USING TECHNOLOGY FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING (U-TELL)
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Web 2.0 provides a range of tools to supplement classroom teaching and learning. The writer is deploying these tools in one of the modules taught in The English Language Teaching unit, Technical Communication. These tools include social networking tools like Twitter, Blogs etc. By capitalizing and adopting such tools in the English Language classrooms, the writer thinks that non-native speaking students would become more enthusiastic in their learning.
Description of Technical Communication: Students are required, throughout the 13 - 15 weeks (depending on which semester of the academic year) to undergo English Language modules taught by instructors at the English Language Teaching Unit. In this module, students are expected to choose a scenario presented to them, do a case-study of the chosen context and present their solutions in both written and speaking mode.
The students are predominantly local Hong Kong engineering students whose mother tongue is Cantonese. As such, not only is their motivation level low, their level of English Language proficiency leaves much to be desired as well. Hence, by using these tools, the writer hopes to encourage and enthuse the students to improve on the core skills especially Writing and Speaking!
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. By sheer fact that up to 140 characters can be input, this is an excellent tool for summary practice in the English Language classroom.
Blogs are personal diaries, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Using blogs in the classroom vis-a-vis Twitter would see the continuity of learning from note-taking to writing the reflection of the day's lesson.
Prezi is a flash-based presentation system that allows users to create incredibly dynamic presentations. Presentations where the students can zoom in and out across a large area (no slides), create motion paths, embed images and video and do things that previously needed a pretty competent Flash developer and a whole chunk of time. Moreover, since little text can be input, it really encourages students to present rather than read off from their powerpoint slides! This web-based version also allows for online collaboration amongst the students who are in the same team.
Mind-mapping tools are also deployed for students to get to the root of the problem and develop their critical thinking skills. Using the fish-bone concept, students can map out the root cause of the problem before they decide on a good solution for the root cause to the problem they have identified.
Keywords: Education technology, english language learning, twitter, prezi, blog.