Over the past few old ages, the Internet has emerged as a outstanding new engineering. The influence of such a powerful technological tool has pervaded all facets of the educational, concern, and economic sectors of our universe. Regardless of one ‘s acquaintance with the Internet, it is repeatedly made mention to. News broadcasters and commercials, for illustration, will now supply web references, and even the recent film, “ The Net ” was sparked by the impact of this new engineering ( Mike, 1996 ) . Regardless of whether one uses the Internet or non, one must be clear about the fact that the we have entered a new information age and the Internet is here to stay.Because the usage of the Internet is widespread in legion Fieldss and spheres, without a uncertainty, it besides carries great potency for educational usage, specifically 2nd and foreign linguistic communication instruction. This paper will therefore focal point on the undermentioned inquiries: 1 ) What is the Internet? 2 ) How can assorted aspects of the Internet be used in the 2nd and foreign linguistic communication schoolroom? 3 ) What are the benefits of using the Internet in such a scene? 4 ) What are the disadvantages or obstacles the Internet nowadayss in a 2nd linguistic communication schoolroom? Last, the deductions of utilizing the Internet in 2nd linguistic communication schoolrooms will be discussed. The Internet is the latest in a series of technological inventions for 2nd linguistic communication instruction. In order to understand the function of the Internet, it would be utile to supply a brief history of engineering and linguistic communication instruction, show a study of the technological resources available to 2nd linguistic communication scholars, and, eventually see the function of the Internet and its possibilities.
Technology and Foreign Language Education: A Brief History
Technology and foreign linguistic communication instruction are no alien to one another. In the 1960ss and 1970ss, linguistic communication research labs were being installed in legion educational scenes. The traditional linguistic communication research lab was comprised of a series of booths, each supplying a cassette deck, and attach toing mike and earphone. Teachers monitored their pupils ‘ interactions by utilizing a cardinal control panel. The basic premiss behind this engineering was that if verbal behaviour was modeled, and so reinforced, pupils would rapidly larn the linguistic communication in inquiry. The linguistic communication lab activities were hence grounded in a stimulus-response behaviour form. The more drill pattern the pupils encountered, the faster they would larn the 2nd linguistic communication. While the linguistic communication research lab was a positive measure in associating engineering and linguistic communication instruction, it was shortly recognized that such activities were both boring and tiring for scholars. Furthermore, the sum of student-teacher interaction was minimum, and individualised direction was irrelevant. Besides the pedagogical lacks, the audio equipment was cumbersome and prone to breakdown, and had merely one function-to disseminate auditory input. These factors put together led to a displacement to the communicative attack to 2nd linguistic communication instruction, viz. , computing machine assisted linguistic communication learning.Microcomputers and quality CALL package provided yet another medium for linguistic communication acquisition. Its possible as both a instruction and learning tool are widely written approximately in the educational literature. At present, there are a assortment of computing machine applications available including vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation coachs, enchantment draughtss, electronic workbooks, composing and reading plans, every bit good as assorted authoring bundles to let teachers to make their ain exercisings to supplement bing linguistic communication classs. In add-on to the scope of package available, CALL has besides been shown to increase learner motive ( Blake, 1987 ) . Chun and Brandl ( 1992 ) besides propose that the synergistic and multimedia capablenesss of the computing machine make it an attractive teaching/learning tool. Computers can supply immediate feedback to pupils and pupils can work at an individualised gait. Software can be designed to include sound, artworks, picture, and life. Furthermore, information is presented in a non-linear sequence enabling scholars to choose the exercisings or constructs they wish to reexamine.
Despite the advantages and widespread usage of CALL, it continues to endure from unfavorable judgments for several grounds. Many believe that larning and practising grammar regulations of a foreign linguistic communication through fill-in-the-blank exercisings, for illustration, does small to better a talker ‘s ability to bring forth grammatically appropriate vocalizations ( Armstrong & A ; Yetter-Vassot, 1994 ) . Others point out that CALL suffers from its rigidness in visible radiation of the complexnesss of natural linguistic communications. For illustration, a plan designed to supply bore pattern on Gallic verb junction is utile for merely that and nil else. Recently, nevertheless, we are get downing to see encouraging and promising consequences in the country of CALL package development. Synergistic picture and plans which provide more reliable and communicative task-based activities are being created, which are more in line with the current theoretical and pedagogical positions of acquisition.
What is the Internet?
While the computing machine is now used in some signifier or another in most linguistic communication schoolrooms, and is considered standard equipment, the Internet is besides bit by bit being introduced in the 2nd linguistic communication schoolroom as instructors become more familiar with it. The Internet is a alliance of 1000s of computing machines from assorted sectors of society such as instruction, concern, authorities and the armed forces. It is a web of 1000s of computing machine webs ( Lewis, 1994 ) . Each single system brings something different to the whole ( databases, library services, graphs, maps, electronic diaries, etc ) , and the terminal consequence is a huge accretion of information. It is a world-wide web of computing machines that interact on a standardised set of protocols which act independently of peculiar computing machine runing systems, leting for a assortment of entree methods to the Internet. For illustration, the Internet can be accessed from an IBM computing machine in a pupil ‘s place in Australia, or from a Macintosh computing machine at a school in Canada. It can hence be conceived of as the equivalent of a telephone system for computing machines. It can be used to both exchange information through electronic mail, newsgroups, listservs, professional online treatment groups, and so away, every bit good as to recover information on a assortment of subjects through the World Wide Web.
The Internet and Electronic Mail
Although the Internet has been available to most people, merely late have pedagogues been recognizing the possible the Internet can hold in 2nd and foreign linguistic communication schoolrooms. The undermentioned subdivision will therefore see some of these possible benefits and advantages of integrating such engineering in linguistic communication classs. The Internet has been used by some linguistic communication teachers in originative ways – one of these inventions being usage of electronic mail ( e-mail ) , a specific characteristic of the Internet. Overall, electronic mail can promote pupils to utilize computing machines in realistic, reliable state of affairss in order to develop communicative, and believing accomplishments. Electronic mail is easy to utilize and even instructors intimidated by computing machines can rapidly go ace at utilizing e-mail with their pupils. Furthermore, even timid or inhibited pupils can profit from the meaningful interaction and communicating electronic mail makes possible. Kroonenberg ( 1995 ) , for illustration, employed electronic mail in her ESL categories at Hong Kong International School. She relates her initial experiences of working with two categories of ESL transnational pupils in classs 9-12, and a homogenous group of summer school pupils affecting Cantonese-speaking 14 and 15 twelvemonth olds. The Dragon Bulletin Board System ( BBS ) utilizing the TELIX communications package was established in order to let pupils and instructors to direct messages to each other, every bit good as brands public entries on treatment conferences.During the initial phases, pupils were logged on the system and each pupil created a watchword. Students were merely asked to compose freely as in a duologue diary. Kroonenberg ( 1995 ) believes this allows pupils to go familiar with the system and farther allows their thoughts to flux. Writing on electronic mail can hence be used to bring forth thoughts about a subject, or can enable scholars to free-write without any inflictions. Electronic mail can besides be used in assorted conference-type formats or to bring forth treatment. For illustration, Kroonenberg frequently provided pupils with subjects of high involvement in order to bring forth more authorship. In fact, one pupil who was portion of this undertaking stated, “ I normally get involved in the BBS because the topics are interesting and I have a batch to state about them ” ( p. 25 ) . Writing subjects frequently involved school issues or issues that were straight relevant to the pupils ‘ lives. In other conference assignments, pupils are the chief audience. Students read entries and so react to them via electronic mail. This allows each pupil to show their sentiment. In this mode, all sentiments are voiced and heard, something which may non ever occur in unwritten treatments in the schoolroom.
Chat suites can besides be carried out through electronic mail. In this state of affairs, two or more persons can “ speak ” on-line about assorted subjects or issues. For case, linguistic communication scholars can be paired up and can be given a problematic subject to discourse. Such experiences, one time once more stimulate reliable communicating and assist pupils in developing specific communicating accomplishments such as controversy, carrying, or supporting a peculiar point. Listservs from around the universe can offer intelligence and treatment groups in the mark linguistic communication supplying another beginning of reliable input and interaction. Cononelos and Oliva ( 1993 ) organized e-mail exchanges between full categories of pupils in order to bring forth treatment, better composing accomplishments, and advance equal interaction. In this peculiar undertaking, advanced degree Italian pupils employed e-mail newsgroups to better both their authorship, every bit good as their cognition of modern-day Italian society. In this mode, the instruction of civilization was besides facilitated through the immediate feedback and contact of L2 talkers who were interested in informing others about their civilization.
Electronic mail can besides be used to pass on long-distance with linguistic communication scholars in other schools, or other states for that affair. A survey researching the potency of long-distance communicating affecting 2nd linguistic communication scholars was carried out by Chang ( 1993 ) . The ends of the survey were to supply pupils with a existent context for bettering their authorship, assist them to spread out their thoughts of “ content-area ” reading and functional authorship across cultural boundaries, make pupils familiar with international telecommunications, and look into with pupils, the possible effects of telecommunications on literacy acquisition ( Davis & A ; Chang, 1994 ) .
The topics involved in the survey included undergraduate pupils at Taiwan ‘s National Kaohsiung Normal University ( NKNU ) and pupils at University of North Carolina at Charlotte ( UNCC ) . The 8-week teleconferencing began with Prompt 1 in which pupils were asked to compose letters to one another. In add-on to personal debuts, pupils were asked to include a focal point on their old English linguistic communication acquisition experiences and the troubles associated with this. In Prompt 2 and 3, pupils were asked to utilize their text editions on the History of English Language to describe on interesting utilizations of English, ( Internet Explorer. intensions, spelling, etc ) . Prompts 4 and 5 asked the scholars to work with subdivisions of specific texts to notice on pronoun and lexical usage, every bit good as syntactic construction. In the concluding prompt, both groups of pupils gathered illustrations of English slang and parlances used in each state ‘s movies and music. Questions refering to the above were asked and responded to by pupils in each group.
Davis and Chang ( 1994 ) point out that as authors on both sides of the universe shared inquiries and remarks, gags began to come up. Over clip, the pupils ‘ reading and composing began to alter every bit good. Through studies and informal instance surveies of pupil composing during the conference, it was found that for the most portion, pupils ‘ authorship had improved in both eloquence and organisation. Surveys besides indicated that pupils saw some carry over to their survey literature, and that they had a better apprehension of English use. While the above illustrations illustrate a few utilizations of electronic mail in the 2nd and foreign linguistic communication schoolroom, without a uncertainty electronic mail can supply reliable communicating and can further consciousness of both the linguistic communication scholar and the linguistic communications they are larning.
The Internet as a Teaching and Learning Tool
In add-on to the communicating benefits of the Internet, the Internet can besides be used to recover and entree information. The World Wide Web is hence a practical library at one ‘s fingertips ; it is a readily available universe of information for the linguistic communication scholar. While the Internet offers legion benefits to the linguistic communication scholar, a few such possibilities are examined here, in the context of linguistic communication learning.Perhaps one of the most indispensable pedagogical rules of linguistic communication instruction is one that emphasizes the survey of linguistic communication in a cultural context. I, along with many other linguistic communication teachers believe that linguistic communication and civilization are inextricable and mutualist ; Understanding the civilization of the mark linguistic communication enhances apprehension of the linguistic communication. To this terminal, the Internet is a valuable resource to both linguistic communication instructors and scholars. As discussed antecedently, electronic mail on the Internet allows linguistic communication scholars to pass on with native talkers. In this mode, the Internet facilitates the usage of the specific linguistic communication in an reliable scene. The Internet can besides be used to get information from linguistic communication resources for a assortment of intents. For illustration, pupils can entree current information from states around the universe. They can obtain geographical, historical, social/cultural, economic, and political information from the states in which the mark linguistic communication is spoken. Students can read web versions of day-to-day newspapers and same-day intelligence studies from beginnings such as the Gallic Embassy ‘s goffer service, the day-to-day Revue de Press ( Armstrong and Yetter-Vassot, 1994 ) . Such experiences can let scholars to take part in the civilization of the mark linguistic communication, which in bend can enable them to foster larn how cultural background influences one ‘s position of the universe.
The Internet besides serves as a medium for sing and showing originative plants. While pupils can peruse the information on the Net, they can besides utilize it as a platform for their ain work such as essays, poesy, or narratives. Numerous public schools, for illustration, are doing usage of the World Wide Web for printing pupil work which can be accessed by other web users. Students hence become non lone consumers of content, but in fact generate the content.
As Mike ( 1996 ) describes, the usage of the Internet has besides been shown to advance higher order believing accomplishments. A linguistic communication instructor, for illustration, may teach scholars to seek for specific information. Searching the Web requires logic accomplishments. Once information has been obtained, the consequences must be reviewed which requires scanning, flinging, and appraising judgement on portion of the scholar. The information must be put together to do a complete and consistent whole which entails the synthesis procedure. Such an enterprise permits pupils to pattern reading accomplishments and schemes. The Internet besides promotes literacy for reliable intents, as stated antecedently. In add-on to being a addendum to reading stuffs, particularly current information, when pupils are researching the Net, they are basically researching the existent universe. Such browse or geographic expedition can besides take to incidental acquisition as they encounter a assortment of information in this manner. Communication with native talkers furthers literacy development for reliable intents, enables linguistic communication scholars to compare pupil positions on an issue, and allows them to pattern specific accomplishments such as negotiating, carrying, clear uping significance, bespeaking information, and prosecuting in true-life, reliable treatment. Promotion of literacy besides occurs within a societal context. The interaction that consequences from the above state of affairss can take to concerted undertakings and increased communicating between pupils from all over the universe, in bend taking to the development of societal accomplishments. Finally, usage of the Internet can advance computing machine accomplishments and the proficient and conceptual experiences of utilizing a computing machine.
Last, the Internet provides auxiliary linguistic communication activities which can supply pupils with extra pattern in specific countries of linguistic communication acquisition. These include reading trials and comprehension inquiries, grammar exercisings, pronunciation exercisings possible through the available multimedia capablenesss, cloze trials, vocabulary exercisings, and so forth. Students can seek the Web for such sites, or instructors may urge specific sites on the Web. Published lists are besides available from assorted beginnings. For illustration, Paramskas ( 1993 ) offers a list of sites for both linguistic communication instructors and linguistic communication scholars, some of which relate to issues of linguistic communication acquisition, others which use linguistic communication as a medium for treatment of civilization or current personal businesss, and others which assist in turn uping native talkers.
The Internet Challenges
Up to this point in clip, the above treatment has described some of the possible benefits of the Internet and how it can be used in the 2nd or foreign linguistic communication schoolroom. However, such a treatment would be uncomplete without turn toing the disadvantages or obstructions related to the usage of the Internet in the linguistic communication schoolroom. While the Internet and its assorted aspects offer a great trade to the linguistic communication scholar, it is non without its jobs. The nature of the Internet itself can be a disadvantage at times. When lines are busy due to many users, it may take clip to entree information or shop the Net and proficient bugs themselves can take to defeat. Lack of preparation and acquaintance on portion of the instructors can do it hard to implement the Internet in the linguistic communication schoolroom. This requires that school decision makers budget for preparation in this country. Foreign linguistic communication instructors are particularly anxiety prone to computing machines since they frequently have small experience with computing machines. For the most portion, computing machines in schools are used for concern or computing machine scientific discipline classs. Costss related to preparation, every bit good as online costs of utilizing a supplier are issues that may interfere with implementing such a engineering in schools, particularly in schools that have small support. Censoring may besides be a concern to linguistic communication plans and teachers. The Internet offers entree to all types of issues and subjects, some of which are unsuitable for kids, and this in itself may ensue in assorted jobs. While some safeguards can be taken at the present clip, they are non full cogent evidence by any agencies. Equity issues may besides show troubles when trying to implement such engineering in the schoolroom. As the commercial sector begins to presume a more outstanding function in the Internet ‘s substructure, rural and inner-city schools, already distressed to supply Internet entree, may happen it less low-cost. This is surely detering for both linguistic communication instructors and pupils in such educational scenes ( Mike, 1996 ) . Many establishments such as these may besides non hold the computing machines or calculating installations necessary to implement such type of engineering.
Deductions and Decision
Despite these restrictions and obstructions, it must be realized that the Internet ‘s educational potency is huge. Although electronic, the Internet is an entity related to literacy – people still interact with it wholly through reading and authorship. For this ground entirely, the Internet is a engineering that will, without a uncertainty, have important deductions for both instruction and acquisition. So what does this imply for linguistic communication instructors and scholars? Teachers must go familiar with utilizing the Internet and its assorted maps such as electronic mail. They must besides larn how to utilize specific hunt tools in order to entree information, hunt for lesson programs, or stuff and thoughts to supplement their lessons. Last, linguistic communication instructors must larn now to reassign files from Internet sites to their ain computing machine and frailty versa. Obtaining information or literature on the Internet, either through the Net itself, through books, or by go toing workshops and classs will farther help this procedure. To avoid confronting the same troubles or jobs associated with usage of the Internet, instructors can inquire pupils to maintain path of jobs that arise during usage. In kernel, linguistic communication instructors must take the dip and near the Internet as a learning experience themselves. The more enthusiastic and more knowing linguistic communication instructors are, the more successfully they can implement Internet in the linguistic communication schoolroom. For the linguistic communication scholar, the Internet offers a universe of information available to pupils at the touch of a button. While it must be recognized that the Internet can non replace the linguistic communication schoolroom or the interaction between the linguistic communication instructor and pupil, if offers a huge sum of information and lends itself to communication possibilities that can greatly heighten the linguistic communication larning experience.Certainly at this point in clip, several inquiries need to be asked to steer future research in this country. How can utilize of the Internet correspond to the communicative or pedagogical ends of linguistic communication learning? How will the Internet and its related aspects assist linguistic communication scholars in working in the planetary community? What will the existent impact of the Internet in foreign linguistic communication schoolrooms be? How can the Internet be used more efficaciously along side the present linguistic communication course of study? While these inquiries have been examined to some grade, research workers and linguistic communication pedagogues must farther look into and implement this engineering to supply others with guidelines in this country.
Without a uncertainty we are in the centre of a “ monumental technological paradigm displacement, one which will finally alter the manner that all teachers teach and the manner pupils learn ” ( Jensen, 1993 ) . While engineering should non take over the linguistic communication schoolroom, it must be embraced in order to let pedagogues to make those things which they are unable to make themselves, or those which will better what is presently being done in the schoolroom. As we approach the following century, it is indispensable that we make informed determinations about how the Internet can be successfully integrated into the linguistic communication schoolroom. If we as pedagogues do non lift to the challenge – who will?