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The Advantages of Using Computer Assisted Language Learning

1.Introduction In the last few years many teachers using Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL) has increased. Although the potential of the Internet for educational use has not been fully explored yet and the average school still makes limited use of computers, it is obvious that we have entered a new information age which is established. In the early 90s education started being affected by the introduction of word processors in schools, colleges and universities. This mainly had to do with written assignments. The development of the Internet brought about a revolution in the teachers perspective, as the teaching tools offered through the Internet were gradually becoming more reliable. Nowadays, the Internet is popular in foreign language teaching, both educators and learners are embracing it. 2.Objectives The aim of this paper is to inform both educators and learners how computers are helping them and analyze the advantages of the utilization of computer in language learning. When the advantages of using computer in language learning understood well by teachers, learners and all stakeholders of language learning, it will be very useful to help learners improve their language learning. Furthermore, there is a belief that through the use of it students are going to improve some skills, such as pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar, listening comprehension, and others on their own. It is time to know understand exactly the advantages of using computers regardless some factors that might become obstacles of the utilization of computer in language learning. The paper focuses on the advantages of using CALL for language learners and teachers. 3.Review and Related Literature CALL is related to the use of computers for language teaching and learning. Computers in language learning

Imagine an infinite number of resources available for your students to improve their skills in reading, writing, grammar, listening, pronunciation, vocabulary, idioms, slang, Test of English as a Foreign Language and even conversation. Or contemplate your class sharing their creativity with the entire world essays, poems, recipes, biographies, or even art work. Or perhaps communicating with text, voice, and live video with ESL/EFL classes from all parts of the world. Sounds wonderful, doesnt it? It is!

(Sperling: 1997 in Eastment 1997:1) The phases of CALL , According to Warschauer & Healey can be divided into three main stages: behaviorist CALL, communicative CALL, and integrative CALL. Each stage corresponds to a certain level of technology and certain pedagogical theories. Behaviouristic:In this phase the computer plays the role of tutor, serving mainly as a vehicle for delivering instructional materials to the learner. Communicative: In this phase the computer is used for skill practice, but in a nondrill format and with a greater degree of student choice, control and interaction. This phase also includes:

Using the computer to stimulate discussion, writing or critical thinking, e.g. using simulation programs Using the computer as a tool or workhorse, e.g. using word-processors, spellcheckers and grammar checkers Using concordancers Integrative: This phase is marked by the introduction of two important innovations:

(a) multimedia, (b) the Internet. The main advantage of multimedia packages is that they enable reading, writing, speaking and listening to be combined in a single activity, with the learner exercising a high degree of control over the path that he/she follows through the learning materials. The Internet has numerous advantages, building on multimedia technology and in addition enabling both asynchronous and synchronous communication between learners and teachers. A range of new tasks is made possible, e.g. Web searches, Web concordancing, and collaborative writing.

4.Analysis CALL has much to offer English language teachers and will have more to offer in the future. let us guide ourselves just as if we were blind by the seductive and powerful technology that CALL represents. It is vital to develop and maintain a critical eye on it. One of the advantages of CALL is that, in Phillips words, it offers a powerful self-access facility (p.7); that is, it helps to generate autonomous learners who will experience freedom of choice. The tools that learners find in computers allow them to assume mastery of their own learning experience. Students can call up the programs held by computers whenever they want; besides, computers are sensitive to the learners level of proficiency. This advantage, though, can also be seen as a disadvantage, since many teachers may consider that computers are undertaking functions that should be performed by trained teachers. In this paper I wont demonstrate that this disadvantage which is not a real one, since, in fact, computers should be used by teachers as a complementary tool in the teaching process. Another advantage of CALL is that it gives a new role to teaching materials. Out of the context of CALL, teaching materials are passive. As Phillips points out, before computers were used in the classroom context . Nothing the student said or did could influence in any deep sense the linear progression of the content (p.7). In CALL, materials adapt themselves to the requirements of the individual student; that is, they become interactive. To this advantage, Phillips attaches a counter-argument: to what extent is it desirable that more of the management of learning be embodied in the materials themselves rather than in the way they are exploited? (p.7) In the field of methodology, we also find one advantage and one correspondent disadvantage. The advantage is that CALL, like other new technologies, brings about changes in the teaching methodologies of English. There are cases, though, in which computers are just used to give old materials a new aspect. This is the case of teachers who put students in front of the computer just to make fill-in-the-gap exercises. The advantages mentioned up to the present moment make us aware of an important fact in relation to CALL- we have to be constantly analysing whether the uses to which CALL is

put are just reinforcing current practices or if, in contrast, they are promoting curriculum renewal. In order to fully benefit from the potential of the computer for language learning, language teaching specialists have to promote a complementary relationship with computers. The technology that computers offer has to be integrated with pedagogic programs that guarantee a real evolution of the teaching methodologies and procedures. The teacher abandons his informative role to take on a more active part in the teaching process; and this is allowed to him thanks to computer co-operation, since the computer is now going to be the new source of information. This results in an innovative teaching methodology in which the dichotomy teacher/transmissor-student/receiver is broken. Now, teachers are going to promote communication/interaction with -and mainly amongstudents; in order to attain this objective, they are going to encourage students to take risks, leaving aside penalties for producing incorrect bits of language. Besides, the teachers analysis of the teaching-learning process and his planning of its development will make possible for him to correct possible errors in this process. Finally, the introduction of the unexpected will be determinant to give students enough motivation for them to take an active part in their learning process. With the practice of this kind of activities, curriculum renewal is guaranteed, so that there is no doubt that a real and evident progress in teaching methodologies is taking place. One final aspect that we should analyse in relation to the implementation of computers in English language teaching is ultimately an ethical question- What is the kind of environment that is going to be created by means of the computer?. Personally, I consider that the creation of autonomous learners should not be associated to the concept of human alienation. The CALL classroom should not be conceived as a room in which every learner is studying in isolation in front of his/her computer. Teachers must think of activities that enable group work/human interaction and computers to be compatible. Otherwise, men as social beings will be replaced by men as alienated computer slaves. Research and practice suggest that, appropriately implemented, network-based technology can contribute significantly to: Experiential Learning

The World Wide Web makes it possible for students to have a huge amount of human experience. They can learn by doing things themselves and become the creators not just the receivers of knowledge Motivation. Computers are most popular among students because they are associated with fun and games and also they are fashionable. Student motivation is therefore increased, especially whenever a variety of activities are offered, which make them feel more independent. Enhanced Student Achievement. Network-based instruction can help pupils strengthen their linguistic skills by positively affecting their learning attitude and by helping them build self-instruction strategies and promote their self-confidence. Authentic Materials for Study. All students can use various resources of authentic reading materials either at school or from their home. Those materials can be accessed 24 hours a day at a relatively low cost. Greater Interaction. Random access to Web pages breaks the linear flow of instruction. By sending E-mail and joining newsgroups, EFL students can communicate with people they have never met. They can also interact with their own classmates. Furthermore, some Internet activities give students positive and negative feedback by automatically correcting their on-line exercises.

Individualization. Shy or inhibited students can be greatly benefited by individualized, student-centered collaborative learning. High fliers can also realize their full potential without preventing their peers from working at their own pace.

Independence from a Single Source of Information Although students can still use their books, they are given the chance to escape from canned knowledge and discover thousands of information sources. As a result, their education fulfils the need for interdisciplinary learning in a multicultural world. Global Understanding. A foreign language is studied in a cultural context. In a world where the use of the Internet becomes more and more widespread, an English Language teachers duty is to facilitate students access to the web and make them feel citizens of a global classroom, practicing communication on a global level. 5. Summary An ideal CALL courseware remains not an alternative but a complementary tool in reinforcing classroom activities. Apart from relying on the ability of educators to create suitable CALL courseware, the effectiveness of CALL depends on the teachers readiness to adopt new attitudes and approaches toward language teaching. The teacher should avoid being skeptical about the use of computer in language teaching and begin to re-evaluate his methods in the light of computers tremendous teaching potential and boldly address to the challenges offered. The computer can best assist teachers if it is seen not as a replacement for their work but as a supplement to it. By the way, the computer, will not replace the language teachers, but, used creatively, it will relieve them of tedious tasks and will enable students to receive individualized attention from both teachers and machines to a degree that has so far been impossible. The teachers would ensure that they are the ones in control of educational software by becoming involved in the development process and rejecting those programs which do not serve their needs. Considering the aspects discussed previously, it can be concluded that in the perspective of interactivity and challenges, CALL contributes a lot in the development of English Language learning and computer is so far better than any other existing teaching aid.

Analyzing the advantages of CALL in term of interactivity leads to the understanding of the effectiveness of CALL in language learning. All factors that dont support the utilization of computers in language learning must be seen as challenges for the improvement in the future. References Hartoyo, M.A.,Ph.D. (2005). Individual Dofferences in Computer Assisted Language Learning. Semarang: Pelita insani Dalgish, Gerald, M. 1987. Some Uses of Computers in Teaching English as a Second Language: The Issue of Control. Blanchard, Jay S. and George E. Mason. Eds. The Computer in the Reading and Language Arts. New Jersey: The Haworth Press, 8193. Hardisty,David. 1987. Personalised Information Gap Activities and CALL, Practical English Teaching, 7/3: 35-7, Mary Glasgow Publications, London. _____. 1988. Lessons from the Classroom. Theo Bongaerts, et al. Eds. Computer Applications in Language Learning. Holland: Foris Publications. 35-45. Higgins, John and Tim Johns. 1984. Computers in Language Learning. London: Collins ELT. Mirescu, Simona. 1997. Computer Assisted Instruction in Language Teaching. English Teaching Forum. January: 53-56. Leech, Geofrrey and Christopher N. Candlin. Eds. 1986. Computers in English Language Teaching and Research. London: Longman. More, Phil. 1986. Using Computers in English: A Practical Guide. London: Methuen. Underworld, John H. 1984. Linguistics Computers and the Language Teaching: A Communicative Approach. Rowley: Newbury House Publications Inc. Wilga, Rivers M. 1987. Interactive Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wresch, William. 1987. A Practical Guide to Computer Uses in the Language Arts Classroom. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Eastment, D. (1999) English Language Teaching and the New Technology: The Next Five Years.