Ict And Language Learning Teaching Methods Information Technology Essay

The definitions could be considered narrow. More interestingly, Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary defines ICT in a narrower context: a school subject in which students learn to use computers and other electronic equipment to store and send information. It is noted that both interpretations are deficient in that it glosses over current ICT inventions and ignores previous technological devices such as printing machines, telephone, radio and television.

In a broader view of ICT, we will be discussing the role of ICT in supporting language learning from the perspective of historical background and within the framework of SLA (Second Language Acquisition). In this essay we will seek to address the following questions:

To what extend language learning are affected by ICT?

How does ICT co-relate and correspond to learning-teaching methods and SLA hypotheses?

2 The role of ICT and Language Learning-Teaching Methods

2.1 Historical background

Before the arrival of printing press, emphasis has been placed on catechetic and oral communication activities for grammar teaching and learning (Guo, 2010). Following the invention of movable printing machine in 1455, literacy among society has been significantly improved. As quoted by Crystal (2004: 56), “the new invention gave an unprecedented impetus to the formation of a standard language and the study of its properties”.

On the other hand, Kelly (1969) states that deductive and inductive methods have existed for ages. To date, Brown (1994: 351) points out that the inductive approach is preferred as it is in tune with subconscious and implicit language acquisition.

Kenning (2007) analyses that the emergences of both deductive and inductive approaches predated printing technology hence the popularity might not be attributed to the technology. Thus she states that ICT had little to do with the birth of the approaches. In addition, it is worthwhile to point out that the role of printing technology in language learning was limited in the early years. For instance, Comenius wrote a pioneering book in 1658, Orbis Sensualium Pictus, related to audio-visual learning method. He presented Latin vocabulary words and modern languages with pictures. (Leinenbauch & Gillette, 1997: 486). This revolutionary inductive approach eventually failed due to technical difficulty and expensive cost of printing illustrations (Kenning, 2007). This claim is in line with Ellis (1997)’s notion that, social and cultural contexts is among the external factors that significantly influence the amount of exposure and use of a L2 (p.4-5). Thus, successful implementation of an innovative learning approach may be postponed until the technology is ready for the conditions.

Language teaching has been using technologies such as phonograph, radio, projector, tape recorder, computer, the Internet, the Web, interactive whiteboard, DVD-ROMs, mobile phone and personal digital assistant (PDA) (Davies 2005) to support language learning from early 20th century. Due to the versatility of ICT, one can thus argue that ICT has potential to play a significant role in facilitating learning methods connected to deductive and inductive approaches such as Grammar-Translation Method (deductive), Direct Method (inductive), Audio-lingual Method (inductive), Communicative Language Teaching Approach and Task-Based Approach (inductive). We are therefore going to review and discuss the advantages of ICT according to each of these methods in the following section.

2.2 Grammar Translation Method

Grammar Translation Method is an L2 teaching method based on the analysis of grammar and translation from L1 to L2 and vice versa. (Wong, 2005: 118).

Grammar Translation Method was derived from classical method of teaching Greek and Latin in 16th century (Wong, 2005: 1) and only became popular in the late 19th century early 20th century. It is interesting to note that although printing production had been improved since 15th century, the real revolution only began when steam-powered press was invented to deliver 1,100 sheets per hour (Hutchinson, 2008). Following this revolution, printing and publishing costs has been significantly lowered. This has consequently fostered the implementation of grammar-translation method as constant reference is necessary for translation (Kenning, 2007).

Although this method began to decline following the introduction of Direct Method, its traces can still be found in today’s language classrooms where reading competence is emphasised (Wong, 2005). In modern contexts, overhead projector and “drill-and-practice” CALL (behaviourist stage) have somehow replaced blackboard and books for uni-directional transmission of information in L2 grammar-translation classrooms (Warschauer & Meskill, 2000).

What is clear in this passage is the vital importance of ICT in popularizing Grammar Translation Method in late 19th century and early 20th century. However, today’s cutting-edge technology has failed to revive the traditional method. We could attribute this phenomenon to the deficiency of the deductive method itself, in which implicit language acquisition has been neglected.

2.3 Direct Method

Thornbury (2007:21) defines the Direct Method as a method prioritises on “oral skills, and, while following a syllabus of grammar structures, rejected explicit grammar teaching”.

Stocker (1921) and Clarke (1921) (both cited in Salaberry, 2001: 40) emphasised the important role of phonograph in learning L2 pronunciation and intonation. Boldyreff (1929) claimed that the use of phonograph makes language learning more scientific and efficient. However, Jespersen (1904) expressed his concern over the sound quality, especially the consonant was still far from perfect.

The use of radio solved Jespersen’s concern. For instance, Quinault (1947) described BBC program English by Radio as “perhaps the biggest experiment in language teaching by radio on purely ‘direct method’ lines” (p.119). She further claimed that the continental listeners managed to concentrate on the sound alone and eventually acquired the pronunciation successfully. As stated by Reith (1924), radio offered perfect pronunciation through native speaker utterance. Indeed, radio managed to cater the needs of language learners who adopted Direct Method in early years.

Nowadays, Direct Method, well-known as Berlitz Method, is supported by cutting-edged technology. Learning are still done in oral context (Berlitz, 2010) but interactive white board, multimedia, the Internet and the Web have been integrated into Berlitz Virtual Classroom (BVC, 2010). In line with Kenning (2007)’s claim, ICT at this stage has been used to meets the needs of “eclectic approach set within a broad conceptual framework”.

2.4 Audio-lingual Method (ALM)

The ALM is led by behaviourist psychology and structural linguistic (Richards & Rogers, 2001). In 1970s and 1980s, the behaviourist CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) such as language laboratories served as effective tools to deliver instruction, dialogue memorisation, repetitive drill exercises and correct answers to the learners (Warschauer, 1996; Warschauer & Meskill, 2000). Eventually, language laboratories were failed as it only adopted a single methodology and neglected creative production of human language (Chambers, Conacher & Littlemore, 2004).

In today’s context, the role of ICT could still be traced. For example, the Duke University gave away iPod to 1,600 first year students to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology device in academic use (Belanger, 2005). Apparently, ALM was adopted in language learning: “In languages…listening comprehension or performance-based components, practice and repetition was facilitated through digital audio files” (Belanger, 2005: 9). For example, L2 learners’ spoken Spanish and their response during oral quizzes were recorded using iPod. Also, weekly vocabulary words with translations and “audio diary” was downloaded as learning materials (Belanger, 2005: 15). The use of iPod proved to be beneficial in supporting audio-lingual language learning in this project.

2.5 Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) Approach

CLT approach adopts a broad and eclectic philosophy rather than specific prescribed procedure in language learning and teaching (Wong, 2005).

Communicative CALL replaced behaviourist CALL in the 1970s and 1980s (Warschauer, 1996). Authentic situations, purposeful and meaningful communication, learner-centred settings, written and gesture communication are all important elements in this approach (VanPatten, 2002).

It is clear to note that the ICT inventions have been used accordingly to fulfil the specific purpose of the approach. For instance, Fox (1997) reported that Language Learning Network project consisted of the Internet and video conferencing had successfully created a communication content-driven learning environment.

More recently, Littlemore & Oakey (2004) points out the Web has made authentic meaningful communication possible by providing substantial amount of resources and knowledge. CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication), for example, provide the opportunity to use the L2 authentically.

2.6 Task-based Approach

Task-based approach is a syllabus that is organised based on a series of tasks “that learners are expected to perform” (Wong, 2005: 120). It has attracted much attention from SLA researchers over the past two years. Similar to CLT approach, broad and eclectic philosophy are incorporated in this approach. Thus the concept has been widely adopted by SLA hypotheses such as input processing, negotiation of meaning, focus on form and output comprehensible output (Van den Branden, 2006: 1).

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Indeed, ICT such as Internet and the Web has been used as powerful tools to enhance both CLT approach and task-based learning. This has yielded positive outcomes such as increased interaction, increased task authenticity and creative output production (Egbert & Hanson-Smith, 1999).

In this section we have reviewed to what extend ICT has supported language learning according to different teaching methods. In the next section we will discuss the role of ICT according to different SLA hypotheses.

3 The Role of ICT and SLA Hypotheses

3.1 Comprehensible Input

According to Krashen (1981, 1982, and 1985, cited in Wong, 2005), comprehensible input is the language that learners can understand with their current level of linguistic competence.

Multimedia enables visualization of abstract concepts and complex processes (Davies (2005)/ Also, modified input in multimedia CALL provides comprehensible input to learners (Chapelle, 1998). For example, by using captioned interactive video (Shea, 2000), learners will better understand the L2 discourse in the authentic discourse.

In addition, comprehensible input is made available through task-based activities such as web-authoring task (Mishan 2004). The importance of exposure to authentic L2 text has been generally endorsed by SIA researchers (e.g. Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991). During web-authoring task using software such as Dreamweaver, FrontPage and GoLive, learners are exposed to authentic text in following the instruction to build their own website (Mishan 2004).

For distance learning, ICT could be utilized to create learning environment with productive and rich L2 input. This consequently diminishes dichotomy between distance language learners and classroom learners (Davies et al., 2010).

Along the way, good evidence about the positive role of ICT has been reviewed within the framework of Comprehensible Input Hypothesis. It is noted that ICT could be beneficial when the learners are exposed to rich and authentic L2 environments such as task-based activities and distance learning settings. However, agreeing with Bardovi-Harlig (2001), input alone is not sufficient to support language learning. In such a case we will explore the role of ICT in supporting Comprehensible Output and Interaction Hypothesis.

3.2 Comprehensible Output

Comprehensible Output Hypothesis postulated by Swain (1985, 1995, cited in Wong, 2005) suggests that output learners need to be pushed to produce comprehensible output that is important to trigger noticing, positive feedback and negative evidence during acquisition.

Davies (2005) states that ICT, especially computer, encourages comprehensible output, that is, active use of L2. As evidence, Evans (1996)’s study reports that computer-based task is ultimately responsible to stimulate and improve learners’ oral communication.

In particular, synchronous CMC tasks direct learners to produce higher quality spoken output (Kern, 1995; Warschauer, 1996). Blake’s (2000) study supports Swain’s hypothesis by reporting that online interchange pushed learners to produce written output. In addition, as indicated by Warschauer (2001), learners appear to incorporate new learned syntactical patterns or lexical chunks extensively during CMC task (p. 290).

Also, it is stated that the hypertext environment of the Web improves learners’ writing skills. Through the support of visual and sound using multimedia elements, learners are likely to extend their communicative output (Davies, 2005) in a context-rich setting.

Apparently, we have all the good evidence on the use of ICT in pushing learners to produce comprehensible output. Learners are not only encouraged to use the L2 actively, but are also more willingly to ‘try out’ new L2 knowledge in a more secured and virtual environment compared to real-life classroom. Indeed, the contribution of advanced Internet technology could not be denied in this context. Nevertheless, it is argued that comprehensible output is still not ample to facilitate the development of L2 linguistic system. We will hence examine if ICT plays any positive role in enhancing language learning experience from the perspective of Interaction Hypothesis.

3.3 Noticing Hypothesis

Research revealed that noticing on specific linguistic features in the L2 input is crucial to language learning (Doughty, 1991). By manipulating L2 input using ICT, such as multimedia CALL, “input enhancement” technique could be applied easily into language learning or teaching pedagogy. Thus the chance of noticing could be increased (Chapelle, 1998). Littlemore and Oakey (2004) later characterized web-based resources meet one of Chapelle’s (2001) criteria for CALL task appropriateness, namely “focus on form” (p. 98-99).

From the point of view of grammar instruction, studies conducted by Ushioda (2000), O’Rourke (2005) and Meskill & Anthony (2007) show that CMC tasks successfully draw learners’ attention to the specific linguistic features in their own output, and engage in “focus-on-form” (originated by Michael Long, 1983, 1996 cited in Wong, 2005) communicative practice. In addition, Yuan’s (2003) study reported that combination of on-line chat and regular in-class discussion increased learners awareness of their grammatical errors in their interlanguage. Also, Kukulska-Hulme & Bull (2009)’s study indicates that language learning diaries using “mobile assisted language learning” enhance learners’ noticing of linguistic feature in L2 input.

From the point of view of vocabulary acquisition, the multi-dimension hypertext supports Schdmit’s Noticing Hypothesis by providing a mixture of multimedia elements to learners. For example, empirical evidences obtained by Jones (2004) and Yanguas (2009) show that multimedia environment is beneficial for L2 vocabulary acquisition. In their studies, learners managed to notice the target words with visual aids and textual glosses.

With regards to the Noticing Hypothesis, we can clearly define the advantages of the use of ICT. Indeed, through multimedia environment and mobile language learning, learners are supported to focus on the specific linguistic features (e.g. input enhancement and focus on form) and develop L2 linguistic system in more natural and flexible settings compared to face-to-face classroom.

3.4 Interaction Hypothesis

Interaction Hypothesis (Gass, 1997, 2003 cited in VanPatten & Benati, 2010) asserted that interaction is necessary in language learning process because learners’ output may trigger input modification by other speakers. However, the opportunity to interact face-to-face is rather restricted within the regular L2 classroom settings (Kitade, 2000).

Fortunately, the invention of the Internet and the Web has provided a better interaction platform to learners. A number of research studies have been conducted on negotiation of meaning and CMC, a manifestation of Warschauer’s (1996) concept of “integrative CALL” (e.g. Blake, 2000; Kitade, 2000; Meskill & Anthony, 2007).

Warschauer (1997) states that the inter-cultural context “make online learning a potentially powerful tool for collaborative language learning” (pp. 470). Through CMC tasks, learners interact more actively with L2 (Kern, 1995; Warschauer, 1996). For example, learners appreciate the corrective feedback from their partners in email exchanges tasks. (O’Dowd, 2004; St. John & Cash, 1995). Also, Blake’s (2000) study shows that CMC promotes L2 acquisition of lexical items through interaction on a synchronous on-line chat program.

When communicating with native speakers, miscommunication or even misunderstanding may happen when the learners do not know when and how to use certain linguistic forms appropriately. Research has found that instruction on the speech acts helps learners to improve their pragmatic performance and communication competence (Kasper & Rose, 2002). In this context the role of ICT becomes, once again, crucial since we can argue that tandem learning system could eliminate, or at least, reduce the sense of offence and embarrassment.

3.5 Motivation

ICT is potentially a great tool to boost both integrative and instrumental motivation in language learning process. Integrative motivation is related to psychology whereas instrumental motivation set language as tool to derive benefit from the environment (VanPatten & Benati, 2010: 111).

Some research shows that synchronous CMC leads to significant motivation boost among L2 learners. For example, Appel & Guerrero (2002)’s study shows that tandem project via email encourages learners to correct each other. Also, passive and shy learners appear to be more active to participate in electronic discussions compared to teacher-led discussions. (Beauvouis 1992; Kelm, 1992).

From the perspective of instrumental motivation, Web authoring tasks inspire the sense of authorship and create the feel of privilege among language learners (Mishan, 2004). Scripting, recording, producing and performing own podcast works will enhance learners’ sense of ownership (LTS MFLE, 2010). These situations will undoubtedly increase their motivation and derive a sense of accomplishment along the process of task-based language learning.

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However, Owen (2008) argues that the level of motivation is heavily depending on achievability of task. This notion implies that although ICT plays a significant role in enhancing motivation, teachers/instructors play a more dominant role in designing and choosing the most appropriate ICT task best fitting their students’ needs.

3.5.1 Autonomous Learning

Motivation has close link with autonomous learning. Autonomous and independent learners become highly motivated and this leads to better learning outcomes (Dickinson, 1995, cited in Benson, 2001).

The early application of CALL as behaviorist tool was less efficient for autonomy development (Fox, 1994). During the communicative phase, the pre-programmed CALL still played role as tutor although the tasks did not grant full control to learners. (Benson 2001:137). However, Kenning (1996: 128) stated that the used of word processors in communicative CALL supported cognitive and meta-cognitive autonomy. Thus, Benson (2001) further stated that when computes used as non-language learning tools, autonomy will be enhanced.

Later, multimedia, the Internet and the Web has brought CALL to current integrative phase (Warschauer, 1996). Integrative CALL supports autonomy learning development with rich input and encourages learners to take control over the selection of learning strategies and materials (Benson, 2001). Mishan (2004:130) further claims that the Internet is the most powerful medium to orientate learners towards autonomous learning. Indeed, learners are supported by various forms of multimedia on the Web to search and discover learning strategies that best suit them.

It’s been observed that independent learners play more active role during language learning process. For example, the use of authoring software and cognitive tools engage learners as researchers and the experimenters in a L2 task-based learning classroom (Rüschoff, 2004). In addition, one of O’Dowd (2004)’s Spanish students who learned English as L2 expressed his/her opinions on email exchanges by stating that “we have the opportunity to have a teacher… and, at the same time, to be teachers” (p.156). This implies that learners are motivated when they play role as tutors by correcting partner’s language errors during the exchanges.

Also, CMC learning tasks via e-mail exchanges (Ushioda, 2000) and MOOs (object-oriented Multiple User Domains) (Sheild, 2001) is excellent for autonomy learning as learners are able to take control of their learning process, content and objectives.

In addition, Sarasin (1999: 2) states that tailored exercises that fit their students’ learning ways will maximize the learning potential outcome. For example, Hot Potatoes is an excellent authoring software that enables teachers to design language activities such as multiple-choice questions and gap fills exercises according to learning styles of their own students.

We can argue that the role of ICT is, certainly, more prominent if being explored from the angle of independent learning. Language learners gain access to rich L2 resources via ICT devices such as the Internet, the Web, Podcast and digital mobile phones.

3.5.2 Learning Strategies

O’Malley &d Chamot (1990) classify learning strategies under three main categories: cognitive (repeating, translating, and analyzing), metacognitive (organizing, planning and controlling) and socio-affective (seeking clarification, co-operating with peers, self-talk).

Learners who have regular opportunities to develop their metacognitive awareness through on-line training may become more autonomous language learners. With the arrival of audio-video conferencing systems, distance learners can learn language at anytime and share opinions on their roles in it (Hauck, 2005). For example, White’s (1995) study shows that independent distance learners aware that they need to re-evaluate their role and responsibilities as language learners thus make greater use of metacognitive strategy, especially self-management.

For cognitive strategy, learners are able to apply their prior knowledge about L2 in creative ways on different multimedia activities on the Web. Memory strategy is thus supported through multimedia elements of the Internet where images and sounds are available for mental linking.

Also, CMC provides a platform for learners to apply ‘social strategies’ where learners more aware of the relationship between the target language and its cultural (O’Dowd, 2004). “They will be able to share recommendations for useful resources and tools found on and off the Internet”. (Warschauer & Shetzer, 2000: 179).

To summarize we can therefore argue that ICT, if properly used, is unquestionably helping language learning and could contribute towards different learning strategies development.

3.5.3 Learning Styles

ICT such as interactive games, interactive whiteboard, video and digital image offers support to different learning styles and allow learners to learn in ways appropriate to their learning approaches (Becta Report, 2009: 2).

In particular, language learning tasks through the Internet can suit different learning styles. For instance, Sheikh Dibs (2003) points out that the needs of visual learners are fulfilled by text, images and video whereas auditory learners are supported with oral presentation on the Web. Sensory learners enjoy both visual and auditory resources on the Web. Hands-on learners will apply their knowledge through activities such as on-line games and cross puzzle.

To sum up, learners learn better when they are interested and ICT serves to extend and prolong their initial interest (Murray & Barnes, 1998). Integrating various forms of multimedia is doubtlessly among the best option to present L2 input. This practice increases the variety of learning tasks when teachers/instructors manage to adapt and modified the content to meet different types of learning styles.

In this session we have reviewed the positive role of ICT. Indeed, the incorporation of technology into language learning always corresponds to external and internal factors indentified within the framework of contemporary SLA research. Internal factors are cognitive factors such as processing strategies, prior linguistic knowledge, the architecture of LAD (Language Acquisition Device) of the human brain (VanPatten, 2003), aptitude and motivation (Myles, 2002). Meanwhile, social factors, input and interaction are identified as ‘external’ factors by Ellis (1997). We could easily identify both factors in today’s language learning contexts and how effective are they in supporting learners to build their L2 linguistic system from different perspective. However, ICT could be a two-sided sword if not being used without proper guide. In the next section we will discuss the disadvantages of barrier of the use of ICT.

4 Disadvantages and Barriers of ICT

In the section above we have identified a substantial number of advantages for the use of ICT in language learning such as the fact that ICT provides easy and reliable access to authentic materials, supports different learning styles, enhances cross-cultural communication and collaboration. However, empirical evidences have identified some problems and barriers to the use of ICT in language learning which will be reviewed and analysed in the following section.

4.1 Security

Ramirez et al (2008) identify cyber bullying as a growing problem among teenagers and young adults in schools. Even peer bullying among children is budding due to the increased anonymous use of wireless ICT devices on the Web (Tettegah et al, 2006).

Gender differences have also been identified in CMC, where men tend to dominate the discussion (Cook et al., 2001). In addition, Herring (2000) reports number of offensive case against women in asynchronous CMC. For instance, Dibbell (1993, cited in Herring, 2000) textually-based virtual rape and sexual harassment incident were reported by Dibbell (1993) and Reid (1994) (both cited in Herring, 2000). Indeed, such incidents reveal the dark side of the technology which deflates social responsibility and accountability.

In addition, vast amount of information is available on the Web and not all of them are appropriate. In particular, the exposure of pornography on the Web to teenagers and children is always a focus issue and concern over the use of the Internet.

To overcome these circumstances, filtering software such as Surf Watch enables parents and teachers to protect students against undesirable material. However, full control and censorship on the Internet is unjustifiable and unenforceable. When the Internet access is available in the classroom, careful supervision and safeguard is necessary to increase security and protection level. The role of the instructor/teacher is therefore vital not only in terms of preparation of ICT-based activities but also in the supervision and delivery of the Internet based activities.

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4.2 Learners-Fit

As stated in previously, the ready-made Web-based resource might not fit the specific needs of learners with different learning styles. Moreover, ready-make multimedia packages available on commercial language learning software are usually technological driven and do not take learners’ specific needs into serious account (Murray & Barnes, 1998).

Thus lack of expertise in developing software program could lead to lack of reliability.

In addition, Littlemore & Oakey (2004) also addressed the limitation of Web-based resources to meet the needs of ‘learner-fit’ (Chapelle, 2001: 59). Ready-made exercises and resources on the Web, such as Si Espana and Bonjour de France are less likely to cope with every different learning style.

Thus careful decision should be made when teachers or learners are pondering on whether or not to use these materials for language teaching/learning. Also, this could be tackled by using web-based authoring tools appropriately. The baseline is that teachers/instructors need to modify and adapt the ready-made materials according to the precise needs of their own learners group.

4.3 Information Overload

It could be problematic if learners are bombarded with massive amount of information through ICT and leads to “information overload” (Littlemore and Oakey 2004). Moreover, searching online could sometimes be time consuming (for both instructors and students) where the quality and accuracy of the contents is not always under control.

In addition, task-based learning activities without proper design will also lead to information overload. For example, in a many-to-many interaction through CMC, some learners might find that they are lost in group discussion. Thus certain information might be ignored and becomes a set of asocial monologues (Moran, 1991:52).

Therefore, training is necessary to equip learners and instructors with appropriate searching and skimming skill. Teachers/instructors also need to be trained to design tasks in accordance to SLA theories and that allow the learners to response to the discourse in a multi-way CMC, to explore the material and consequently generate positive learning outcomes.

4.4 Reliability

Warschauer (1999) reported that a great number of network-exchanges project failed to meet the expectation of language learning outcomes. This is due to the difficulty to maintain learners’ and their partners’ initial interest and motivation.

Cross-cultural email exchanges might sometimes be boring and tiresome if the learners can not find common interest with their partners. This weakens the initial passionate if the exchanges are not goal-oriented (O’Dowd, 2004). In other words, without proper design and guidance, CMC tasks could be meaningless and lead to communication breakdown.

In addition, learners might be discouraged if their CMC partners do not turn up in the chat room or answer their message (O’Dowd, 2004). This might be attributed to factors such as lost of interest, poor time management and limited access to the Internet which it is definitely not helping SLA. O’Dowd (2004) further points out learners might develop perception that the cultural of the L2 country is unfriendly. This implies that the learners will be further discouraged to continue learning the L2.

To solve this issue, learners and their partners should be trained and be educated beforehand on this issue to established friendly relationship (Fischer, 1998; Muller Hartman, 2000)with their partners.

As far as social reliability is concerned, technology reliability is also considered as a barrier. Specifically, computers are sometimes unreliable as the artificial intelligence cannot handle unexpected ad-hoc situations. The computers are not as effective as teachers who can respond immediately to unexpected questions from learners. As pointed out by Blin (1994), computer technology with that such degree of intelligent does not exist. In such a case, over-dependant on the computers could be problematic if language teachers fail to not identify this critical issue.

4.5 Interruption of Thought Process

Number of research reveal that learners dislike reading large amount of text on the screen, such as Wiki, and they often prefer to print out the documents for reading. For instance, Boulton’s (2005) paper indicated that less than 20% of his students are happy with on screen reading. Anderson (2003) reports that metacognitive online reading strategies plays important role in online L2 reading.

Despite of input issue, barrier of producing written output using ICT tools has also been noticed. Mishan (2004) points out that it might sometimes be challenging for learners to compose on screen. The physical and technical processes such as typing and editing may interrupt development of thought processes.

Therefore, it is necessary for learners to be trained and directed to appropriate reading and writing strategies to improve their online performance.

4.6 Challenging to develop autonomy

Autonomous learning with ICT support might pose difficulty to certain L2 learners. As suggested by Kleppin (1997, cited in O’Dowd, 2004), good tandem-exchange learners should meet several demanding criteria to achieve successful learning, namely be able to extract information from their partners’ messages, to learn from corrective feedback from their partners and to identify then explain to their partners what they expect to learn during the task.

In addition, Kenning (1996) postulates that learners have to develop appropriate attitudes, strategies and skills to derive benefits from electronic resources and devices. Learners who are used to face-to-face instruction and dependent on teachers will find learning by distance mode is challenging and are likely to drop out (Hurd, 1999).

Indeed, autonomy should not be considered as a case of “take for granted” in language learning. As we know, not all individual learners, especially the younger and inexperienced language learners, have the capabilities to demonstrate those abilities.

5 Conclusion

This essay has painted a picture of the roles of ICT in language learning in historical and theoretical context. In broad-brush strokes, a general portrait of when and how the ICT was used in supporting language learning is outlined within the historical perspective as well as within SLA framework.

As ICT has moved from a special interest on the computers to other application such as interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, tablet PCs Davies (2005), researchers such as Chapelle (2001) has called for more research grounded in SLA theory. Indeed, full picture of the use of ICT should be depicted by reckoning that computer is just one of many ICT inventions.

Throughout the development of CALL, Littlemore & Oakey (2004) points out that SLA methodology and theories have influenced how the cutting-edge technology has been used in language learning and teaching. At the same time, ICT has also influenced the implementation of pedagogical theory (p.95). On the other hand, Kenning (2007) argues that the evolution of SLA theories is mainly driven by changed views on the purpose of language learning, such as shift from Audio-lingual Method to Communicative Language Teaching Method, rather than driven by technology development (p. 150).

Agreeing with Littlemore and Oakey (2004), we founds that teachers are sometimes overwhelmed by the technology and “do not seriously think about how it might be usefully applied” (Davies, 2009). Indeed, language learning and teaching approach should be pedagogy-driven and learning-based, which is more rigid and emphasises on the needs of learners with the aid of technology resource and tools. Contrarily, technology-driven approach which attempts to formulate a pedagogy based on the cutting edge advantages of a new device, should be abandoned. If a language teaching or learning project is driven by the fashionable technology, it might pose the danger to the learners as well as the teachers disappearing over the horizon of SLA pedagogy.

Davies (1997) emphasizes that technology should be treated as an aid and not as a panacea in language learning or teaching (p. 29). Also, as suggested by Gonglewski (1999), ICT should be integrated in curriculum as a vehicle to support the learning rather than serve as driving force of curriculum.

In brief, those who put ICT to use with good practice will undoubtedly find ways to enrich their language learning (teaching) experience.

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