THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPUTER IN TEACHING ENGLISH
By: Jasmansyah, M.Pd
The development of science and technology, especially in information communication and technology is very fast. The development of it is applied in teaching activities in order to get a better result. Teaching is not only about paper, white//black board, marker, map, and picture. Teaching is about transferring knowledge to the students. In order to get a good result, the teacher should use the effective teaching aid. A teaching aid is a tool used by teachers, facilitators, or tutors to help learners improve reading and other skills, illustrate or reinforce a skill, fact, or idea, and relieve anxiety, fear, or boredom, since many teaching aids are like games. There are many kind of teaching aids such as : chalkboard or whiteboard, map, overhead projector, computer, charts, calendars, flash chard, posters, slides, flip chart, etc, but the writer believe that the best one among them is a computer.
The goal of this paper is to answer why the computer is the best aid in teaching English. What are the advantages and disadvantages of it and how to overcome the problems?
3. Literature Review
The topic to be discussed in this paper is “THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDIA (COMPUTER) IN TEACHING ENGLISH“. Information technology ( IT ) as defined by the information Technology Association of America ( ITAA ), is study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware. In short, IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit and retrieve information, securely. Computer is a more interactive aid compared with others, such as tape recorder, film projectors, and such common equipment – marker and white board. Hartoyo ( 2005, p. 12 ) quotes Nelson, et al ( 1976 ) states that the unique property of the computer as a medium for education is its ability to interact with the student.` The computer can be a partner for the learner to play educational games with, or, less glamorously. It can be used to generate example, to illustrate certain operations, or to stimulate conversation.( Hartoyo, 2005 ). In addition to above statement, Hartoyo ( 2005, p. 22 ) quotes Ahmad, et al, (1985 ) said : It may communicate with the student visually by displaying text, graphics ( diagrams, graph, line drawings ) or video images on screen; it may also present sound, in the form of speech, music or other audio output.
The development of information Technology ( IT ) has permeated the application of computers as a teaching aid in the learning process. A computer is used for the sake of facilitating students in learning, such as learning language. There are many advantages of using the computer as a teaching aid in teaching and learning English if we compare with among other ones. They are:
1. It is a more interactive aid compared with others, such as tape recorder, film projectors, and such common equipment – marker and white board;
2. in a particular case, the computer may act as a teacher or tutor, providing material, guiding a student how to learn it, and giving more information and explanations;
3. The computer is also more flexible
Computer is a more interactive aid compared with others, such as tape recorder, film projectors, and such common equipment – marker and white board. Books and recording can tell a student what the rules are and what the right solutions are, but they cannot analyze the specific mistakes the student has made and react in a manner which leads him not only correct solution. Computer is an interactive instruction technique whereby a computer is used to present the instructional material and monitor the learning that take place. By using computer, students and computer can interact each other, and in which the student are given a freedom to choose any topic of information and even, to become a troubles – shooter of their own problems. Being involve in the process of distance education also means for students that they must be active all the time , they forced to do the exercises, comment certain ideas, everybody can and must take his turn, there no bell ringing to end the lesson, time does not run out for written , discussion and others. As an assistive technology, a handicapped individual might use to communicate verbally. Despite the fact that an individual may not be able to speak or write, they can still communicate with the general public and in traditional classroom setting with a computer system that speaks at the touch of a bottom. Without this availability of this kind of technology in the classroom, many physically disabled individuals would not be able to be part of a traditional classroom environment. Beside that teachers can have their students learn by exploring web tasks online.
The computer may act as a teacher or tutor, providing material, guiding a student how to learn it, and giving more information and explanations. As a tutor, it can also be utilized to communicate visually with students. The computer can be a partner for the learner to play educational games with, or, less glamorously. It can be used to generate example, to illustrate certain operations, or to stimulate conversation. Students absent from ordinary classes because of illness, traveling, sport men, pupils educated at home. In almost all of these cases young people cannot be present in the classes, but there can be some connection to the school and their classmates, not only to get the materials from the tutor but also some further explanations, discussions, assignments and others.
In Revelatory grammar computers play a much more relevant role. Here, computers are not only used to give traditional exercises a new format, but they directly help to enhance acquisition by means of many resources they offer and thanks to their motivating power. Not many people object now days to the fact that a novel in paper format will never be replaced by novel displayed on the computer screen. The pleasure of reading comfortably on an armchair, turning pages quietly forwards to check some idea previously read- is not one that can be equally attained through a screen . Maybe this preference for the printed page is a matter of habit, and it is quite probable that the day will arrive when laptop computers, or even more modern artifacts, will become so widespread as to substitute books. With these computers, people will be able to read as comfortably as they choose sitting on a sofa or even lying on the beach, or under the trees at the park. Students also prefer doing intensive reading in the computer rather than in books. Thus, for example, computer activities which involve rebuilding or rearranging texts have proved their value, not to mention the act of reading the instructions that are included in a CD game so that players know what to do in order to be able to play effectively. And even more effective intensive reading in the computer can be when the texts that students face are messages sent by the characters of an interactive computer program. The enormous amount of specific software that has been created for learning English includes the possibility of teaching and training the skill of speaking and listening. The problem is that, rather then being truly interactive, the activities designed for improving listening and speaking are mainly based on drills. Thus, learners have the possibility of enacting dialogues – generally of the question-answer type with characters belonging to the program, but these are indeed closed dialogues; that is, learners cannot ask or answer whatever they want, but they have to limit themselves to predetermined texts. Nevertheless, despite the lack of true/real interaction, this experience has been proved to be highly motivating, since many of the graphic environments that the programs offer turn out to be quite realistic.
Thus, if learners concentrate on the activity, they may feel up to a certain extent just as if they were really speaking to a hostess in the airport, or to a bobby in Market square. Out of the above-mentioned interactive programs, there are many other programs that offer the possibility of listening to English, mainly with an America accent-in the case of the majority of games-or with British accent. These programs include, among others, many encyclopedias and the already mentioned games. In grammar any language item is used to potentate the target language, and this obviously includes, for example, the instructions are written in English, if the programs that have to be installed by the students are the latest version of a game or simply one that they really like. We can imagine the interest that they are going to put in order to quickly understand the instruction for the installation. If the teacher wants to potentate group work, then s/he just will have to arrange groups of students working with the same computer ( it has been advised that no more than three students should work with the same computer ). Soon, the teacher will witness how enthusiastically students collaborate in order to achieve the desired goal.
Many other advantages of computer as a teaching aid is also flexibility for the students so they can work at their own speed, at the time that is best for them. In the case of writing on the computer, that now day the majority of the students – mainly in primary education are used to using a keyboard. So the process of writing is not problem. So teachers can take advantage of enjoyment that the students find in manipulating computers. Writing an essay on paper has not the same attractiveness for them than writing it with a word processor. To this, we have to add the advantages that the word processors attach to writing task. First of all, mistakes can be corrected much more easily. On the other hand, students do not have to give much importance to the order in which they write their ideas, since they can easily change text order, and thus rearrange ideas, as many times as they want. Beside the grammar and spelling correction devices that word processors incorporate can be active whenever teachers consider necessary. This way, students are made aware of the mistakes or errors they have made, and have the possibility of either checking or trying to guess the correct option. With Web-based instruction, they can work at home, at school, or anywhere there is a computer which internet connection used with a distance learning . It allows students with handicaps or learning disabilities the opportunity to learn in a less restrictive environment. Also students who enroll in courses via computer, including web-based which benefit them in many aspect of their life. Computer is programmed so that it adapts to student’s individual needs. It acquires information about the students current knowledge of a subject and his/her goals in learning the subject and then creates a user profile based on his knowledge. It can adjust itself to the individual student. Web-based instruction is unique in that students and/ or instructors can communicate with each other anywhere in the world within second via internet. There are specific activities of distance learning (conferencing, chatting, on line task) that can make the ordinary classes more interesting or give students the opportunity to learn and practice in a different way. Perhaps teacher who are involved in distance education change in ordinary classes a bit ; become tutors, don’t teach so much and explain everything, but guide the students to find the rules and explanation themselves. Besides allowing students and teachers more flexibility as far as time and place are concerned, there are other advantages off distance education when using computers, and internet tools. A great amount of information can be stored , updated, multiplied, transferred very quickly. On the other hand there is also disadvantage teaching English using computer as a teaching aid.
The disadvantage of utilizing computer as teaching aid in teaching English is the need to own or have access to a computer with the necessary RAM and operating system, physical problems such as carpal-tunnel syndrome and eye disorders ( caused by sitting in front of the computer screen for long periods of time without blinking ), prohibitive cost of education software, and the lack of human interaction in the learning process.
5. Summary and Recommendation
Most teachers still rely on, chalk and blackboard. But over the years, more and more technical inventions have shaped the educational aids with teachers surround themselves. Maybe it is high time for teacher too find a place for the computer to make our teaching more effective, emphasizing its ability to interact with the students. My experience as a teacher proved that whatever they live, teacher voice similar doubts, hope, and problems. Teachers are deeply concerned about keeping abreast of the best, most modern methods of teaching, modern aids, etc. I shall try to prove that we can fulfill students’ expectation by using computers as teaching aids and that this can be done even in a countries or villages, where computers are relative rare in the teaching process. The computer can be a partner for the learners to play educational games with, or it can be used to generate examples, to illustrate certain operations, or to stimulate conversation. In computer labs, students tend to form groups of two or three around a single computer, even when there are enough computers available for each student to use one individually. One reason may be that students using computers do not feel that the work they do on the computer is their own private property. They become relaxed about pooling information and seeking help from their friends.
A computer can analyze the specific mistakes the student made and react in a different way from the usual teacher this leads the students not only to self correction. But also to understanding the principles behind correct solution. A computer gives individual attention to the learner and replies immediately to questions or commands. It acts as a tutor and guides the learner towards the correct answer while adapting the material to his/her performance. Another significant benefit obtained from computer is that it can be a very affective and efficient reference book. It can also be utilized to communicate visually with students. “ Acting as a tutor or teacher , providing material, guiding a student how to learn it, and giving more information and explanations. So it is imperative that the computer as a teaching aid be designed well from the start. Computer must bridge different learning styles to be fully effective; therefore, it should offer different types of examples and ways to solve the problems. Instructors and students using and web-based learning must be sure to give frequent feedback. Another approach is to combine the traditional classroom with computer or the internet. Studies have shown that combining technology with the standard classroom approach actually improve student performance.
)* The writer is an english teacher at SMAN 1 Sagaranten Sukabumi, the captain of English Teachers Forum (MGMP B. Inggris) SMA, Head of Indonesia Teachers Club (KGI) Sukabumi, lecturer at some universities/institutes in Sukabumi.
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