Information and Communications Technology and Modern Foreign Languages in the National Curriculum: some personal views by Graham

Davies Contents
1. ICT and Modern Foreign Languages in the National Curriculum 2. Training in ICT for language teachers 3. Software for ICT and Modern Foreign Languages Links checked 9 December 2011

1. ICT and Modern Foreign Languages in the National Curriculum
Languages in crisis The Common European Framework for Languages E-Strategy BECTA National Curriculum statutory requirements ICT and Modern Foreign Languages in Europe as a whole Languages in crisis The introduction of the National Curriculum in 1992 made it compulsory for all secondary school children in England and Wales to study a Modern Foreign Language up to the age of 16, but little was done to encourage students to continue studying a Modern Foreign Language beyond the age of 16, with the result that the number of students taking an A-Level in a Modern Foreign Language declined alarmingly. As a result, university languages departments were forced to close due to lack of recruitment of suitably qualified candidates: see the report resulting from The Nuffield Languages Inquiry, Languages: the next generation (2000), which makes depressing reading. A document with the title Languages for all: languages for life - a strategy for England was published by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in December 2002. The document described two radical new initiatives: A commitment to offer every primary school pupil aged between 7 and 11 the opportunity to study at least one Modern Foreign Language. The development of a Key Stage 3 Framework for Teaching Modern Foreign Languages: Years 7, 8 and 9 (i.e. for children aged 11-14 in the first three years of secondary education). But a Modern Foreign Language ceased to be a compulsory element of the National Curriculum for children beyond Key Stage 3. The result was a steady decline in the numbers of children continuing to study a Modern Foreign Language beyond the age of 14. In other words, the crisis situation described above with regard to students aged 16+ got worse. The Languages for all document is peppered with references to ICT, which was perceived as playing a

the official name of the Open School for Languages. The latest major initiative is MYLO (My Languages Online). I have NEVER met anyone with a GCSE who can do the following: Level 8: Listening and responding Pupils show that they understand passages including some unfamiliar material and recognise attitudes and emotions. they draw inferences. setting up virtual language communities. They may need some items to be repeated. As for the following descriptions of the NC Level 8 (= GCSE. Compare the following: National Curriculum: Modern Foreign Languages Level 4: Listening and responding Pupils show that they understand the main points and some of the detail from spoken passages made up of familiar language in simple sentences. especially the "can do" descriptors for the different levels and different skills. as recommended in the Dearing Languages Review (2007). to language learners and to the public at large. Our continental cousins and EFL/ESOL examination boards in this country have been using the CEFR as a yardstick for many years. although in a real life situation I might have to ask for repetition or reformulation. What I find most surprising is that the vacuous waffle used by government departments has not been shot down in flames long before now and replaced by the CEFR descriptors. There is also a MYLO blog. setting up international partnerships and using email to communicate with schoolchildren in other countries. enabling individual learners to assess and record their own achievements through ICT. but just how new is it? See the ICT4LT blog. standard speech on familiar matters. I can generally understand clear. CEFR "can do" statements A2 listening skills (2 "can do's" are listed here out of a list of 10) I can generally identify the topic of discussion around me which is conducted slowly and clearly. These passages include different types of spoken material from a range of sources. expanding e-learning and providing more exposure to native speakers through online systems. Oxfordshire. a subsidiary of RM. to set up MYLO. the government’s aim being to introduce a new voluntary recognition system to complement existing national qualifications frameworks and the CEFR. When listening to familiar and less familiar material. raising the quality and widening the range of online teaching and learning materials. MYLO describes itself as a "new way to learn languages". . Language teachers have been too tolerant for too long in accepting the vagueness of "EduSpeak". = CEFR B1) I think this must be a joke.key role in the strategy. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages The Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages (also known simply as the CEF) is mentioned several times in the Languages for all document (see above). 11 November 2010. Just under £6 million worth of funding was awarded to Lightbox Education. Some schools have made good use of ICT in addressing the crisis situation. and need little repetition. for example: maximising the potential of ICT in primary schools and secondary schools. which are more precise and make much more sense to language teachers. Bringing our examinations into line with the six CEFR levels is long overdue. but on the whole the use of ICT has made no perceivable difference.

They use reference materials to extend their range of language and improve their accuracy. pupils consult a range of reference sources where appropriate. Section 2. Asset Languages is a new way of recognising achievement in foreign languages learning. Speaking Grade 6: (Stages 4-6 = Preliminary Level = CEFR A2 = Foundation GCSE) I can give a short prepared talk. They develop the content of what they have read. from primary school through to further. They express and justify ideas.Level 8: Speaking Pupils narrate events.1. Speaking Grade 5: (Stages 4-6 = Preliminary Level = CEFR A2 = Foundation GCSE) I can give a short prepared talk. Level 8: Reading and responding Pupils show that they understand texts including some unfamiliar material and recognise attitudes and emotions. Reading Grade 7: (Stages 7-9 = Preliminary Level = CEFR B1 = Higher GCSE) I can understand longer texts and recognise people's points of view. with good pronunciation and intonation. including expressing my opinions. The Asset Languages assessment scheme is designed to provide voluntary accreditation options for language learners of all ages and abilities. They use a range of vocabulary. When reading for personal interest and for information. Listening Grade 4: (Stages 4-6 = Preliminary Level = CEFR A2 = Foundation GCSE) I can understand the main points and some of the detail from a short spoken passage. on a topic of my choice. for more information on the CEFR. opinions or personal points of view and seek the views of others. Writing Grade 3: (Stages 1-3 = Breakthrough Level = CEFR A1 = NQF Entry Level) I can write a few short sentences with support using expressions which I have already learned. Module 4. They speak confidently. the UK has been somewhat slow in recognising the importance of the CEFR. Modern Foreign Languages (MFL). seen or heard. The "can do" statements can be downloaded from the Asset Languages website in PDF format. See the Department for Education website. The above describes what one might expect from a UK university graduate. Attainment Target Level Descriptions. Asset Languages offers sets of "can do" statements that describe what the learner is capable of doing in the different skills. higher and adult education. . Like the CEFR. on a topic of my choice. Level 8: Writing Pupils produce formal and informal texts in an appropriate style on familiar topics. These texts cover a wide variety of types of written material. e. ideas and experiences. expressing opinions and answering simple questions about it. tell a story or relate the plot of a book or film and give their opinions. Their language is largely accurate. See the ICT4LT website. with few mistakes of any significance. They adapt language to deal with unprepared situations. They justify their opinions and discuss facts.2. including unfamiliar topics and more complex language. While many European countries have already adopted the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) as a standard for assessing language proficiency. structures and time references. Their spelling and grammar are generally accurate. The people who wrote the Level 8 descriptions are clearly not living in the real world. progess is being made. However.g.

For each subject. as it progresses. access to online resources. You are not only expected to be familiar with the basics of ICT but you are also expected to apply ICT in your subject area. It referred to a number of different possible uses of ICT that are relevant to the teaching and learning of Modern Foreign Languages. automated language analysis. exchange and share information. Teachers should use their own judgement to decide where it is appropriate across these subjects. creation of virtual learning communities for groups of schools in which there are insufficient numbers of learners to warrant the appointment of a specialist member of staff for each school. in particular the vagueness of ICT in general and the lack of information about ICT in the context of Modern Foreign Languages. it is statutory to teach the use of ICT in English. Pupils should be given opportunities to support their work by being taught to: find things out from a variety of sources. both directly and through electronic media. assessment and testing. Better resources are available elsewhere. Important changes have now taken place. At Key Stage 1. there are statutory requirements to use ICT in all statutory subjects. you are helping the staff of the ICT department to do their jobs. Think carefully about this. using email and videoconferencing. BECTA There used to be a few links and bits of advice relating to Modern Foreign Languages at BECTA's website. finally focusing on technology rather than pedagogy. Language teachers in England who are already in service can no longer avoid ICT. develop their ideas using ICT tools to amend and refine their work and enhance its quality and accuracy. Here's the message from the horse's mouth under the heading Use of ICT at the Department for Education website: Pupils should be given opportunities to apply and develop their ICT capability through the use of ICT tools to support their learning in all subjects. and the latest version of the NC is more specific but it still has enormous shortcomings. these translate into specific. In other words. reflecting critically on its quality. review. At other key stages. e. selecting and synthesising the information to meet their needs and developing an ability to question its accuracy. statutory requirements to use Modern Foreign Languages in subject . National Curriculum statutory requirements In an earlier version of this document I was very critical of the National Curriculum (NC). modify and evaluate their work. including automated test generation and adaptive feedback. and speakers of community languages. special educational needs children.E-Strategy A government document titled Towards a unified e-learning strategy was produced in July 2003. gifted and talented children. addressing the requirements of minority groups.g. except PE. Let's suppose that the above statement read as follows: As a general requirement. teachers should provide pupils with opportunities to apply and develop their Modern Foreign Languages capability in all subjects. bias and plausibility. In the meantime little has been heard about the e-learning strategy. mathematics and science. BECTA was finally closed down in January 2011. establishing links with schools overseas. but BECTA began to become less interested in pedagogy.

the E-Strategy initiative (now defunct). such as those mentioned below in Section 3. e. including some from ICT-based sources [for example. video. which . including those from ICTbased sources. but not a lot. including texts produced using ICT. in person. Music and Geography.even in general terms . £230 million spent on the NOF training initiative (which was regarded by OFSTED and many teachers who received NOF training as a failed initiative). The following are mentioned under the heading ICT opportunities: Pupils should be given the opportunities to apply and develop their ICT capability through the use of ICT tools to support their learning.because the NC is more concerned with outcomes rather than innovative ways of teaching. handwritten texts. otherwise they would have included references . of course.and the outcomes are probably more useful. And. including those in more distant countries. This is what happens in bilingual schools all over the world . entitlement. newspapers. . and the disaster of the UK E-University (UKEU) which collapsed spectacularly in June 2004.although I think it needs questioning in view of the millions of pounds that are currently being squandered on ICT in education at the expense of other subject areas. It appears that the sections referring to ICT in the context of Modern Foreign Languages have not been written by Modern Foreign Languages/ICT specialists. given the right circumstances. including the use of ICT. Anyway. we are stuck the the government's requirement for the time being . OK.g.is mainly about content.to a wider and more relevant range of software applications. books. but that's fairly typical of the National Curriculum. including ICT. It is quite clear that Modern Foreign Languages/ICT is a subject area that the bureaucrats who drew up the National Curriculum simply don't understand. letter. Developing cultural awareness 4a: working with authentic materials in the target language. I had a look at other subject areas to see if the NC had more interesting things to say about ICT and how it might be applied to Art and Design. by correspondence) Pupils could communicate by e-mail with speakers of the target language. skills and understanding through using the target language for real purposes (for example. there's nothing revolutionary here. satellite television. by sending and receiving messages by telephone. the under-used NGfL website (now defunct) and the Curriculum Online website (now defunct).teaching. Breadth of study 5d: producing and responding to different types of spoken and written language. the 9 million pounds per year (2004 figure) spent by the government maintaining education websites. for accessing and communicating information. Breadth of study 5h: Pupils should be taught the knowledge. learning opportunities and attainment targets. e. there's no mention of CALL software .g.to use the jargon contained in NC documents . It fared slightly better. 2j: how to redraft their writing to improve its accuracy and presentation. standards. Here are the opportunities to use ICT in the Modern Foreign Languages programme of study: Key stages 3 and 4 4b: communicating with native speakers (for example. texts from the Internet]. Is this unreasonable? Not really. 5e: using a range of resources. inclusion. Here's what the National Curriculum says about ways in which pupils can make use of ICT in learning a foreign language: Developing language skills 2h: techniques for skimming and for scanning written texts for information. fax or e-mail). magazines.

co.htm New Opportunities Fund (NOF) This was an initiative at national level in the UK whereby £230 million of National Lottery money was channelled into the delivery of training in ICT for teachers: New Opportunities Fund or NOF for short no. relating specifically to the UK. for example by reducing the time occupied by the administration associated with it.and the view of many others . according to many reports I have received and read.pdf The contribution by Graham Davies.org/en/Fitzpatrick_and_Davies. Study on the impact of ICT and new media on language learning: http://eacea. not a guarantee of quality. My personal view .) (2003) The Impact of Information and Communications Technologies on the teaching of foreign languages and on the role of teachers of foreign languages. See Davies G. Available here in PDF format: http://www. Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the EU (2009). 1: New Trends in Computer Assisted Language Learning and Teaching. (eds. Equally. Servicio de Publicaciones. .camsoftpartners. BECTA’s ImpaCT2 (2002) study indicates that it has the potential to improve the quality and standard of pupils' education.uk/docs/ICC_Grahams_Report_Final. Spain.ict4lt. is available in HTML format at http://www.co.camsoftpartners. (2002) "ICT and Modern Foreign Languages: learning opportunities and training needs".europa.is that this was unnecessarily restrictive.uk/needs. Monograph Issue 2. it doesn't stand for "Not Our Fault" :-)) The initiative included the delivery of INSET courses at selected venues all over the UK. see: Fitzpatrick A. International Journal of English Studies. both in their everyday classroom role.php 2. Also at http://www.htm Education. Universidad de Murcia. Training in ICT for language teachers The importance of training The New Opportunities Fund (NOF) The ICT4LT project The TALLENT project The importance of training The key to making good use of ICT in Modern Foreign Languages teaching is training. & Davies G. I write as an experienced Modern Foreign Languages/ICT trainer who has also contributed to NOF training courses. EC Directorate General of Education and Culture.ec.ICT and Modern Foreign Languages in Europe as a whole Regarding the situation in Europe as a whole. ICT is an integral part of the initial teacher training standards “Qualifying to Teach”. and in their continuing training and development. edited by Pascual Pérez Paredes & Pascual Cantos Gómez. its potential is considerable for supporting teachers. and TTA approval was. The following statement appeared at the Training and Development Agency for Schools website (formerly the website of the Teacher Training Agency): ICT is more than just another teaching tool.eu/llp/studies/study_impact_ict_new_media_language_learning_en. Teachers wishing to take advantage of the NOF initiative had to use the services of a training services provider approved by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (formerly known as the Teacher Training Agency).

where there is effective peer support. titled ICT in schools: effect of government initiatives (secondary Modern Foreign Languages). One of the reasons why NOF failed is that many teachers could not make sense of the "professional tasks" . The reasons why teachers and schools fail to persevere with training vary widely. the programme has simply ground to a halt.24) Several reasons are cited for the failure of training to make a significant impact (pp. the scheme has so far failed to build on teachers’ ICT skills or enable them to tackle pedagogical issues adequately. (p.23) Personal individual access to a computer by teachers.22) These are overall figures. Another OFSTED report (June 2002).] Training materials for specific subjects at secondary level have often failed to excite teachers. technical and organisational difficulties. poor match of training materials to needs. Where evidence is available. for example: Training is most successful where senior managers in schools take an active interest in teachers' progress. but it is generally critical of the NOF training initiative: NOF training remains unsatisfactory in its overall effect. shallow or unhelpful. lack of good subject-specific ideas and resources.. for example: Motivation has waned in many teachers where they have not obtained appropriate subject advice and guidance. does have some positive things to say about training. it was effective only in a quarter of secondary schools and one third of primary schools: Training funded by the NOF has been effective in a quarter of secondary departments and a third of primary schools.7) The April 2002 OFSTED report. expectations to complete exercises or compile portfolios that are unrelated to teachers' current work. including a number of successful case studies. (p. the scheme has acted as a catalyst for improvement. [. (p. The most frequently cited by teachers include lack of time. states: In many schools it is too early to evaluate the effect on pupils’ achievement. as the increase in opportunities to use ICT in Modern Foreign Languages is very recent and the ability to use a foreign language effectively has to be built up over sustained periods of time. especially at home.3) The most alarming finding contained in the report is that. Training can be effective if the conditions are right. (p.3) Successful online mentoring operated at ratios of under 30 trainees to each mentor. (p. in spite of the substantial investment in NOF training. Teachers who were left to their own devices to use distance learning materials on CD-ROM frequently made little headway and did not complete the training. has continued to be one of the strongest influences on the success of ICT training. In around six out of every ten secondary departments and half of the ten primaries. Many teachers have found online support to be unsatisfactory. This was usually because access was unreliable or because mentors were dealing with too many teachers and their responses were therefore often infrequent. The situation with regard to Modern Foreign Languages is no better. In a minority of schools.22-26). The report makes important observations on the use of ICT in schools. and where groups of teachers meet for part of the training.The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) produced a report in April 2002 on the UK government's strategy to boost the application of ICT in teaching and learning: ICT in schools: effect of government initiatives. to which I refer above. there has been little or no effect so far in about one school in four. (p. poor support from trainers or mentors. In many secondary schools..

8) This is where ICT4LT comes in.. Access to the website and blog is free of charge.co. and NOF trainers found themselves having to teach basic ICT skills. in many cases. The first course took place in July . they are not user-friendly for the uninitiated and subject-specific external mentoring to follow up training is not always available.htm It was assumed from the outset that NOF training should target teachers who had already reached a level of general competence in ICT.. including several Modern Foreign Languages/ICT trainers. The shortcomings most often identified are that providers offer insufficient subject-specific exemplification and training lacks an appropriate focus for Modern Foreign Languages specialists. unless there is considerable ICT expertise and support already within the department. For example. what is an Modern Foreign Languages teacher supposed to make of the following task? Discuss. The root of the problem was highlighted in the June 2002 OFSTED report. draw up and agree with a class an explicit set of rules to ensure that group decisions made round the computer are shared and based on reasons and evidence. and the relevance of some of the tasks was somewhat dubious. for example. but reactions to the training by teachers of Modern Foreign Languages are frequently critical. with the aim of designing and delivering a Web-based course in Information and Communications Technology for Language Teachers. local education authority or some other training services provider .camsoftpartners. which was coordinated by the University of Limerick. such as finding one's way around Windows and using a word-processor. The TALLENT project The ICT for Language Teachers (ICT4LT) project was closely associated with another Socrates-funded training project known as TALLENT (1998-1999). "NOF-Speak" tended to confuse rather than enlighten. which should have been provided by their school. The ICT4LT website contains a large collection of ICT materials specifically designed for language teachers. The main aim of the TALLENT project was to deliver intensive. Not one of my Modern Foreign Languages trainees was able to determine what was required here.uk/lspinset. Use the feedback form at the ICT4LT website to obtain further information. building upon basic ICT skills. Some providers have potentially useful materials which are ineffective because. NOF tasks were geared far too much towards generic and Web-based materials so that. Authorship is always acknowledged. Ireland. (p. NOF training was supposed to be subject-specific. My training materials try to make things clearer: http://www. it is clear that this simply did not happen. but most training providers clearly did not adhere to this requirement and just delivered generic training with subject-specific training as an add-on. The materials have been written by an experienced international team of practising teachers and teacher trainers. hands-on training courses in ICT for language teachers at selected universities in the European Union. The ICT for Language Teachers (ICT4LT) project The ICT for Language Teachers (ICT4LT) project was initiated in 1999-2000 with the help of funding provided under the Socrates Programme of the Commission of the European Communities.that they were supposed to carry out in order to gain their certificate.but. to which I refer above: Undoubtedly some MFL teachers have developed greatly both their confidence and competence as a result of NOF-funded training. New contributions to the ICT4LT website are welcomed. The website is continually undergoing development and expansion and it now has an associated ICT4LT blog. it was possible for a Modern Foreign Languages teacher to gain a NOF certificate without having had any experience of multimedia CD-ROMs.

be treated as "mainstream" applications in the context of Modern Foreign Languages. word-processors. How many ICT coordinators know.g. due to lacka of funding. concordancers. Web browsers and email software. French. e. The airline industries are also important employers of young people with Modern Foreign Languages skills: v. the Modern Foreign Languages teacher probably needs to tap the skills of the school's ICT coordinator.ict4lt. J. to enable them to assess the development of their own ICT skills. The "can do" lists have been designed for: trainers. The outcome of the project was a set of language-training CD-ROMs in five languages: English. As a first step in ICT.g. 4 (1).and it's clear from Section 1 and Section 2 in this document that the bureaucrats who drew up the National Curriculum have a long way to go before they understand what ICT is all about in the context of Modern Foreign Languages. Airline Talk was an EU Leonardo-funded project. the Airline Talk project.and also to the languages professions. Spanish. CALL-EJ Online. The project is now defunct but some important lessons were learned: see Jeannette Littlemore's report on the TALLENT course delivered in Birmingham in 2001: Littlemore. See also: Linguanet Forum: A lively discussion list for language teachers and researchers. where there are now excellent job opportunities for young people who are fluent in a foreign language and ICT-literate. Italian.2000 at the University of Limerick. and a range of other applications that have been selected according to their usefulness for teaching Modern Foreign Languages. Well worth a visit. 3. German. Unfortunately. Linguanet Worldwide: A multilingual project which developed out of Linguanet Europa.too specialised to be handled by ICT specialists alone . to enable them to identify trainees' strengths and weaknesses in ICT.org/en/ICT_Can_Do_Lists. who can offer training on the Windows operating system and essential generic software. There is a wealth of information available. (2002) "Setting up a course in ICT for Language Teachers: some essential considerations". sound-editing software . coordinated by Thames Valley University in 1997-2001 and aimed at people employed in the airline industry. and there is a new focus on adult learning.or CALL software? All of these packages should. translation software. The ICT4LT website has already been mentioned. and there is an international professional association devoted to ICT and Modern Foreign Languages: EUROCALL. letting the ICT specialists know what is or is not relevant to learning and teaching modern languages . . essential generic software. Software for ICT and Modern Foreign Languages Software has become highly specialised in recent years . experience and understanding. e. It is highly unlikely that an ICT specialist has heard of some of the packages that a Modern Foreign Languages teacher might find useful. A substantial online catalogue of resources is being built up here. The lists can be accessed and downloaded in Word format by clicking here: http://www. The ICT4LT website contains a set of "can do" lists relating to Windows. for example. Ireland. dictionaries. about proofing tools. Perhaps teachers of Modern Foreign Languages need to shout a bit louder. I believe. in the "software localisation" and "teleservices" industries.doc Once teachers of Modern Foreign Languages become familiar with generic software they should call the shots in determining how ICT is taught in the context of the Modern Foreign Languages classroom. the CD-ROMs have not been updated since the completion of the project and are no longer available. language teachers undergoing training.

g.uk/ ICT for Language Teachers (ICT4LT): http://www. These are representative of the different kinds of software packages that I believe teachers of Modern Foreign Languages might find useful in delivering the National Curriculum.ict4lt. (p. translation software and CALL software. with few teachers seeing the full possibilities of word-processing for manipulation of language and drafting. I couldn’t live without a word-processor.org/en/en_mod1-3.3. Using word-processing and presentation software in the Modern Foreign Languages classroom: http://www. I use WinZip for compressing files for transmission via email and the same package for decompressing files sent to me. Word-processors Communications software: the Internet Desktop Publishing software: Pagemaker Database software: Access Spreadsheets: Excel Proofing tools Dictionaries Encyclopaedias Concordancers Translation software Sound-editing software Anti-virus software and firewalls CALL software Word-processors Absolutely indispensable.co. I use Microsoft Word for almost everything that I write. so that word-processing is too often seen as simply a tool for ‘copying up’. they can be used right across the curriculum. I also use Dreamweaver (a super Web authoring tool) for creating and maintaining two websites: Camsoft: http://www.So.ict4lt. .ict4lt. what kinds of software will the language teacher find useful? As a linguist who uses ICT software on a daily basis for several hours per day. which includes a section (Section 3) on ways in which word-processors can be used for electronic marking: http://www.1.htm Communications software: the Internet My gateway to the world. ICT in schools: effect of government initiatives (secondary Modern Foreign Languages). I have drawn up the following shortlist of packages. In addition. I couldn’t do without my email software and the Internet Explorer browser. concordancers. i. Other packages are specific to Modern Foreign Languages. I have a variety of other packages for handling text. highlights the problem: The creative uses of ICT in Modern Foreign Languages are still underdeveloped.e.org/en/en_mod4-1. but they need to be used imaginatively: The OFSTED Report (June 2002). Word-processors are undoubtedly a useful tool for the language teacher and language learner. 4) For ideas on using word-processors in the Modern Foreign Languages classroom. Computer Aided Assessment (CAA) and language learning. e. sound and video.htm ICT4LT Module 4.org/ I use John Junod's WS-FTP program for sending pages to the various servers where the sites are located. have a look at: ICT4LT Module 1.camsoftpartners. Some of the packages listed below are generic.

. which are indispensable for my business activities. Creating a WWW site Finally. voyons donc.ict4lt. etc. Spreadsheets: Excel I use Excel almost exclusively for handling my personal accounts and my business accounts and sorting out my bank statements and income tax. and the complexity of such packages can lead to an inordinate amount of time being spent on learning how to use the package rather than making sensible use of it in a Modern Foreign Languages context. Access is the package that I use on a regular basis. I use Pagemaker. Computer Aided Assessment (CAA) and language learning. Le *sapin vert* est un desodorisant cheap pour voiture: une petite plaquette en forme de sapin. A. Note the use of the asterisks to identify the term under discussion and the "double-smiley" at the end. Pour ce qui est de "cheap". bibliographies. although language teachers should find them useful for adding up marks.including DTP . tu es proche :-)) Canadian French.5.which features in Module 4. of course. Exploiting WWW resources online and offline Module 3. calculating averages. Desktop Publishing (DTP) software: Pagemaker I have a strong view that amateurs should leave DTP alone. etc . as column manipulation is more flexible in a spreadsheet than in a word-processor. Bon. Proofing tools Proofing tools usually consist of the following packages: . at the ICT4LT website: http://www. B. Spreadsheets have little direct relevance to language teaching and learning.org/en/en_mod4-1.1. I generally leave this to my daughter Siân. have a look at my own collection of links: Favourite Websites.3. who specialised in graphic design .. which should know how to use them.at art college and now manages her own design business: MDM Creative.htm I have used Excel to create vocabulary lists. et qui ne sent pas tres bon.Regarding the use of foreign languages on the Internet.org/ Module 1. I personally regard database software as a very peripheral tool for the language teacher. tu n’y est pas du tout! Pour la "forme de sapin" non plus! Mais pour la senteur. Canadians usually leave out the accents! Have a look at the following modules at the ICT4LT website: http://www.3. as DTP packages in the hands of the unqualified usually result in ghastly presentations. I downloaded the following exchange from the francophone section a discussion list. Database software: Access I use database software only to keep lists of addresses. Modern word-processors are good enough for the amateur and even for the professional. students need to be aware of the more abbreviated and casual style of email communication. and they could collaborate with Modern Foreign Languages departments in producing foreign-language newsletters. The effort required to get to grips with Access is out of proportion to the likely benefits that the language teacher might derive from using such a tool. DTP packages are really the province of art and design departments. Introduction to the Internet Module 2. Although I dabble in DTP.ict4lt.

Thesauruses: Useful as a memory-jogger. because they cannot parse natural language correctly and are not context-sensitive. the fact that (a) they are not context-sensitive and cannot distinguish between there and their. which is available in many different languages. e. For example: The teacher can use a concordancer to find examples of authentic usage to demonstrate a point of grammar.yes. Dániel Berzsenyi College. There is a danger. typical collocations. Wikipedia is a free-content encyclopedia on the Web that anyone can edit . (eds. however. and c’est and s’est. It missed the worst howlers and marked a large number of acceptable sentences as "wrong". . I am a great fan of Wikipedia. as the content can be added to or amended by any member of the public. See the entry under Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias on my Favourite Websites page. Students can work out rules of grammar and usage for themselves by searching for key words in context. Grammar/style checkers: I use a grammar/style checker only to identify the long rambling sentences I tend to write.. Yu Hong Wei and Davies G. Thesauruses are best used in conjunction with a concordancer and an authentic corpus (see below). See the entry under Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias on my Favourite Websites page. Concordancers Concordancers are extremely valuable tools for the Modern Foreign Languages teacher. Rüschoff B. Encyclopaedias I use encyclopaedias not only for checking facts but also as corpora.Spellcheckers: Indispensable. etc. Otherwise I don’t rate grammar/style checkers highly. Hungary. Students are encouraged to be sceptical about explicit rules. anyone. Yu Hong Wei. (b) proper names. (1997) "Do grammar checkers work?" in Kohn J. On the one hand this can be perceived as a wonderful example of collaborative writing.g. Dictionaries Electronic dictionaries are useful mainly as memory-joggers and should be used in conjunction with a concordancer or a context dictionary. certain compound words and neologisms have to be added to the spellchecker’s dictionaries. And if anyone tries to tell you that this sounds like the sort of work that goes on only at university level. It is good to expose students to grammar/style checkers to reinforce the point that only human beings are capable of handling grammar and style and that ICT is strictly limited in this area: v. While Wikipedia covers an enormous range of subjects in different languages there is no guarantee that what you read is accurate. The search facilities provided by most encyclopaedias enable examples of words in context to be found very quickly. but on the other hand it can be perceived as a golden opportunity for the propagation of oddball ideas and self-promotion. and there is no indication of the authorship or the authors' credentials. Szombathely.) New horizons in CALL: proceedings of EUROCALL 96. & Wolff D. The teacher can generate exercises based on authentic texts. which is both its strength and its weakness. One of my research students. that the lack of context in most thesauruses will lead to students using inappropriate words. don't believe them! Secondary school children are quite capable of making intelligent use of concordancers. There are some very good online dictionaries. conducted an experiment for her PhD thesis in which she established that a well-known English-language grammar/style checker was 80% unreliable in identifying errors in authentic students’ essays. but students need to be made aware of their limitations.

at the ICT4LT website: http://www. usually with . its translations are half-intelligible.htm Translation software Teachers of Modern Foreign Languages. but a concordancer does .org/en/en_mod2-2.org/en/en_mod2-3.on their system and update it daily.org/en/en_mod2-4. is the most popular sound-editing package. Curiously.g.ict4lt. e.providing you have a decent corpus of authentic texts (which you can buy or download from the Internet).is one of the most demanded skills in the language professions. Audacity. and the language teacher may consider using such a package in order to demonstrate what can go wrong and why. but but it cannot replace the human translator. A virus is a nasty program devised by a clever programmer. but translating .4. A thesaurus never gives you enough authentic examples of usage to tell you how to use a word with which you are unfamiliar. they tend to be used rarely by teachers of Modern Foreign Languages but are well established in the EFL profession . which is available free of charge. This module contains a comprehensive section (Section 2. "translation" has become a dirty word in recent years.a useful task for Modern Foreign Languages learners. If you don’t know much about Corpus Linguistics then have a look at Module 3. Corpus linguistics.htm.which is usually light-years ahead in language teaching methodology. Using concordancers is an essential part of Corpus Linguistics.2) on software used in playing back and editing sound. in my experience.also known as a virus scanner .Concordancers are also used extensively for creating glossaries and dictionaries . Language students need to be made aware of this. at the ICT4LT website: http://www. Creating and editing sound files is not just a job for teachers.3 at the ICT4LT website: http://www.5.which is the way in which the long-established Systran package was originally used to process documents in Russian that had been captured by spies at the height of the Cold War.2. Google Translate is not that bad.4. It picks up my overfrequent use of certain words and is also helpful when used in conjunction with a thesaurus. My personal favourite concordancer is Athelstan’s MonoConc. I use a concordancer to check my own writing style.ict4lt. See also Module 2. Students can learn a good deal about natural language by using such tools and incorporating sound recordings into blogs. Sound-editing software See the Module 2. of the relationship between grammar and semantics.alongside interpreting .htm Anti-virus software and firewalls Everyone who uses a computer should install anti-virus software . Professional translators may use translation memory packages.htm Google Translate is the most popular online translation tool. in order to: demonstrate the limitations of translation software.org/en/en_mod3-4. See the ICT4LT blog (November 2011). Knowing how to use a word-processor.ict4lt. at the ICT4LT website: http://www. and demand has increased in leaps and bounds as the European Union has expanded.see Section 3. but there are lots of other useful tools.htm. and it can certainly let you know whether a text is worth having translated properly . wikis and podcasts .ict4lt. an electronic dictionary and communications software is essential for translators. however.org/en/en_mod3-5. See Module 3. Human Language Technologies.ict4lt. Using concordance programs in the Modern Foreign Languages classroom: http://www. Google Translate: friend or foe? I have used programs like Google Translate with my students. and they are even less aware of how ICT has revolutionised the translation industry.5 of Module 2. Introduction to multimedia CALL. Unfortunately. make students more linguistically aware. tend not to be aware of the opportunities offered to students wishing to follow a career in translating.

such as an unauthorised attempt from a remote computer to write information to your hard disk or to send information from your PC to a remote computer.gov. A firewall is a piece of software that sits between your PC and your Internet connection.ict4lt.ofsted.coe. BECTA. http://www. Coventry.a strategy for England. You should also install a firewall on your computer. surf the Web or use software emanating from a source other than your own computer.malicious intent. See the OFSTED website. See the OFSTED website. If anything suspect appears. London: The Nuffield Foundation. Any PC is vulnerable while it is connected to the Internet. keeping an eye on the traffic going to and fro.org/en/en_mod2-2. at the ICT4LT website: http://www.ict4lt. Firewalls have become essential these days due to the frequent attempts being made by hackers to grab information from computers all around the world. CALL software Last but not least. but if you access the Internet via a privately owned PC then you must install your own firewall. downloadable from: http://www.htm Module 2.int/t/dg4/linguistic/ Department for Education and Skills (2002) Languages for all: languages for life .org/en/en_mod14. Report. at the ICT4LT website: http://www. make sure that your anti-virus software is up-to-date. Coventry.2000) Languages: the next generation (2000). Introduction to multimedia CALL. BECTA (2004) What the research says about using ICT in Modern Foreign Languages. it will block it and warn you. which may be stored in a file somewhere on your PC.4. http://www.htm References BECTA (2002) ImpaCT2: The impact of Information and Communication Technologies on pupil learning and attainment. See my Cautionary Tale. OFSTED (2002) ICT in schools: effect of government initiatives. If you access the Internet via a computer in a public or commercial organisation your ICT services department has probably installed a firewall. Viruses can be sent to you in files attached to email messages and they can also emanate from websites.uk/ . CALL software should not be overlooked by the Modern Foreign Languages teacher. BECTA. your bank or credit card details. Introduction to CALL. Report. Viruses can be highly contagious. See: Module 1.ofsted. Council of Europe (2001) Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. finding their way on to your computer's hard drive without your being aware of it and causing considerable damage to the software and data stored on it. e.g.gov. April 2002. Department for Education and Skills (2003) Keystage 3 Framework for Teaching Modern Foreign Languages: Years 7. If you use email. I use Avast! and AVG.2. 8 and 9.uk/ OFSTED (2002) ICT in schools: effect of government initiatives (secondary modern foreign languages). June 2002. The Nuffield Languages Inquiry (1998.

© Graham Davies 2011. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. .

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