaching you
have to create a plan to follow. What I mean by a plan is goals, objectives and
curriculum. How to choose right technology to teach? First of all you have to
think what is important to do for a teacher and where teacher’s presence isn’t
important. How to differentiate these two points?
At first let me to remind
about advantages and disadvantages of electronic machines – computers:
1) It offers a powerful
self-access facility. Whenever a student has free time s/he can call up the
programs held by computers, besides computers are sensitive to the learner’s
level of proficiency. Though this advantage can be seen as a disadvantage,
because computers are undertaking functions that should be performed by trained
teachers. Teachers know their students as individual beings and this enables
them to distinguish, on many occasions, between errors due to carelessness,
those due to round misunderstanding of a grammar principle, and those which
consist of some kind of student’ experimenting with the target language (i.e.
an attempt to see if a principle applied on one context also works in another
different context). So it is the capacity of teachers to define the different
reasons why their students make some mistakes or others is somewhat
instinctive. And this quality doesn’t refer to a machine. The teachers
knowledge about their students cannot be systematized and turned into a
language that computer can understand.
2) It gives a new role to
teaching material. Sometimes teaching materials are passive. In special
programs materials adapt themselves to the requirements of the individual
student, so they become interactive. Using computer a student’s answer has
sequence with the following tasks and the students are offered complementary
tasks like an individual work. Students’ answers are different and their
situations don’t fit and fulfill each other, because for the same situation
different people think different ways. If we take an ideal classroom, where
students are interested in each other’s answers, there are students who will
keep silence or agree with others. So s/he hasn’t an opportunity to be
corrected and to be offered complementary tasks.
3) It provides with
information. Teacher takes analyst and planner roles, so computer takes an
information role. Teacher prepares ways to find information and special kind of
information, according to the curriculum and the level of students. The
disadvantage is that sometimes teachers are not good at computers and can’t
explain their students how to use a program, they are not familiar with basic
internet technology in order to anticipate potential problems. But they have to
promote a complementary relationship with computers.
4) Using computer helps to
develop critical thinking, imagination. It really saves time, doing different
kinds of operation. Students have to use imagination in order to counterbalance
the lack of technological availabilities. If software is not available, they
should be ready to look for free software that can be found on the web; if
working on-line is forbidden by the institution, they should take the most of
the possibilities that working off-line offers. So if there is no possibility
to work with specialized software, the decision of giving the current teaching
method a new format is a right one. Indeed, it is obvious that students’
motivation and interest raise if they do fill-in-the-gap exercise on the
computer rather than if they do it on a piece of paper. But for young learners
it is difficult to use computer because their typing speed is low. Their
motivation may fall down. So programs should be selected according to the age
and literacy of students. And the disadvantage is that more and more students
refuse to use traditional things like paper and a pen, and use calculator,
instead or computer drawing a graph or a picture instead of using paints and
crayons. It is very important to use pen or pencils because you nerves in the
tops of your fingers are enabled and it helps to escape some nervous diseases.
That is why from the early age clever parents give their children different
kinds of mechanisms at an early age.
Choosing a technology for
teaching you have to realize
1) opportunities where a
teacher can be substituted.
2) define the basic points you
subject contains: e.g. in English it is - grammar
- reading and writing
- listening and speaking
3) age of students
4) availability of a computer
room and a regular, software especially designed for ESL, and an access to a
reliable network environment.
What is the main difference
between a teacher and a machine? The answer is communication. Machine “tells”
but it doesn’t interact. Is it really important to interact? Why not substitute
teachers with machines? Time changes, may teachers be out of days? Why spend
money giving teachers salary if a machine can do all operations? For the
beginning, let’s answer the question: what is communication? And is it possible
to exist without communication? Human beings need interaction wherever they
live and do it different ways. Why is communication so important for us? I
think first of all because of emotions and experience we receive from
communication. To understand and being understood is very important in
communication. There are different crisis happen in the world because of mis
communication. What does a new-born child do when it is born? S/he tells us
aloud that s/he is alive.
need to establish a basic understanding of how communication works. Four
propositions give the essential foundation:
Communication is involvement
Communication is a process.
Meaning is internal and individual
Communication is what is heard, not only what is said.
Something to Say
Тhe purpose for а particular communication is often not
overtly recognized, though usually it саn bе identified with а little thought. What is to bе achieved, the content to bе shared, the needs to bе met, and the tensions to bе resolved are stimuli that prompt
communication between individuals and groups.
COMMUNICATOR: Who Says It
Тhe purpose is really inseparable
from the соmmunicator/ Nothing happens
without а communicator. Who conveys the
message, as wеll as who hears it and the
interaction between the messenger, message, and audience deeply influences the
communication process. This triangle of tensions bеtween audience, communicator, and purpose
creates the energy that drives the entire process.
SIGNALS: How It Is
аге the raw materials of communication, to bе refined into billions of differing
patterns, each сарablе of conveying ideas. These signals аге
аn integral part of being alive, essential
to expressing and shaping culture. Mutually understood signals аге the fabric of culture, indistinguishable
from culture itself. It is bу the use of signals that the
essential bond is built between audience and communicator. Because culture and
signals аге inseparable, effective
intercultural communication begins with learning how signals аге used in different cultures.
MEDIA: So That More Саn Hear
саn bе extended beyond face-to-face
relationships and even beyond the limits of time and space. These extensions,
the media, inevitably change the nature of the message and its perception bу the audience. New dimensions аге added to the communication experiеnсе bу the media-along with new problems.
AUDIENCE: Receiving the
actively participate in the communication process, selecting, interpreting, and
interacting within thе social networks involved in
communication. Because thе audience is active, the
message originator should select and shape the signals according to the
audience's context, experience, preferences, and understandings.
COMPREHENSION: Did They Understand What
individuals who perceive the message, even though their perception is filtered
through group processes and the cultural framework. Comprehension is
individual; thus, message perception ultimately depends оn personal psychological patterns.
AND FEEDBACK: Has
requires the use of channels reaching both the group and the individual. The
message originator monitors signals from participant in the
communication process, adjusting form and, content so the message will bе more clearly perceived bу both the group and the individual
(Smith, Donald K. Creating understanding, Michigan: Zoldervan Publishing house
see what components computer has and doesn’t have in its communication:
Purpose. The main task of computers is to give different kinds and different
volume of information. You can find answers for a huge amount of questions. And
a teacher can find programs for an individual or group work using computer.
Communicator. Computer “speaks”, giving information.
signals, because it conveys ideas one way (you can just read the information)
without essential expression and shaping.
media. Computer is a machine and its world and the world of human being are
different. Such things like car noise, or windy and rainy weather, a room with
its sounds: ticking clock or switched on TV set helps us to associate information
and we remember it better and faster. Machine can’t provide us with information
like above mentioned.
Audience. Computer’s users are people. So it has audience.
comprehension. Computer’s task is giving information. Information perception is
individual and depends on psychological patterns.
Change and feedback (partly). There are some programs foreseen for error
corrections, suggesting different exercises according to the students’ levels.
But computer can’t adjust understanding the material for more clearly
is obvious that teacher can be substituted only in one position: giving
ancillary information and partly correcting mistakes and suggesting exercises.
Only teacher can control the perceiving of the information and define the
source of mistakes and, really, to offer suitable exercises according to the
source of the mistakes.
2. English teachers should put many
important factors into consideration before using a technology for teaching.
First of all, they should
evaluate the computer skills of learners. Learners with little or no knowledge
of computers will first require a thorough introduction in basic computer
skills including word processing, e-mail usage and the operation of browser
The second factor is related
to the learners’ language level and navigation on the web. If teachers want
their students to work with ESL web sites, they will have to take into account
that only intermediate or advanced level learners will ensure an effective
navigation on the web, since most of the ESL web sites require high knowledge
of the English language.
Thirdly, a few technical
issues should be taken into account. It is obvious that availability of a
computer room on a regular basis is the first thing that teachers need for technology
to be successful. The experience of many teachers has revealed that three
students per computer is the maximum for the teaching experience to be
effective. Besides, teachers should have at their disposal software especially
designed for ESL. On the other hand, navigation on the web implies other
specific requirements, such as: reliable network, modern equipment and
browser software, teachers’ acquaintance with software, student’s imagination.
Choosing a program for
teaching grammar, you have to remember about the following necessary
- Rules with examples, presented in a
systematically organised way;
- Tests, exercises, mechanical tasks;
- Error correcting and scoring programs.
Most of the functions above
are easy to present students in a computerised way. These functions would be
presenting students’ statements in the form of rules and ask them to memorise
those rules; using some examples to explain students the theoretical points and
assigning. Besides, attention to error correction is also considered to be
Choosing a technology
for listening and speaking, pay attention to the following facts:
- There is a great amount of
specific software created for training
the skills of listening and speaking.
- There are many programs which you can use
to listen to different accents.
- There are many games for listening and
The problem is that, rather
than being truly interactive, the activities designed for improving listening
and speaking are mainly based on drills. Thus, learners have the possibility of
enacting dialogues -generally of the question-answer type- with characters
belonging to the program, but these are indeed closed dialogues; that is,
learners cannot ask or answer whatever they want, but they have to limit themselves
to predetermined texts. Nevertheless, despite the lack of true/real
interaction, this experience has been proved to be highly motivating, since
many of the graphic environments that programs offer turn out to be quite
realistic. Thus, if learners concentrate on the activity, they may feel -up to
a certain extent- just as if they were really speaking to a hostess in the
airport, or to a bobby in Market Square.
For reading and writing,
- It motivates students to read on the
computer screen rather than a book;
Maybe this preference for the
printed page is a matter of habit, and it is quite probable that the day will
arrive when laptop computers, or even more modern artefacts, will become so
widespread as to substitute books. With these computers, people will be able to
read as comfortably as they choose -sitting on a sofa or even lying on the
beach-, and trees will stop being literature victims. Reading is more effective
in computers than in books. For example, computer activities which involve rebuilding
or rearranging texts have proved their value, not to mention the act of reading
the instructions that are included in a CD game so that players know what to do
in order to be able to play effectively. And even more effective intensive
reading in the computer can be when the texts that students face are messages
sent by the characters of an interactive computer program.
- The majority of students -mainly in
primary education- are not used to using a keyboard.
As a consequence of this, the
process of writing becomes a painfully slow one. Nevertheless, learning to use
the keyboard need not to take long, and this insignificant drawback is
counterbalanced with many advantages. Thus, teachers can again take advantage
of the enjoyment that students find in manipulating computers. Writing an essay
on paper has not the same attractiveness for them as writing it with a word
processor. First of all, mistakes can be
corrected much more easily, using word processor. Students do not have to give much
importance to the order in which they write their ideas. They can easily change
text order, and thus rearrange ideas, as many times as they want. Besides,
grammar and spelling correction devices that word processors incorporate can be
activated whenever teachers consider necessary. This way, students are made
conscious of the mistakes or errors they have made, and have the possibility of
either checking or trying to guess the correct option.
What is the difference between
a human being and a machine? The
answer is the ability to communicate and get change and feedback, sending
signals to others. We use five senses: hearing, touch, taste, smell, sight. The
computer is able to communicate one way, giving information. There are lots of
things computer can do better that people, that is why it was created and more
and more programs are still being created.
Teaching is also
communication. In teaching it is obvious that the best explainer is the
teacher. S/he can define if a student understands the theme or not, receiving
feedback, and having interaction. Choosing the program for teaching any subject
it is important to think about: age of students, available equipment,
opportunities where a teacher can be substituted, and the main components of
the subject you want to teach.
Computer gives great
facilities and develops logic, increase motivation, but it is not a good idea
to refuse hands-on training opportunities like drawing, painting, writing,
counting. Adults have to prevent playing computer games and make their children
go in for sports. Teachers have to check websites and information there before
they ask their students to find, to prevent false and not suitable facts.
Parents should be attentive to the speech and behavior of their children.
Donald K. Creating understanding, Michigan: Zoldervan Publishing house1991
2. DeVito J.A. The elements of public speaking, USA:
К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2007