Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Technology-Supported Classroom for Collaborative Learning: Blogging in the Foreign Language Classroom

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Technology-Supported Classroom for Collaborative Learning: Blogging in the Foreign Language Classroom

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Technology has been applied in Foreign Language instruction for the last 30 years when Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) was developed and implemented in education. This early approach aimed mainly at individualized interaction between the learner and the computer program used to supplement (Beatty 2013:8) or replace the traditional teacher-student interaction, for example thanks to various education apps for mobile learning or interactive animatronic toys that promote interactions between the individual and the toy (Beatty 2013:9) . The numerous benefits (e.g. self-paced and guided learning, immediate feedback, repetitive practice, self-access) encouraged educators to further develop more sophisticated tools that can support learners in their learning. Despite reluctance of many teachers and limitations of learning programs resulting in restraining of students' learning and narrowing the potential of educators (Bowers 2011) , technology-assisted education has been growing in popularity and a continuing advancement in information and communication technology (ICT) has enhanced the quality of education producing a substantive gap between conventional approaches and new technology supported teaching and learning.

Technology assists students in the learning process modifying the way learning is delivered. Now learning has become a personalized and meaningful experience that meets learners' needs as opposed to traditional teacher-centered and text-based education that places primary emphasis on "conveying fixed bodies of information and viewing students as passive recipients of knowledge" (Alavi 1994, p.160). Hence, irrespective of their personal differences, preferences and histories, technology helps to deliver individualized content at the time and place students select (e-learning and mobile learning) thus increasing their learning spaces by taking learning out of the classroom. However, technology-supported learning can also be integrated into classroom teaching offering curriculum abounding in varied activities catering for the needs of every student (blended learning). The term blended learning is applied to learning that uses a variety of "the most effective training solutions, applied in a coordinated manner, to achieve learning objectives" (Wilson & Smilanrich 2005, p.3) usually with the computer or another mobile device that serves as a medium of facilitating learning and meeting the learning objectives. The most effective application of technology in education is connected with a variety of tools and methods it offers since no single teaching method can meet the needs of various learners (Wilson & Smilanrich 2005, p. 12). Thus, not only does blended learning offer highly individualized instruction but also promotes autonomous and active learning.

Technology supported classroom

Learning always takes place in context and nowadays this means technology-rich context. 75% of American teenagers own cell phones with cell-phone texting becoming a favorite channel of communication between teenagers (Lenhart 2010). Adolescents find their cell phone an indispensable communication channel; they use electronic communication devices mainly to reinforce their relationships with friends (Subrahmanyam & Greenfield 2008). Undoubtedly, mobile devices have changed the world, learners' interaction with the world, as well as the way information is delivered and consumed. Since one of the aims of education is to prepare students for the world and competitiveness of workforce, new technology should be incorporated into the modern curriculum.

An important consideration is how to use technology so that it supported learning and teaching. Web 2.0 tools can be used to address learning outcomes. Web 2.0 (also referred to as the New Web) refers to new Internet tools and technologies that allow their users to go beyond being passive recipients of information, but becoming active and interconnected in the process of receiving, digesting and evaluating information. …

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