Computer programmes as a mean of teaching


Introduction. 3

1. Computer programs as a part of computer-assisted language learning. 6

1.1 Computer-assisted language learning and the history of its development6

1.2 Educational computer programs and their main features. 10

1.3 Problems of applying computer-assisted language learning. 13

2. The application of information technologies to educational process. 15

2.1 Forms of work with educational computer programs. 15

2.2 The approbation and its interpretation. 18

Conclusion. 28

References. 30


Computers have already entered all the spheres of human activity including the process of teaching and studying. Nowadays skills of computer operating are very important for representatives of every profession. There exists a notion "computer literacy" that convincingly illustrates the fact of importance of computer proficiency. However we should not teach skills of work with the computer, its monitor, keyboard, memory devices and other equipment only.

Computers can be successfully applied in organization of individual work of pupils after classes and testing works. Informational technologies contribute to increase academic motivation of teaching foreign language and advance students’ knowledge. The usage of computer technologies during English lessons significantly increases academic process intensivity. Computer teaching assimilates a large amount of material, than it was acquired using traditional teaching conditions. Besides, material is acquired more substantially by working with computer. Computer supplies multisupporting control of academic process that is current intermediate, total. Using the computer control of quality of the students’ knowledge helps to achieve the large objectiveness of the assessment. Besides, computer control considerably economizes academic time, as it checks students’ knowledge simultaneously. Thus, the teachers don’t have to spend hours checking various tests and homework.

Being a new technical means of teaching, the computer has only a background, assisting role, as it solves the same methodical tasks that the traditional means of teaching do, such a term as "computer-assisted language learning" completely describes the idea. The use of the computer is not a method, it is a methodical device applied in the modern approaches of foreign languages teaching.

Software products can solve different tasks at the same time. The important task of many programs is to teach grammar, vocabulary and reading together. Written dialogue between the computer and pupils has some features of the oral speech: combined synthesis and reception of speech, urgent feedback, typically human addresses. During the lesson every student has only several minutes of talk with the teacher, the teaching programs allow to increase greatly the time of communication by means of the foreign language. Very important is the correspondence of software to the textbook, the teacher's book, and the other units of the set. Computer programs are designed mainly for work out-of-class, which makes the time of the lesson free for those aspects of the language that can never be presented in the form of an algorithm. [1]

But software for teaching foreign languages is just coming into wide use. Many problems are to be solved and many questions are to be answered. Will the expenses of the computers and software be covered? Will the teachers be able to apply the new technology successfully? This work is to answer these and many other disputable questions about computer-assisted language learning and application of the computer programs in the educational process.

Now it is definitely known that the use of the computer has sense at the first stage of teaching English, that the computer has many advantages in comparison with other technical means of teaching. [2]

Taking into consideration the above mentioned facts, we suppose, that the topic of our investigation is of current interest. The actuality is determined also by countrywide computerization and, thus, the necessity of any teacher of English to find out all the advantages and disadvantages of application of computer programs to educational process.

The aim of the work is to investigate teaching computer programs, while using them as the means of teaching various aspects of the English language.

In accordance with the given aim, the followingobjectives were put forward:

- To study the history of the development of theeducational computer programs;

- To consider all the types of the educational computer programs;

- To find out the peculiarities of the application of the computer programs in our country;

- To investigate the results of the application of the information technologies to educational process.

The subject of the work is the computer programs as the means of teaching various aspects of the English language.

The object of the work is the application of information technologies, particularly computer programs, to educational process.

The hypothesis of the work : educational process of teaching various aspects of the English language would be much more effective, provided that particular tasks and topics were studied with the help of computer programs, because:

1) The application of information technologies to educational process optimizes the work of teacher;

2) The use of computer programs tends to make the class more interesting;

3) During the lessons conducted with the help of computer technologies students feel less stressed and more confident in a language learning situation;

4) The application of information technologies in the educational process increases the internal motivation of the students.

Methods of investigation :

- Thorough theoretical analysis of the psychological and pedagogical literature, connected with the topic of the investigation;

- Interviewing students that took part in model-lessons, conducted with the help of multimedia and educational programs.

The work consists of two parts: theoretical and practical. In the first part we tried to analyze the main features of educational computer programs, their history, and problems, connected with the application of them. As for practical part, it contains the investigation of the forms of the work with educational computer programs, approbation and its interpretation.

The aim of the approbation is to find out the effectiveness of the application of information technologies to educational process on praxis. It contains information about model-lessons conducted with the students of the tenth grade with the help of educational computer programs, and short analysis of the results.

Practical value of the work results from the conclusion that computer-assisted language learning brings about positive changes in the skills and motivation of the students, if used properly. The materials of the given work can be useful, while creating recommendations of work with educational computer programs for the teachers of English.

1. Computer programs as a part of computer-assisted language learning

1.1 Computer-assisted language learning and the history of its development

“Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is an approach to language teaching and learning in which computer technology is used as an aid to the presentation, reinforcement and assessment of material to be learned, usually including a substantial interactive element”. [3]

Until quite recently, computer-assisted language learning (CALL) was a topic of relevance mostly to those with a special interest in that area. Recently, though, computers have become so widespread in schools and homes and their uses have expanded so dramatically that the majority of language teachers must now begin to think about the implications of computers for language learning. The use of the computer in and of itself does not constitute a teaching method, but rather the computer forces pedagogy to develop in new ways that exploit the computer's benefits and that work around its limitations. CALL takes the central focus away from the teacher as a conveyor of knowledge to giving students learning experiences that are as realistic as possible, and where they play a central role. Also, these approaches tend to emphasize fluency over accuracy to allow students to take risks in using more student-centered activities, and to cooperate, rather than compete. “The computer provides opportunity for students to be less dependent on a teacher and have more freedom to experiment on their own with natural language in natural or semi-natural settings”. [4]

Though CALL has developed worldwide gradually over the last 40 years, this development can be categorized in terms of three somewhat distinct phases which can be referred to as behavioristic CALL, communicative CALL, and integrative CALL.

The first phase of CALL, implemented mainly in the USA and some countries of Europe in the 1970s, was based on the then-dominant behaviorist theories of learning. Programs of this phase entailed repetitive language drills and can be referred to as "drill and practice".

This courseware is based on the model of computer as tutor. In other words the computer serves as a vehicle for delivering instructional materials to the student. The rationale behind drill and practice was not totally spurious, which explains in part the fact that CALL drills are still used today. Briefly put, that rationale is as follows:

- Repeated exposure to the same material is beneficial or even essential to learning;

- A computer is ideal for carrying out repeated drills, since the machine does not get bored with presenting the same material and since it can provide immediate non-judgmental feedback;

- A computer can present such material on an individualized basis, allowing students to proceed at their own pace and freeing up class time for other activities.

Based on these notions, a number of CALL tutoring systems were developed for the mainframe computers which were used at that time. Such systems system included vocabulary drills, brief grammar explanations and drills, and translations tests at various intervals.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, behavioristic CALL was undermined by two important factors. First, behavioristic approaches to language learning had been rejected at both the theoretical and the pedagogical level. Secondly, the introduction of the microcomputer allowed a whole new range of possibilities.

So, the second phase of CALL was based on the communicative approach to teaching which became prominent in the 1980s. “Proponents of this approach felt that the drill and practice programs of the previous decade did not allow enough authentic communication to be of much value.” [5]

According to its advocates communicative CALL:

- focuses more on using forms rather than on the forms themselves;

- teaches grammar implicitly rather than explicitly;

- allows and encourages students to generate original utterances rather than just manipulate prefabricated language;

- avoids telling students they are wrong and is flexible to a variety of student responses;

- creates an environment in which speaking foreign language feels natural.

Several types of CALL programs were developed and used during this the phase of communicative CALL. First, there was a variety of programs to provide skill practice, but in a non-drill format. Examples of these types of programs include courseware for paced reading, text reconstruction, and language games. “In these programs the computer remains the "knower-of-the-right-answer". But in contrast to the drill and practice programs the process of finding the right answer involves a fair amount of student choice, control, and interaction.” [6] In this case the purpose is not so much to have students discover the right answer, but rather to stimulate students' discussion, writing, or critical thinking.

Sometimes programs do not necessarily provide any language material at all, but rather empower the learner to use or understand language. Examples include word processors, spelling and grammar checkers, desk-top publishing programs, and concordances.

On the face of things communicative CALL seems like a significant advance over its predecessor. But by the end of the 1980s, many educators felt that CALL was still failing to live up to its potential. Critics pointed out that the computer was being used in an ad hoc and disconnected fashion and thus finds itself making a greater contribution to marginal rather than to central elements of the language teaching process. No longer satisfied with teaching compartmentalized skills or structures a number of educators were seeking ways to teach in a more integrative manner, for example using task- or project-based approaches. The challenge for advocates of CALL was to develop models which could help integrate the various aspects of the language learning process. Fortunately, advances in computer technology were providing the opportunities to do just that.

Integrative approaches to CALL are based on two important technological developments of the time - multimedia computers and the Internet. Multimedia technology allows a variety of media (text, graphics, sound, animation, and video) to be accessed on a single machine. “What makes multimedia even more powerful is that it also entails hypermedia. That means that the multimedia resources are all linked together and that learners can navigate their own path simply by pointing and clicking a mouse.” [7]

Hypermedia provides a number of advantages for language learning. First of all, a more authentic learning environment is created, since listening is combined with seeing, just like in the real world. Secondly, skills are easily integrated, since the variety of media make it natural to combine reading, writing, speaking and listening in a single activity. Third, students have great control over their learning, since they can not only go at their own pace but even on their own individual path, going forward and backwards to different parts of the program, honing in on particular aspects and skipping other aspects altogether. Finally, a major advantage of hypermedia is that it facilitates a principle focus on the content, without sacrificing a secondary focus on language form or learning strategies. For example, while the main lesson is in the foreground, students can have access to a variety of background links which will allow them rapid access to grammatical explanations or exercises, vocabulary glosses, pronunciation information, or questions or prompts which encourage them to adopt an appropriate learning strategy.

“An example of how hypermedia can be used for language learning is the program Dustin. The program is a simulation of a student arriving at a U.S. airport.” [8] The student must go through customs, find transportation to the city, and check in at a hotel. The language learner using the program assumes the role of the arriving student by interacting with simulated people who appear in video clips and responding to what they say by typing in responses. If the responses are correct, the student is sent off to do other things, such as meeting a roommate. If the responses are incorrect, the program takes remedial action by showing examples or breaking down the task into smaller parts. At any time the student can control the situation by asking what to do, asking what to say, asking to hear again what was just said, requesting for a translation, or controlling the level of difficulty of the lesson.

Yet in spite of the apparent advantages of hypermedia for language learning, multimedia software has so far failed to make a major impact. Several major problems have surfaced in regarding to exploiting multimedia for language teaching.

First, there is the question of quality of available programs. The fact is that most classroom teachers lack the training or the time to make even simple programs, let alone more complex and sophisticated ones such as Dustin. “This has left the field to commercial developers, who often fail to base their programs on sound pedagogical principles. In addition, the cost involved in developing quality programs can put them out of the market of most English teaching programs.” [9]

Beyond these lies perhaps a more fundamental problem. Most of today's computer programs are not yet intelligent enough to be truly interactive. A program like Dustin should ideally be able to understand a user's spoken input and evaluate it not just for correctness but also for appropriateness. It should be able to diagnose a student's problems with pronunciation, syntax, or usage and then intelligently decide among a range of options (e.g. repeating, paraphrasing, slowing down, correcting, or directing the student to background explanations).

Multimedia technology as it currently exists thus only partially contributes to integrative CALL. Using multimedia may involve an integration of skills (e.g. listening with reading), but it too seldom involves a more important type of integration - integrating meaningful and authentic communication into all aspects of the language learning curriculum. Fortunately, though, another technological breakthrough is helping make that possible - electronic communication and the Internet.

“Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), which has existed in primitive form since the 1960s but has only become wide-spread in the last years, is probably the single computer application to date with the greatest impact on language teaching.” [10] For the first time, language learners can communicate directly, inexpensively, and conveniently with other learners or speakers of the target language 24 hours a day, from school, work, or home. This communication can be asynchronous (not simultaneous) through tools such as electronic mail, which allows each participant to compose messages at their time and pace, or in can be synchronous ("real time"), using programs such as ICQ, for example, which allow people all around the world to have a simultaneous conversation by typing at their keyboards. It also allows not only one-to-one communication, but also one-to-many, allowing a teacher or student to share a message with a small group, the whole class, a partner class, or an international discussion list of hundreds or thousands of people.

Computer Mediated Communication allows users to share not only brief messages, but also lengthy documents - thus facilitating collaborative writing - and also graphics, sounds, and video. Using the World Wide Web, students can search through millions of files around the world within minutes to locate and access authentic materials (e.g. newspaper and magazine articles, radio broadcasts, short videos, movie reviews, book excerpts) exactly tailored to their own personal interests. They can also use the Web to publish their texts or multimedia materials to share with partner classes or with the general public.

The history of CALL suggests that the computer can serve a variety of uses for language teaching. It can be a tutor which offers language drills or skill practice; a stimulus for discussion and interaction; or a tool for writing and research. With the advent of the Internet, it can also be a medium of global communication and a source of limitless authentic materials.

The use of technology inside or outside the classroom tends to make the class more interesting. One way a program or activity can promote motivation in students is by personalizing information, for example by integrating the student’s name or familiar contexts as part of the program or task. Others include having animate objects on the screen, providing practice activities that incorporate challenges and curiosity and providing a context (real-world or fantasy) that is not directly language-oriented. The students tend to spend more time on tasks when on the computer. More time is frequently cited as a factor in achievement. [11]

Computers can give a new role to teaching materials. Without computers, students cannot really influence the linear progression of the class content but computers can adapt to the student. Adapting to the student usually means that the student controls the pace of the learning but also means that students can make choices in what and how to learn, skipping unnecessary items or doing remedial work on difficult concepts. Such control makes students feel more competent in their learning.

With real communication acts, rather than teacher-contrived ones, students feel empowered and less afraid to contact others. Students believe they learn faster and better with computer-mediated communication. [12] In networked computer environments, students have a conscious feeling of being members of a real community. In situations where all are learners of a foreign language, there is also a feeling of equality. In these situations students feel less stressed and more confident in a language learning situation, in part because surface errors do not matter so much.

Use of computer technology in classrooms is generally reported to improve self-concept and mastery of basic skills, more student-centered learning and engagement in the learning process, more active processing resulting in higher-order thinking skills and better recall, gain confidence in directing their own learning. This is true for both language and non-language classrooms.

But we shouldn’t forget, that the effectiveness of CALL cannot reside in the medium itself but only in how it is put to use. Those who expect to get magnificent results simply from the purchase of expensive and elaborate systems will likely be disappointed. But those who put computer technology to use in the service of good pedagogy will undoubtedly find ways to enrich their educational program and the learning opportunities of their students.

1.2 Educational computer programs and their main features

We can distinguish two basic types of work with personal computers during the English language lessons in our schools, colleges and universities: the usage of ready-made teaching and developing programs and elaboration of different programs by the teacher himself, in order to use them while explaining the material or checking it.

The usage of ready-made teaching and developing programs is the most available way of work with computer during the lessons and extracurricular hours. A teacher can conduct group performance or individual work with children, using teaching programs with actable elements, such as: "Triple Play Plus", "Euro Talk. Elementary", "Euro Talk. Intermediate", "Professor Higgins." "Learn to Speak English".

Language acquisition with the help of games is one of the main principles of teaching system. Variable multimedia games facilitate enriching vocabulary, introduce the grammar of the English language, teach to understand the speech aurally and write correctly.

Multimedia programs allow listening to the speech spoken in target language and give the possibility to adapt it according to the level of perception abilities. Control of the speed of sound allows to divide the phrases into separate words, comparing at the same time the words’ spelling and pronunciation. The usage of microphone and pronunciation auto-control allows correcting phonetic skills.

Each program has different tasks. The wish to complete them creates positive motivation for learning. The digestion of educational material occurs without any exterior impulse.

For the work with the whole class the programs involving children’s participation in the process of learning are usually used. The teacher works with the keyboard and the students discuss the material, which is displayed. The students are usually divided into groups during such lessons, in order to work together and the teacher, analyzing the conclusions made by them, adds the results into computer.

Among the best multimedia programs we should mentionTriple Play Plus (Multimedia Teacher 3) issued in 1997. With the help of it we can teach the children to perceive the speech aurally, moreover they learn how to read and pronounce correctly (there are three levels). Provided that there is a microphone, the teacher will be able to compare the speech of the student with the sample, and also assimilate the voice being analyzed to the features of the speaker (the option man/woman/child is available).

One of the favorite parts of the program is the description of appearance. The students are to create photofit of the given person. With the help of mouse or microphone students can create the portrait and exercise all the words connected with the appearance. To learn the topic more profoundly you can use the other interesting variations of tasks and games. For example, students can enrich their vocabulary by building up the puzzle made up of human’s body parts. This program also contains the material for the accommodation description. With the help of this task the prepositions are exercised. The students are to find cards or household goods situated in the room. The program introduces the next topics: Food and Drink; Numbers; Home and Office; Places and Transportation; People; Activities.

Another popular English-teaching program is “Professor Higgins” (recommended by the Ministry of Education of Russian Federation). This program was elaborated for the student’s individual work on phonetics and grammar. The next types of work with this program are usually applied:

- Phonetic exercises (with microphone) on the opening phase of learning;

- Forming of good pronunciation with the help of English proverbs and tongue-twisters (again with microphone).

- Individual test on grammar with various levels of difficulty, that allows to exercise the same grammar material with the students of different classes.

For the profound exercise of vocabulary in the senior forms the program Learn to Speak English is successfully used. The program, consisting of 30 lessons, has a great set of dialogues, exercises, games on topics, and video-clips about the cities of the USA. It’s notably that the teacher can show the video with subtitles or without them. It is possible to exercise profoundly the topics available during two-three lessons by using this program.

You don’t necessarily need to have special computer courses to use such ready-made teaching programs. Any teacher who can work with Windows will manage to use them without much trouble.

Specific character of foreign language subject determines active and appropriate usage of the personal computer during the lessons. The main component of foreign language education is the teaching of all the aspects of the speech activity: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The teaching program is exerciser, which arranges the independent work of student controls it and creates facilities for students to form their skills independently. The last function is, perhaps, the mot valuable, because the knowledge got in a ready-made form is very seldom remembered. [13]

Personal elaboration of computer programs involves more serious preparation. Such programs can meet any purpose. Creating them a teacher evinces his own personality, his own view on the material. Such programs are able to become the main support in your teaching foreign languages. The teacher creates a presentation taking into account the abilities of the certain students, thus providing personal-based education.

The usage of presentations during the lessons gives the possibility to animate, emphasize the most important elements with the help of color, print, inclination, size. One or another phase can be shown several times if necessary. Moreover, we can add schemes or tables, photos, graphics and sounds. That makes the impact stronger. Such methods are mainly based on visualization, and it leads to the better understanding of the material. However, the preparation of such programs involves certain skill of the teacher, the ability to work with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Power Point to be exact. Having enough experience, you’ll have to spend from one to three hours to create Microsoft Power Point presentation. The time spent depends on the difficulty of the material. [14]

Summing up the experience of the personal computer and multimedia technologies usage during the foreign languages lessons, we can arrive to the following conclusion:

- Multimedia technologies make the process of education faster;

- They help to increase the level of interest of the students;

- They make the quality of the material digestion better;

- They allow individualizing the process of education;

- They give the possibility to avoid subjectiveness while assessment.

The programs created by the teacher are designed not for an abstract student, but for those certain students taught by him.

Thus involving computer technologies creates the background for educational process intensification. They allow us to use in practice psychological and pedagogical pilot projects, making the transition from machinal knowledge digestion to the ability to acquire new skills independently. Computer technologies facilitate the exploration and development of the students’ personal features.

1.3 Problems of applying computer-assisted language learning

However, though such computer programs allow us to teach various aspects of foreign language, we can’t unfortunately say, that there are a lot of institutions using them. More often such programs remain to be just the bright toys and at its best are used only by particular enthusiasts, but not as a mean of systematic work with students. Such situation is not the result of the bad quality of the programs or their lack of useful information. Vice versa, modern computer programs as a rule possess huge data bases and provide the highest level of training exercises. [16]

Let us consider the real retarding factor for the spreading of modern technologies in the educational process, connected with the foreign language teaching.

The first necessary condition for using computer teaching programs in educational process is the programs’ well-balanced content of the informative material (data base, speaking professionally). They should meet all the given standards. Standard is very essential for the teaching plan and for choosing of the basic textbooks. It means that all the material used in the program should be taken from the textbook, or at least should be similar to the textbook’s material and have the same structure.

The second condition is the necessity to elaborate the totally new arrangement of the educational process and creation of the administrative part that would allow using computer technologies. It means that it is necessary for computerization to embrace not the separate parts of the educational process, but to arrange the whole technological process. It is impossible to arrange the educational process with the help of few technologies. Computer technologies should embrace all the types of work: independent work of the student, practical hours, control over knowledge and so on, and so forth. With the help of automated system of the control over the students’ progress, a teacher will be able to spare much time that can be used for the teaching of the subject directly. We should admit that this part is not easier, than the elaboration of the computer teaching programs. It is even more difficult sometimes. But nobody pays attention to this part usually, because it doesn’t have any exterior effect. Teachers and students are interested the work of separate programs, but they don’t understand, that their implement without any system in real educational process is almost impossible. [1]

The third condition is the vast availability of the hardware. It is necessary we should have enough computer classrooms with more than 15-20 workplaces. We should have also more computers for the independent work in the reading halls and in sub-faculties. And this in turn involves financial barriers. The cost of hardware, software, and maintenance is rather high. There are a lot of examples of schools and Higher Education Institutions that has increased the payment for education in order to create computer laboratories of maintain them.

The fourth integral condition is the teachers’ interest in using modern technologies. They should be ready to learn to work with these new tools. We should be sure, that this problem is not the easy one.

The last, but not the least: the problem of choice of a new orderly strategy of the programs’ arrangement and development. This problem is one of the most disputable today. Every teacher considers his method to be the best one. But we’ll be able to know the advantages of the certain methods just in length of time. The cause of this problem is the system’s involving constant development in the process of using it. [15]

2. The application of information technologies to educational process

2.1 Forms of work with educational computer programs

As we have already stated, educational computer programs have a great number of advantages over traditional methods of teaching. They allow us to exercise various kinds of the speech activity and blend them in different combinations. Also they help to realize the language phenomena, form linguistic abilities, create communicative situations, automate language and speech activities. They provide realization of the personal approach and student’s individual work intensification. [13]

With computer programs the following types of work are available:

A) Listening to the dialogue simultaneously with reading it.

B) Listening comprehension of the dialogue with the multiple choice test. Such exercises are given in TOEFL examination.

C) Dialogue with a free answer. Such task is available due to the special program, which contains all the possible variants of responses for the questions asked by the computer, in order the latter to be able to evaluate the answer or correct it.

D) Dialogue with standard answer. Such dialogues are supplied with some answers. One or two of them are correct response. If the student chose the wrong variant, the computer would correct him in a funny way. Such remarks invariably bring about positive reaction of the student and serve for a stronger memorizing.

E) Imitation of the student’s full participation in the dialogue.

Also computer programs provide the exercises for mastering vocabulary, grammar and syntax. For example:

A) Fill in the gaps exercises. The teaching program suggests the set of sentences with the gaps. In case of the wrong answer, the next ways of extension are possible:

1) The student is banned to pass to the next task;

2) The student’s answer is corrected by showing the right variant with the help of different color. Student passes to the next task.

B) Crossword puzzles. Wrong letters are indicated with the help of different colors.

C) Making up sentences game. The student clicks the proper word and it takes its place in the sentence after the last displaced word. The disadvantage of this game is that you can’t replace any word in the proper place without breakage of the whole sentence.

D) “The Hunter” exercise game, that can have two variations:

1) The student clicks the proper image after listening to the word;

2) The “shot” is made by writing the word. The time for answer can be strictly limited.

E) The teaching program suggests relating two lists of words (the first is in Russian, the second - in English) and finding the equivalents;

F) The teaching program suggests relating two list of words and finding the matches of synonyms or antonyms;

G) The teaching program suggests the list of words in English and their definitions. The student is to find the definition for each word;

H) The computer suggests the list of words for translation and phonetic exercise;

I) “Try to find mistake” exercise. It suggests correcting mistakes in one or another word in accordance with the given situation;

J) “Choose the appropriate word”, which can suggest:

1) Few synonymous words or words, that sounds alike;

2) Few words and phrases, which should be placed in the gaps.

It is important to mention, that such computer programs can be used for the education of students at any age. There is a great number of the computer programs for the primary and secondary school age (for example, “Lingua Land”, “English from A to Z”, “English for Beginners” and the others), for pre-schoolers (“Miya-Mouse Learns Languages”, “Clofford”, “Tim & Toma in England” and the others), for graduates (“English. The Way to Excellence”, “TOEFL”, “L.Romanov. English Grammar”, etc.), and for those, who wants to speak English perfectly (“English in Action. All Stars”, “English in Action. The Royal Family”, “English. The Way to Excellence. Intermediate/Advanced”, etc).

Let us try to classify the forms of work with educational computer programs according tothe aspects of the speech activity: speaking, listening, reading, and writing:

a) Listening:

While introducing and exercising the vocabulary of the topic (purchases, goods, clothes, for instance), we can use the programs Triple Play Plus in English”, “English on Holidays”, “English Gold” and the others. The stages of the work will be as follows: demonstration, practice, and control.

Let us consider these stages on the example of “English on Holidays” program.

The first stage is the introduction of the vocabulary of the “Weather” topic.

Using the demonstrational computer, the teacher uses an automatic mode: the pictures of the natural phenomena appear on the screen: снег-snow, ливень-shower, гроза-thunderstorm, пасмурно-humidity, изморозь-drizzle, ясно-clear, солнечно-sunny, холодно-cold, облачно-cloudy, град-hail, etc.

Then go the phrases:

. What a beautiful day! - Какойпрекрасныйдень!

. What awful weather! - Какаяужаснаяпогода!

. Is it usually as hot as this? - Здесьвсегдатакжарко?

. What's the forecast for tomorrow? - Какойпрогнозпогодыназавтра?

. It's windy! - Дует сильный ветер!

. It's raining - Идётдождь.

The students are watching and listening to. Approximate time - 2-3 minutes.

The second stage is pronunciation exercise and vocabulary practice. The teacher or student switches the mode from auto to manual, and then clicks the proper word or phrase.

The students repeat announcer’s speech all together. Provided that there are enough computers in the classroom, the students work individually using the earphones and microphone. Approximate time - 5-10 minutes. It depends on the amount of words in the given topic.

The third stage is the control of the studied vocabulary. The students choose the task, which may contain 10, 20 or 30 questions on topic. After finishing the exam the table with the results counted in percent appears on the screen. It goes without saying that every student tries to do his or her best.

In the case of having only one computer in the classroom, it will be used as demonstrational while introducing and practicing vocabulary. Control can be implemented then individually with the help of training hand-out (cards with the tasks). The tasks given in the cards can be similar to the tasks of the computer program. For example:

- Choose the right variant of translation of the word “snow” - tennis, shower, snow, umbrella, thunderstorm, boxing.

- Which word is unnecessary: winter, February, cool, December, November, January, etc.

b) Speaking:

There are a lot of educational computer programs that involve working with the microphone, while learning dialogic speech

The example of the work with dialogues is taken from the “Triple Play Plus in English”. We are to choose one of twelve dialogues (“In the cafe”, for example).

Some pictures appear on the screen - the scenes of the given dialogue.

The first stage is the acquaintance with the dialogue.

. Good morning!

. Good morning!

. What would you like?

. I'd like some coffee, please.

. Do you want milk in your coffee?

. Yes, please. Hey, this coffee is too cold.

. I'm sorry, here is some hot coffee.

. Thank you.

. How is it now?

. It's just right.

. Would you like some more coffee?

. No, thanks. How much is it?

. Ninety - five cents, please.

. Thank you. Have a nice day.

. Good bye.

At the second stage the students are to learn the dialogue by heart.

Students work in pairs. They repeat the phrases after the announcers. Then graphic presentation of the sounds of the announcer and of the student appears on the screen. Comparing them, the student can see all the errors. Thus, the student tries to achieve graphic presentation as much similar to the sample as possible.

The students of junior grades can complete the tasks on making up sentences out of the offered group of words. For example: like, lyke, what, you, wood, your, yu, would. The student clicks the proper words in order to make up the right sentence “What would you like?” and the others. The number of right sentences is shown on the screen.

The third stage is the dialogue’s staging.

Firstly, the students reproduce the dialogue with the help of the pictures, and then recite it without any hints.

The next stage is the control of the dialogic speech. Such control is conducted after learning all (12) dialogues. The students choose the card with the task (the teacher is to prepare the cards with the descriptions of different situations) and make up their own dialogue, using the vocabulary of the given program and their own imagination.

d) Writing:

This kind of work involves two tasks simultaneously: right spelling of the English words and keyboard mastering. The teaching computer program “Bridge to English” helps to solve these tasks. Almost every task in this program involves typing of the English words and sentences.

e) Reading + grammar phenomena exercise:

All the teaching computer programs anyway involve work with different texts and dialogues, concerning certain topic and grammar phenomena. For example, “L.Romanov. English Grammar” consists of 25 lessons, and each lesson contains one text and exercises some grammar phenomena: affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences, ejectives degrees of comparison, passive voice, some/any pronouns, there is/there are structures, prepositions, etc. There is alsoa multiple choice test after each text that aimed at control of understanding of the information given in the text.

“English Gold” computer program contains 144 micro dialogues, and each of them involves exercising the certain grammar structure, especially grammar tenses.

2.2 The approbation and its interpretation

This part of work contains scenarios of three lessons that were conducted with the students of the tenth grade and the interpretation of their results. The aim of the approbation is to find out the effectiveness of the application if information technologies to educational process on praxis. All the lessons were carried out in a school's special computer class. While elaborating the plans of the lessons, we took into consideration the classification of the forms of work with educational computer programs given in the previous part.

Topic of the first lesson is “Australia”.

The objectives of the lesson:

1) To demonstrate the practical use of computer while learning English;

2) To activate the topic vocabulary in students’ speech;

3) To develop reading and speaking skills with the help of topic text.


1) Developing games:

a) Hangman;

b) School mom;

c) Parole.

2) Computer-integrated grammar textbook “Big Ben”

Plan of the lesson:

1) Organizational moment;

2) “Auction” quiz;

3) Phonetic exercise of the words;

4) Activation of topic vocabulary in students’ speech;

5) Home work check;

6) Work with topic “Australia”;

7) The results of the lesson.

Course of the lesson:

1) The teacher of English begins the lesson with the greeting and explaining of the tasks of the lesson. Then comes the introductory speech of Computer Science teacher. The speech is about close interaction between English and Informatics subjects. Successful work with computer depends in many aspects on the knowledge of the English language.

2) Computer Science teacher suggests the “Auction” game. He reminds that in most cases computer languages use English words. Thus, the last to mention an English word connected with computer operation or computer programs will get an excellent mark. Students remember the words they use, while working with computer.

3) The teacher of English conducts phonetic exercise of computer terms. Students repeat and translate the words. Simultaneously, Computer Science teacher asks what action takes place by clicking this word.

4) The teacher of English reminds the topic of the lesson (Australia) and suggests remembering geographical names with the help of “Hangman” computer game (Guessing game, where computer thinks of a word and the students try to guess it by suggesting letters. The word to guess is represented by a row of dashes, giving the number of letters. If the guessing student suggests a letter which occurs in the word, the computer writes it in all its correct positions. If the suggested letter does not occur in the word, the computer draws one element of the hangman diagram as a tally mark).

5) Then the teacher of English tries to activate topic vocabulary by asking such questions as:

- What is the English (Russian) for...?

- Guess what it is?

- Choose the right word.

6) The teacher of English says that there is a computer game, which will help the students to remember the words connected with the topic “Geography”. This game is called “Parole”. The first and the last letters of the English word appear on the monitor screen together with its Russian equivalent. The students suggest the letters, trying to guess the word. Only three mistakes are allowed.

7) Then the teacher of English checks the homework for the lesson (Reading of the text “Australia”). Students are to complete the multiple choice tests with the questions to the text:

1. Australia is situated in the...

a) Northern Hemisphere

b) Southern Hemisphere

c) Western Hemisphere

d) Eastern Hemisphere

2. Australia occupies the...

a) Whole continent

b) Part of the continent

c) The island

d) The Southern peninsula

3. Australia is washed by...

a) Stone Sea

b) Silver Sea

c) Pearl Sea

d) Coral Sea

4. The capital of the country is...

a) Sydney

b) Darwin

c) Canberra

d) Lithgow

5. The number of the Australian states is...

a) 50

b) 6

c) 10

d) 23

6. Australian population is...

a) 18, 3 mln

b) 28, 8 mln

c) 140 mln

d) 45, 3 mln

7. The longest river in Australia is...

a) The Murray

b) The Darling

c) The Russel

d) The Kolan

8. The largest island of Australia is...

a) Cocoas Islands

b) Kangaroo Island

c) Tasmania

d) Pine Island

9. The native animal of Australia is...

a) A bear

b) A turtle

c) A koala

d) A cow

10. Australia is the member of...

a) G8

b) G12

c) G20

d) G50

11. The official language of the country is...

a) Australian

b) English

c) Spanish

d) German

12. The formal head of the state is...

a) The prime – minister

b) The Queen of the UK

c) The president of the USA

d) The Prince of Wales

13. What sport does The Ashes connected with…

a) Basketball

b) Cricket

c) Rugby

d) Netball

14. The group of stars one can see on the Australian flag is...

a) Southern Cross

b) Pisces

c) Sagittarius

d) Scorpios

15. The name Australia is derived from the Latin “australis”, meaning...

a) “Southern”

b) “New”

c) “Wild”

d) “Pathless”

The right answers:

1-b; 2-a; 3-d; 4-c; 5-b; 6-a; 7-b; 8-c; 9-c; 10-c; 11-b; 12-b; 13-b; 14-a; 15-a.

8) The students are to work with the map of Australia. They have to find where the next states and territories are located:

- New South Wales ;

- Queensland ;

- South Australia

- Tasmania

- Victoria

- Western Australia

- Australian Capital

- Northern Territory

9)The teacher of English introduces the next table to the students:

Official name of the country The Commonwealth of Australia
Capital Canberra
Government Federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Area 7,686,850 square km.
Population 18,260,850
Native people Aborigines
Most populated state New South Wales (Over 6 mln. people)
Largest state Western Australia (2 525 500
Largest city Sydney (4, 2 mln. people)
Longest river the Darling (2,740 km.)
Highest point Mount Kosciusko (2,340 m)
Natural resources gold, zinc, copper, tin, iron, gas, diamonds, coal, uranium, nickel, oil, silver.
Currency Australian dollar

And then students are to make an oral report about the geographical position of the country. Students speak about Australia, using the information from the table given above.

10) The teacher of English sums up the lesson, inform the students about their marks, gives the homework. Computer Science teacher reminds, that informatics and the English language are closely connected. He emphasizes, that the English language can be easily mastered with the help of various interesting developing computer programs.

Topic of the second lesson is "Landscapes"

The objectives of the lesson:

* To work with lexical units and to activate topical vocabulary of the students;

* To teach the rule of the application definite article "the" with geographical names;

* To develop speaking skills;

* To develop reading skills.

Stages of the lesson:

* Organizational minute– 2 minutes.

* Speech training – 10 minutes.

* Work with lexical units – 10 minutes.

* Work with grammar rules – 20 minutes.

* Summing up the lesson – 3 minutes.

Course of the lesson:

I. Organizational minute:

- Good morning, students. Today we'll work with the definite article «the» and speak about different countries. Now I want you to remember basic grammar rules concerning use of definite article (students give their suppositions).

II. Main part of the lesson:

1. Speech training:

- You know, different countries have different landscapes. Tell me what landscapes do you know? (Slide of the presentation)

What can you say about them?

2. Work with lexical units:

-Please, say what is typical of? (Slide of the presentation)

- America

- Great Britain

- Kazakhstan

- And now you are tomake up the word combinations (slide of the presentation):

Flat Lakes

Deep Plains

High Prairies

Vast Mountains

Huge Oceans

Unique Canyons

3. Work with grammar rules:

- The aim of the today's lesson is to learn the rule of the application of the definite article with geographical names(slide of the presentation). I'll try to explain you this rule (teacher explains everything with the help of different tables, schemes and examples).

- Please, put the article where necessary (slide of the presentation):

1) ... Volga is the longest river.

2) ... Moscow is the capital of Russia.

3) ... Australia is an island.

4) We had a holiday in ... Black sea.

5) ... United Kingdom consists of 4 parts.

6) ... Baikal is a lake of fresh water.

- And now, using the maps of the USA, the UK and Kazakhstan, try to find the proper names with the definite article (slide of the presentation).

4. Summing up the lesson:

- Please, try to remember all the words and rules we have studied today and answer the questions:

What landscapes do you know?

What is typical of the USA?

What is typical of Great Britain?

Where definite article “the” is used?

Topic of the third lesson is "The Price of Fame".

This model-lesson is conducted in the form of discussion with application of multimedia technologies.

The objectives of the lesson:

* To improve the skills of conversation;

* To develop the ability to extract certain information from heard audio-file (listening skills);

* To improve the ability of holding the discussion, to teach the culture of discussion;

* To educate the ability of working in groups and independently;

* To interest in learning English.

Equipment: multimedia projector; screen, slides with celebrities' photos, audio-files with the songs of Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Andrei Mironov and extract from radio program (CD "New Opportunity Intermediate").

The course of the lesson:

I. Organizational minute:

- There's the bell. Please, stand up. Hello, my dear boys and girls. I’m glad to see you again. I hope you’re all right, aren’t you? (Yes, we are, thank you. And how are you?) I’m fine too, thanks. As you have already noticed, our today’s lesson is a bit extraordinary, first of all, because of the guests who are sitting behind you and watching our work. But I’m sure this fact won’t disturb you and you’ll be working hard.

Now, make yourselves comfortable. Try to be active during the lesson and enjoy yourselves at the same time.

II. Main part of the lesson

1. The beginning of the discussion:

- It's time to start the meeting of our Discussion Club (slide of the presentation). Today we are going to look at fame, so the issue of our meeting is Price of Fame (slide of the presentation).

Do you think the lesson is going to be interesting? (Yes, we do.) Why? (Possible answers: -Because I’m interested in the topic and I’d like to express my opinion on it. - And I want to listen to my classmates’ opinions, compare them with mine and maybe argue with them. – I hope to learn something new. Etc…)

Glad to hear it.

Sometimes we think that celebrities don’t have any problems, that they have everything they want and that's why can't be unhappy at all. I suppose that during our meeting you’ll get convinced it isn’t so.

And now say: Would you, personally, like to be famous? (Students’ own answers)

2. The report about the results of conducted survey concerning the issue:

- Azamat had to do a survey among our school-leavers. Sasha, report on the results of your survey, please.

(I asked 50 students of our school: “Would you like to be famous? Why (not)?”

20 students (40%) are eager to be famous. A few words about the reasons. All of them are sure that celebrities get a lot of money which helps them avoid different problems and makes them happy. 5 students (10%) want to have their own fans who will follow them everywhere and admire them. 30 students (60%) find nothing interesting in fame, because celebrities often have no right to privacy and their lifestyle is stressful.)

- Thank you, Azamat. According to the results of your survey, rather many students would like to be famous.

3. "Try to guess the celebrity" game:

- And now, let’s have a look at some real celebrities.

1) - Listen to the song and try to guess the singer. (sounds the song of Marilyn Monroe) (Marilyn Monroe)

- You’re right (slide of the presentation) Vanya has prepared a brief story about her life. (Brief information about the life of the star)

- Thank you, Vanya.

2)- One more song, please. Who’s the singer? (sounds the song of John Lennon) (John Lennon) (slide with the star's photo)

- Lena, will you tell us about this star? (Brief information about the singer)

- Thanks a lot.

3) As for this celebrity, she wasn’t a singer, but she is well-known all over the world. Look at her photo. (slide of the presentation) Who’s she? (Princess Diana)

- Askhat, tell us about her. (Brief information about Princess Diana)

- Thank you very much.

4)- We are very proud of Russian celebrities, too. So, listen to the song. Do you recognize this famous person? (Andrei Mironov) (Slide with the photo of Mironov)

- Sasha, it's your turn to tell us about Andrei Mironov. (Information about Andrei Mironov)

- Thank you.

4. Reflections of tricks of fortune:

- My dear students, what do you think connects these 4 different celebrities? (Possible answers: They were very talented, creative but died young. Etc…)

Why? (Possible answers: Because of their stressful lives. Etc…)

5. Listening comprehension of the extract from radio program (CD “New Opportunity Intermediate”)

- Now, I'd like you to listen to the radio program about fame. After that you’ll have to list the advantages and disadvantages of fame mentioned there. (Sounds the extract from radio program)

- So, what are the advantages of fame according to the program? (Possible answers: - Celebrities get enormous amounts of money. - They demand huge contracts. - Some of them earn a fortune from advertising.)

- And what about disadvantages? (Possible answers: - Celebrities have no right to privacy because paparazzi and fans always follow them. - Rather many famous people die young because of their stressful lifestyles. - People expect them to be always successful and that’s stressful.)

6. Work in groups:

Let's divide into 2 groups. You're the first group. Try to find all possible arguments in favor of fame. You are the second group. Your task is to think of all possible disadvantages of being famous. You have 2 minutes. After that one representative from the group will present the arguments of the team.

7. Summing up the discussion:

- It's time to finish our debates and draw a conclusion. (Representatives of the teams present the result of their work)

- To sum up, everything in our life has good and bad sides. If you are a celebrity, you should admit that there are a lot of people who admire, love and respect you. But on the other hand, there are also people who envy and harm you. If you are not ready for it, change your life, choose another job where you can feel comfortable.

III. Final stage of the lesson:

- When we started our lesson, you expected it to be interesting. And what are your emotions like now? (Studens’ own answers)

- I’m pleased with your work and think you all deserve good and excellent marks. Thank you for the lesson.

- Your homework is to write an essay “Arguments for and against being famous”

After getting acquainted with the conducted lessons, we have to make some conclusions.

The aim of the approbation was to find out the effectiveness of the application of information technologies to educational process on praxis. In accordance with the aim we tried to define the changes in the English language learning motivation and to find out the peculiarities of the impact of the information technologies in educational process.

In order to find it out we conducted questionnaire survey and interview with students.

The most significant impact of the application of information technologies in educational process consisted in an incredible growth of the students' interest. The students aspired to come and take active participation in the course of the lesson. They didn't want even to leave the classroom. They stopped missing classes. Students' accomplishments of the homework become much better. The students were interested in conducting such lessons. They suggested their own topics for the next lesson, offered their help by preparing the presentation and other material.

Also we noticed that the accents have displaced from "the good mark" motivation to the "getting qualitative skills" and "interesting intercourse" motivations. Exterior motivation discontinued to play the most important role in learning English. Intrinsic motives became weighty.

It is difficult to define exactly for such a short period of time, whether all the aspects of the speech activity (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) were improved or not. But resting on the growth of interest and motivation, we can predict not less significant improvement of these skills.

Thus, we can make the following conclusions:

- The rate of interest to the content of the lesson increased considerably, but the level of interest in marks become lower;

- The activity of the students during the lessons significantly increased;

- The students began to feel satisfaction from the work done by them.


Teacher’s task is to activate students’ perceiving activity in the process of teaching foreign languages. Contemporary pedagogical technologies such as teaching in cooperation, project method, using new informational technologies and the Internet resources help to realize personal orientational approach in teaching, support individualization and differentiation of teaching. All these tasks are easy to complete with the help of modern information technologies on the whole, and teaching computer programs particularly.

Using computer during English lessons significantly increases academic process intensivity. Computer teaching assimilates a larger amount of material, than it was acquired using traditional teaching conditions. Besides, by using computer material is acquired more substantially. Computer supplies multisupporting control of academic process that is current intermediate, total. Using the computer control of the quality of students’ knowledge helps to achieve the highest rate of objectiveness of valuation. Besides, computer control considerably economizes academic time, as it checks students’ knowledge simultaneously.

That gives the possibility for teacher to grant attention to the creative aspects of working with students. Computers make favorable conditions for student’s individual works at the English lessons. Students can use computer for the self-control of their knowledge.

It’s important to mention, that the above mentioned facts were confirmed by the conducted model-lessons. The results were amazing. The rate of interest to the content of the lesson increased considerably. The students aspired to come and didn’t want to leave the classroom. They stopped missing classes. Their accomplishment of the homework became much better. The students were interested in conducting such lessons. They suggested their own topics for the next lessons, offered their help by preparing the computer presentation.

The accents have displaced from the “good mark” motivation to the “getting qualitative skills” and “interesting intercourse” motivations. The students began to feel satisfaction from the work done by them.

The essential advantage of such lessons is that they are able to create the situations close to real communication acts. And with such real communication acts, rather than teacher-contrived ones, students feel empowered and less afraid to contact others.

Students believe they learn faster and better with computer-mediated communication. In situations where all are learners of a foreign language, there is also a feeling of equality. In these situations students feel less stressed and more confident in a language learning situation.

In general use of information technologies in classrooms reported to improve self-concept and mastery of basic skills, more student-centered learning and engagement in the learning process, more active processing resulting in higher-order thinking skills and better recall, gain confidence in directing their own learning.

However, there are also some problems with the application of the information technologies in the educational process. We still cannot define the best method of work with the computer programs. Moreover some teachers do not believe in the positive effects of the CALL. And others just can’t manage to master the skills of work with new tools.

The results of theinvestigation allow us to come to the conclusion, that the given hypothesis is implemented and all the given tasks are solved.

Anyway, we shouldn’t forget, that the effectiveness of computer-assisted language learning cannot reside in the medium itself but only in how it is put to use. Those who expect to get magnificent results simply from the purchase of expensive and elaborate systems will likely be disappointed. But those who put computer technology to use in the service of good pedagogy will undoubtedly find ways to enrich their educational program and the learning opportunities of their students.


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