Saturday, November 7, 2009

Week No. 2: Trends in ICTs in ELT

Current trends on ICTs in ELT

In our second week of the course, we studied the theme of ICTs in the area of English Language Teaching.As we already pointed out the term ICTs means Information and Communication Technologies.

Over the last few years, and perhaps even decades, we have witnessed a major breakthrough in ICTs,which has become a condition sine qua non in a vast number of areas of human endeavour, including education. ICTs have been implemented in all the different types of education systems, regardless of how formal or informal they are.
One of the indisputable benefits of ICTs is its ability to foster the modernization and redefinition of the instruction process in general, as well as facilitate the introduction of innovative elements into the current teaching practice. Bringing in ICTs into education systems has resulted in a new type of learning referred to as distance learning or e-learning.

Currently, in a majority of countries major steps have been taken towards implementing ICTs in various spheres of life so as to continuously provide the users with reliable and easy access to information contained within such systems.

Clearly, ICTs permit powerful access to informational and people resources related to the integration of teaching and technology elements.However, this potential access remains unrealized for a number of reasons including:

• lack of teacher preparation to use computers;
• lack of integration of computer technology with instructional approaches to teach content standards;
• high-stakes testing that virtually forces teachers to teach to the test with the result that computer use is perceived as an add-on activity that is “off-task;”
• a focus on drill-and-practice computer use in low-income and inner-city schools.

One of those spheres in which ICTs are meaningfully used for their great benefits is English Language Teaching (ELT) . Within this educational area, the rapid development of ICTs prompts changes in the ways and methods of teaching and preparing students for continuous learning and effective use of the language to communicate with people from various parts of the globe. ICTs providing various types and forms of information-- from sound, video, images and animation-- technology quadruples the possibility of language learning. Nevertheless, this fact will take place in an ideal context. In most of the cases, EFL teachers can not afford the necessary money and facilities to apply ICTs in their teaching contexts.
In our country, Venezuela, it is very hard (expensive) to use ICTs in the majority of teaching contexts since a big number of educational institutions mainly need financial and material resources. In my case, I teach English at Universidad Nacional Experimental Simón Rodriguez (UNESR) and the level of availability of technological resources is reasonable. There are two Informatics labs with 20 computers with free Internet access. My students have English classes three times a week and can use the labs at any time they want.It is important to point out that, I have never appealed to blogs or wikis to involve them in cooperative and interactive activities.It would be a good idea to integrate teaching and learning activities with blogging, in the UNESR context, for example, in order to promote a more effective, participative,collaborative and interesting teaching-learning process.

- Aspect of learning English as a Foreign Language through ICT, available in:
A Kovacic, V. Vidacek-Hain, I Balabam_The 18th International...12007-uni-graz-at.

- The potencial of ICT to promote academic language learning, available in: Cummings-
Proceedings of the 3rd International conference...

- The N-@ble project, available in:

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