Academic journal article The English Teacher

Project-Based Instruction: Integrating Technology in Speaking Instruction

Academic journal article The English Teacher

Project-Based Instruction: Integrating Technology in Speaking Instruction

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nowadays, the need to master English is increasing. Most people would agree that being able to speak in English is one way of mastering English. They believe that speaking is an indicator of success in learning the language. Many language learners also regard the speaking ability as the measure of knowing a language (Burkart, 2004). According to Burkart (2004) these learners define fluency as the ability to communicate with others much more than the ability to read, write, or listen to spoken language.

Indonesia has also taken steps to prepare the students to be able to speak in English. Indonesia has set the aims for English language learners through a school based curriculum to prepare students to reach informational level (BSNP, 2006). At this level, language learners are expected to be able to use English as a channel to communicate accurately and concisely. Therefore, the language learners are expected to spend more time to practice speaking and access all opportunities to apply their language orally to enable them to produce ideas through the language.

In fact, barriers such as having no ideas in speaking or lacking opportunities to speak can be addressed if students are encouraged and accustomed to do so. In this case, project based learning instruction plays a role. This method requires the students to drive themselves in applying their knowledge by using their own investigation and allowing them to come up with ideas provoked by the issues and questions relevant to their lives. Through this method the students are expected to be engaged in speaking up and exploring their use of English orally. Railsback (2002) agrees that project-based instruction is an authentic instructional model or strategy which can become a source for learners' improvement in social and communication skills which are 21st century competencies. Project-based instruction benefits students since it encourages them to choose their own topics relevant to their own experiences, as well as allows them to use cultural or individual learning styles.

In taking real world issues as the aim of instruction, integrating technology in project-based instruction is a part of the requirement. Technology as a global advanced tool in project-based speaking instruction provides language learners with the opportunity to get involved in producing English as a global language. The students will not only develop their language ability but also apply their knowledge of technology as members of society who are aware of developments in technology. Technology will be a real life tool to engage students and place them at the centre of the learning process.

This study focused on the use of the digital camera as the technology which is relevant to students' lives. That is because digital cameras are common tools used in daily life. Many students have it at least as one of the features in their mobile phone. By using the digital camera, the students could organize their project by taking the real object picture and then reporting it in the speaking activity. Therefore, looking at all the benefits offered by the method of using the digital camera in project-based speaking instruction, the authors tried to find out whether the method of using digital cameras in project-based speaking instruction can improve students' speaking performance.

Theoretical framework

Project-based instruction

As stated by the Pelavin Research Institute (2010), project-based instruction is a student-centred, multi-modality, active learning approach to education. It is a teaching and learning strategy with the students at the centre of the learning process. This is the strategy in which the students are provoked by teacher instruction in the form of questions or problems about a concept. The result of students' learning then is shown from their final project. The final project is the media for the students where they present the knowledge they have learned with the real life concept. …

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