Technology in English Language Institute Curriculum

Introduction

English Language Institute Curriculum is a curriculum that impacts English knowledge to students who are between grade 6 and 9. The students are grouped into levels based on “their test scores and faculty evaluation”( Peachy, 2008). This curriculum is divided into four levels namely; beginning, elementary, pre-Intermediate and intermediate. The beginner helps the students to have a clear understanding of normal expressions and simple texts. It also equips students with “simple oral and written communication in order to provide and obtain information” (Smith & Baber, 2005). It helps students formulate simple and basic sentences.

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The elementary level allows the students to gain insight into essential information from a text. This text can either be oral or written and it focuses on topics that are familiar to learners. It equips students with the ability to write simple paragraphs on some common topics. It instills knowledge on comparatives and superlatives, countable and uncountable nouns, determiners and possessives (Peachy, 2008).

In the Pre-Intermediate stage students are taught how to make summaries of either oral or written texts. The students are well equipped with vocabularies that they can use in formal and informal daily communications (Smith & Baber, 2005). In Intermediate level students are taught how to construct long multiple paragraphs, how they can participate in long conversations, how they can listen attentively to long texts and make conclusions and come up with short speeches on a variety of topics.

Technologies used in ELI

Comics

Comics help in creating skills in analytical and critical thinking. It helps students in understanding the meaning, tone and intentions of a sentence. Comics can be created in several ways some of which are; Toondoo, makesbelifcomix, sketch cast among others (Peachy, 2008). The piston is essentially meant for educational purposes where teachers are allowed to “create a class, add students and assign a project all within the Pixton platform. Also, students can be signed up without an email account” (Fioravanti 2012). The comics can be downloaded, printed or shared online. Comics can be used to teach English since it imparts a better understanding of the concept as well as making it hard for the student to forget what was in the comic.

Digital Storytelling

This is where digital media is used. Students can tell stories of their choices via voice, texts, images, audio and video. There are a lot of tools that assist in the production of digital stories. Some are VoiceThread which allows users to upload documents or pictures and record an audio or video commentary. When incorporated in teaching, this will help students report on books they read, carry out debates, make comments on photographs and documents (Smith & Baber, 2005).

Essentially this will assist students in deciphering audio or video voices equipping them with both listening and speaking skills. In addition it hastens the understanding of English by providing students with a platform for research.With VoiceThread teachers and students can create virtual tours, report on books they have read, comment on historically significant photographs, debate a topic, and more. Its uniqueness lies in the ease in which audio commentary can be added to images and documents and the ability to add multiple commentaries to a single artifact” (Fioravanti 2012).

Podcasts

A podcast is a downloadable audio file that one listens to. It is generally used in sharing music, ideas and other presentations. A teacher can record a lesson or students’ conversation and then use it as a homework assignment. From the conversation, the students will be required to answer some sets of questions basing on the excerpt from the podcast. Podcasts can be used by the students to discuss on whatever topics they have learned. This sharpens the listening and grammar skills of the students (Peachy, 2008).

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Screencasts (Webcasts)

These are “short video recordings of what is taking place on the screen of your desktop computer or laptop” (Fioravanti, 2012). Screencasts on grammar can be created using screencast-o-Matic, Jing or Screen tools. They can then be installed on desktops or laptops. The students will then be taken through the grammar process by process. In case of any further clarification, a student can click on the text and he or she will be provided with more explanations. This assists in comprehending grammar and it makes it easy for students to have answers to their queries (Butler-Pascoe & Wiburg, 2003). In case students have computers at home, they can install the software and learn English during their free time away from school.

Multimedia Presentations

As suggested by Peachy, 2008 multimedia presentations can be developed and used in class to teach English. PowerPoint slides can be used in the presentation of grammatical guidelines. Students can also present their assignments in class using PowerPoint presentations. This will help the students in critical thinking on whatever they are presenting as well as assisting them in linking different ideas. It also equips them with presentation and communication skills which are vital in learning English (Butler-Pascoe & Wiburg, 2003).

Virtual Tours

This is where students can visit museums, historical sites, author residences or government buildings through the web. They can look at what they want to. In teaching English, they can visit the author’s place of residents, historical museums where labels are made in English as well as other places as long as they can learn some English (Brandt, 2006). This technology is essential in allowing students to access primary materials which would boost their learning.

Online Scrapbooks

According to Brandt, 2006 this is where there is a collection of images, captions and is all online. When students have been taught English, they can be allowed to create scrapbooks. This can be done by using Mixbook which allows students to generate scrapbooks without much complication. They can select the format of the scrapbook to suit their choices. These scrapbooks can be used in class to help those students who are weak in comprehending language. In addition, a class of students can access the scrapbooks online hence making it easy for almost the entire class to be at par in the learning process (Brandt, 2006).

Online Posters

Teachers have been using cardboard posters for a long time to display student work. With the advent of technology, online posters can be appropriate in disseminating information especially teaching English (Butler-Pascoe & Wiburg, 2003). Online posters may be composed of audio or video as well as images and texts. When students come up with online posters and present them in class, it makes it easy for the entire classroom to understand the context which will stick in their minds as opposed to cardboards. Online posters can be created by Glogster EDU which allows setting up of “virtual classrooms (Brandt, 2006). It also engages students to interactive in debates that will hasten their understanding. Since it is composed of text and media, it offers effective communication hence sharpening learning skills. The presentation has to be captivating hence students are well equipped with critical thinking abilities.

Conclusion

Technology provides a simple and an interesting way of learning English. Students will always be eager to learn more as they interact with emerging technologies. It helps students in critical thinking which is will be useful in the learning process. It also equips and sharpens their listening and speaking skills. Indeed technology when used to teach English make s the whole idea interesting resulting to learners who are eager to learn and constantly improve their vocabulary, listening, writing, thinking as well as speaking skills.

References

Brandt, C. (2006). Success on your certificate course in English language teaching: A guide to Becoming a Teacher in ELT/TESOL. London: Sage.

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Butler-Pascoe. M. & Wiburg, K. (2003). Technology and Teaching English Language Learners. Boston Allyn & Bacon

Fioravanti, J. (2012). Teaching English with Technology. EdTechTeacher Inc. Chesnut Hill.

Peachy, N. (2008). Using Technology in the Classroom. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Smith, D. & Baber, E. (2005). Teaching English with Information Technology. London: Modern English Publishing

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