In order to make the computer based lesson effective, the teacher must fulfil several roles, such as resource finder, organizer, facilitator, monitor and assessor. Before the lesson even starts, the teacher’s role is that of a resource finder. The teacher has to select the web sites he or she intends to use during the lesson and check them for inappropriate content and accuracy of information. Lewis (2004) advises teachers to opt out for the sites that load quickly, otherwise students will get bored waiting for the pages to open and they will start talking and making noise.
The teacher should also look for sites with clear and simple navigation, a simple menu from where to go to the other pages. If working with smaller children, the sites should be colourful and have nice sounds in order to motivate them to be attentive.
The teacher has to be a good organizer when preparing a computer based lesson. He or she has to arrange the class, to place the seats according to whether the students are going to work in groups or not. All the seats and the desks should be arranged in such a manner as to allow students and teacher to move easily from one group to the other. The teacher should also check if the computers and all the multimedia devices that will be used during the lesson function properly and if there is a good Internet connexion to the computers. All the software programs and the web addresses should be checked previously to see if they function well or if the web pages are still at the same addresses and have not been closed by their owners.
Also, the teacher has to carefully plan the lesson. Davis (2006) advises teachers to identify the specific goals they expect from the lesson and to set up an action plan and assessment techniques.
The teacher, explains Durus (2004), functions as a facilitator throughout the entire lesson. The teacher’s role is to guide the students through the process of learning by using the computer and the Internet, and not to control the whole lesson. As Trokeloshvili and Jost (1997) point out, the teacher is merely an instructor who watches carefully over the students when they search for information on the Internet and gain competence through their practical experience. When being a facilitator, the teacher has to offer explanations, if the previous instructions have not been clear enough, and to offer advice, should the students encounter difficult situations. Otherwise, the students should be left to work with the information, to do research work and to discover by themselves.
As a monitor, the teacher’s job is to involve all the students into the activity, says Lewis (2004). When working in pairs or in groups, there is almost always a student, or even more, who has the tendency to take over and control the activity and the other students in the group. The teacher has to circulate through the class and give all the students something to do, in order to avoid such situations. Usually, it is best to assign each student in the group a task to keep them busy and avoid creating chaos. The teacher should also place weaker students with better ones in order to help them accomplish the task. The teacher should encourage each of them to communicate and cooperate during the task.
Finally, the role of the assessor comes at the end of the lesson. The teacher must provide some form of feedback. Apart from checking the students’ answers to the task, the teacher should also praise and encourage them for their performance. Also, a good teacher should asses his or her own performance during the lesson, as well as the lesson itself. We should always consider whether the lesson was effective or not for our students, whether they have learned something and developed their skills. After realising to what extend the lesson has helped the students or not, the teacher should decide whether to continue using the computer based lessons or not, or he or she should decide what to change and improve so that the next time the lesson could be of real help.
1. Davis, R. (2006). Utopia or Chaos? The Impact of Technology on Language Teaching, published in The Internet TESL Journal, vol. XII, no. 11 (November, 2006), retrieved from iteslj.org/Articles/Davis-ImpactOfTechnology.html (28.11.2016)
2. Durus, L. (2004). Invatarea prin multimedia, Editura Maria Montessori, Baia Mare
3. Lewis, G. (2004). The Internet and Young Learners, Oxford University Press, Oxford
4. Trokeloshvili, D. A. and Neal, H. J. (1997). The Internet and Foreign Language instruction: Practice and Discussion, published in The Internet TESL Journal, vol. III, no. 8 (August, 1997), retrieved from iteslj.org/Articles/Trokeloshvili-Internet.html (02.12.2016)