The use of ICT to improve different aspects of; Reading, writing, , speaking and culture.
What is ICT: ICT stands for “Information and Communication Technologies.” It refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.
According to ELMO educational ICT tools can be divided into 3 categories: Input source, Output source and Others.
ICT has increasingly been brought into play in the education of students inside and outside the classroom. It has created an much more interactive and dynamic form of learning.
ICT is widely use in many areas or sectors such as education, economy, politics and social throughout the world. It is now very common to be used within schools. Many countries now regard understanding ICT as part of the core of education, alongside writing, reading and numeracy. The emergence of ICT has made an improvement on the education for every student as it brings a lot of advantages for every student.
It has been cited that using ICT within the classroom environment by allowing them to acquire the skills they need to help them in later life when they are looking for a job.
I have been reading an interesting article on the use of ICT to inspire writing for children.
Visual Media such as film and animations can help engage and inspire writing in many different ways. Children nowadays often access stories via media and they are often the starting point for children when they want to garner interest in a certain story. Having the immediate audio and visual can have a huge impact in giving children ideas for their writing. For example, watching a film can subliminally give children an excellent idea of a scenario in their head, and this is evident through their writing.
The central thesis to the impact of ICT, with regards the cultivation of written skills, is the successful combination of curricula and the preexisting influence of, and fascination with, technology, especially computers. An important factor in this is the reality that students spend protracted periods of time with technology on a daily basis, and by employing computers in the classroom a teacher can increase the enthusiasm and effort of a class.
Utilising ICT in the classroom is an easy and effective method of engaging students, with research indicating written skills in particular are improved as a result.
In some specific areas there is cumulative evidence of the positive impact of ICT on learning. One such area is word-processing. A systematic review concluded that on average, students who use computers when learning to write are not only more engaged and motivated in their writing, but they produce written work that is of greater length and higher quality.
This does not necessarily vindicate the ICT approach entirely over rival methodologies, but it does adequately represent its candidacy for inclusion in written exercises
 Higgins, Steve, Does ICT Improve Learning and Teaching in Schools http://www.bera.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ict-pur-mb-r-f-p-1aug03.pdf
In tandem with written skills, student interaction with computers can yield greater progress with reading skills, simply due to the sheer convenience and customisability of ICT resources. Teachers can personalise every aspect of reading exercises to assist in the appraisal of tests, thus providing more incisive information to inform student feedback, and thereby eschewing the traditional limitations of conventional paper and pencil exams.
“With the use of ICT, teachers can more easily and efficiently give personally created assessments. Web-based quiz creation programs enable teachers to create quizzes for students to take and review online […] Teachers may choose different options such as time limits, number of questions per page, size of print, ability for review before posting, possibility for re-takes, and whether students receive feedback. All these options allow teachers to customise quizzes to the needs of their students.
ICT can also heavily influence a student’s ability to read phonics, thus improving not only reading but speaking fluency.
Programs such as the Mindplay reading evaluation tests students with a series of phonics and comprehension questions. The phonics portion is analysed for errors, then tells the teacher exactly where the problems are. For example, it might say that the students have difficulty with short vowel distinction or difficulty forming plurals. In comprehension, it calculates performance on the reading passages and estimates approximate reading level.
With this manner of classroom assistance a teacher can better identify class shortcomings and where improvement must be made, and therefore present better informed and devised lessons in future; purchase appropriate supplementary resources; or seek additional assistance if necessary. The overall identification of student levels is rendered more accurate than just a single person’s opinion based on proprietary traditional style reading comprehensions.
The use of ICT is an effective way for teachers to teach students to read. Examples such as talking books and text to speech software provide students with the motivation necessary to learn to read. Additionally, learning to read hypermedia [the internet, electronic texts, etc.] gives students the skills they need to find information in our electronic world. ICT in reading is critical for all students living in the digital age.
 Korabiak, Kathryn & Mete, Nicole, ICT in the Discipline of Reading http://pages.uoregon.edu/moursund/DigitalAge1/Project-Reading.pdf
Listening has been defined as simply “part of the communication process” and takes on four aspects:
Hearing: relating to prior knowledge
Understanding: affected by social and cultural background
Interpreting: affected by personal experiences, age, gender, cognitive, ability
Assimilate: ability to construct knowledge
There are also different types of Listening used both inside and outside of schools. These consist of Comprehensive listening which involves understanding content and information, Critical listening used to evaluate information or an opinion on what they have heard and finally active listening which is based around formulating understanding or building knowledge from analysing information that has been given to them.
Using ICT within classrooms to help students with their listening skills has many positive effects. By listening to different kinds of speakers it allows the students to overcome some obstacles that they may face in everyday situations. These includes things such as different types of vocabulary that they were not previously aware of, the speakers voice, the speed of speech and of course different accents. It also allows the students to hear how English words are pronounced as one of the main problems within Spain is that most English teachers are not native speakers and are teaching their students the wrong pronunciation. It can also break up the lesson. The last thing students want is to sit for an hour simply getting dictated at by their teacher.
This is an excellent example (see below) of how the students can get involved in activities helping their listening skills. Not only can the students turn into the “DJ” (thus practicing their oral), the radio can play English songs and stories etc for the students to grasp. This is also a way the students learn whilst having fun.
What is culture? There are many definitions of culture but one is “the combination of human knowledge, beliefs and behavior that we learn and pass on to future generations.”
It is important to not only to learn a language, but also the culture of the people who speak it. It teaches the students how to go outside their cultural ‘comfort zone’ and it teaches them that not everyone is the same and that there is much to see and learn.
ICT has been a huge help in bring other cultures into the classroom. With the use of videos, stories and email pen-pals etc. we are able to introduce a new cultures and information that the students would not have been able to grasp properly just hearing about it second-hand from a teacher or reading about it.
Children can now take virtual tours of museums or famous sights, for example, A Virtual Tour of Auschwitz/Birkenau at http://www.remember.org/auschwitz/ or Le Louvre Museum at http://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne.
Students can also access fairytales from other countries, learning about the morals, traditions and ideals of another culture. An example would be applications such as Rabia the hen, an interactive bilingual story, from Terry lab http://terrylab.com/en/index.html.
Students can also learn about the history and culture of other countries through interactive websites, which also benefit the students in the improvement of other areas such as reading and listening comprehension. For example, this website that tells the stories and histories of the aboriginal people with an interactive interface, videos, quizes and much more http://www.abc.net.au/dustechoes/dustEchoesFlash.html.
ICT is bringing different cultures to life for the children. It makes it much more interesting and engaging than just reading about it in a book. Now they can see and explore themselves in a fun way.
In the classroom, ICT allows children greater opportunities for sustained forms of talking through things such as asking and answering questions. It is also a very good resource to instigate a classroom debate amongst each other too. Furthermore, ICT is very useful for teaching phonics because it is easier for young learners to make a connection between sounds and letters/words on a page. It also provides more variety which is key for young learners when trying to learn something new. In classrooms nowadays, programmes such as Power Point are incredibly common. It is a fantastic tool in allowing children to learn independently, improve their ICT skills and to then improve their speaking and presentation skills at the end. It is a vital tool in every classroom.
If used and supported correctly, ICT is a fantastic commodity to have inside a classroom to help improve speaking. It can dramatically improve achievement levels, and inspire creative thinking. ICT can also help develop skills that nowadays will be completely relevant to their personal and professional life so it is very important that children acquire these skills as early as possible. Furthermore, ICT can minimise teacher preparation time whilst also inspiring pupils to learn.
Global Citizenship & Youth Philanthropy 1 Module 1: Cross Cultural Understanding. (n.d.). . Retrieved May 14, 2014, from http://www.globalkidsconnect.org/activities/culture_lesson.do
- ELMO (2012). What is ICT in education ? – “ICT”is Information and Communication Technology. “ICT in Education” means “Teaching and Learning with ICT”. Retrieved May 13, 2014, from http://www.elmoglobal.com/en/html/ict/01.aspx