Integrating Information and Communication Technologies in English
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Integrating Information and Communication Technologies in English

Integrating Information and Communication Technologies in English for Specific Purposes by Rosa Muñoz-Luna and Lidia Taillefer | PDF Free Download.

Foreword to Integrating Information and Communication

It would not be an exaggeration to say that teaching and learning foreign languages, especially at the university level and for special purposes, without the use of the socalled new media and modern technologies (most of which, in fact, are no longer so new) can hardly be imagined in the twenty-first century.

Educators have always been seeking alternative, unconventional, innovative and, at the same time, efficient methods and techniques for teaching.

They have also been applying all possible technological innovations in the didactic process to make it more attractive and interesting in order to increase students’ motivation and to improve and accelerate learning.

Moreover, in the last decade, the Internet has been transformed from a purely informative resource (enabling the use of online dictionaries and the gathering of encyclopaedic information and news, etc.)

to something that also offers numerous communicative functions (e.g. electronic mail, chat rooms, forums, discussion groups, video conferences and e-learning platforms).

It is now an interactive tool for teaching and learning and an environment in which education may take place either exclusively, in the form of e-learning, or partly collaboratively, as in blended learning, assisting and completing face-to-face contact; this concept is referred to as Web 2.0.

It has changed the paradigm of communication among the users of the Internet, increasing their autonomy and possibilities of integration and interaction and also enabling their cocreation of the Internet.

Another issue in foreign language education, besides ICTs, but quite frequently closely related to them and regaining popularity, is the use of ludic techniques, which comprise games,

play (including music and the use of songs), simulation (and other varieties of role-playing) and intermediate forms. Actually, these techniques have been used in education since ancient times.

However, in the last decade, they have become the scope of the research for the young and still forming and developing academic discipline of ludology, also known as game studies or games research.

Ludologists—games researchers—more and more often gather in ludological associations, of which at least two are worth mentioning here:

the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) from Finland and the Games Research Association of Poland (GRAP; in Polish, Polskie Towarzystwo Badania Gier [PTBG]).

Moreover, the meanings of both terms often overlap, even within the same language, causing misunderstandings among researchers even within a single language, let alone across languages.

Therefore, in the literature of cultural studies, psychology, sociology and pedagogy, both terms coexist and very often are used interchangeably without defining either of them, in spite of numerous attempts from the perspectives of multiple disciplines.

The famous Dutch historian and culturalresearcher, Johan Huizinga, in his classic work Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture (1938), coined the term in the title (playing person/person at play) as complementary to Homo faber (creative person) after the original Homo sapiens (thinking person) had turned out to be not suitable enough for humanity.

Huizinga argued that Homo faber was even less accurate than Homo sapiens, as many animals are also creative, and what refers to creativity refers also to play. He claimed that human culture is created and develops in play and as play.

Both issues—ludic strategy and ICTs (often carrying numerous ludic features)— turn out to be perfectly combined in the concept of gamification of higher education and applied in the teaching of various subjects at the academic level (including foreign languages).

However, gamification should not be confused with simple applications of ludic techniques in the didactic process, which would be nothing new in education.

It goes one step further and gamifies the whole process: To cut a long story short, gamification is a structured design of non-game environments, deliberately making them game-like in order to increase engagement, efficiency and positive attitudes.

We take systems of goal structures, rule-based choices, outcome measurement and feedback from games and implement them in a non-game setting.

Or, to be more specific, we do not take anything from games directly—we use game mechanisms as models for the restructuring of existing procedures of management, communication and assessment (Mochocki 2010,

Unfortunately, however, not all teachers care about mastering their technical skills in order to keep pace with the rapid development of modern media and electronic devices.

For various reasons, they do not improve their competences, which makes them digitally handicapped if not almost completely ‘digitally excluded’.

By the same token, they risk losing trust, respect and authority in the eyes of their students. Publications such as this one can get them more interested in this subject and at least motivate them to try to develop themselves.

Moreover, such publications can make teachers realise that ICTs are very often within easy reach (and free, e.g. the large amount of educational ‘freeware’ available on the Internet, including many e-learning platforms) and do not require any specialist knowledge for use in their everyday practice—only a little goodwill.

This book is dedicated especially to readers who eagerly seek pedagogical applications of ICT in the practice of teaching English for specific purposes (ESP), including English for academic purposes (EAP) as well as English for occupational purposes (EOP).

Its clear division into three parts, referring to these purposes, enables readers to easily find chapters concerning the subject of their interest.

It is a precious source of multiple suggestions and guidelines supported by unique case studies for practitioners to understand the pedagogical principles proposed by scholars and educators.

It can easily constitute a good foundation for readers who want to begin their ‘adventure’ with the use of ICT in their practice and to understand better the interrelationships between the benefits of ICT,

the most popular uses of technological tools in authentic instruction, the pedagogical principles behind the integration of ICT into ESP and the relations between learners and teachers as instructors or facilitators.

The book contributes significantly to the field of practice of teaching ESP and helps to cultivate the idea of the autonomous foreign language learner.

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