Integration of ict in foreign language instruction: things to bear in mind – part 2


31-07-2014
The present article provides some notes for teachers on the incorporation of information and communication technology (ICT) in language instruction. The notes are of three types: (1) things that teachers should know about ICT; (2) some requirements for teachers while implementing ICT; and (3) some issues that teachers may encounter when they incorporate ICT into their instruction. Some suggested solutions to deal with the issues are also embedded in the analysis of each issue.
Patience and perseverance
Whenever you work with technology, you can’t assume that things will always work the way they’re supposed to or the way you think they should. If you have a problem, try to break the problem down into small parts and then work on each part. Sometimes you just have to shut down the computer or quit the software and start up again. Sometimes the problem is the result of software bugs or viruses or hardware incompatibilities. Sometimes the problem exists because of knowledge gaps. Sometimes you’re just too tired to see things clearly. In that case, quit what you’re doing and get some sleep. The rest will make a difference.
Whenever you work with technology, you can’t assume that things will always work the way they’re supposed to or the way you think they should. If you have a problem, try to break the problem down into small parts and then work on each part. Sometimes you just have to shut down the computer or quit the software and start up again. Sometimes the problem is the result of software bugs or viruses or hardware incompatibilities. Sometimes the problem exists because of knowledge gaps. Sometimes you’re just too tired to see things clearly. In that case, quit what you’re doing and get some sleep. The rest will make a difference.
One more note that teachers should keep in mind is that when it comes to technology, things will not always work the way they are supposed to or teachers expect them to. When this happens, teachers are advised not to give in. Instead, they should get prepared for frustration, keep persevering and stay dedicated. If they can do this, they will overcome the problem, gradually become more proficient and will be able to do amazing things that benefit their students (Thibeault, 2013). F-rom this angle, patience, perseverance and dedication are factors that certainly contribute to success in ICT integration.
Learner autonomy
Many studies (e.g., Holec, 1981; Benson, 2011; Ismail and Yusof, 2012) maintain that learners’ capacity to self-regulate their learning plays a crucial role in language learning. However, in Vietnamese settings, some students do not show a very good capacity to take c-harge of their own learning. They are easily distracted in a high-tech classroom. As a result, in the classroom some students cannot resist the temptation to use ICT devices to chat or play games when they are supposed to learn. To solve this problem, it is important to increase the classroom management capacity of the teacher and to raise the autonomy of the learner.
Learners’ computer skills
One more thing that teachers should take account of is to do with the fact that some students struggle in high-tech classrooms. These students have difficulty in using ICT devices and it often takes them some time to learn to use the devices. However, in some schools, students only have limited access to high-tech classrooms, often one or two class hours a week (each class hour often lasts about 45 minutes). Clearly this amount of time is insufficient. To compound the problem, students are not given opportunities to use the devices on a regular basis. Altogether, this may lead to a situation in which students have to place focus on learning and relearning to use ICT devices instead of on learning the foreign language. In order to help students to get well-prepared technically before taking the language course, it is suggested that a short preparation course is held to help students learn to use the ICT devices.
Apart f-rom the issues covered above, Thibeault (2013) mentions some more things that foreign language teachers need to consider when they embed ICT in their teaching.
Infrastructure
Teachers should know about the infrastructure of their school. They need to know whether there is the Internet access, whether the connection is reliable or fast enough for audio, video or games, etc. By knowing all these things beforehand, teachers can find ways to compensate in case the infrastructure is lacking.
Time
Time is also one of the issues teachers need to take account of if they want to succeed in ICT integration. Teachers have to make sure whether they have time to prepare materials, whether the ICT activities add to the teacher’s time load, etc. By answering these questions, teachers can make good decisions and can increase their chance of success in embedding ICT in instruction.
3. Conclusion
Clearly, there are various factors that may hamper or contribute to the success of teachers’ ICT integration, particularly in Vietnamese settings. Therefore, it is very important for Vietnamese teachers of foreign languages to be aware of the issues, consider them seriously and develop effective strategies to deal with the issues so that they can successfully incorporate ICT into their instruction.
 
REFERENCES
Benson, P. (2011). Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning. 2nd Edition. Hallow: Longman/Pearson Education.
Goktas, Y., Yildirim, S. & Yildirim, Z. (2009). Main barriers and possible enablers of ICTs integration into pre-service teacher education programs. Educational Technology & Society, 12 (1), 193 – 204.
Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy in Foreign Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon.
Ismail, N. & Yusof, M. A. M. (2012). Using language learning contracts as a strategy to promote learner autonomy among ESL learners. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 66 (2012) 472 – 480.
Thibeault, T. (2013, December). Introduction to ICT/CALL. ICT Courses for Vietnamese Teachers of English. Lecture conducted in Danang College of Foreign Languages, Danang, Vietnam.
Thibeault, T. (2013, December). Issues when implementing ICT/CALL. ICT Courses for Vietnamese Teachers of English. Lecture conducted in Danang College of Foreign Languages, Danang, Vietnam.
Umar, I. N. & Hussin, F. K. (2013). ICT coordinators’ perceptions on ICT practices, barriers and its future in Malaysian secondary schools: Correlation analysis. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116 (2014) 2469 – 2473.
Người đăng:Doan Quang Trung, Hanoi University
31-07-2014