Integrating Technology in the Classroom
Dr. Shaik Shaheen Taj, M.A., M Phil., Ph D.,
Principal, Nimra Women’s College of Engineering
Nimra Nagar, Jupudi, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
This paper explores the ways in which modern technology such as internet may be incorporated in the English classroom to enhance learning. It begins exploring the traditional ways of teaching where the classroom is teacher-centered. It is depicted that such learning leaves the students passive and it fails to arouse the curiosity to learn in learners which in turn fails to build their overall personality development. It is further shown that teaching mixed ability students is a challenging task for the teachers in the classroom. The paper then goes to highlight the important aspects of the modern technology in which the focus is on the use of online resources through the internet which makes the student active leaving the teacher just to play the role of a facilitator. Besides this paper mentions some important websites which helps both teachers and students to update their knowledge in learning English in a modern way through audio and video clips. This paper concludes with a strong opinion that though modern technology plays an important role in the English classroom, an English teacher has an important role to play along with the latest technologies and internet resources in motivating and encouraging to student to learn all essential communication skills in an effective way.
The main reason to use the Internet in English class is to create an English Environment which is absent especially in our Technical Institutions. Internet has powerful impact on students. I wanted to expose my students to a wider range of English than they usually encounter in their daily lives. I mainly made the students depend on the standard website http:// www.BBC.EnglishLearning.com which is a very good source to upgrade their English Language Skills. This teaching arouses the interest in all types of mixed ability students who feel free to do the activities without any inferiority complex. Their interest made me to search for more and more such websites which are beneficial to the students. I have made the links as direct as possible so that students to get relevant information without having to search for a long period of time. As we are aware of the fact a man without computer knowledge is considered to be an illiterate in this contemporary era. Thus through this method I wanted them to learn different activities related to computer such as creating e-mail accounts, learning to create their own blogs where they can post their creative works, creating their own web pages etc along with English Learning. Students were very excited to learn English using Internet in a playful manner. Practical knowledge makes them to remember things easily and they enjoy solving Language related puzzles to learn spelling, pronunciation, grammar etc. This method keeps all the students engaged and comfortable in learning. Internet learning helps students to see things in a new way.
Availability of Internet
The computer labs at college are linked to the Internet which is helpful to help students learn English easily making use of the available facilities. Apart from this I encourage students to use Internet cafes in their leisure time to learn everything quickly and to continue their effort of learning outside the class.
Effective ways of teaching with Modern Technology
Students learn surfing the web sites which is pleasurable to them. As it involves a great deal of reading in English it can also be a method to develop their English vocabulary. Teacher spends most of the time just facilitating the students who are busy in eagerly helping each other. Students enjoy doing assignments using internet resources. They are focused on their work without any embrasement. While browsing different sites students in a way help even teachers by sharing the different information they find online. While using internet for teaching blogs too play a very important role. A personal blog is an ongoing diary or commentary by an individual which is the best place to express ideas. A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web which consists of "posts" typically displayed in reverse chronological order. Students learn to bookmark important information and utilize it whenever they need it in future. Apart from this students learn to copy, paste and get printout of the needful resources available online. Using this they can prepare PowerPoint presentations too. Projects are given to them and they complete their project, using internet and present it in PowerPoint. I have encouraged them to create their e mail ids and add my mail id so that I can easily pass on the information to them even in case of their absence to college due to some problems. This is also a better way to maintain cordial relationship with them through which we can motivate and mould them in a right way and help them to climb the ladder of success without any obstacles. I too have created my personal blog which is very helpful to B Tech, MBA & MCA Students of JNTU. It is purely the blog related to the Technical English. Few general topics are also posted which will be helpful to the students. This technology makes students approach learning in a modern way which is entirely different when compared to routine traditional way of learning. Blogs can be used to interact with students and to help them communicate their ideas by helping them to create their own blog. I encourage to students to leave their comments whenever they utilize the material available in my blog. Students take out the essential material’s printout which helps them to prepare for their examinations. Here I play a role of motivator and guide to students. This method allows students to use not just data around them but to use the data available in the world. Besides they can create their own websites free of cost. For example Weebly is one such website where we can register for free and publish about us and about our professional developments.
Important Internet sites to learn English
We can suggest any of the following sites for students to enhance their English knowledge. Internet 4 Classrooms (http://www.internet4classrooms.com/esl.htm ) is a free web portal designed by Susan Brooks and Bill Byles in February, 1997. Here we find high-quality free Internet resources to use in classroom instruction, to develop project ideas, etc. This website is useful to teachers, parents and students of all ages. It is very easily available to anyone with an Internet connection. Similarly we have many more free web sites for people studying English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL). There are quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator and other computer assisted language learning activities. Besides there is a very interesting website named EnglishClub (htm://www.englishclub.com/learn-english.htm) which is a free website designed to help students learn English online. Here one can make one’s own English page with blogs, photos, videos, music, groups and friends. It includes English Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, English games, English Quizzes etc. the best website for beginners is Englishroom (http://www.english-room.com/classroom_english.html) website which arouses the interest of the learners. Apart from English Language knowledge it is very much essential for students to know what is going on around them. Thus there is a free service named Newsy.com (http://www.newsy.com/) which accelerates our understanding of a news story. It’s the only video news service that allows users to compare news sources from around the world to see how a story unfolds. English is essential not just for academic purpose or interaction purpose but it is also needed to face competitive examinations. Thus a site is especially designed to prepare students to face such competitive exams confidential. Thus Road to Grammar ( http://www.roadtogrammar.com/) is a site for ESL, TESL, EFL, TEFL, TOEFL, and grammar and vocabulary practice. Another website named Everyday English as the names itself suggests helps us to teach the English which is essential in daily life of the students. There is very important website named http://edu.allmyfaves.com/ which has abundant material related to different aspects. Here we get free online books, information related to education, not just English but related all the science and technology subjects, exposing students to such websites enhances students learning ability and helps them to build their career in a right way availing the internet resources in a right way. It is well known fact anything can be learnt and remembered for long time if it is in lyrical form. Songs thus play an important role to perfect the students’ pronunciation. http://www.lyricstraining.com/ is one such site where students can enjoy the melodious video songs and at the same time practice correct pronunciation of English words. The other important sites are given below.
Changing time has changed the role of teachers in the classroom and hence teacher in no longer playing the role of mere traditional teacher with abundant information but has started incorporating modern technology in their classrooms. Thus we can very clearly understand that the Internet is a dynamic tool of communication and information gathering. Students anyhow are very much fixated on technology these days. Students can use the available data without any difficulty with the guidance of the teacher. Teacher here plays a role of felicitator by just guiding students to avail the data available as much as possible rather than spoon feeding them. Playing the role of felicitators it is our responsibility to just show the path to students and encourage them to tread the right path. Teacher is the best motivator and guide to the students. Finally I want to conclude saying that internet deals not only improving English communication but also makes students learn to acquire skills on their own which is very important aspect in doing research in future.
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This paper of mine was published in the month of July (2013) from Tumkur University in their International Conference Journal. I am posting this online so that it might be useful to students who seek to improve their english.