Use of ICT in Foundation Level English Language Courses in the Private Universities in Bangladesh

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Use of ICT in Foundation Level English Language Courses in the Private Universities in Bangladesh[edit]

1. Introduction to the Use of ICT in Foundation Level English Language Courses in the Private Universities in Bangladesh[edit]

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Technology has been proving growing sustenance for governments, transportation, education, trade, and personal recreation and necessity. At the present time, people use email instead of hand written letters, instead of birthday or greeting cards, e-cards are sent, instead of going to the shopping malls and grocery stores, clothes and foods are ordered online to be delivered at your doorstep. Similarly for education, technology has provided smartphone applications to enhance learning, virtual teachers for foreign language learning, websites that provide interactive online language activities for free, and help students to proofread texts online.

The use of technology in education, especially language learning is becoming more common worldwide. The effectiveness and usefulness of using e-learning tools in classrooms has been studied by many, and proved over and over again. It is obvious that instead of stimulating one sense, more effective learning happens when the multiple senses are stimulated. By stimulating more senses, particularly the visual sense, learning can be improved. Stimulation through the senses is achieved through more audible cues, visual cues, variety of colors, levels of volume, visual representation of facts, virtual experience through VR glasses, tactile experience through interactive activities and multimedia. Technology provides a tried and tested way to stimulate multiple senses of a student.

Technology, such as the internet, has become an important linguistic medium. Similar to being added to every trait of human life, teachers and students are formulating more innovative ways of including technology the learning of languages.


This chapter discusses the theoretical framework and the research evidence on the use of technology in ELT both in the global and local context. Besides considering how technology has impacted the topic of English as a second language mostly, it also is essential to consider how it has developed specific strands of the learning process.

1.1 Dawn of technology in ELT[edit]

Firmin and Genesi (2013)[2] notes that “during the late 1990s, new technologies were being invented and designed almost monthly. Technology was abuzz and education was the primary target for those eager researchers who wanted to see if their product could transform education as we know it.” Pun (2013)[3] claimed that “the non-native speakers of English as language teachers can teach English more efficiently if they use multimedia technology.”

English language has become an important means of communication among the people of different cultures and languages in Bangladesh, especially with the spread of English around the world. Currently, the role and status of English language in Bangladesh is higher than ever as it is a medium of instruction and curriculum in educational institutions. Different teaching methods have been experimented to understand the effectiveness of English language teaching because the number of English learners are growing up. Simultaneously, there has also been remarkable advancements in the world of technology. With the development of technology, educators around the world have incorporated technology in their classrooms. It is a common assumption that technology in language learning classrooms facilitates both learning and teaching.

“The twenty-first century is the age of globalization and information technology…” (Pun, 2013)[3] Pun discussed that foreign-language education is being taken in new directions due to the current advancements in information technology and social media. He also stated that one of the essential mediums of communication in the world now is English, and focused on the importance of learning the language. What happened as a result to this is that English language teaching has been one of the important issues in education. As a matter of fact, “there are more non-native than native speakers of the language.” (Pun, 2013)[3] With the development of information and technology, people have more exposure to language now. By analyzing learners’ attitudes, we can understand how they view it and its usages, and can develop more effective methods of learning and teaching using technology in language classrooms.

1.2 Advancement of ELT through technology[edit]

The need for qualified and skilled English language teachers is ever important at present. Although, there are some exceptional teachers who use ‘modern’ technology with contemporary teaching methods, most of the teachers still teach using traditional methods. It is not that the traditional methods are detrimental or bad for the students; as pedagogues, teachers should adapt to newer approaches and methods of teaching to meet the needs of the current stakeholders. As a matter of fact, the traditional methods are still proving to be valuable, just not as effective as the past. Saeed (2015)[4] pointed out that “Current computer technology provides new opportunities to increase the effectiveness of language learning and teaching especially in the field of teaching and learning foreign languages.”

1.3 Teaching English at universities of Bangladesh[edit]

Many university level English language teachers in Bangladesh are inclined to use familiar teaching methods that they remember from their own experience when they were students. It is quite disappointing when many teachers keep on using the same tools, methods, and techniques to teach in class. They seem to be too comfortable in using the outdated methods even if it hampers learning experience for students. Many do not even embrace contemporary because of a slightly fossilized mindset. Vail (2003) in Firmin and Genesi (2013)[2] revealed that “Even with all the positive assumptions about the effective use of technology in the classroom, technology still tends to be viewed almost timidly by many educators today. Educators are often inclined to be traditionalists; therefore, they are not as eager to latch on to the newest and latest technological advancement that has just come out on the market.” Although this was stated around 15 years ago, it is still applicable to today’s scenario. These traditional methods uses conventional language teaching techniques in the class but when poorly combined with newer teaching methods, implementation of these methods do not yield a very effective learning outcome for the students. Although teachers may use the assistance of technology, the use is still not dynamic. Multimedia classrooms are limited to projecting reading materials on the screen for students to read from. The use of interactive software to teach English language is not utilized.

1.4 Teachers’ responsibilities in using technology in language classrooms[edit]

Teachers play the key role of deciding which technology and how much of it to use in the classroom. To make such decisions, teachers should consider on the type of learners in the class, the amount of time allocated for a class, and whether use of technology will facilitate effective learning outcome. Saeed (2015)[5] commented that “successful use of ICTs relies heavily on how teachers play mediating roles in selecting and switching between different ICTs and non-ICT tools with associated amplification and reduction effects.” Teachers generally reserve most of their typical roles of being the class instructor or director, lecturer, information provider, and discussion leader. In the modern era of language teaching, the teacher have different responsibilities. The contemporary role of teachers are mediator, instructional designer, trainer collaborator, participant, silent partner, facilitator, team coordinator, supervisor, advisor, assessor, monitor, etc. Each of these roles is associated with precise activities and with the use of technology, project-based learning has been made possible.

1.5 Advantages of using technology in language learning classroom[edit]

Baker, Do, Mailand (2015)[6] reported that “By using technologies that invite the user to interact, the user is more active in the learning process, thus making the process more successful. One example would be to use smartphone applications to engage the students. Almost all smartphone applications are aimed at user interactivity, and smartphones are a resource that 100% of the sampled student population own.”

Technology is a tool for learning that can make students more imaginative, autonomous, and cooperative. Classrooms should nurture an environment where all students and the teacher can have discussions and reflection, so that the teacher can provide feedback and assistance. When technology is utilized adequately under the supervision of teachers, students develop learner autonomy. Hennessy (2005)[7] noted that “First, in the cognitive approach learners get the opportunity to maximize their exposure to language in a meaningful context and construct their own individual knowledge. Examples of these types of technology include text-reconstruction software and multimedia simulation software. Multimedia simulation software allows learners to enter into computerized micro worlds with exposure to language and culture in a meaningful audio-visual context. The best of these programs allow learners a good deal of control and interactivity so they can better manipulate their linguistic input. Second, the social approach emphasizes the social aspect of language acquisition where learning a language is viewed as a process of socialization.”

The most inspirational aspect of technology is its capacity to reach audiences all over the world. Taking language courses online opens a door that allows practically anyone to have access to that course and its resources. Without the use of technology, teaching is limited to a geographical area, a specific institutions, or a definite classroom; with the use of technology, the reach is limitless. Then there is blended learning courses that combine in-class and online learning to increase student engagement. In this way, in-class teaching and online training are corresponding to each other. The role of the teacher moves from a teacher to a mediator or facilitator. Students complete planned, all-inclusive e-learning tasks that teach them the language then attend classroom debates, discussions, and talks where the teacher can focus on class weaknesses rather than simply reciting language guidelines to the students. Technology turns blended learning a reality and stimulates an intuitive language learning practice that is proven to be successful for language improvement. Further, English language learners now communicate very economically yet easier and quicker than ever with native speakers and evaluate themselves on their own improvement.

1.6 Disadvantages of using technology in language learning classroom[edit]

Although there are a lot of benefits of using technology in language learning courses, there are some limitations that cannot be overlooked. Some believe that the use of multimedia and access to internet obstruct the creativity of students because they begin to become more dependent on digital materials. And many students may tend to become a bit lazy as well as they continue using only the internet to feed their intellectual hunger; real life interaction and travelling may yield a broader learning experience. Students start to use plagiarized materials, notes, etc. from the internet. Sometimes, students remain silent when they cannot understand the native speaker’s pronunciation. Parvin, Salam (2015)[8] explored “the effectiveness of technology use in language education is very limited in four aspects: 1) the number of systematic, well-designed empirical evaluative studies of the effects of technology uses in language learning is very small; 2) the settings of instruction where the studies were conducted were limited to higher education and adult learners; 3) the languages studied were limited to common foreign languages and English as a foreign or second language; and 4) the experiments were often short-term and focused on one or two aspects of language learning (e.g., vocabulary or grammar). Nevertheless, the limited number of studies indicates a pattern of positive effects.”

Through the rapid development of technology, website owners urge to rank their website on top of the search engines, so they only focus on rankings instead of the quality of the content that they are posting online. Numerous websites come with incorrect information that has been copied and pasted from questionable sources without checking its validity. So the students are misguided by the incorrect information accessible on the websites. These things can possibly become serious difficulties in their improvement.

Every day, scientists come with new discoveries and challenges that keep technology rolling every second. Software keep on upgrading and if a teacher does not possess technical skills, it becomes difficult for him to execute it in the right direction. Hence, educators have to be expert in technical skills or the school has to hire technical experts adding extra expenses to their expenditures to overcome these technical challenges.

References[edit]

  1. Digonto, I. J. (2018). Students’ Attitude towards the Use of ICT in Foundation Level English Language Courses in the Private Universities in Bangladesh. Presented at the Second International Conference on Teaching and Learning (ICTL) 2018, June, Independent University, Bangladesh.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Firmin, M. W., & Genesi, D. J. (2013). History and Implementation of Classroom Technology. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 93, 1603-1617. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.089
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Pun, M. (2013). THE USE OF MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE. Crossing the Border: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 1(1), 29-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/ctbijis.v1i1.10466
  4. Saeed, Y. B. (2015). The Effect of Using Computer Technology on English Language Teachers’ Performance. SUST Journal of Humanities, 16(1), 64-79. Retrieved February 7, 2018, from http://www.sustech.edu/staff_publications/20150503093748633.pdf
  5. Saeed, Y. B. (2015). The Effect of Using Computer Technology on English Language Teachers’ Performance. SUST Journal of Humanities, 16(1), 64-79. Retrieved February 7, 2018, from http://www.sustech.edu/staff_publications/20150503093748633.pdf
  6. Baker, R., Do, D. M., & Mailand, S. (2015, March 6). The Use of Technology to Enhance English Language (ESL) Teaching (Rep.). Retrieved February 10, 2018, from WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE website: https://web.wpi.edu/Pubs/E-project/Available/E-project-030515-211609/unrestricted/CIHE_IQP_Report_C15.pdf
  7. Hennessy, S. (2005). Emerging teacher strategies for supporting. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge. Retrieved February 15, 2018, from https://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/istl/TiPS0521.pdf
  8. Parvin, R. H., & Salam, S. F. (2015). The Effectiveness of Using Technology in English Language Classrooms in Government Primary Schools in Bangladesh. FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 2(1). Retrieved February 12, 2018, from https://preserve.lehigh.edu/fire/vol2/iss1/5/

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