Monday, January 31, 2005

Using Computers for Teaching

I Introduction to CALL for Teachers and Students

Many teachers think that the idea of using a computer for teaching English requires a great deal of knowledge, but you and your students only need to have a little. Many online dictionaries are there for free, so you do not need to carry your dictionary wherever you go.

II World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a great resource for finding exercises for language teachers and students, and many of these sites are free. There are special sites for:
-learning grammar
-conducting research
-completing webquests
-completing interactive exercises
-practicing for national examinations, e.g. TOEFL
-using extra worksheets provided by publishers, e.g. NorthStar, in the Longman site.
-learning how to type

III Other Internet Applications
The Internet can also be used to communicate with people within Malaysia, or all around the world. Students can send emails to one another and to their teacher, to make up class magazines, to blog, to have synchronous and asynchronous conversations, to chat, or to be members of CMC groups. They can type up their paragraphs and research findings using word, and then send them to their classmates and teacher. They can also join MOOs (real-time communication environments)

IV Presentation Software
Higher level classes can use presentation software such a Powerpoint, to prepare presentations. These presentations can also be shown online to audiences around the world. Students can be encouraged to present their findings using Powerpoint to the rest of their class. The slides can be projected onto the whiteboard at the front of the laboratory, using a datashow.

V Authoring Software
Teachers can make up their own exercises for use in the labs or for use at home by the students, using software such as Hotpotatoes. The students can bring floppy disks to class, and teachers can copy the exercises for them. These offline exercises can also be used in the computer labs when the Internet is down.

VI Commercial Software (CD-ROMs)
Many publishers have published cd-roms and diskettes for use by language teachers. Extra material can be handed out on cd-roms to the teachers and students. It is easy to hand out new, edited or updated cd-roms at the beginning of each semester.

VII Minimum Essentials for Using the Internet
The following is a list of the minimum essentials for using the Internet effectively:

A. World Wide Web
1. Typing in URLs to visit sites
2. Clicking highlighted words or graphics to visit links
3. Searching for words on the web pages
4. Printing web pages
5. Finding a web page by going to a higher level in the directory
6. Saving favorites

B. E-mail
1. Writing a message with Yahoo or Hotmail, and sending it
2. Uploading a written message and sending it
3. Replying to a message using the reply function
4. Forwarding a message
5. Downloading a message you have received
6. Saving a message in your e-mail account
7. Making up a list of addresses

C. Windows
1. opening a word processor program, e-mail, and web pages using the mouse
2. changing the screen among the above programs by holding down the alt key and pressing the tab key or using the mouse
3. Changing the size of the windows
4. Moving windows, text, etc., around by clicking and dragging

VIII Kuwait University Online Language Learning (KUOLL)
has links to useful sites for majors, as well as other topics.

IX CALL Guidelines for Teachers

1 Preparing before class
It is even more important to prepare for class when you are conducting a call one. Website addresses change and companies close down.

2 Groups
The students can learn from one another. One may be good at English, but have poor computing skills, and vice versa. Some may not feel comfortable in the lab., so let them work together.

3 Computer classes (teachers)
If you are not computer literate yourself, try to attend CALL workshops.

4 Worksheets
You can make up your own worksheets if you find an interesting site. Send a copy of your worksheet me so that others may use your work.

5 Grammar
If your class has problems with any grammar topic, find a site that will help your students and use it in your lab. class.

6 Writing
The students can type their passages using Word, print them out, save them on floppy disk, and/or send them to you by email for correction.

7 Typing
Students and teachers can learn to type by using the sites mentioned in the typing links.

8 Listening
There are many sites on the Web to help students with listening. Check out Dave's ESL Café for links.

9 Vocabulary
Hotpotatoes exercises can be installed in the computers and students can use them if the Internet connection is down.

10 Speaking
The students practice speaking when they are discussing their work with one another. The teacher should go round each group, or individual students, to discuss their work. This kind of interaction between students and teachers is much more informal than in the classroom.

11 Researching
The students can be taught how to do low level research using the Internet. They also take simple notes.

12 Reading
All types and levels of reading can be practiced using the Internet, e.g. skimming, scanning, pronoun reference, and working out facts from opinions.

13 Evaluating
Students can be taught to evaluate the relevance, value and truth of Internet sites. They can compare two to see which has the 'best' information.