Modern technologies are making it easier for students to achieve their academic goals. Such technologies support learners in different settings. For example, the use of assistive-technologies supports the needs of students with learning disabilities. Modern technologies encourage educationists to teach various subjects such as language, science, and mathematics. The role of technology in different learning institutions will, therefore, increase in the coming days.
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A new approach has emerged whereby learners can use different computer technologies. Stockwell (2012) describes “computer-assisted language learning (CALL) as an approach to teaching whereby internet technologies can support the needs of many students” (p. 76). Computer technology reinforces, analyzes, and presents various materials to the targeted learners. This technology also increases the level of interaction. Students can use CALL to learn new languages. This essay describes the use of various CALL tools in learning a second language. The targeted tools support the CALL approach.
CALL Tools: Learning a Second Language
Learners of different languages can benefit a lot from online exercises. Several websites offer a wide range of online exercises for different individuals. Such websites make it easier for learners to improve their pronunciations and spellings (Jarvis & Achilleos, 2013). Online exercises have the potential to support the educational needs of learners. The websites present many questions and exercises.
These exercises have three major levels. These levels include “beginner, intermediate, and advanced” (Jarvis & Achilleos, 2013, p. 5). The exercises make it easier for every student to understand different topics such as noun clauses, tenses, verbs, phrasal verbs, articles, and prepositions. These skills are critical whenever a person is learning a new language. Such online websites are advantageous because they improve the level of learning.
Analysis of a Good Online Exercise Website
Learners should always identify the best online exercise websites. Such websites should have meaningful questions and exercises. Learners should be able to use the best online websites without any guidance. Such online exercise websites should support the educational needs of beginners. The websites must support the needs and expectations of every learner of a second language. A good online website should also offer the right answers and feedback to the learners.
This approach will ensure every learner acquires new language skills. According to Chapelle and Jamieson (2008), a good website should be flexible, accessible, and easy to use. This fact explains why such online websites should have similar features. Such activities and exercises can support the skills of every learner. The site can also offer numerous listening and writing activities. The website “http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/grammar-exercise-simple-past.php” is recommendable because it presents most of the above aspects.
Analysis of a Bad Online Exercise Website
There are many bad online exercise websites. Learners of second languages should consider the appropriateness of different websites before using them. Such websites might contain inaccurate information or answers. Most of the links might be inactive. The websites also fail to support the growth of the targeted learner. The website might not consider the language needs of the targeted learners. Students who use a bad website might not acquire the required language skills. Bad websites make it impossible for learners to evaluate themselves (Chapelle & Jamieson, 2008). A good example of a bad website is “http://a4esl.org/”. This website fails to present concrete skills and guidelines that can support the targeted learners.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Exercises
Learners of second languages can benefit a lot from online exercises because they present numerous advantages. To begin with, learners can get immediate feedback from their tutors. Students can undertake numerous tests and activities whenever they want. Learners can access such exercises wherever they are. This is the case because such online websites are internet-based. Such websites are “useful because they deal with cheating” (Chapelle & Jamieson, 2008, p. 24). Teachers and educators can use these exercises for group discussions (Chapelle & Jamieson, 2008). These advantages encourage more learners to embrace the use of online exercises.
Such websites are disadvantageous because learners should incur more expenses in order to access such websites. They should have stable internet and electricity. Students in the developing world might not benefit the most from these websites. Internet fluctuations can affect the effectiveness of this approach. Some websites require log in details, thus forcing learners to pay money in order to access them (Bilbatua & Haro, 2014). Such weaknesses discourage more people from using these online exercises.
YouTube videos present many skills and ideas to targeted viewers. This fact explains why YouTube can be used to educate learners of second languages. YouTube is an internet-based service that encourages people to share videos across the globe. Teachers can, therefore, use YouTube to educate their students. Learners can also visit different YouTube videos in order to acquire new skills and competencies. Such videos also come with meaningful comments that can fulfill the needs of many learners. Learners of a second language can acquire new pronunciations, spellings, tenses, and articles from these videos. The presence of subtitles and voices makes the learning process more effective (Bilbatua & Haro, 2014). The use of YouTube for learning purposes will increase in the coming years.
Advantages and Disadvantages of YouTube
The advantages of YouTube make it useful in different learning settings. Learners of new skills and languages can use YouTube to exchange their views. YouTube can be accessed by individuals in every part of the globe. The service is also easy to use. Users should take accurate notes in order to achieve their learning goals. YouTube presents many videos to targeted individuals. This situation makes it easier for many learners to achieve their goals. The videos also have voices and subtitles, thus making it easier for learners to acquire new skills and concepts (Bilbatua & Haro, 2014).
YouTube has some disadvantages. Learners should have stable internet connections in order to access these videos. They might be time-consuming. Teachers should take long to prepare such videos. The videos might not deliver the right content to the students (Bilbatua & Haro, 2014). These weaknesses should not discourage learners from embracing the use of YouTube videos.
Students can acquire useful ideas from blogs since they contain meaningful discussions. Bloggers present their commentaries and guidelines on specific subjects. Learners can focus on specific blogs that widen their language skills. Visitors of such blogs can leave their comments and discussions. Blogs make it easier for learners to acquire new skills (Bilbatua & Haro, 2014). This fact explains why students of a specific language can improve their competencies from such blogs. Students can also create their personal blogs in order to become professional writers. They will also improve their writing and reading skills. Blogs have, therefore, been supporting the educational needs of many learners.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Blogs
Jarvis and Achilleos (2013) believe that blogs can support the educational needs of many students. Blogs can offer useful guidelines and ideas to many learners of a second language. Individuals should identify the right blogs in order to achieve their objectives. The power of the internet explains why such blogs can be accessed from every part of the world. The internet is making it easier for learners to acquire new competencies wherever they are. These aspects explain why learners should use these blogs.
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Some blogs contain complex words and terms that might not fulfill the educational needs of the targeted learners. Many bloggers focus on topical issues and discussions. Many blogs do not teach targeted learners on how to write and read. The targeted students should also have access to the internet (Stockwell, 2012). They should understand the targeted language in order to post their comments.
Students of second languages can benefit a lot from podcasts. A podcast is “a program that can be downloaded over the internet” (Jarvis & Achilleos, 2013, p. 5). Podcasts can deliver audio messages and videos to targeted individuals. This fact explains why learners should use such podcasts to share their ideas, concepts, and skills. That being the case, teachers can deliver the required content to their students using these podcasts. Learners of a second language will “acquire new language skills such as pronunciation, spelling, grammar, and interpretation of different words” (Rosell-Aguilar, 2013, p. 79). Podcasts can also be downloaded and shared by many learners. Many teachers use podcasts to teach their students in different settings.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Podcasts
Students can access different podcasts over the internet. Learners can download such podcasts and use them to improve their educational needs. Podcasts make it easier for learners to pronounce different words properly. Podcasts are also easy to create, thus encouraging more learners to share their ideas without meeting in a classroom. Podcasts can be designed to address the different learning needs of many students. The effectiveness of podcasts makes them popular in various learning institutions (Rosell-Aguilar, 2013).
Podcasts present several weaknesses to the user. To begin with, students with various learning disabilities might not benefit from these podcasts. Teachers might find it impossible to create quality podcasts. For instance, podcasts can be time-consuming (Stockwell, 2012). The producers of such podcasts should understand the educational needs of their learners.
Skype and Google Hangout
Students can use Skype and Google Hangout to practice different languages. Google Hangout is “one of the best CALL tools” (Jarvis & Achilleos, 2013, p. 14). Skype also makes it easier for learners to interact with different members of the global community. Such learners can interact with one another using these two tools. Learners in different locations can practice together for several hours. Learners of second languages can use Skype to interact with their tutors in every corner of the globe. These tools offer powerful incentives and support systems that can support the needs of many learners (Jarvis & Achilleos, 2013). Students can, therefore, embrace the use of these tools in order to improve their language skills.
Advantages and Disadvantages
These tools encourage learners to interact with native speakers of the targeted language. The above tools also increase the speed of interaction. Skype encourages many individuals to interact with one another. These tools have voice options that can support the learning demands of many learners. Many people are today using different social networks, thus attracting more learners. This development explains why more students will use Skype in the future (Jarvis & Achilleos, 2013).
On the other hand, Google Hangout discourages many learners from focusing on the targeted educational goals. It is also notable that the users require stable internet connections. This requirement discourages many students from using Skype for educational purposes. Some native speakers might demoralize these learners. Every learner should “understand how to download and activate these applications” (Stockwell, 2012, p. 74).
Online Articles and Newspapers
Learners can interact with different articles and newspapers in order to improve their language skills. Many websites offer “online dictionary tools and instant translators” (Stockwell, 2012, p. 76). It is necessary for learners to read their favorite articles and topics. This practice will make it easier for them to acquire the best language skills. Such newspapers can be accessed from different parts of the globe. Learners of a new language can benefit significantly from such resources. The decision to read favorite topics will make it easier for many learners to acquire new phrases and words. Students can follow online news in order to acquire the best skills and concepts.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Online articles focus on a wide range of topics and subjects. Learners of secondary languages can select their favorite articles. This practice will make it easier for them to achieve their learning goals. Such articles and newspapers are usually written by professional authors. This fact explains why the targeted students will acquire the best skills and competencies (Stockwell, 2012). The presence of online translators and dictionaries makes such websites useful.
Many online websites are usually haphazardly written. This situation explains why learners should be careful whenever selecting the most appropriate online articles. Learners should also have a basic knowledge of the targeted language. Some translators can be erroneous thus affecting the quality of information acquired by the students. Some online newspapers contain unfavorable phrases and words for different learners.
Concluding Summary and Personal Opinion
Students should use modern technologies in order to achieve their academic goals. Individuals can also use such technologies to widen their competencies. Modern computer technologies facilitate the continued exchange of information. Students can improve their competencies using different computer-based technologies. Online exercises and YouTube videos encourage learners to focus on their academic goals.
Blogs makes it easier for more learners to interact with one another. This exercise has highlighted the issues associated with computer-assisted language learning (CALL). These computer technologies will ensure more individuals acquire new language competencies. Online newspapers, Skype, and Google Hangout can support the educational needs of many learners. Researchers and technologists should identify new applications that can support the language needs of many students (Jarvis & Achilleos, 2013).
This discussion explains why technology has become an unstoppable force in many learning environments. Students should use the internet to acquire new language skills. They should also interact with one another in order to achieve their goals. Teachers should also encourage their students to use the above CALL tools. Such tools can support the educational needs of many students in different institutions.
Bilbatua, L., & Haro, A. (2014). Teachers’ Attitudes towards Computer-Assisted Language Learning in Australia and Spain. Research Online, 57(1), 1-44.
Chapelle, C., & Jamieson, J. (2008). Tips for Teaching with CALL: Practical Approaches to Computer-Assisted Language Learning. New York, NY: Pearson.
Jarvis, H., & Achilleos, M. (2013). From Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) to Mobile Assisted Language Use (MALU). The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 16(4), 1-18.
Rosell-Aguilar, F. (2013). Podcasting for Language Learning Through iTunes U: The Learner’s View. Language Learning and Technology, 17(3), 74-93.
Stockwell, G. (2012). Computer-Assisted Language Learning: Diversity in Research and Practice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.