ERIC Identifier: ED414767
Publication Date: 1997-12-00
Author: Earp, Samantha
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Languages and Linguistics Washington DC.
More Than Just the Internet: Technology for Language Teaching.
At a time when technology-enhanced learning tends to be associated with
Internet-based applications like the World Wide Web, it is important to remember
that non-Internet technology tools remain very useful aids for the language
student and teacher. Language software for the personal computer or lab network
is becoming more flexible and powerful, both in the types of media it can
include and in design features that give users more options. Authoring programs
continue to allow teachers to create customized materials for their classrooms.
Language lab systems are being upgraded to allow the incorporation of multiple
media resources. Advances in computer networking have increased the power,
flexibility, and interconnectedness of desktop computer systems and the
equipment available for use in the lab or resource center setting, and has also
made possible the use of networked software in the classroom. SOFTWARE FOR
LANGUAGE LEARNING AND TEACHING A wide variety of non-Internet software is
available for foreign language teachers and learners. Comprehensive reference
works such as "Lexirom" provide access to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and
atlases on a single CD-ROM. Commercial basic language programs such as
"TriplePlay Plus!" use interactive games and conversations to teach words and
basic phrases and use speech recognition technology to allow users to record
their speech and compare it with a model. CD-ROM programs such as "Nouvelles
Dimensions" and "Nuevas Dimensiones" use multimedia to provide visual context
and textual reference materials to help the learner master listening
comprehension techniques. Games also offer students an opportunity to use
language and culture skills to solve a problem or reach a goal; in the adventure
program, "A la Rencontre de Philippe," "students watch video segments of the
adventure and make choices that determine the outcome, [using a Paris map,
notebook, apartment guide, telephone, newspaper, and answering machine] in their
quest" (Ledgerwood, 1996).
Software programs are also available for more specialized instructional
purposes. In "The Rhythm of French," audio, video, animation, and speech
recognition technology are used to teach pronunciation and phonetics. Teachers
and students of grammar, stylistics, and translation may find a concordancer
program such as "MonoConc" helpful in searching texts for vocabulary and grammar
usage. For example, a Spanish-language news article downloaded from the Internet
could be analyzed with a concordancer to display every instance of the word
"pudiera" (could) in order to give examples of usage in context. Examples of
other useful software packages are "In the French Body" and "In The German
Body," HyperCard-based videodisc programs that emphasize the oral comprehension,
oral production, and nonverbal characteristics of face-to-face interaction
(Fidelman, 1995). Finally, "Daedelus Integrated Writing Environment," software
for networked computer classrooms, has six modules, each designed to address a
specific task or stage of producing a piece of writing (Daedelus Group, 1997).
Authoring tools are software programs that
assist teachers in creating and managing computer-delivered instructional
modules and exercises; they are a useful resource for teachers without
programming skills who wish to create custom materials (Burston & Fischer,
1996). These authoring programs are becoming more sophisticated, incorporating
multiple media resources, flexible feedback mechanisms, and in many cases a
database system for tracking user performance. "Libra," developed at Southwest
Texas State, "WinCalis" from Duke University, and "Dasher" from the University
of Iowa are all examples of authoring tools used by language teachers to create
a wide variety of multimedia exercises. Interactive hypermedia technology can
also be applied to the teaching of reading, through the use of text annotations
created using an authoring tool such as "Guided Reading" by David Herren
(Martinez-Lage, 1997). More general purpose multimedia programs, including
"HyperStudio," have been used with great success for individual and group
projects and portfolios (Whaley, 1995).
LANGUAGE LAB SYSTEMS
The language lab is sometimes seen as
a means of providing in-class and independent access to analog audio, usually in
the form of audiocassettes. Among the features that enhance this traditional
audio component in today's labs are the capacity to "bookmark" challenging
segments of a tape (so students can return to them later) and the capacity of
response analyzers to automatically generate student test scores following
completion of an exercise or test. Some systems are set up so that both tracks
of an audio tape can be accessed for the practice of simultaneous
For some time now, the language lab has been expanding beyond its historical
focus on audio, in order to take advantage of the new technologies and to
respond to the needs of today's teachers and learners (Scinicariello, 1997).
Thus, the lab systems being marketed today by companies such as ASC, Tandberg,
and Sony allow incorporation of multiple media resources such as CD-audio,
satellite, and video into the lab, with the potential for several groups of
users to have access to these different resources simultaneously. These systems
may also be adapted to include computer stations at some or all lab positions.
More and more language departments are
exploring a computer-based alternative to the traditional means of multimedia
delivery. Audio and video can now be digitized and placed along with software on
video-capable file servers, such as the Cheetah Multimedia Network Server by
TNCi (The Network Connection). In this system, different segments of a video or
audio clip may be accessed by multiple users simultaneously from their
computers. Another advantage is that it is no longer necessary for single
computer stations to have a dedicated videodisc player or other peripherals;
students at any networked station in the lab may access multimedia resources
directly on the server. This server-based setup means that teachers and learners
in remote locations with network access can use instructional materials. Smart
classrooms, which are set up to display video, videodisc, and computer output to
a room full of students, allow faculty to incorporate networked lab resources
into their regular instruction.
DISTANCE LEARNING VIA SATELLITE
In many states, efforts are
underway to offer distance learning language courses via satellite. The most
common form involves the use of two-way video and audio. Special distance
learning classrooms have been set up in many institutions to accommodate this
type of technology, through which instruction delivered live (or in "real-time")
is beamed to one or more remote sites. Video cameras at these remote sites allow
the instructor and the participants at other locations to see, hear, and
interact with each other. Another less labor- and equipment-intensive variation
of satellite distance learning employs one-way video. In this setup, students at
a remote site watch a live broadcast of a class or lecture; opportunities are
normally given for the students to send questions by fax or electronic mail to
the broadcast site. Distance learning courses are often further supported by
Internet applications such as electronic mail (to allow question-and-answer
interaction and set up electronic office hours) and the World Wide Web (for the
distribution of course materials and information).
Although much emphasis is placed on new
applications of the Internet for language teaching, other technologies continue
to advance as well. These innovations are today--and should remain--an important
part of the technological tool chest for language learners and teachers alike.
Burston, J., & Fischer, R. (1996). A panel
discussion on multimedia/hypermedia authoring systems: Design and use. In F.
Borchardt et al.(Eds.), "CALICO '96: Proceedings of the Computer-Assisted
Language Instruction Consortium 1996 Annual Symposium Distance Learning."
Durham, NC: Duke University.
Daedelus Group. (1997). Web site: http://www.daedalus.com/
Fidelman, C. (1995). Web site: http://agoralang.com/itb.html
Ledgerwood, M. (1996). "Software review in the IALL foreign language software
Martinez-Lage, A. (1997). Hypermedia technology for teaching reading. In M.
Bush & R. Terry (Eds.), "Technology-enhanced language learning" (pp.
185-213). Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Co.
Scinicariello, S. (1997). Uniting teachers, learners, and machines: Language
laboratories and other choices. In M. Bush & R. Terry (Eds.),
"Technology-enhanced language learning" (pp.185-213). Lincolnwood, IL: National
Whaley, M.(1995). HyperStudio: Students producing their own multimedia
projects. "Tongues Untied 2."
of Reading, Ltd.
404-233-4042 or 800-729-3703; Fax: 404-237-5511
800-SYR-LANG; Web site: http://www.syrlang.com
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LA RENCONTRE DE PHILIPPE
University Press, Special Projects
Haven, CT 06520-9040
for orders: 800-YUP-READ (800-987-7323)
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RHYTHM OF FRENCH
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THE FRENCH BODY / IN THE GERMAN BODY
INTEGRATED WRITING ENVIRONMENT
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Texas State University
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University, Box 90269/015 Languages Ctr.
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