Technology and Language Learning

312 Eng 3, Level 6

The areas that will be considered in this handout are:
✓ Speaking and listening (Podcasts or digital audio files)
✓ Collaborative Writing (blogs and wikis)
✓ Reading and language structure (Reading Companion, Live Ink, and
Computer-based concordance), and
✓ Online interaction (Second Life, Chatbots, and all the social networks).
Autonomous learning ​is a concept in which the learner is fully responsible for his or her decisions
about their own learning. ​The autonomous language learner takes responsibility for the totality of
his learning situation. He does this by determining his own objectives, defining the contents to be
learned and the progression of the course, selecting methods and techniques to be used,
monitoring this procedure, and evaluating what he has acquired.

The earlier digital technologies are word processing, e-mail, or Web browsing, etc.

The emerging technologies are applicable to self-access and autonomous learning in the areas of
listening and speaking, collaborative writing, reading and language structure, and online
Digital media reviewed include podcasts, blogs, wikis, online writing sites, text-scaffolding software,
concordancers, multiuser virtual environments, multiplayer games, and chatbots (chatter robot).
For each of these technologies, we summarize recent research and discuss possible uses for
autonomous language learning.

uploading. Other premade podcasts are available to promote academic listening skills. Self-access learning centers in tertiary education are increasingly using them to provide learners with authentic listening materials (Peterson. and receive feedback on their pronunciation and syntax. etc. provide grammar tips or cover business English topics. The free online site was launched in 2009 with funding from Google. Podcasts can be a repository (place to store) of classroom discussions or lectures for use outside of class to extend and increase autonomous http://www.podcastsinenglish. Audio podcasts also offer learners the opportunity to record their own speech in multiple genres (reports. simulated broadcasts. they can be used not only for authentic listening in the classroom but also for self-study outside the classroom.. 2009) or to review themselves later to reflect on their language-learning progress. ESLpod. Listening & Speaking The development and diffusion of software for ​producing. Since podcasts give language learners access to content at the time and place of their choice. .shtml http://www.e. oral presentations. listen to words or sentences from them at controlled includes more than 500 free downloadable audio files organized by topic and developed especially for English language learners. downloading and playing digital audio files (i. 2010). Learners choose from popular videos on the site. podcasts) make the flexible use of a wide range of audio material easier than ever for language Moving beyond podcasting. ​EnglishCentral ( uses speech recognition to assist second language learners in improving their pronunciation and spoken language.) to share with classmates or others (Lu. read and repeat what they have facilitate preparation for listening tests.

Blogs are created using specific ​publishing software​.public. ​students increased the amount of words they wrote nearly fourfold.iastate. Blogs typically include features such as ​comments​ and ​links​ to increase user and with only a minimum of computer knowledge opens a number of possibilities for the learning of second language writing.tiit. A blog (also called a weblog or web log) is a website consisting of entries (also called ​posts​) appearing in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first (similar in format to a daily journal). The benefits of blogging were demonstrated among learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) by Fellner and Apple (2006). Their capacity for allowing users to publish and share their writings quickly. blogs often reflect the personality of the author".google. Over a single week. easily.msu. In the study. . It is "a Web page that serves as a publicly-accessible personal journal for an individual.Lectures can be recorded as podcasts so that students who miss a class can download and later listen to them on their computers or mobile devices.html rehension Bloch (2007) describes the use of blogging to promote ​critical literacy and academic writing ​among college students. who assigned Japanese university students to write daily blogs in English during an intensive EFL course. and also dramatically increased their use of academic vocabulary.coe.uh. Typically updated daily. http://web. a class blog was created for students to read and respond to each other’s posts and later use them in their academic http://audacity.sourceforge.pdf Collaborative Writing​: Blogs and Wikis The term collaborative writing refers to projects where written works are created by multiple people together (​collaboratively​) rather than individually. Blogs are a valuable tool for teaching writing in the students’ second language.

A case study by Lam (2000) demonstrates the benefit of this kind of autonomous online publishing for developing an identity as a competent user of English." . and the content area of the blog. ​http://blogger." which means "super fast. The learner blog: students get writing practice.. the site could grow "super fast. where students can develop writing and research skills by creating an online resource. online verbal exchange using comments. The class blog: Students can create a free-for bulletin board. due to the comment features of the software. resource for self study. Wikis end up being created mainly by a collaborative effort of the site visitors. "wiki wiki. or a project based language learning exercise. Blogs Types The tutor blog: daily reading practice for learners. a free encyclopedia in many languages that anyone can edit. further exchange of ideas is promoted. The term "wiki" comes from the Hawaiian phrase. having a positive online presence through a self-published blog can also be helpful in the job market." I guess if you have thousands of users adding content to a Web site on a regular basis. and whatever they write can instantly be read by anyone else and. For advanced students of English. Wikis A wiki ​is a Web site that allows users to add and update content on the site using their own Web browser. interact in an international classroom language exchange. develop a sense of ownership.g. class information. technology use. by demonstrating to an employer ​a learner’s expertise in​) provides a medium for students to create public blogs on their own ​to discuss their personal and career interests​.The existence of free blogging software (see. e. A great example of a large wiki is the ​Wikipedia​.

Collaborative writing tools of ​blogs and wikis are valuable for promoting: writing fluency and Students build a sense of community by collaborating on a shared goal. Reading and Language Structure What makes electronic reading more effective for language learners? http://www2. 2006). ​Simple English Wikipedia​. As with blogging. which leads to greater care for linguistic http://en. .org/wiki/Wiktionary:Main_Page http://en.wikipedia. and for helping students to develop a more confident identity as English writers.wikibooks. refined. might be at a too-high level for some language learners. has been created to ensure greater access to information for English-language learners and low-literacy adults and youth. Students become contributors. wikis enable students to take part in distributed research communities that extend spatially and temporally beyond the classroom or class session (Mejias. and finalized. Contributors to this new version are encouraged to use more basic vocabulary and grammatical structures. and they learn from observing the communal work being drafted.wikipedia.smarttutor. and write shorter articles.swf IBM has developed a program called Reading Companion to develop speech recognition technology for helping people learn to read. Simple English Wikipedia can serve as a student research site for learners with beginning or intermediate literacy skills. such as Wikipedia. Pedagogical Benefits A wiki enables communication and knowledge construction beyond the classroom.wiktionary. though some wikis. avoid idioms and http://en. rather than just recipients of knowledge.Wikis provide another medium for self-directed writing​. A simplified version. Accountability is increased through exposure to peers or the wider internet audience. or a place for learners with intermediate or advanced writing ability to contribute meaningful writing.

or companion. interviews and site visits. http://liveink. “You sound great!”). and proficiency (Walker. based on surveys.. the companion provides positive reinforcement (e. As the user’s skill improves. A free version of Live Ink’s ClipRead software is available for download from the company’s Website. Early research with Live Ink indicates it is highly promising for improving learners’ reading comprehension. gives the user an opportunity to try Live Ink Another program called ​Live Ink has been developed to help online readers better understand natural language presented digitally. Schloss. using a headset microphone. The program presents digital texts in a cascading format (presented semantically) similar to poetry that is intended to better match the way the brain and eyes process meaning. users log on to the Reading Companion web site and are presented with material to read. The study found that students liked the self-paced (instruction proceeds based on learner’s response) nature of the program and the opportunity to master different levels of vocabulary in contexts relevant to their needs. . or offers the correct reading of the words on the screen.readingcompanion. http://www. & Walker 2005). “reads” a phrase to the user and then provides an opportunity for the user to read the material. ​Reading Companion According to IBM. Depending on the accuracy of what was read. retention. the technology reads less material so that the learner reads more. Fletcher. An on-screen mentor. An evaluation study. found that Reading Companion was especially effective for helping ESL learners develop their language skills at a school or community organization.g.

lextutor. age and position or role of the speaker. as well as by category of speech event. its position in relation to other words in a sentence.html Second. ​It provides an alphabetical index of all words in a text or . a selection of the sentences from the corpus containing the word or phrase appears. Computer-based concordancing is one type of language analysis and structure tool that offers direct linguistic support to language learners. any teacher can introduce concordancing to students simply by pointing to free online sites such as Corpus Cowww. body. or gathered on the street in audio format. Each word is described by its location. http://quod.8 million spoken words searchable by gender. Concordancing is therefore ideal for checking collocation. Provide information on the frequency of words and structures and their collocates. (page 106) Corpuses are compiled from a variety of sources: written collections such as newspapers or journals. showing every contextual occurrence of a word. The concordancer searches the and then you get a screen of results showing the word and enough text to be able to understand the context in which it is used. such as the free online Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (​http://quod. there are now corpora of spoken texts. asks it about a particular word and how it is used.umich. Concordancers Concordance is a list which is an alphabetical collection of the words with information about where the words can be found and in which sentences. These sites allow students to investigate immediately how particular words or phrases are used in context and with what collocations they tend to occur. After a word or a phrase is entered into a concordancer. http://www. which includes 1. whereas early large-scale corpora were based exclusively on written texts. of texts. A small program that can examine large quantities of text for patterns and occurrences of particular words or phrases.lib.lib. its frequency and so Similar to a search engine in many respects (large body of text to be analyzed).htmlncordance English (http://).edu/m/micase/​). Today. the way words co-occur in a predictable pattern. or spoken collections taken from radio and television sources.lextutor. Teachers also can use concordancing to help learners notice and record the most useful terms in a text.umich.

What began as a tool to help friends and others connect and send messages to each other has now evolved into a complex. and view and communicate with these and other users all within a bounded (bordered or restricted) system (with legal and social limits) (Boyd & Ellison. ✓ Users can create and post content. http://learnenglish. these benefits can be shared in a language classroom via presentation and essays. Advantages of multiuser virtual environments​: ✓ Users can seek and use information on a variety of topics. role play situations. and interact with the environment. build communities. English learners can work with other non-native learners (ELF) and native English speakers.To conclude. Second Life​: ​is used for promoting second language learning​. We have to enter our basic personal information in the profile section. They are Web-based services that allow users to create digital identities for themselves. Linked in. Social network sites ​are used for language learning immersion. ✓ Users can interact with others. and manage and maintain friend lists (​not pseudo or fake identity​)​. twitter.britishcouncil. These sites usually combine access to self-study or autonomous material and opportunities to practice and communicate with others through peer-to-peer or peer-to-mentor synchronous or asynchronous interaction. globally ubiquitous (seeming to be in all places or everywhere) system that serves many purposes. ​Reading Companion and Live Ink programs are used for improving reading comprehension and life Social Networking: Facebook. and autonomy. youtube. list other users with whom they have relationships or connections. from marketing to professional networking. Several social network sites have been set up specifically to connect language learners and mentors in English and other languages. 2007). THEN. creativity. Online Interaction Multiuser virtual environments​: allow interaction among people in digitally simulated (virtual) contexts in order to promote language learning. etc. including Livemocha and Lang-8. . while computer-based concordancing is used for language analysis and structure. It brings together tens of thousands of users daily who design or share photos.

These technological tools provide flexible means to develop language and literacy through authentic communication. Fryer & Carpenter (2006). and ❖ online interaction (different social networks). For developing our language skills and with the advent of ICT. iPad. These tools offer excellent ways to meet our functional. ❖ writing (blogs and wikis). http://elisalc. every autonomous learning tool is at our hand such as computers. They are an ideal tool for autonomous learning in that they require no teacher or Conclusion New technologies provide more tools than ever before for you as language learners though autonomous: ❖ listening (Podcasts or digital audio files). point out how learners can use chatbots to independently practice language structures and can also view or print the transcripts of chat sessions for further reflection and analysis (Fryer & Carpenter. vocational and academic purposes. collaboration. smart phones. 2006). networking etc. Chatbots Chatbots present an outline for online interaction with a software-powered avatar (your photo) in situations where live human interaction is not available or not preferred. Live Ink. . ❖ Computer based Concordancers). ❖ reading (Reading Companion. for example. etc.

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