I had two main motivations for starting to use the Internet in my English classes. First, I wanted students to be exposed to a wider range of English than they usually encounter in their daily lives. Second, I wanted to encourage students to use English for pleasure outside the class.
When I actually tried using the Internet in the classroom, these expectations were fulfilled, and I also discovered many other good reasons for doing such projects.
- Learning to use computers provides a strong intrinsic motivation for learning English. For most of my students, using computers is still a relatively new (and thus exciting) experience, so students are eager to use computers in class. Currently, we are experiencing an Internet „boom,” and students want to be part of it. Practical considerations also motivate some students; they expect that they will need to use computers and English in their careers or when they study abroad, so they appreciate learning the practical skill of writing and sending e-mail in English.
- The Internet places English in an international context. Students quickly discover for themselves that a majority of the information on the Internet is in English; they also discover that they can use English as a means of learning about and communicating with people around the world, and not just in English speaking countries. Of course, students of English want to make contact with native speakers, but many of my students also have a strong interest in communicating with people from other countries as well.
- Internet projects are interactive. Even when students are simply browsing, they are actively choosing what they will look at next. Searching for information involves work on the part of the students, as do sites which ask the user to fill out forms. Most web sites have e-mail addresses so that viewers can ask questions or send comments to a creator of a site, something which makes the web more easily interactive than a book or magazine.
- Facilities for using the Internet are often readily available, so from a practical point of view, projects using the Internet are often easier to carry out than other CALL projects.
The internet is a fantastic tool for teachers. It’s not the answer to simple teaching or learning, but it is an incredibly motivating resource for both teachers and learners. You can find materials for use in traditional classes, you can access message boards and discussion groups for your own interest, development and to get ideas and activities for lessons, you can use it as a communication tool which allows your students to interact with people around the world in English and you can use it as the basis of lessons with students accessing the internet live during lessons. It’s not always easy to use and it does have its problems but it’s a motivating and engaging resource for both students and the teachers.
Here are some top tips for teachers using the internet.
- Don’t be afraid of the technology, it’s not difficult to learn to use
- Learn how to search effectively and evaluate the materials you find
- Prepare internet lessons and materials carefully, remember to have alternative material ready in case of technological or other problems
- Before using the internet in class, check any sites that you will be asking the students to use.
- During the lesson, monitor the students carefully
- Finally – have fun and be creative!
Students’ benefit using the internet
- students work with great pleasure on the computers as the language is given in different and more interesting, attractive ways through games, animated graphics and problem solving techniques .
- students are well-disciplined as the use of technology inside or outside the classroom tends to make the class more interesting.
- students feel empowered and less afraid to contact others and realise their full potential as a team to accomplish their language acquisition tasks more effectively.
- students instead of a teacher become leaders in class
- students receive feedback immediately and they benefit from it.
- students have time flexibility as they can use various resources of authentic materials either at school or from their home.
- they do not need to be at a fixed place at a fixed time to learn a language or to pass a test.
- students feel independent from a single source of information as the internet provides them with thousands of information sources. For one particular aspect of any language there can be found a lot of different internet resources.
The conventional classroom-based instruction does not provide students with diverse knowledge because of the lack of authentic materials and time but at the same time the internet can solve all these problems.
My own experience shows that students work better and more efficiently when there is something connected with the modern technologies in the classroom. In order to make students understand their teachers and actively take part in class activities, internet is vital. By the way, the internet with its unlimited resources, will never replace language teachers, but it can make the English language teaching more interesting and fruitful for both teachers
1. Agarwal M. „Internet- based language learning and teaching”, Riga Business School, Riga Technical University, Riga, Latvia, 2010
2.Benson, P. „Teaching and researching autonomy in language learning. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2001
3. Brown, J. D. „Understanding research in second language learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2006.