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ABSTRACT

There are no two opinions about English being the language of


dominance for the current wave of globalization. By the same token, the World
Wide Web has emerged as the principal technology that has made global
education viable as well as made virtual Universities possible. It constitutes
an incredible resource to teach English by adapting online materials.
Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) with pedagogical applications
has helped us to understand the nature of the language. It is the responsibility
of the teacher to make the class interesting and activity oriented. The paper
analyses how the English language teaching methods are rapidly shifting from
traditional methods to the trend-setting methods using computer applications
and multimedia environments. It explores how teachers can integrate
language with technology and channelize students interest in developing
creativity. It then proceeds to expose them to the methods of self-learning that
will help them in improving their language throughout their lifetime.
Key Words: Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), Internet,
LSRW: the four cardinal skills of language learning, namely listening,
speaking, reading and writing.
Introduction
Over the past few years, the Internet has emerged as a prominently
new technology. The influence of such a powerful technological tool has
pervaded all aspects of the educational, business, and economic sectors of our
world. In addition to the communicative benefits of the Internet, the Internet
can also be used to retrieve and access information. The World Wide Web is
therefore a virtual library at one's finger tips. It is a readily available world of
information for the language learner. While the Internet offers numerous
benefits to the language learner, a few such possibilities are examined here, in
the context of language learning. The web allows the incorporation of
animation and pictures, sound into lessons which extends our abilities to

present materials that encourage student interaction with subject matter. In


order to effectively train and prepare learners for appropriate use of the
language, innovative and interesting methods need to be adopted at this initial
level. An innovative classroom is the computerized classroom that brings in
new methods of interaction such as the use of online and downloaded content
and instantly marked exercises. These types of activities accompanied by
Power Point presentation helps in enhancing education through technology.
A number of studies have been done concerning how the use of CALL
affects the development of language learners four skills, namely listening,
speaking, reading and writing. Most reports point to significant gains in
reading and listening and most CALL programs are geared toward these
receptive skills because of the current state of computer technology. Most
reading and listening software is based on drills (Domingo Noemi 2007-1210). However, using current CALL technology, even with its limitations, for
the development of speaking abilities has gained much attention. There has
been some success in using CALL, in particular computer mediated
communication, to help speaking skills closely linked to communicative
competence ability to engage in meaningful conversation in the target
language and provide controlled interactive speaking practice outside the
classroom (Ehsani, Farzad, Eva Knodt July1998). Chat has been shown to help
students routinize certain often-used expressions to promote the development
of automatic structure that helps to develop speaking skills. This is true even if
the chat is purely textual. The use of videoconferencing gives not only
immediacy when communication with a real person but also visual cues, such
as facial expressions, making such communication more authentic (SteppGreany, Jonita, January 2002).
However, when it comes to using the computer not as a medium of
communication, with other people, but as something to interact with verbally
in a direct manner, the current computer technologys limitations are at their
clearest. Right now, there are two fairly successful applications of automatic

speech recognition (ASR) or speech processing technology where the


computer understands the spoken words of the learner. The first is
pronunciation training. Learners read sentences on the screen and the
computer gives feedback as to the accuracy of the utterance, usually in the
form of visual sound waves (Ehsani, Farzad, Eva Knodt, July 1998). The
second is software where the learner speaks commands for the computer to do.
However, speakers in these programs are limited to predetermined texts so that
the computer will understand them (Domingo Noemi 2007-12-10).
Listening skills :
In learning English, listening can help improve speaking
considerably. This is because a learner of English can learn to speak English
by imitation. But a lot of people tend to ignore this feature. As a matter of fact,
listening is not as easy as it seems to be. We need to hear various types of
English repeatedly and continuously if we want to communicate properly,
meaningfully and naturally. Listening is potentially one of the most promising
areas in the development of CALL. This is because multimedia software
consists of standard audio and video input. In addition, it involves the use of
text support and hyperlinked glossaries. Listening activities typically involve
presentation followed by comprehension questions some of which include full
or partial dictations. One type of presentation specific to CALL is the
punctuated presentation, in which the flow is interrupted at intervals to ask
questions along the way. This in theory encourages more focused attention and
allows a learner to get a check on understanding early in the activity. Trudy
Wallace, Winifred E. Stariba and Herbert J. Walberg. (2008) contend that
Listening skills are essential for learning since they enable students to acquire
insights and information and to achieve success in communicating with
others.
Speaking skills :
In terms of direct practice of speaking, recent developments on the web have
allowed for voice chat sites which make it possible for learners and teachers to

interact trough the Internet in distance education courses. Asynchronous


speaking practice is possible through www.wimba.com, using Internet voice
mail, or simply attaching sound files to email. Recently, there has also been
interest in having students produce and publish podcasts. Many believe that
putting students in front of a computer in groups of two or more will get them
talking about the computer task and improve speaking fluency, although
research has not always borne this out. Like many other CALL activities, it
depends on the students readiness and motivation. For tutorial CALL,
practicing speaking has always been tricky. Auralogs TellMeMore,
www.auralog.com is an example of a program which allows some limited
conversation that gives something of the experience through the use of speech
recognition software. Most programs simply rely on voice, recording a line
from a dialogue and then comparing it with the native sample. It has been
suggested by many practitioners that using text-based chat supports the
development of speaking skills indirectly due to the synchronous and informal
nature of the chat. The most widely used indirect method for practicing
speaking is to listen to conversational dialogues on disk or the web. For
example, www.focusenglish.com/dialogues/conversation.html,
Reading skills:
Most reading instructions on disk and the web involve the use of
meaningful technologies, such as hypertext glossaries, translations, and notes
on grammar, usage and culture. Electronic books and online texts often are
equipped with hypermedia links to text, data, graphics, audio, or video. As the
students read the text, they are able to click on the links to access definitions of
words, additional information on concepts, illustrations, animations, and
videos, all of which increase their understanding of the material. They also
accelerate reading by offering readers immediate access to the students to rely
on contextual cues to understand new words. Multimedia reading, such as
voice-enhanced-texts and dynamically illustrated materials are found to be
useful especially on CD-ROMs. Various activities, like downloading a suitable

article from the internet giving it to the learners after deleting some words to
fill in the blanks and jumbling up the paragraphs for the students to re-order,
can be given to arouse their interest in reading. For instance teachers can give
the students a text about a particular celebrity to read. In pairs, they role-play
an interview between a journalist and the celebrity.
Writing skills:
Writing was revolutionized for everyone with word processing and the
addition of spell checkers has been quite helpful. Grammar and style checkers
are much less useful to date and using a thesaurus can be counter productive if
students arent trained in their limitations. New technologies comprising media
such as email, blogs, wikis and social networking environments such as You
Tube, My Space and Face Books, encourage student writing by providing free
forums for personal self-expression in a multimedia mode. The Business
English Trainer, one can put in their pocket downloading over 180 MP3 and
video podcast lessons on essential language for meetings, presentations,
telephoning, negotiations, travel, socializing and a lot more. One can make
real progress with their language skills using the detailed study notes and
online activities available to members.
Encouraging self learning techniques:
Language instructors can draw on technology based sessions to
channelize the potential of youngsters towards enriching their language skills.
The instructors can use web based resources for teaching English and include
interactive exercises, such as choosing the correct multiple choice answer,
reading comprehension, gap-filling, listening exercises, word-completion, and
discussion forum. These are some popular tool where student can post
messages which other people can read and reply to. Company websites
relevant to Business English teaching motivate the students to know about the
companies and organizations. The students read and listen carefully, organize
the ideas and enhance their knowledge. If Instructors assign some group
activities, students search for relevant online texts which provide them with in-

depth knowledge of various concepts. While doing presentations in the


classroom, non-native speakers concentrate on delivering their ideas to a large
group of students, there by learning the art of communication.
As future professionals, the learners have to prepare proposals, reports,
letters, and emails. Language instructors will be able to provide with web
addresses and assign tasks such as group discussion, small presentation on the
emerging fields of science and technology, role play, posting written works on
the proposals, letters, emails etc. More topics using websites on these
concepts, students get a chance to apply their intelligence and understanding
the topics will definitely enrich their learning process. In fact, through such
authentic materials students will become more autonomous. News websites
like BBC or CNN are a great resource for teachers of English where they can
find articles and often audio and video files reporting on the latest news. These
can be easily used in the classroom to focus on language skills.
Implementation of technology:
There is no denying the fact that technology is a boon for language
learners. Though radio and television play a vital role in communication,
computer and Internet have brought a revolution in the ELT classroom.
Language laboratory is a must for developing LSRW skills. In the Language
lab, the individual learner should get a head phone and a teachers console.
There will be interaction between students and the teacher through
microphones. Language lab will provide intensive listening and pronunciation
practice. Students may find it easy and comfortable in working with
computers. Like a tutor, computers assess the learners reply and point out the
mistakes. The computer promotes the acquisition of linguistic skills and
demands active participation of the students. CALL programs aim at
improving grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension and also writing
skills. These programs are more flexible and convenient than textbooks.
Students can have a different kind of experience with the help of enhanced
voice recognition and multimedia capabilities that go with the computer

software. There are software packages which will increase critical thinking and
problem solving and this will enrich students language proficiency.
Conclusion: Using technology for English language teaching will be
successful only if the teachers understand the ability and the requirement of
the target group of learners. It can be said that the age of technology has
opened new possibilities for language instruction and helped learners to have
access to innovative and interesting ways of learning. The authors hope that
innovations in the ELT classroom will be possible by adopting new teaching
methodologies of which the computer and Internet are part and parcel.
References:
1. Auralogs Tell Me More, www.auralog.com
2. Domingo Noemi 2007-12-10 Computer-assisted language learning
3. Ehsani, Farzad, Eva Knodt (July 1998) Speech technology in
computer aided language learning: Strengths and limitations of a new
CALL paradigm Language Learning and Technology 2(1):45-60.
4. SteppGreany, Jonita

(January2002)

Students

perceptions

on

language learning in a technological environment: Implications for the


new millennium. Language Learning and Technology
5.

Trudy, Wallace, Winifred E. Stariba and Herbert J. Walberg (2008)


Teaching, speaking, listening and Writing. International Academy of

Education www.ibe.unesco.org/publication/.../practice-14.pdf.
6. www.focusenglish.com/dialogues/conversation.html,