Technology teaching aids enthuse English students

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013 11:27

Ha Noi's Ngo Sy Lien secondary students take part in an English lesson. Experts have called for the use of computers to increase the efficiency of English learning. — VNA/VNS Photo Quy Trung

HCM CITY (Biz Hub)— The use of computer-assisted language teaching, particularly on mobile devices, has enabled students to be more interactive and creative in their study of English, education experts said at a conference held in HCM City last Sunday.

Web-based and mobile technologies in English-language teaching are helping students become more proficient in the language, said Doan Kim Khoa, a lecturer at HCM City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology.

Khoa spoke at the annual Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) conference, annually organised by Viet Nam-USA Society English Centres (VUS).

More than 2,000 English-language teachers, including those from Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia, attended the event.

Today's technology has greatly enhanced English-language teaching in the fields of business, medicine, tourism and hospitality, she said.

Khoa said she had used computer-assisted teaching in her project, which required students to make videos about conversations between various groups of people, including tourists and hotel staff, guests and restaurant staff, and tour guides and tourists.

Also speaking at the conference, Clyde Fowle, a manager of product development and teacher training for East Asia-based Macmillan Education, said that more and more learners of English in Viet Nam were taking international exams, such as Cambridge English's First Certificate in English and International English Language Testing System.


Technology helps to provide exam-related practices, he said, adding that students can download exam computer applications into their smartphones that give them tips. They can also take online practice tests to prepare for the exam, he added.

Online tests, he said, offer flexibility and allow learners to focus on specific areas, giving them immediate feedback on how well prepared they are for the exam.

David Persey, a training specialist at National Geographic Learning, said that super-realistic images in photos and videos also contribute to better learning. These images help children visualise what they actually see on a trip, at home or on TV, he said.

"Children have wonderful imaginations, fed by their natural curiosity, which are often stimulated by the sights and sounds that they experience from day to day," he said.

However, traditional teaching has often discouraged children from using their creativity in the classroom, he added.

At the conference, Sadie Maddocks, a Southeast Asia product manager at Oxford University Press, spoke about the benefits of digital story-telling.

Stories help children make sense of the world around them and share that understanding with others, she said.

Many new web tools allow teachers to use digital stories as a means of enabling young learners to collaborate, communicate and connect in an engaging and motivating way, she added. —VNS

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