Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Physical and Technical Characteristics of English Language Teaching Courseware in Malaysia

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Physical and Technical Characteristics of English Language Teaching Courseware in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present paper reports the findings of a study that investigated the physical and technical characteristics of the English language teaching courseware in Malaysia. A randomly selected group of English language teachers in Malaysia (n=200) were surveyed to evaluate the courseware. SPSS (18.0) was applied to analyze the data. The results showed that the teachers consider the technical and physical characteristics of the courseware (its technological sophistication and user-friendliness among others) to be of a moderate level. The findings can be useful for educational software developers as well as English language teachers and researchers. More research is needed to find how teachers evaluate the courseware in reference to its pedagogical appropriateness and learner attributes.

Keywords: Courseware, Physical and technical characteristics, Malaysia, Educational technology

1. Introduction

Instructional Technology is a field of innovation which covers different areas of education such as programmed instruction, distance learning, large-group instruction, computer-assisted instruction, and Web-based instruction. In order to find out about the ways and reasons for application and implementation of innovation, diffusion and adoption theories have been integrated into instructional technology development (Surry, Ensminger & Haab, 2005). Instructional Technologies may be useful not only for the students but also for the teacher. The benefits include enhancing the students' motivation, attracting their attention, and helping them understand difficult concepts.

Teachers make use of instructional activities in their classes in order to enhance motivation and intention to learn in their students. There are two types of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation identified in the literature. The learners, who have intrinsic motivation, do not need any external stimulus because they are motivated internally. The teachers need not worry because these students are already self-tuned for success. It has been argued that those students that are "intrinsically motivated more easily learn on their own because their stick and carrot are internal" (Kadzera, 2006, p. 152). However, when learners lack intrinsic motivation, teachers will have to create extrinsic motivation to bring students in and keep them involved in the process of learning. As Charles and Senter (2002) have mentioned, "when teachers speak of motivation as a component of a lesson, they refer to what they do to attract students' interest and engage them more or less willingly in the work provided" (p. 66). Hence, implementation of instructional technologies can create learning desire for the students.

Moreover, instructional technologies help the students to stay focused and keep their attention throughout the process of learning. For example, Williams (1991) pointed that the use of the overhead projector "enables the teacher to maintain complete classroom control and interest in a lesson" (p. 26). When such technologies are integrated, teachers can attract the students' attention to the type of technology being used or the information provided through such technology. When the students' attention is captured, they can follow the lesson carefully and learn the concepts better.

Finally, the teacher will be able to better explain the concepts which are difficult to explain orally. When technologies are integrated, the students easily comprehend and follow the lesson because they can see the material, its mechanism, and its function. Sometimes there is no need for further elaboration on the part of the teacher. Furthermore, the students' listening and observational skills are enhanced which leads to easing their understanding of complex concepts. On the benefits of application of educational technology, Majed (1996) stated that "the use of technology makes possible increased individualized instructional opportunities which enable the teacher to have adequate spare time for preparation of instruction that will meet the needs of the learners" (p. …

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