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Technology-Enhanced Learning: Iranian Students' Attitudes towards Using ESP Web Sites

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... Spain) * R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain) * New technologies should be assimilated ... using ICT which brings new ... impact on the ability ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Technology-Enhanced Learning: Iranian Students' Attitudes towards Using ESP Web Sites


1
Technology-Enhanced Learning Iranian
Students'Attitudes towards Using ESP Web Sites
Roghayeh Sajedi Semnan University of Medical
Sciences, Islamic Republic of IRAN sajedi4249_at_yah
oo.com
2
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.
3
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.
4
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 upto-date,
so the teacher is no longer forced to use
old-fashioned and outdated materials 19.
5
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.
6
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
Viel16 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."
7
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. When examining the
goals of ESP teaching, one discovers that the use
of the Web can be effective in attaining these
objectives.
8
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?

9
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.
10
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.
11
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,
12
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.
13
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.
14
Students' Overall Attitudes towards Using Web
Sites to learn ESP
Figure1. The students' attitudes towards using
Web sites to learn ESP
15
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.
16
Students' Attitudes towards Creating Autonomous
Learning through Web Sites
Figure2. The students' attitudes towards creating
autonomous learning through Web sites
17
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.
18
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)
19
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.
20
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.
21
  • 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.

22
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