Technology-Enhanced Learning: Iranian Students'
Attitudes towards Using ESP Web Sites
Roghayeh Sajedi
Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Islamic Republic of IRAN
[email protected]
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Modern
technologies
not
only
dramatically
changed
global
communication but also had a profound effect on all aspects of
language use.
Therefore; the use of technologies in English language classroom is
increasingly developing, such as the World Wide Web, to facilitate
the process of teaching & learning.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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New technologies should be assimilated into the curriculum and
into teaching methods .Thus universities will have to prepare their
students for the information world and make effective use of ICT to
provide better education [1].
There are many theories and studies describing the profound
implication of ICT for education: education can be transformed
using ICT which brings new capabilities and capacities to learning
[8].
Information
and
Communication
Technology
facilitates
teaching learning process.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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According to Leloup and Ponterio [11], there are a number of
aspects that are inherent to the ICT which make it particularly
suitable for teaching languages, especially ESP. First of all, the Web
is a veritable treasure trove of authentic materials for the ESP
teacher .
Second, this information on the Internet will be up–to-date, so
the teacher is no longer forced to use old-fashioned and outdated
materials [19].
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There are different ESP Web sites for language teachers
[10].Authentic language, increased motivation , interaction, creativity
, student –centeredness ,discovery method of learning, and working
independently can be the reasons for using Web sites in ESP
learning. However, we should be aware of certain problems such as
accuracy, appropriateness, and appeal (easy to use, interesting to
read) and reliability of the information on the Web when applying
Web sites in the classroom [13].
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What Is ESP?
According to Dudley –Evans & St .John [4], ESP is centered on
the language appropriate to activities of the discipline it serves in
terms of grammar, lexis register, study skills, discourse, and genre.
Another definition is offered by Komarova and Lipgart (1994),
cited in Viel[16] who say, "by ESP we understood a variety of
English characterized by two most important features: 1) definite
conceptual orientation, 2) a set of linguistic restrictions imposed
upon the contextual functioning of words."
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Using the Web in the ESP Classroom
Assche [1] points out several benefits of the Web:
Universities will be able to cope better with the challenges of preparing
the students for the information society;
 Education will change from "being told" to exploration "with a much
deeper understanding;
Tolerance and respect for other cultures will be practiced in universities;
and
 Abstract teaching materials will become relevant to the real life.
R.Sajedi
2011, Spain) one discovers that the use
7
When examining the goals
of(EDULEARN11,
ESP teaching,
of the Web can be effective in attaining these objectives.
Purpose of the Study
There are a lot of authentic materials for ESP teachers on the Web, but their
effectiveness for language teaching depends on how well the collected materials fit the
learners' future needs and their background knowledge. Despite the availability of such
resources, they may not be useful unless the learners know how to use them to
facilitate language learning. In this regard, the writer of this paper had a group of
students use selected ESP Web sites in their language learning. Therefore, the main
purpose of this study is to evaluate these questions:
 Do teacher-introduced Web sites increase learner autonomy in ESP?
 Are teacher-used guidelines considered to be useful in enhancing ESP learning
through Web sites?
 What problems and difficulties do students have in using selected Web sites?
 Are students willing to use ESP Web sites in other classes during their four-year
education?
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Methods and Procedures
Participants
A total of 60 collage students majoring in nursing and midwifery
at Islamic Azad University, Tehran Branch were selected. They were
freshmen and female students, while their ages ranged from 20 to
24.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Procedures
The students took part in two 90-minute instructed session in one
week and one 90-minute session the other week. This was repeated
through the term, which lasted for almost fourteen weeks. During
the teaching sessions each computer was shared by two students.
At first the students were given all the necessary information about
the computer networks and equipment. Then a questionnaire was
administered to them to be filled out concerning where they access
the Web and how much usage they have, how frequently they get
online, and how familiar they are with ESP Web sites. Then they
were introduced to some ESP Web sites to practice ESP inside and
outside class.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Procedures
After the training session, the students used the selected Web sites to
complete a set of assigned exercises, which included reading
comprehension and guessing the meaning of new words in context, or
checking the meanings of the words by mouse-clicking on the hypertexts
linked to the correct definitions, etc.
At the end of the fourteen-week instruction, an attitude questionnaire was
administered to be filled out by the students concerning their use of the
recommended Web sites. In this questionnaire the test takers were allowed
to express their ideas on a 5-point Likert scale:
1) Strongly agreed, 2) agreed, 3) disagreed, 4) strongly disagreed,
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Results
Computer Ownership and Location for Using the Web
18% of the students stated having home computers. 80% of the
students reported using university facilities. 15% indicated using Net
Cafes. Only 10% reported getting on line at home, and 5% indicated
using library facilities. It can be seen from the data that the same
students use different modes of access to the Web which explains why
the total percentage exceeds 100%.
Time Spent Online per Week
38% reported getting online everyday; 30% got online four times a
week, 40% three times a week, and 25% twice a week.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Result
Web Experience in ESP
70% of the subjects indicated not having used ESP Web sites
before. Regardless of their online experience, most of the
students were unfamiliar with the Web sites, and those familiar
did not know how to use them.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Students' Overall Attitudes towards Using
Web Sites to learn ESP
Number of Students (per cent)
120%
100%
80%
60%
40%
20%
0%
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Questionnaire
Figure1. The students' attitudes towards using Web sites to learn ESP
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1. More opportunities should be provided to learn ESP using the Web.
2. Online learning should be included in all classes.
3. ESP can be more effective and interesting using the Web.
4. The Web helps to improve ESP ability and skills.
5. It is not difficult to learn to use the Web for ESP.
6. Materials become more comprehensive by using the Web.
7. The Web creates active learning and effective contact between the students
and teacher.
8. The Web helps to learn the subject on a deeper level, creates fun,
encourages monitoring, makes one think creatively and critically, and helps
practice independent thinking.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Students' Attitudes towards Creating
Autonomous Learning through Web Sites
Number of Students (per cent)
100%
80%
60%
40%
20%
0%
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Questionnaire items
Figure2. The students' attitudes towards creating autonomous learning through
Web sites
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Students' Attitudes towards Creating
Autonomous Learning through Web Sites
1. We felt more empowered to take responsibility for ESP learning
using the Web.
2. We felt more comfortable using the Web in ESP classes.
3. The web empowered us to be creative and work independently.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Students' Attitudes towards Guidelines
74% of the students felt that the instructions were necessary online
navigation. 90% considered the recommendation of useful sites to be
necessary, and 92% needed an introduction to the contents of the chosen
sites. The results showed that the students lacked experience using ESP
resources on the Web. In addition, most of them found the Web to be
effective in doing homework (71%)
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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The Probability of Using the Web for Other
Classes
93% of the students indicated that they will use the ESP Web sites
during their four years of education.90% stated will even look for
more ESP Web sites for self-learning. These findings suggested that
the students' attitude towards future use of the Web was very
positive. They found this supplementary
mode of
learning
interesting, and 86% wanted more sites to be recommended.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Conclusion
Much remains to be done in further research on the effectiveness of the
Internet in education, especially language learning. The analysis of the
results revealed that there was a positive attitude towards the chosen ESP
Web sites. Therefore, it can be argued that Internet-based teaching of ESP
can be an extremely powerful educational tool. The analysis of the results
also confirmed the usefulness of ICT in the ESP classroom and development
of learner autonomy.
Finally, since target language communication and cultures are well within
reach these new technologies, this will make a tremendous impact on the
ability of students to communicate directly with native speakers [11].
Lastly, the students of this age are becoming more visually oriented and
those who navigate the Web are actually reading [12].
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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The research leads to the following suggestions:
• More access to ICT: Computers should be available more too
individual students to be an integral part of ESP learning.
• Updated
systems:
To
optimize
the
effectiveness
of
ICT,
communication and electrical systems need to be updated.
• Learning atmosphere: To foster ESP learning, the computers should
be viewed as an essential medium for ESP learning and instruction.
• Professional development: To solve the technical problems and make
effective use of ICT, teachers should receive the necessary instruction
to incorporate ICT into the curriculum and become familiar with both
hardware and software.
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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Thank You a Universe
R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)
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