Blogs by Sunny

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Reflection of the Course

December 6, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to our instructor Dr Irshat Madyarov, as this particular course”Computer Assisted Language Learning” is really helpful and useful and , in fact, it provides much more, fruitful assignments and tasks than just Computer mediated Language Learning.

To go further, I would like to express my opinion upon the two tasks: Mini Study on proposed Technologies and Course Proposal. Particularly, it should be mentioned that the Mini Study on proposed Technologies was very effective for me as; firstly, it gave me an opportunity to deal with the distinctive features of technologies which, in fact, have educational purposes. Here, it should be mentioned that before this assignment I really could not imagine the usefulness of the technologies for EFL instruction. However, after this assignment my view in this aspect was enlarged.

What touches upon the second assignment: Course Proposal, I should say that specific assignment was very valuable for me as during the completion of this assignment I, first time in my life tried to form course design for a potential course. Moreover, frankly speaking  as I was intending to write my thesis on “Distance Language Learning and Teaching” this was really a great chance  for me to try to form a syllabus specifying such details as  learning outcomes, modes, methods and other distinctive features on the topic under consideration.

To sum up, I should say that I liked this course very much and will look forward to having another such helpful experience with Dr. Irshat Madyarov.

Breakthrough Learning in the Digital Age/A Skype Conference

December 5, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

To begin with , I should note down  that the conference talk by  Connie Yowell’s (2009) was really informative , useful and effective  to the extent that this particular  talk has  enlightened my understanding of SLA and EFL pedagogy research and theory a great deal. Now a lot of issues in this area are perceived by me in different way.

Going through the whole conference I realized that 21 century brought a lot of shifts almost in any area of human activity, and learning system is not an exception. Today, looking around, at a glance, one can easily understand that kids today are different- they are learning differently, socializing differently. In other words, for sure, children become digitally literate comparing with the ones living in the past decades.

An interesting point I crossed with when listening to this talk is that children are becoming digitally literate outside the school. Moreover, I should mention that at this particular issue I realized that here is the starting point from where all the questions are generated .Isn’t this issue that unfortunately, today’s SLA and EFL pedagogy research and theory fails to accomplish?.

Having considered the provided material, to overcome the drawbacks of these kinds of situations, I came to the conclusion that we should make several conceptual shifts in the learning systems of 21 century. Particularly, first, we have to make fundamental shifts from education to learning. That is nowadays we as future parents, teachers not only professionals in this area should understand that with the help of different forms of media learning happens at anytime and anywhere. It is no longer the times when students should attend the classes in order to be informed.

Another problem to which we should give solution is that   there is a conceptual gap between institutions and networks. Specifically, professionals in this area should understand that in the 21 century the delivery system is networks not institution.

What touches upon the question  what would be my agenda for research at the intersection of technologies and TEFL I should say that I realizing the essence of the problem would carry out a research aiming to find out whether the so called  within game and around game education is fruitful in all aspects of TEFL. Secondly, I am interested to find out if the convergence of all media forms (blogging, wikis, games, social networks, etc.) are reliable in this regard.

And lastly, I will be reimaging the agenda of learning system. While watching the conference a question arose within me:” Those people, professionals in that area are concerned with this matter yet they speak about the result of USA. What is happening with us- people of Asian countries where the condition is much more terrible?”  I am of the opinion that in this case just having parallels we won’t have any insights. We should take actual steps such as initiate agendas towards these kinds of troubles .To be more concrete, to create private sector which will be engaged in this issue, including reimaging policies of language assessments and design. Doing research explaining the learning context of 21 century where our young generations live.

Research&Theory

December 5, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Having considered the provided article I found out a lot of interesting issues identified by Salaberry (1999) in Chapell’s article. Before moving on it is vital to note that all the issues considered in the article concern mainly the key questions of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) in SLA (Second Language Acquisition).

Five areas of improvement were distinguished by Salaberry(1999) in Chapelle’s (1999) which are the following :

1.      The literature review on research perspectives of classroom discourse

2.      Research domains other than discourse analysis for the analysis of the pedagogical effectiveness of CALL

3.        The theoretical analysis of the psycholinguistic process of L2 development

4.      The analysis of electronic and face-to-face communication

5.      The relative importance of computer mediated communication (CMC) in the proposed research agenda

It should be mentioned that in this specific article Slaberry (1999) reflects on the key points identified by Chapelle and in some cases gives recommendations. For instance ,   according to Salabery (1999) Chapelle(1999) focuses on the findings from research studies documenting language input and interaction in classroom instruction (interactionist approach) which according to Salaberry(1999) has limitation in the background literature in the research study carried out by Chapelle(1999). Another area to be strengthened according to the author is the research areas for CALL studies. In this regard, the writer is of the opinion that Chapelle(1999) obviously recommending  shift from general approaches of psychology, computational linguistics, and educational technology to specific methods does not give justified analyses.

Another concern about the research objectives identified by Chapelle(1999) is connected to the absence of a comprehensive theoretical analysis of the process of L2 development. In this respect, Salaberry (1999) thinks that Chapelle’s(1999) analysis of the psycholinguistic process that underlies second language acquisition is not comprehensively  analyzed.

As far as the second question is concerned, it is worth mentioning that with the emergence of CALL theory and concept in the field of SLA different contrastive perspectives were identified by many outstanding authors. It should be mentioned that questions on CALL were raised in diverse perspectives (e.g., cognitive psychology, constructivism, and psycholinguistics).Some of them inherited “interactions” approach agreeing with the model of computer-mediated communication as a micro world, the others used communicative approach having emphasis on the role of the learner.

Analyzing the provided articles I came to the conclusion that when considering CALL use in SLA, one should identify his own aim in using CALL techniques in SLA. Specifically, from my own experience, I should say, I found out no research carried out that proves the effectiveness of CALL in SLA entirely. Dozens of research studies have been conducted which show either the effectiveness or usefulness one or of several aspects of language acquisition with the help of CALL. However, as it is noted in many cases CALL research suffers from our lack of knowledge about SLA: Particularly, as Salaberry(1999) mentions :

“The greatest obstacle to the assessment of CALL’s efficacy is that (still) ‘we know rather little [about SLA], and a great deal of what we do know derives not only from psychologists, but also from various sub-branches of linguistics”

To sum up the consideration of the views stated in two articles, it should be mentioned that Second Language Acquisition is one of the complicated issues .Consequently; any changes within the scope of the latter should be carefully analyzed, empirically and theoretically proven before bringing them into practice.

Project-Based Learning

December 5, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

In this fast developing world, the urgency to integrate computer technology resources in the pedagogy of second language learning has emerged. These resources can be beneficial for both teachers and learners. One of such resources is Project based learning which, in fact, elaborates a list of benefits in this regard.

Reviewing different sources on the topic under discussion, I found out a lot, as I frankly speaking was not familiar with this phenomenon. However, I as a future professional in this field hurried to find out the essence of this innovation. So, I happened to know that Project Based learning  provides  learners with much more broad  world view .Specifically, with the help of the project based learning  learners , in fact, invent sticking to some kinds of actions, they do  investigation, which , in its turn  makes learners to cross with some questions and assumptions.

An  interesting point that drew my attention when speaking about project based learning is that I found out that the powerful point in this area is that Children are actively engaged in the learning procedure by means of the provided tools and techniques . Learners are exposed to become critical thinkers and they learn a lot of things about themselves as learners. They make connection what they learn and what they have in life. I think this is one of the crucial points of the productive and successful language learning environment, as from my own experiences I can say that when you realize the irrelevance of you language knowledge and the actual world applications you become little by little de -motivated . I think this is the cross stone which should be integrated in the leaning procedures of language courses.

Another issue that was worth to pay attention to was the role of technologies. Moreover, I should confess that being interested in this issue I was much excited to realize that my so favorite computer technologies again have a huge role here. Particularly, technologies here provide learners with the opportunity to have anytime access to information. Specifically, with the help of such media as wikis, blogs, etc learners are given an opportunity to reflect upon themselves, which, in fact, is a part of project based learning.

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Reflection of the Technologies

December 5, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

To begin with, I should say that the assignment of mini study based on the proposed technologies was one of the efficient tasks that we have ever had during this particular course period. Personally I should note that I implemented three technologies during my mini study and found out a lot of interesting issues in terms of the practicality and usefulness of the technologies.

I used three technologies: Voki, Zimmer Twins and Word Magnets and as a result of my investigation I can say that Voki improves listening and speaking skills .It could be used for the learners of all proficiency levels with different ages  as the technology is some kind of flexible and does not consist constraints  in this respect. As well as it does not require knowledge of special computer skills.

Zimmer Twins, in contrary, has some restrictions to the extent that the theme and actions provided by this particular technology could not be a subject of interest of the students of all ages. Besides, this technology, I think it is advantageous for learners of low proficiency levels.

What touches upon my last implemented technology Word Magnets, I should say that it is a really remedy for grammar instruction, because the latter encompasses especially actions and exercises in this aspect. Here, again, I came to the conclusion that, Word Magnets could not be used by the learners of all ages, and for learners of all proficiency levels, as the process itself is not contently, offering monotonous steps.

Hence, as a result of my analyses, I came to the conclusion that the best technologies worth using during the EFL instruction are Photo Bubble and Voki. The distinctive features of Voki , I have already mentioned above, meanwhile , Photo Bubble is appealing for me as this is really creative technology which, though requires at least mid computer literacy but is   very interesting and practical whether you are 12 years old or 41 . In addition, it can enhance your speaking, listening, grammar, and vocabulary.

Skype Conference with Doctor Deborah Cordie

December 5, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to our instructor, Dr. Irshat Madyarov, for providing us with the excellent opportunity to have Skype Conferences with Dr. Deborah Cordie. This was really beneficial for us as first, seeing the implications of the considered theories it makes you be more motivated and interested when having your further studies in this area as CALL is relatively new area both in the world and in the country where I grew up. Secondly, I am going to carry out my research study for my thesis in this field, and I had some difficulties when imaging the whole process of realization of the study, this particular conference helped me when having picture of my own research study in the near future. And finally, a lot of new issues or, in other words answers to many questions were revealed for us as novices in this huge world of Digital Technology.

The only point that I think shed light on the whole procedure of Skype Conference was that when having discussion we could not see the face of Dr. Deborah Cordie. I think this is little technical point which should be changed. During the conference everything including voice, or style of delivery was quite well. However, personally, I after some time become a little bit de motivated as she actually was watching us when speaking but we were talking to her without having her picture.

Open Educational Resources

December 5, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Today living in the 21 century, Open Educational Resources has become of one of the merits of digital technologies which, in its turn, provide a lot of new chances for learners to be motivated and get involved in the process of learning.

Before, moving on, it should be mentioned that the term “Open Educational Resources” was first adopted atUNESCO‘s 2002 Forum “on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries”. According to which

Open educational resources include:

  • Learning content: full courses, course materials, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals.
  • Tools: Software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and on-line learning communities.
  • Implementation resources: Intellectual property licenses to promote open publishing of materials, design-principles, and localization of content.

To go further, it should be mentioned that having reviewed different sources both online and offline I found out that there is no single definition of OER. According to  William and Flora  Hewlett Foundation.

OER  are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others.

According to another source, OER provides learners with the access to open content which is provided free of charge for educational institutions, content services, and the end-users such as teachers, students and lifelong learners. Moreover, the content is liberally licensed for educational activities, without any restrictions to modify, combine the information.

Frankly speaking, I first cross with this term when I was writing my Individual Project for the course “Computer Assisted Language Learning”. In fact, the topic of my project was “Distance Language Learning and Teaching”, but somehow when doing literature review I read about OER. To tell the truth, the point that enchanted me as EFL learner and teacher was that Open Educational Resources provides much more flexible features having no restrictions when dealing with the material .I think when having EFL instruction this, in fact, is very advantageous point for teachers as it enables the representatives of this area to meet the individual needs of students and courses as well as to overcome certain challenges.

Cloud Computing

December 5, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Cloud computing is another advantage which brought digital technologies. In fact, Cloud computing is internet mediated phenomenon, nevertheless the provided resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand. To go further, it should be mentioned that Cloud Computing is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of such issues as virtualization, Service-oriented architecture and utility computing. The term “cloud” is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on the cloud drawing used in the past to present the telephone network.

Another interesting point concerning cloud computing is that its infrastructures consist of services delivered through common centers and built on servers.  The major cloud service providers include Amazon, Salesforce, Microsoft and Google. Some of the larger IT firms that are actively involved in cloud computing are Fujitsu, Dell, Hewlett Packard, IBM, VMware, NetApp and Microsoft. What touches upon the implementation of cloud computing in terms of EFL in Armenia, I should note down that, this is one of the chances provided by the 21 century which students, teachers and institutions should take advantage of as much as possible as the latter could enhance and make variation in the standard ways of EFL instruction.

Distance Learning (DE)

November 2, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

   Higher education systems all over the world are challenged nowadays by the new information and communication technologies (ICT).Distance Learning became one of the new ways for EFL/ESL instruction.

Not long ago a learner met the problem of discomfort of time and space. Today these kinds of problems seem to be far away……Nowadays such universities as The TV. University in China, International School of Information Management, Mind Extension University and The Open University in the United Kingdom provide the learners with fruitful opportunities of Distance Learning.

Like any other innovation Distance learning also has its advantages and disadvantages. In the table provided below are some of them:

Advantages of Distance Learning Courses

 

 

Disadvantages of Distance Learning Courses

 

 

  • Open and Flexible Learning
  • Safe – paced learning
  • Educational Equity

 

  • Marketing
  • Lack of human interaction and socialization of students.
  • Does not give immediate feedback
  • Does not give opportunity to work on oral skills
  • Social isolation

 

 

Personally I am of the opinion that Distance Learning is advantageous as firstly it gives learners such opportunities as autonomy. I think that autonomy is a crucial point which can develop self-directed learners, coin self-management skills which in its turn can serve as a premise for successful EFL/ESL learner.

“Toys to Tools”

November 1, 2010 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Living in the 21 century- in the world of globalization and mobilization, one can scarcely imagine herself/himself sitting in front of the desk and doing lessons. In this world of rapid development, it seems incredibly difficult not to use technologies especially when it touches upon the issues of learning and teaching. One of such interesting ways is Mobile technologies or in other words, Cell phone use for educational purposes.

Not long ago, people seem to use mobiles as a means of communication. The business of Cell phones was to help people to keep touch with one another. Time went, technologies developed rapidly and today already we have international conferences where one of the hot questions is the use of Mobile phones as E-learning tool.

Mobile technologies, in fact, have a great number of advantages in their way of adaptation to the EFL/ESL classrooms. Among them, firstly, you can take advantage of the Cameras- almost; every second Mobile phone has this tool which can provide the learner with a lot of opportunities.  For instance, if you study ecosystem – mobile phones are the very tools which should be at your hand at any time. You can take photos, use your camera and have a whole storyboard for your upcoming class or exam.

Another great advantage of mobile phones is the Text Messaging.  Whether you are a language or a math learner you can use this quite pretty chance and do surveys or just brainstorm at any time.

It is vital to note that before reading the materials for Mobile technologies, I myself with hard efforts could imagine their use in EFL/ESL classrooms or why not for my own language improvement also. However, now I have clear picture of this issue and to be honest I wonder when the time will come when people will stop considering technologies, to be more concrete, Mobile technologies, as a toy and start getting use of them as E-learning tools.

To sum up, the above mentioned I should say that we as EFL /ESL professionals should do our best to integrate Mobile technologies in our curricula. Little by little, form small proportions outside the classrooms we should start implementing Cell phones as E-learning tools. As in my strong belief, no new is accepted with ease. In our way to adaptation these tools into EFL/ESL classrooms we should find the appropriate place and appropriate time, after which we can bring them to the classroom and help ourselves with the fruitful results of Mobile technologies.