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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2010

Автор: Иващенко Светлана Анатольевна

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.

Bill Gates

Nowadays it is hard to imagine our society without computers and the Internet. It has become a usual thing to have a computer at home and at school.

Information technology is everywhere, and it is certainly changing our world. The technology is connecting people from throughout the world. The technology has provided a new and powerful tool, and people throughout the world face the task of learning to use this tool.

Information technology is a new medium, a new way of representing, communicating, and working with information. Information technology is both an important area of study in its own right and also a tool that is being integrated into the everyday lives of more and more people. The technology has provided a new and powerful tool, and people throughout the world face the task of learning to use this tool.

Much of the pressure for integrating information technology use in schools is coming from outside the school system. Parents, politicians, and business people are making the observation that computers are routinely used outside of schools, and asking why they are not more routinely used in schools.

To date, however, the impact of information technology on our educational system has been minimal. It isn't that our schools don't have computers and other information technology facilities. Rather, they don't have enough, and much of what they do have is not used to their advantage. Students and teachers lack basic information technology knowledge and skills. The curriculum, instruction, and assessment do not adequately make use of the capabilities of today's networked information systems.

Literacy in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is fundamental to life in our modern technological society. To equip students to be literate lifelong learners and global citizens of the 21st century we must successfully integrate ICT into both the English curriculum and English pedagogical practice.

ICT is a valuable tool to enhance teaching and learning. For teachers ICT is a professional resource, a mode of classroom delivery, and a source of valid and valuable text types. For students, ICT provides opportunities to communicate more effectively and to develop literacy skills including skills in critical literacy. It is a valuable tool for researching, composing and responding, and viewing and representing in English.

However, if all students are to have the opportunity to develop ICT skills and achieve English syllabus outcomes, issues of equity and access to technology must be addressed.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) content in English enables students to develop and apply skills, knowledge and understanding of ICT in their composing, responding and presenting, and as part of the imaginative and critical thinking they undertake in English. The ICT content is incorporated into the content of teaching to ensure that all students have the opportunity to become competent, discriminating and creative users of ICT.

In their study of English, students are able to apply their existing knowledge of word processing, multimedia, ways of formatting and presenting texts, simulation software, graphics and electronic communication and further develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of these technologies. They learn about the ethics of information communication through technology.

The manner in which ICT was embedded into the English syllabus in its final stage has been controversial with many believing that if ICT is to be genuinely embedded across the curriculum then the outcomes and competencies should be generated as a natural part of the syllabus development process rather than inserted in the final stages of syllabus development. However despite these criticisms of the process and concerns about equity and access, there can be no doubt about the importance of ICTs in English.

ICT can act as a mode of classroom delivery. Students encounter ICT in many areas of their lives and it is essential that we provide them with opportunities to explore the technology and encourage them to use it as a learning tool.

However it is important that teachers avoid the trap of using technology for the sake of it, or in order to check the technology box on their faculty registration sheet, or as an add-on to a lesson.

It is indicated that to implement ICT successfully in their classrooms teachers must understand what visual literacy is and rethink what learning to read and write means in the 21st century.

ICT is most effective when embedded in the curriculum, and integrated into units of work. English teachers can maximize the impact of ICT in their classrooms by ensuring that they and their students use ICT as an integral part of lessons, present ideas dynamically, and use a range of media. ICT should be integrated in such a way as to require purposeful application and meaningful engagement with the technology. For example, while pupils are using a desk top publishing package to create a school newspaper they are also developing their ability to communicate more effectively. This provides both a context and a meaning for the ICT activity. Taking the IT out of context and teaching IT skills separately, not only decontextualises ICT but also places additional burdens on curriculum time. The use of ICT therefore should be a meaningful part of an activity where it is used to consolidate or extend pupils' learning. To implement ICT successfully in their classrooms teachers also need to:

- identify how ICT can be used to meet specific objectives within the English curriculum to improve pupils’ attainment;

- understand that successful use of ICT depends on other factors such as pupils’ work in the classroom away from the computer, discussions between pupils and between pupils and their teacher, and the ways in which pupils interact with each other at the computer.

ICT must meet student needs. Because of its interactive and dynamic nature, ICT has the potential to meet the needs of individual students by providing opportunities to direct their learning and to pursue information, or complete tasks, in ways which meet their own interests and needs.

In particular the integration of technology into the English classroom represents a paradigm shift to acknowledge the importance of the emerging technological learning style which is increasingly becoming the fourth learning modality for students of the click and go generation.

These technological learners:

- are mechanically oriented;

- know how to use technological tools without formal instruction;

- enjoy using a video camera;

- obtain much of their information electronically;

- like integrated learning activities;

- would like to learn everything via a computer;

- spend much of their time on the computer or playing video games;

- know how to work with and use new software and hardware;

- interact and communicate with others via e-mail and/ or the internet;

- understand how to integrate various technologies.

Using ICT enables English teachers to tap into this learning style and the dominant youth culture. Many modern ICT texts can also be used as a starting point for the exploration of traditional texts. For example, an interactive site such as the virtual tour of the Globe Theatre site allows us to bring Shakespeare’s world to life.

Using ICT as a classroom tool has many other benefits because ICT:

- provides highly motivational activities for students. Initially computer-based activities can provide stimulus to undertake tasks that students may otherwise avoid;

- links to other learning and to real-world situations and experiences that reflect gender and cultural diversity;

- increases opportunities for student interaction and decision making. This interactive process has the potential to cater for individual learning styles;

- makes complex tasks more manageable in some cases these activities require the development of new skills;

- makes repetitive tasks more interesting;

- illustrates complex processes or concepts;

- provides access to resources, increases the need for students to develop critical thinking and effective information processing skills.

ICT also enables a representation of language as a symbolic system. Furthermore the use of well-designed ICT environments can help pupils grasp abstract concepts such as imagery, literary relations, and morphology.

ICT has many benefits for the classroom teacher. Presentation software usage enables teachers to show ideas dynamically, and deliver content effectively. For example, CD-ROMs make vivid multimedia worlds available and store large amounts of information that teachers suddenly have at their fingertips.

Most importantly however, the use of ICTs in the classroom signals a shift from the conventional position of power held by the teacher to a more collaborative approach to learning. Generally computer based activities allow the teacher to assume the role of facilitator whilst students take on an increasing responsibility for their own learning The use of computer-based technologies can shift the emphasis of activities away from the teacher and towards the students, enhance social interaction, and be empowering especially for students with low traditional literacy skills.

The use of ICT in the English classroom extends beyond its motivational value to address key outcomes of the syllabus, and allow students to become competent users as well as consumers in English.

Teachers can use a range of teaching tools such as discussion boards, forums, email, raps, web quests, video and digital photography, e-movies, and even mobile phones as tools for delivery of class program. This opens reciprocal dialogue between members of the class community and may be extended to the school community at large.

Incorporating ICT into the English curriculum can:

- improve writing and reading skills;

- develop speaking and listening skills;

- support collaboration, creativity, independent learning and reflection.

As an interactive and collaborative medium, ICT allows responding, composing, and publication to be easily shared and offers students the opportunity to explore the language of texts more creatively and develop as speakers, writers and readers for an ever widening range of purposes and audiences.

ICT can enable students to:

- access information and respond to a widening range of texts;

- organize and present information in a variety of forms;

- broaden the range of audiences for their work;

- compose a widening range of texts for a broad range of purposes;

- compose for real audiences. ICT can support them in their choice of genre for audience and purpose;

- identify key characteristics and features of text;

- develop understanding of language and critical literacy.

Using ICT changes the nature of composing and allows the writing process to become more fluid.

Students creating both traditional and multimodal texts using ICT will often attend to the visual and spatial qualities of text creation early in the design process as in selecting fonts, templates or choosing images.

ICT enables students to organize and present information in a variety of forms and compose their own work more easily and professionally. Word-processing software allows them to access tools professional editors use, and to manipulate text in ways that previously were difficult or unmanageable. Using such tools allows students to reflect and self-edit and encourages them to conference on screen and respond critically to other students' writing. Presentation software such as PowerPoint provides useful tools for performance, creates a more fluid environment for communicating a message, and elevates a speech to a more filmic medium.

ICT provides the tools for composing and publishing a range of both conventional and multi-media texts so that students read, compose, and transform texts in novel and challenging ways. Production of texts might include e-mailing for a range of communication purposes, word processing written responses, designing websites, using desktop publishing packages and video editing packages, using programs such as Photo story and Moviemaker, and using animation software packages.

ICT enhances composing in English by allowing students to:

- plan, draft, revise and edit their own and others’ writing using a word processor and other desktop publishing packages;

- share and collaborate in the writing process;

- use hypermedia to write up, lay out and present their work for publication on the Internet;

- transform different media into one text;

- e-mail for a range of communication purposes;

- design websites using informative/ persuasive texts;

- publish writing in a variety of forms;

- use video editing programs and programs such as Photo Story , Movie maker and animation software packages;

- integrate digital photography and video into their texts;

- integrate different media into one text;

- communicate with a wider group of people in a range of forums (e.g. via e-mail, newsgroups, online conferencing raps) and hence promote collaborative learning .

ICT in the English curriculum has changed the nature of texts, the process of reading and responding to texts, and the ways in which students access texts.

Multi media texts challenge the notion of the English language and literacy as being about words, sentences and texts types. The verbal aspect of communication is only part of what is being communicated in a multi-media text.

In the publication of texts, the Internet allows publication and collaboration in ways that were previously closed, or too expensive or time-consuming.

Reading multimedia texts therefore requires new ways of reading and new reading skills. These include the ability to read images, icons, hyperlinks, formatting conventions and site maps.

ICT also enhances responding by allowing students to compare the way information is presented in a range of texts; identify and engage with the key characteristics and features of text types; discuss the merits and limitations of particular text types; evaluate the validity, accessibility and relevance of information sources and investigate ways in which reading strategies are adapted to suit different texts.

Increasingly ICT provides a forum for student discussion, with sites such as book rap which allows students to respond to a range of texts on sites which in themselves are valid and valuable text types.

In order to fully understand the place of technology and ICT based texts in the English curriculum, it is necessary to examine the ways in which the new technologies have redefined literacy and to understand the implications of this for English pedagogy.

Literacy is now understood as being far more complex than coding and decoding written texts. Its definition has expanded from traditional notions of reading and writing to include the capacity to read and write multimodal texts and to understand what is entailed in their operation, reception, and production.

A syllabus now focuses on many forms of literacy (writing/reading, speaking/ listening, viewing /representing) and the syllabus rationale outlines the role of ICT as follows:

They (students) become imaginative and confident users of information and communication technologies, understanding their impact on society. These skills allow them to develop their control of language in ways that will help them in lifelong learning, in their careers and in life.

Whilst the traditional literacy skills will continue to be the basis of our English curriculum, the influence of technology means that we must continuously review our notion of what it means to be literate in the 21st century where our students have already developed technological literacies such as mobile phone technology and text messaging which operate according to a very different dynamic from those established in conventional educational practices.

If we are to succeed in this and produce students who contribute critically and responsibly to a changing society, then we must take into account the complex ways in which information and communication technologies are influencing and changing literacy practice. This requires a broader definition of literacy to encompass the literary practices associated with the screen based technologies. Such literacy is concerned with understanding how the different modalities are combined in complex ways to create meaning.

IT is a tool to make teaching effective and attractive. However, the teachers shouldn’t let it dominate in the classroom, because it’s just a tool to make technology work for the teaching and learning process.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2010


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