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International Journal of English Language

and Translation Studies


[ISSN: 2308-5460]

Vol-01, Issue-01
[April-June, 2013]

Editor-in-Chief
Mustafa Mubarak Pathan
Department of English Language & Translation Studies
The Faculty of Arts, the University of Sebha
Sebha, Libya

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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


Table of Contents
Sr. No Paper Title / Author(s) / Country
1
2

5
6

Editorial
Advantages of Using PowerPoint Presentation in EFL Classroom
& the Status of its Use in Sebha Universit y
- Kheira Altaher Musa & Zamzam Emhemmad Mari Al-Dersi ,
Libya
An Invest igat ion of English Language Needs of the First Year PreMedical Students at the Universit y o f Sebha, Libya
- Ergaya Ali Gerair Alsout, Libya
English as a Global Language Pheno menon and the Need of
Cultural Conceptualizat ions Awareness in Indonesian ELT
- Niki Raga Tantri, Indonesia
Gender, Power, Politeness and Wo men in the Arab Society
- Emdelellah Omar Muhammad Farhat, Libya
The Use of Co mputer Techno logy in EFL ClassroomsAdvantages & Implication
- Safia Mujtaba AlSied & Mustafa Mubarak Pathan, Libya
The Use of Short-Stories for Developing Vocabulary of EFL
Learners
- Zamzam Emhemmad Mari Al-Dersi, Libya
Tracing the Journey o f the Use of Co mputer Technology in the
Field of Second and Foreign Language Assessment & Testing
- Omar Mohammad Mahmoud Abukhzam, Libya

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27- 35

36- 43
44- 51

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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460

The Use of Computer Technology in EFL Classroom: Advantages and


Implications

Safia Mujtaba Alsied


Department of English Language & Translat ion Studies,
The Facult y of Arts, the Universit y o f Sebha,
Sebha, Libya
Mustafa Mubarak Pathan
Department of English Language & Translat ion Studies,
The Facult y of Arts, the Universit y o f Sebha,
Sebha, Libya
Abstract
Techno logy has become inseparable part of todays world and this is also true with the field
of foreign language instruction. The use o f technology in teaching and learning of foreign
language like English has always dominated the pedagogical debates and discussio ns and
made the luminaries and pedagogues in the field to invest igate the possible advantages and
implicat ions o f this techno logy for effect ive and dynamic teaching and learning of foreign
language like English. Such debates and studies have o ften ended on recommending the use
of co mputer techno logy in foreign language instructions due to several advantages this use
can o ffer both for the EFL teachers and learners. It is believed that such use guarantees much
recommended learner-centered learning and makes the whole process of foreign language
teaching and learning interact ive, interesting, and dynamic. Therefore this paper attempts to
investigate these advantages of using co mputer techno logy in EFL classrooms and its
implicat ions in foreign language situat ions like Libya.
Keywords: CALL, Co mputer and EFL teaching, Leaner-centered Approach, Foreign
Language Skills, Advantages of Computer Technology

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1. Introduction
The idea o f incorporating co mputer techno logy in EFL instruction has always been the
focal po int of discussio ns and debates for a very long period of t ime. This integrat ion o f
computer techno logy into the domain o f foreign language educat ion began during 1950s and
since then, as the techno logy wit nessed drast ic changes, this use also has undergone
tremendous modificat ions and became the part and parcel of modern day educat ion system.
The result o f all these has been evident on all those related to EFL instruction including
teachers. The advent of co mputer techno logy in EFL instruction has lead to significant
changes in teachers approaches, methodologies and strategies to teaching foreign language
like English. With many pract ical benefit s both for EFL teachers and learners, today, the use
of co mputer techno logy in EFL teaching and learning has achieved great popularit y. Many
EFL luminaries and pedagogues have contemplated over the possible implications o f this
techno logy for achieving the aims and objectives of EFL teaching and learning and have
recommended strongly this use for effect ive and dynamic teaching and learning of foreign
language like English. Such arguments for the use of computer techno logy in EFL teaching
and learning, advantages o f the use of co mputer techno logy, both for the EFL teachers and
learners, and their implicat ions form the central topics of discussion o f this paper.
2. The use of computers in EFL classrooms: an overview
The ro le and importance of the use o f computer techno logy in EFL classrooms for
teaching, learning, pract icing and testing purposes has always been widely contemplated
subject among the ELT researchers and pedagogues. Though this use of co mputer techno logy
into foreign language teaching, learning and assessment started during 1950s, it was not so
widespread practice then. It did not form very important place in teaching and learning
process of EFL due to the techno logy and infrastructure related issues. However, with the
emergence o f first generat ion of personal co mputers in the 1980s, the use of computer
techno logy in educat ion, in general, and in EFL classrooms in particular, was accelerated. As
this use proved fruit ful, producing positive results in teaching, learning and testing processes,
it paved way to further research on possible explo itat ion of this techno logy for achieving
maximum results. This resulted in people fro m varied fields like, co mputer engineers and
software designers, applied linguists, academicians, language teachers and assessment
specialists to jo in the hands to use this techno logy for making teaching and learning o f
foreign language like English more innovative, dynamic, interactive, interest ing, easy and
learner-centered.
Today, co mputer technology enjo ys a noticeable presence in second and foreign
language teaching and learning processes. This is because of infinite benefit s this use has for
teaching, learning and assessing second and fo reign language like English. The use of
computer, in EFL classroom, can offer the delivery o f a wide variety of mult imedia content,
with pedant ic and authent ic language models, accessed wit h individual control. It also
presents another source of target language knowledge and examples and relieves the EFL
teacher as the so le fo nt of target language knowledge in the classroom as summarized by
Szendeffy (2008, P. 04).The use o f co mputer also offers other channels of communication
between class members and distant learners as well as supplemental pract ice exercises and
tutorial feedback. The use also shifts the learning environment fro m the traditional teachercentered towards the learner-centered approach moving EFL learner as passive ent it y to a
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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


student who is act ive in the search for the fulfillment of his or her own learning needs and to
use the language in an authentic situat ion (Adams & Burns, 1999; and Muir-Herzig, 2004).
Benefit s like these provide opportunit ies for a creative and dynamic EFL teacher to tap into
these posit ive aspects to orchestrate challenging activit ies in his / her classroom that invo lve
and empower students, stimulate thought and production, and create more instances o f
authent ic interaction between learners using the target language.
3. The use of computer technology for teaching & learning foreign language skills
The use of co mputer techno logy in EFL classrooms has many advantages for developing
the EFL learners language skills. The use of computer presents the EFL learners with
gateway to various activit ies for developing their language skills.
3.1. Computer technology and listening comprehension skill
The use o f co mputer as a listening tool is claimed to be one o f the more important
learning tools for enhancing EFL students listening skill. It allows students to learn
independent ly and to receive immediate feedback upon the complet ion of tasks (Hoven,
1999). Teaching and learning of listening using various media embedded in co mputer can
enrich the skill and help in producing better results. The use o f co mputer also gives students
the opportunit y to enhance language learning by bringing in the real world. Digit ized speech
and video, offered by the use of co mputer, can also be highly effective for developing this
important language skill.
Using co mputer, with internet, also has plenty o f benefits for developing listening. Such
use can provide so many authent ic audio and video resources to listen and to develop the
associated language skills.
There are so many useful websites likewww. mylanguagelab.co m,
www.longmanenglishinteract ive.co m, etc which offer
innumerable listening exercises, for learning and testing listening skill for free. This kind o f
mult imedia-based model o f EFL instruction in listening co mprehension skill has been
advocated by many researchers like Hoven (1999); Plass, and Jones (2005) etc. In addit ion to
the widest variet y and greatest quant it y o f content ever available for EFL learners, the use o f
computer along wit h internet, also provides an abundant variety o f languagethrough contextlearning opportunities and interactive act ivit ies, most in authent ic context.
3.2 Computer technology and speaking skill
The use of co mputer techno logy, with int ernet, can also be helpful for learning,
improving, pract icing and assessing speaking skill. EFL learners can use co mputer, tablets
and Smartphones, connecting wit h internet, to chat and talk wit h nat ive speakers and practice
and improve their language, in friendlier foreign language learning environment. Today many
social networking sites like Skype, Nimbuzz, Yahoo and Facebook etc allow this kind of
audio as well video talk, in addit ion to IM (instant messaging) service. This kind of online
talk, wit h nat ive speakers o f English, has been advocated, as very useful tool for improving
speaking proficiency as well as pronunciat ion by the scholars like Payne and Whit ney (2002).
Such use of co mputer techno logy also gets even the reluctant EFL learners to speak. Thus,
the use o f co mputer techno logy for developing speaking provides learning opportunit ies
where there is less teacher fronting and are authentic and challenging situat ions for improving
this important skill.
3.3 Computer technology and reading comprehension skill
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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


The use o f co mputer techno logy can contribute a lot in developing EFL learners reading
comprehension skill and other sub-skills related to it as well. Using computers, with the use
of internet provides a variety o f current and authent ic reading materials co mpared to
potentially dated reading material sourced fro m textbooks (Kasper, 2000). Chun and Plass
(1996) stress that the verbal and visual systems in computer programs help students to better
understand the text. Most of the CALL programs are filled wit h graphics and vo ices and
when EFL learners visualize the situation, they can remember the subject better in the lo ng
term. Many studies (Niko lova (2002) have also reported that CALL programs for vocabulary
development have posit ive results. Learning vocabulary, using co mputers, helps learners to
learn vocabulary significant ly faster than the tradit ional way o f teaching vocabulary. The
variet ies o f reading materials, available wit h the use of co mputer techno logy and internet can
encourage EFL learners and open opportunit ies to read widely in foreign language like
English. This can be highly effective for developing vocabulary through wide reading and in
mastering important structures in the target language. That is why it is argued that computers
can promote extensive reading; build reading fluency and rate; develop intrinsic mot ivat ion
for reading; and contribute to a coherent curriculum for student learning.
3.4 Computer technology and writing skill
Another pedagogical benefit of the use of computer techno logy is the argument that such
use is one of the mo st effect ive tools to teach writing. The study by Cunningham (2000)
concluded that his students found that his writ ing class was more productive when he used
word processing software wit h his students. He surveyed 37 EFL students in his writ ing class
to study the students attitudes towards using computers in their writ ing. 88% of students
indicated that they had improved their writ ing skills whilst using word processing. These
students indicated that using a word processor during the writ ing process helped them to
concentrate on certain aspects of their writ ing, for example: grammar, vocabulary and the
organizat ion or structure of their text. Similar results were also reported by Kasper (2000)
which highlight the useful role o f the use o f co mputer techno logy in developing writ ing skill
of EFL learners.
3.5 Computer technology and EFL assessment and testing
The use o f co mputer, with internet, is effect ive not only for teaching and learning foreign
language like English but also for testing and assessment purpose. The use of co mputer, to
assess and test EFL learners, ensures correct assessment of their language abilit y. Many
scho lars like Chapelle, and Douglas (2006); Dandono li (1989); and Stansfield (1990) etc.
have advocated this use o f co mputer techno logy in the filed o f foreign language assessment
and test ing. There are many useful websites which provide language learners wit h many
online tests. English as a foreign language learners can visit them and assess their language
abilit y and proficiency. So me o f these websites include- www.dialang.org, www.marketleader. net,
www.ecollege.co m,
www.myenglishlab.co m,
www.hotpot.uvic.ca,
www.school.discovery.co m etc., to mention a very few. In addit ion, EFL teachers can
prepare their own online tests, for their students, for the courses being taught by them by
using authoring programs like Hot Potatoes, Macromedia Authorware etc.
3.6 Computer technology and learner autonomy
The importance of learners deciding their own learning objectives, choosing ways o f
achieving the learning object ives and evaluating their own progress has lo ng been
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International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies ISSN: 2308-5460


acknowledged by language learning pedagogy (Ellis, 1994). From a language learning
perspective, computers are recognized as attractive learning tools that provide students with
opportunit ies to become autonomous learners (Bork, 1994; Hoven, 1999; Niko lova, 2002). If
used creat ively and wisely wit h suitable act ivit ies, the use co mputer techno logy can help EFL
learners in many ways and can be an effect ive tool to motivate EFL learners to seek and to
fulfill their own learning needs by themselves.
3.7 Computer technology and learner motivation
Motivat ion is one of the key factors that influences the rate and success of foreign
language learning. Motivat ion provides the primary impetus to init iate EFL learning and later
remains the driving force that sustains this lo ng and o ften tedious learning process (Dornyei,
1998). Many EFL luminaries and pedagogues agree that the use o f co mputer techno logy in
EFL instruction provides situat ions that motivate learners to learn. The use of co mputer
techno logy, alo ng wit h internet, helps in mot ivat ing EFL learners to learn through authent ic,
challenging tasks that are interdisciplinary in nature. Such use also encourages EFL learners
active invo lvement with the target language and content in a real, authentic situation.
These above discussed advantages, along wit h some other, are listed below in the fo llowing
table.
Table: 1 Advantages of the use of computer technology in EFL instruction
Sr. No Advantages of the use of computer technology in EFL instruction
1
The use of co mputer techno logy can make EFL learning easy and interesting.
2
The use of co mputer techno logy o ffers many opportunit ies for language learners
to learn the language by their own using internet.
3
The use of co mputer techno logy, with internet, provides language learners many
opportunit ies of practicing and using English.
4
The use of co mputer techno logy also helps the learners to assess and test
themselves and get feedback.
5
The use o f co mputer techno logy o ffers students the option o f self-directed
learning and to connect learning to valuable work skills and personal use.
6
The use of co mputer techno logy makes language learning learner-centered.
7
The use o f co mputer techno logy provides opportunit ies for EFL learners to work
both on their own and as part of a group to find their own learning needs and to
use the English language in an authent ic situat ion.
8
The use of computer technology in EFL teaching can mot ivate students because
the learning environment is more enjo yable.
9
The use o f co mputer techno logy in EFL classroom can help students to
understand the complex concepts more easily.
10
The use of co mputer technology in EFL classroom can help students to learn at
their own pace.
11
The use o f co mputer technology in EFL instruction can provide a mult isensory
learning environment.
12
The use of co mputer techno logy in EFL instruction can help students to

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13
14
15
16

learn independent ly through self - discovery.


The use of co mputer techno logy can increase students participation in activit ies
in the classroom.
The use o f co mputer techno logy can increase interaction in the classroom and
provide more active role in learning.
The use o f co mputer techno logy provides much needed exposure of target
language in various forms for the EFL learners.
The use of co mputer techno logy helps EFL teachers to promote a constructive
class environment.

With such advantages and benefits for EFL teachers and learners, it is not surprising that
the demand for using co mputer techno logy to support teaching, learning and testing processes
in EFL classrooms is beco ming more serious. Thus integrating computer techno logy in EFL
classroom can help in bringing changes to the tradit ional teaching and learning environment
in order to create what is termed as more authentic and dynamic learning environment.
4. Implications for EFL teachers and learners
Foreign language learning is considered to be both an intensive and t ime-consuming
activit y. According to Bialystok and Hakuta (1994), anywhere fro m 700 to 1320 hours of
full-t ime instruction are needed to reach a level of high fluency (P.34). In contrast to this
view, most EFL learners spend on average only 150 hours per academic year actively
studying a foreign language. This situation is more problematic for EFL learners, in the EFL
context like Libya, where students begin studying a foreign language in high school and
continue at universit y. In such problemat ic situation, increasing contact with the target
language is believed to be the obvious so lut ion which can be achieved by studying English in
the countries where it is spoken as L1 or first/native language. However, this does not seem
to be the practical so lut ion as it is the most expensive method of acquiring linguist ic
competence in a foreign language like English. Thus, mo st of the EFL learners remain
deprived of this option as only few can opt for it. The result therefore is, in most cases
teaching and learning a foreign language like English beco mes unsuccessful as EFL learners
receive impoverished or insufficient input in the target language (Cummins (1998), P. 19).
Therefore, as Blake (20008) argues, if co mputer techno logy is used wisely and creat ively, it
could play a very significant role in enhancing EFL learners contact with the target
language, particularly in the absence o f the study abroad option. Such views signify the
importance of co mputer techno logy in overcoming many prevailing problems in EFL
situations like Libya and have many implications both for EFL teachers and learners. If EFL
teachers and learners cooperate and use this techno logy wisely, it can play wonders in
achieving the aims and object ives of teaching and learning of foreign language like English in
Libya.
5. Conclusion
The use o f co mputer techno logy for teaching, learning, practicing and assessing foreign
language, like English, has many advantages, particularly in the countries like Libya where
EFL learners get very few opportunit ies for practicing and assessing their language skills. If
EFL teachers and learners wisely capitalize upon these posit ive aspects of the use of
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computer techno logy in EFL instruction while teaching, learning and assessing target
language, the results would be highly encouraging, productive and profitable for all those
associated with these processes. As the success of any init iative, in language teaching and
learning processes, lies in the guided and coordinated efforts, so is the case wit h the use o f
computer techno logy. Therefore, all those related with the planning, teaching, learning and
assessing as well as testing foreign language like English if jo in the hands together to explo it
this techno logy for better and productive EFL teaching and learning, the stated aims and
object ive o f teaching and learning o f foreign language like English can be achieved ver y
easily.
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