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The Influence of Technology on Language

Learning and Teaching


Levy (1997:1) defines CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) more
broadly as: the search for and study of applications of the computer in language
teaching and learning.
In addition to Leves definition of CALL, It can be also defined as using
technology to serve language learning and improve the learning skills. This can
be achieved through various applications, websites, smart phones, and
computers. Technology motivates learners to learn more in an enjoyable
atmosphere. Also it may help teachers and instructors to facilitate the teachinglearning process.
Technology can be in service of teaching different skills, such as reading, writing,
and speaking. Firstly, it can help in developing reading skill by using tablets, ereaders, and IPads, enhancing students attention, supporting students literacy,
and facilitating collaboration among learners. This allows learners to be able to
read anytime and anywhere from e-books, which is considered more interactive
than traditional books. It contains pictures, videos, and links which are highly
effective as it estimates learners to store more information and read periodically
with passion to be curious about life.

Secondly, as the importance of transport in our life that saves time and facilitates
moving from a place to another, technology encourages students to share their
pieces of writing all over the world. It motivates students to write more, share
their opinions, and spread their culture using many websites and applications.
One of the useful websites that most of students on Linguistic Department use is
WriteGarden created by Prof. Turki bani-Khaled. Also social media plays an
important role in improving students writing skill. For example, students
unconsciously develop their writing skill while posting their opinion on Facebook
or Twitter. Learners spread their culture using many websites or applications.
Thirdly and lastly, learners today have the world between their hands because
technology facilitates speaking with native speakers of a language they learn.
There are a lot of websites and applications that help learners to practice the
second language with native speakers, for instance, Soliya program, italki, and
Hello Talk. Learners lack the feel of confidence in speaking because they want to
speak properly without making any mistakes while speaking in front of someone
they know. Therefore, technology provides them with an opportunity to practice
the second language without feeling embarrassed or afraid of making mistakes.
This is to highlight two professional useful applications that help learners to
improve their language skills. The first one is English Central. English Central is
an application or website for learning English by watching different videos with
many various topics and in many levels. There are more than 10.000 videos with
subtitles. Moreover, English Central has many creative features that help
learners to improve their English Speaking, Listening, Pronunciation, Writing,

Vocabulary, and Grammar. These features enable learners to repeat any videos
which are current and interesting for several times. And each video has subtitles
that learners can tap any word within the subtitles and get more details about it.
Furthermore, learners would not be exposed to annoying advertisements
streaming across the screen during your visit to the website. It is easy to navigate
the website, and there is a free membership that provides access to most
resources. English central contains various videos from different categories, such
as social, business, media, academic, and travel.
This tech tool offers seven different levels: level one and two for beginners, level
three and four for intermediates, and level five, six, and seven for advanced. The
content of each level is suitable for learners involved in it. In the beginning level
learners will learn the basics of the language, introducing themselves, and
greeting people. On the other hand, learners will acquire fluency by learning new
vocabulary related to work, study, and travel. In the advanced level, learners will
become experts as they will learn idiomatic expressions and slang. Moreover,
they will be able to master the academic vocabulary and improve their accent.
The mechanism of English Central
There are different stages for each video: Watch, Learn, Speak, and GOLIVE.
In the Watch stage, learners can choose any video among over 10.000 English
videos on a topic that they are interested in or a skill they want to acquire. Each
video has subtitle which learners can tap to check the meaning of any word they

do not know. While in the Learn stage, learners acquire new words by filling in
the blanks during interacting with the video line.
In the speak stage, learners pronounce new words in context, and the
application gives them feedback about their pronunciation and fluency. While in
the GOLIVE stage, learners will have a conversation with a private tutor about
the video via Skype. The tutor will give the learner feedback after he/she ends
speaking.
The teacher can use English Central in the classroom as an academic source in
purpose of improving students skills, and enhancing their abilities to participate
and work in groups. Also, it could be used to evaluate students knowledge about
any certain topic by solving the questions of the video and getting instant
feedback. English Central is similar to any tech tool that has some drawbacks
such as the short videos. Also, the subtitles in the video make students
concentrate on what is written instead of what is spoken.
The second application is News in Levels, which is also available as a website.
It consists of three levels in addition to the original, which provides learners with
a video for each article. The first level contains simple words and short articles.
However, the second one consists of mid-level words within a bit longer articles.
In comparison with the first and the second levels, the third level is the most
advanced as it has the longest articles. This tech tool helps in developing
learners skills, especially reading, listing, and pronunciation. It also enhances
learners ability in paraphrasing the articles provided in the original.

This tech tool can be used in the classroom as the teacher may ask students to
prepare one of the articles and try to paraphrase it with paying attention to their
writing skill. The teacher can also divide students in three groups, then asking the
first group to work together with level one. They should read the article,
understand it, and share what they have understood with other groups. After that
students read the article and play the record. The same strategy applies with the
second and third groups but each one takes a different level.
To conclude, it has been proven that technology is a highly powerful tool in
teaching-learning process. By using various tech tools such as English Central,
News in Levels, WriteGarden, and italki, learners can improve their four skills and
acquire the language appropriately and adequately.
Where I am on the cusp of the end of CALL course, I found it very useful
especially for those who want to be teachers. Moreover, CALL course has
enhanced me to be self-reliant learner. I believe that technology play an
important role in enhancing students achievements, and facilitating language
learning. In the second semester I will be training as an English teacher for kids. I
will utilize everything I have learnt during CALL course, such as using tech tools
inside the classroom, preparing a lesson plan, and looking for new applications
and websites that will help me to facilitate the teaching-learning process.
For me, all the above points that I have mentioned, either the good or bad ones,
enhanced my confidence to continue in this field and I will work hard to achieve
my dream to be a preeminent teacher.

References
Levy.M (1997). CALL: Context and Conceptualisation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Davies, G. (2001) LLAS Centre for languages, linguistics and area studies. Available at:
https://www.llas.ac.uk/resources/gpg/61 (Accessed: 20 December 2016).
English Central (2013) Find out your language level. Available at:
https://blog.englishcentral.com/2013/03/09/find-out-your-language-level / (Accessed:
20 December 2016).
Recine, D. (2016) News in levels: A great TOEFL resource. Available at:
https://magoosh.com/toefl/2016/news-in-levels-a-great-toefl-resource / (Accessed: 20
December 2016).
English story can help you in class (no date) Available at:
http://www.newsinlevels.com/about-us/for-teachers / (Accessed: 20 December 2016).
Davies, G. (2001) LLAS Centre for languages, linguistics and area studies. Available at:
https://www.llas.ac.uk/resources/gpg/61 (Accessed: 20 December 2016).
Zazulak, S., Nunan, D., Buckland, S. and Martin, J. (2015) How students can use
technology to improve their English. Available at:
https://www.english.com/blog/students-can-use-technology-improve-english
(Accessed: 20 December 2016).