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Discussion

Page history last edited by Donna 3 years, 2 months ago

Discussion

Accessibility to Technology

     Learners in the LINC program may or may not have access to computer technology at home, making the use of computers in a computer lab important for learning new skills. LaCava (2002) concluded that ESL programs offering Internet technology as part of the curriculum should extend computer accessibility to learners to more than twice a week, and should inform learners of other public venues outside the classroom, such as libraries, where Internet access is available. 

Web Versus Print Text

     Is reading print text the same as reading text on web pages? Do learners read them in the same way? Sutherland-Smith (2002) examined these questions.The study describes how reading a web site involves a non-linear, interactive, non-sequential approach to reading by students, and how the multimedia elements add to the visual literacy skills they require. As was described on the Rationale page of this learning module, reading flashcards involves a vast range of beginning reading skills that are already internalized by literate learners. Different print media can be different and students need to be given the opportunity to practice different formats such as flashcards, paper worksheets, stories and web pages.  

A Wiki or a Web Site?

     Previously, I'd used a wiki at www.wikispaces.com to share links with students. The interface was simple and clean, and learners became familiar with navigating the sidebar by looking for the date, a literacy skill. Since Wikispaces stopped its services on July 31, 2018, I began looking for a substitute. While this wiki at pbworks.com is adequate in terms of functions such as adding images, editing text and adding pages easily, it has boxes on the side that cannot be removed. This will lead to low literacy students accidentally clicking on links and being unable to return without assistance. To compare, I would like to try Wix.com in the future for sharing photos, and possibly to replace this wiki. A clean web site page with a simple navigation bar can easily be created. I will use the Pbworks wiki to build a collection of links students, to test my assumption about the sidebar creating problems. In the same way as my learners will use technology to learn, this task has meant using technology to develop a learning module for a class. While there have been advantages such as being able to show photos and a realistic demonstration of the technology, challenges have included formatting and editing text, as this wiki changes text type and other text features seemingly randomly. Tables, too, are simplified to the point there is no customization.

 

Limitations of Technology

     Computers are a powerful tool to supplement how teachers teach and learners learn. With so many different types of technology available, teachers may be inspired to carry out a search to find the perfect apps, programs and devices. Although technology is a powerful learning tool, how it is used and to what extent require wisdom, knowledge, experience and professional judgment of language teachers. Technology may redefine the teaching professional (Lamberti, 2011), but as stated by Kwok (2015), a controlled amount of technology rather than over-reliance would be the appropriate way to go in motivating and engaging learners. Ybarra & Green (2003) caution that it is important to recognize that computers are not a substitute for effective teaching. Finally while the technology itself, judgment and providing support and training to teachers is important, Stockwell (2012) outlines the need to be aware of what learners actually do with CALL materials and why, to help to provide training that is relevant to learner needs (p. 172).

 

 

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