Introducing psychometrical validation of questionnaires in CALL research: the case of measuring attitude towards CALL
This paper by Vandewaetere and Desmet (209) seeks to introduce psychometrical instruments to measure Attitude towards Computer Assisted Learning (A-CAL), Attitude towards Foreign Language learning (A-FLL) and Attitude towards Computer Assisted Language Learning (A-CALL). This article notes that use of technology my affect learners’ attitude and participation. In referring to Felix (2005), this paper notes that there is significant effectiveness in writing, reading and listening emanating from use of CALL. Vandewaetere and Desmet (2009) note that individual differences such as personal attitude affect individual usage of information technology and the understanding of teachers’ and learners’ attitude facilitate the creation of appropriate CALL application for teaching and learning.
The paper continues to note that positive attitude can develop motivation in language learning. As individual attitude towards e-learning and computer-based learning become more positive, a behavioral intention to use them is cultivated. Learners who esteem CALL as important part of their learning have high motivation and regard them as crucial to their needs. The paper continues to note that motivation and attitude are related to an extent that depends on which CALL is applicable in the language learning needs of both teachers and students. Vandewaetere and Desmet consider computer integration and proficiency on part of students to be one of factors influencing students’ attitude in using CALL in EFL. Student language learning belief was also considered a factor influencing student attitude in using CALL to learn English as a foreign language. Intrinsic motivation to learn EFL was also a factor affecting students in learning foreign languages. Teachers have a role in influencing students in learning EFL. This role depends on teacher’s characteristics such as enthusiasm of the language. Other factors which motivate students to learn foreign language are categorized as extrinsic motivation. This motivation is for instance, cultivated by the student’s need to communicate in languages common in his/her locality.
Behavioral/personality factors also affect learners’ attitude in learning EFL. Inhibition, exhibition, learning effort and tolerance to ambiguity are such factors considered in this article.
In teaching second language as a foreign language, approach is shifting from teacher-to-instructors’ directed instruction to more learners’ involvement and interactive participation. Learners are having a positive attitude to CALL if stable technologies and good and helpful support are provided. Application of technology is also strengthening learners’ confidence, attitude and participation. Felix (2005) notes that CALL effectiveness is greatly evident in realm of writing, reading and spelling and could be attributed to self set learning, pace, frequent rehearsing facilitated by computer repetition ability without withering out and incremental confidence building on part of learners through achievement.
Apart from what research has tried on design, implementation and development of CALL or critical examination on CALL software and their interaction, one thing has stood up clear; positive attitude to language learning raises motivation on part of students that help them learn language. It clearly emerges that, as one’s attitude to using computer based and e-learning improves, they tend to develop a behavior of using them. Thus, continued use of these tools creates a culture and behavior which are dependent on achievement of the learner; to learn a new language which in turn motivates the learner to rigorously apply these tools in learning EFL.
Students who use CALL tend to develop self motivation in learning EFL and there develops a relationship that helps them perceive their needs for CALL. When such a need is realized, learners migrate from one phase of CALL to another as a hierarchy of achievement. They move from behavioral to communicative and them to integrative gaining more knowledge in every phase they move into. Such realization and shift in learning needs demonstrates motivation and achievement in learning EFL. Realization of the need for CALL on part of student creates a link that is open and interactive between him/her and the CALL system. Interactions at this stage become individualized and integrative requiring learners’ self positioning onto learning of EFL to be more practical.
Technology does not however, guarantee motivation in learning EFL. Motivation is created through making learners aware of their ability to learn EFL and subsequent creation of the need to successfully learn EFL. Affirmative perception of CALL depends on perceived and received positive outcome in training and learning EFL.
CALL and internet provide an infinite number of resources available for students and teachers to improve their skills in reading, writing, pronunciation, vocabulary, idioms, slang and conversation. In learning English as a foreign language, a class can reach the world and share its creativity in learning and writing essays, poems, biographies and recipes.
CALL has three phases: behaviorist, communicative and integrative. In behaviouristic stage, computer plays the role of a tutor – acting as a mere channel of delivering instructional materials to the learner. In communicative stage, computer is used for skill practice but in non-drill format and with a high degree of student choice, control and interaction. Integrative phase is marked by the introduction of two importance components; Multimedia and the Internet. Multimedia packages deliver a combination of reading, writing, listening and speaking in a single activity. A learner will have control on the channel to follow through the learning material. Internet provides coordinated communication between the instructor and the students and also enables web search, web concordance and collaborative writing. In learning English, CALL provides a powerful self-access facility by giving learners independence and freedom of choice on mode of learning; writing, speaking, listening. Learners can become masters of their own learning experience through CALL by choosing the most appropriate way of learning.
CALL has redefined the role of teaching and learning material by transforming them from passive to interactive components of learning. In CALL, learning materials adapt themselves to individual needs of students. Individualized approaches to learning are motivation to students of EFL. Since learning and understanding is regulated to students needs, learning becomes enjoyable to the extent that CALL is fully integrative. Internet and CALL have transformed traditional learner from a recipient of knowledge into a creator of it. By learning English through CALL and internet, learners have become autonomous and active self driven, motivated creators of knowledge. TEFL is helping learners gain global understanding from their experience from learning EFL.
CALL and internet in TEFL provide ideal learning and teaching environment for both teachers and students by regulating the speed of learning and personalizing learning needs for students as opposed to traditional approach of teaching where learning process appeared to only favor ideal students; fast learners.
Learners using CALL and internet to learn EFL take advantage of computer being able to carry out a repetitive task without complaining unlike teachers. Students can cyclically practice what they find difficult to understand until they grasp it. This is particularly good for slow students. With CALL and internet, teachers and students can simultaneously access learning materials. With students’ autonomy in studying EFL, teachers can concentrate on issues that require more than CALL to learn EFL while students are learning independently at their own determined speed. For instance, teachers will have enough time to prepare for ways to train students in dialogues, presentation and pronunciation in learning EFL. Computer Technology is providing learning approach that utilizes games and other communicative activities that reduce traditional learning stresses and anxiety and provide repeated lessons as much as necessary. Ability to do this motivates learners of ESL. When learners feel progress in their effort to learn English as a foreign language, they become self confident and their attitude to learning become positive. Internet is a virtual library and database that provides both teachers and students with learning materials and an infrastructure of collaborative learning.
Diffident and inhibited learners can learn freely through personalized CALL while studious students can also proceed at their pace without feeling being dawdled by slow learning students. Abstracting, concepts and cognition are simplified and given a reality feel by the use of multimedia elements of CALL and the Internet in a classroom setting. By understanding through cognition and abstracting, students improve on the learning since they can logically connect relationships which are difficult to depict in language-to-language learning mode.
Beliefs and perception about an object or situation is related to attitude. In learning EFL, attitude prompts students to adopt particular learning behaviors. Perception that English needs an experimental approach of learning might prompt a learner to use CALL and internet multimedia implements more often compared to a student who perceive English as an easy to learn to write language and uses writing models in learning the same language. CALL integrated learning does not necessarily lead to better performance or learning EFL, it leads to an improved learners’ perception of the learning environment. Such an argument propels us to enquire then, why CALL if it is not for improved performance in learning? Learning is all but attitude too. If learning and learning environment attitudes can be harmonized, performance will automatically be improved. CALL seeks this harmony between learning attitude and improved learning environment attitude.
CALL materials also influences teachers’ attitude to the classroom since class time is dedicated to other more complex and cognitively tasks. In CALL learning class environment, students gain some autonomy in their learning. Learning becomes collaborative, interactive and more engaging in terms of cognition and access to learning material. It also becomes cohesive by tying students together through collaboration and support for each other in exchanges. Learning also tends to be involving and task oriented since the learner knows what s/he want to comprehend. Fair play is achievable in this environment since students’ access to CALL helps them customize their learning pace. Attitude can be positively influenced by such features of CALL and internet learning in such a way that students feel motivated to use CALL not only as a way of improving learning environment but also as a way of improving their performance.
The effect of Computer Assisted language Learning (CALL) on United Arab Emirates English as a Foreign Language School Students’ achievement and Attitude
This study examined the effect of CALL on elementary prep students’ achievement in EFL. Abdurrahman (2006) notes that multimedia has been vital in improving teaching and learning and general quality of education in students learning EFL. CALL has also integrated virtual reality in delivering instructions for learning foreign language with a great achievement. Elsewhere, Abdurrahman notes that initially, computer technology was used as a supplemental exercise but it has become part of daily classroom activity for teachers and student of foreign languages and especially English. Over the years, the article notes, CALL has evolved from a basic learning tool to a major component of learning in institutions of higher learning such as universities as it is the case in Japan. The study also notes that CALL has played a great role on improving students’ effectiveness in learning and achievement.
The article opines that CALL has transformed students’ perception positively by involving interactive learning processes in subject such as physics. Referring to Ayres (2002), this article says that use of CALL has significantly improved attitude to learning English. The study also indicates links between students’ attitude, computer literacy and language level plus age.
CALL has helped in improving students’ achievement in learning English language in Japan. The articles note that if CALL is well developed and used, students’ achievement, motivation and perception is positively impacted upon. In its finding, the article discovered that there is a higher achievement in learning EFL in CALL users compared to no-users. It also discovered that CALL use motivates students to apply CALL related technologies in internal learning processes. CALL users with higher computer competency use CALL in much of their study time than those with least or no computer literacy.
Bruce (1993) had envisaged that computer will alter the modes of learning by placing much learning ability in the hands of the learner. Nonetheless, effective pedagogy needs to be developed for enabling proper use of computer in classrooms. Cobb and Stevens (1996) “recommend that in designing computer based language programmes, attention must be paid to pedagogy used in the process”. A number of things have been posited in regard the application of technology (and specifically computers) in learning. According to this resource, the selection of proper software packages is the job for teachers (Squire & McDougall, 1994; cited in Smith, 2006). Some software is specifically designed for application into the learning environment, which means there is need for knowledge in this particular area. For instance, two have been designed for the purpose of the English language (Romusier, Bruno & Rice, 1995; O’neill, 1993; cited in Smith, 2006). Some others provide wide range or “rich collection of resources” (Ashworth, 1996; cited in Smith, 2006). The author focuses on the different areas of application of computer, including usage of emails for compiling messages (Warschaver, 1996; cited in Smith, 2006). Skills for raeding and writing can be enhanced through the application of the internet in schools (Warschaver, 1995; cited in Smith, 2006). “A more authentic learning environment” can be created in classroom through the application of the internet, because it will incorporate use of graphics, animation, video and sound (Underwood, 1984; cited in Smith, 2006). Students can also “negotiate different languages experiences” through the application of internet.
To ensure effective pedagogy in using CALL and Internet in TEFL, teachers must be main players especially in the selection of CALL software on the basis of their students’ learning and absorption needs. It will be possible for the students to control their individual learning through the application of technology in learning (Hanson-Smith, 2004; cited in Smith, 2006). One way teachers can control and enhance usage of technology for learning is the use of computer lab. However, they need to be able to identify which strategies to apply (Bickel & Truscello, 1996; cited in Smith, 2006). To enhance the teaching environment using a computer lab, teachers must identify and use a good structure (Trickel & Liljegren, 1998; cited in Smith, 2006). Content free packages are software developed for general application but which offers additional phases of self learning and improvement of one’s grammar quality.
An example is MS Word which provides grammar correction and spelling checkers.
Computing laboratory classes as language learning environment
This work by Okan evaluates students’ perception of the computer laboratory class as a language learning environment. Quoting Zandvliet and Fraser (2005) Okan notes that computers and their associated technologies could change the nature of classroom in either positive or negative ways. Perception of students on the application of computer aided language learning is on classroom environment is important. Students’ perception of classroom psychosocial environment could predict behavioral and cognitive outcomes.
In its investigation, the article establishes that computerized classes, they perceive equity, task orientation, involvement and cohesiveness more positively. Students also demonstrated enjoying using computers and finding computers useful in learning English as a foreign language. CALL also facilitates collaboration and sharing. It also emerges that students learn from their colleagues and computers make learning comfortable and interesting. Continued working with computers make students motivated and want to use more in learning. Many students according to this paper feel that computer usage help them develop skills necessary in their current learning need and their future career. Many students also feel using CALL help them develop computer technical skills and problem solving skills
Turkish students’ and teachers’ attitude towards the use of interactive whiteboards in EFL classrooms
This article by Julie and Elaziz (2010) investigates the possible factors affecting teachers and students’ attitude to using Interactive White Boards (IWB) in classroom. According to Julie and Elaziz, reports and studies about using IWBs and attitude of students and teachers indicate positive relationship. In comparing another study, this article notes that IWBs help student understand materials better, allow introduction of diverse materials in classroom and ease instruction of languages. Referring to a different research, the article also notes that IWBs help in boosting interest and motivation of learning and provide alternative modes and levels of interaction. The paper also agrees with the opinion posited that, IWBs help teachers to be more flexible and all them address varying students’ learning needs easily.
From data analysis in the articles, 69% of students studied claimed to learn more when teachers use IWBs. 73% said lessons were easier to understand when using IWBs and 81% noted that their understanding was squarely based on the audio visual property of IWBs. 69% of student agreed that IWBs enabled teachers to incorporate learning materials from other sources like the internet and other software. On technicality, 62% of respondent students noted that things like sunlight sometimes affect visibility of the IWBs, 67% agreed that drawings and diagrams are clearly visible when teaches use IWBs as long as the IWBs is helpful to students, many students do not consider frequent technical breakdown of IWBs as waste of time. Students also said IWBs are easy to use and they are comfortable with their works being displayed in them. On motivation, student noted that IWBs make lesson interesting, they increase concentration span and make students motivated. IWBs were said to save on time foe both teachers and students and also they could allow students to keep pace of learning.
Teachers noted that IWBs are good supplement for language teaching process. IWBs were said to make it easy for teachers to explain, summarize and review subjects. Teachers also felt that IWBs made them more efficient. Teachers also claimed to be comfortable when using IWBs and confessed that even students like them applying them in their lessons. Teachers said that IWBs make lessons more interesting and enjoyable thereby motivating students. They also felt the need to train teachers in using IWBs. This article establishes that both students and teachers feel comfortable using IWBs. IWBs have greatly improved motivation in Turkish EFL students with low motivation. The main problem with teachers in using IWBs was lack of training in using them.
Learning Attitude Towards the Use of CALL
This article by Ayres (2002) dwells on students’ perception on computer aided language learning on its role in their study. It also tries to examine if students consider CALL as substitute for their teachers or as one of important learning tools. This article claims that multimedia computers have become vital learning tool due to their ability to combine audio, visual, text and graphics in one facet. Video element in multimedia computer has contributed greatly to the process of using CALL for language learning and that CALL has acquired new perspective from the previous one that considered it only useful for those with special needs. The articles opine that as the number of CALL users increase, there is need to re-examine use of computers in language learning as useful tools and the possibility of changes in the role of language teachers.
In its endeavor to measure the attitude of CALL in learning language, the study found out that out of the sample set aside for data collection, 60% of student ranged between medium and high in perceived skills in reading, writing and listening. 10% categorized themselves as having high perceived skills in these three areas. 43% grouped themselves in medium margin in terms of perceived skills in listening, writing and reading. Each perceived skill category was having corresponding confidence relating to the three areas of writing, reading and listening. Perceived computer skills were measured by asking students evaluate themselves in terms of no experience, novice, intermediate and expert. 9% had no experience in computing, 51% were beginners in computing skills development, 33% were conversant and only 6% were expert computer users.
On evaluating preferred mode of learning, the articles shows that many student opt for classroom based learning but they also consider CALL an important learning tool. The article shows that student prefer classroom mainly because it useful in listening, speaking and vocabulary development. It is also useful in reading and motivating student. Compared to CALL, classroom has lowest interesting rate. On the part of CALL, Ayres (2002) notes that students prefer them due to their ability to address their needs, they provide good information, they are simple and easy to use and they give student control over their learning.
According to Ayres (2002), though students do not prefer CALL to classroom mode of learning, the study shows that CALL have a significant role to play developing student language skills. They are important supplement to teachers’ and classroom input.
There is a whole lot of teaching materials on the Web ranging from mailing lists to journals. For instance, the largest list is TEFL –L accessible through [email protected] Such resources are useful for teachers because they provide information about conferences, new and upcoming products and materials about English. Teachers after subscribing to them become beneficiaries of their resources. To benefit from such list and mailing groups teachers must actively participate in their discussions, ask questions concerning issues that relate to his/her students’ English learning needs and contribute to other emerging issues. It is also learning channel for teachers. English teachers can find useful information in the Web about publishers of English learning materials, their products and shipment procedures.
The internet provides products and services far beyond their literacy needs. Electronic journals, articles, online encyclopedias and dictionaries, chatting applications and emails can be used by students in learning English as a foreign language. The Web provides students lists where students subscribe and discuss general issues with fellow students on either low or high level English sessions. Such session help students learn speaking and writing rules of English from their colleagues on the other side. Viewing and reading English news from Websites of organization such as BBC, CNN and other news agencies can be boost to students learning English as a foreign language. It is motivational for self learners to have access to such personalized learning sessions. Internet is free not unless a teacher or a student wants to access commercialized journal articles. The Web can be one’s instructor in learning English as a foreign language.
Experimental learning means that students are exposed to different fields of knowledge by the Web. They have access to information that enables them do things – such as speak and write English although it is not their primary language. Such experimentation helps students learn English in a non-linear model.).
Computer technology can be used to motivate students by simply either incorporating games learning or through interaction that create a sense of independence. When students use computer in learning English as a foreign language, they can choose to use a more exploratory way by choosing area of interest to study they consider to give them autonomy in studies.
TEFL in a network based instruction enables students fortify their linguistic skills by positively affecting their learning attitude, help them draw self instruction modalities and promote their self confidence. As a result, students’ achievement is enhanced. Internet and CALL provide free and around-the-clock access to authentic reading material that can be used in teaching and learning as a second language. Online libraries, databases, journals are just examples of these resources. This might take form of chatting, video conferencing, writing and listening to online radios and YouTube uploads. This gives students firsthand experience in learning English.
Project writing approach in TEFL is best suited to challenge and motivate students to be active creators of knowledge rather than being passive recipients. Students are organized individually or in groups. They are instructed to write on different issues. Afterwards, they use word processor to type and electronically capture their work in newsletters or in the school database. When such achievement is share in the Web for a wider audience to access, students feel more responsible and will to work even harder to achieve more.
Relevance of applying Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and Internet in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to both teachers and student
Teh and Fraser (1995) say computer application in classroom has not been explore fully. Application of both general and specific CALL software such as email, Windows Messenger, the internet can be integrated into traditional pedagogical approaches and optimal environment for both students and teachers to create an effective language learning tool. Computer Technology provides some independence and structure approach to learning, approach to problems, critical thinking, and active, collaborative and project oriented leaning.
Computer will alter the modes of learning by placing much learning ability in the hands of the learner. Nonetheless, effective pedagogy needs to be developed for enabling proper use of computer in classrooms.
For instance, the ability to translate a web page to a target language or from another language to English enables learners to quickly improve specific target vocabulary, improve writing skills and most importantly, students understand how English used in their applied fields in case of ESP (English for Specific Purpose).
Both teachers and students can use computer to simulate discussions, critical thinking self learning and testing using application such as MS Words, Win Messenger, spelling and grammar checkers and Microsoft encyclopedia and internet as a multi media tool. Combination of text, audio, visual graphics and animation provides a more authentic learning and memory enhanced environment for students to capture and retain. Reading which can be in form of digitized voice pronunciation could be combined with illustrated graphics or animation for optimal all inclusive understanding and grasping.
Students can be tested for understanding reading by letting them write (Ashworth, 1996)
To ensure effective pedagogy in using CALL and Internet in TEFL, teachers must be main players especially in the selection of CALL software on the basis of their students’ learning and absorption needs. Content free packages are software developed for general application but which offers additional phases of self learning and improvement of one’s grammar quality. An example is MS Word which provides grammar correction and spelling checkers. Subject specific software can further be divided into sub-categories; instructional, revelatory and conjectural.
Internet per se is a resource center for English teachers. Furthermore, they can subscribe to electronic journals through emails which will keep them abreast of emerging trends in English. Internet also opens up avenues for teachers to reach out to publishers and consult on teaching materials. This allows students to read and learn through their colleagues by comparing notes, grammar and styles of writing. From there, students can subscribe to students mailing list exchange programmes or just use the Web resources where many English reading and learning materials are available.
Internet is a global database for scholars and teachers and virtually everything is searchable in it. Journals, newsletters, articles, newspapers, essays, poems, songs among others can be searched and downloaded from the Web. There is more than required material for teaching English as a Foreign Language. In addition, most of learning material found in the Internet supports self and active learning. Basic text is supplemented by photos, graphics, sound and videos. As such, internet not only sharpens students’ learning skills by listening, and writing but it also actively engages students’ receptive ability and skills. Such engagement improves English proficiency of students through enhanced remembrance, and logical connections provided by visual aid among the learnt English concepts.
There has been an increased use of computers in the learning environments. These days, internet is also being utilized in classroom to enhance learning. The use of computers can be for many reasons in school for the purpose of teaching and learning English. In this paper, the use of internet can be utilized to motivate students, as well as enhance their learning through video applications, media and others. Internet is full of information that can enhance learning of grammar, teach them to read and write. Teachers can get materials that can enhance their teaching skills. In addition, there exists large amounts of information that can help teachers to plan for their teaching.
Use of CALL has also been found helpful for the purpose of teaching and learning, it can be used to enhance students’ learning through motivation and participation.. Learners are having a positive attitude to CALL if stable technologies and good and helpful support are provided. Application of technology is also strengthening learners’ confidence, attitude and participation. Realization of the need for CALL on part of student creates a link that is open and interactive between him/her and the CALL system. CALL has redefined the role of teaching and learning material by transforming them from passive to interactive components of learning.
By learning English through CALL and internet, learners have become autonomous and active self driven, motivated creators of knowledge. TEFL is helping learners gain global understanding from their experience from learning EFL. Diffident and inhibited learners can learn freely through personalized CALL while studious students can also proceed at their pace without feeling being dawdled by slow learning students. Students who use CALL tend to develop self motivation in learning EFL and there develops a relationship that helps them perceive their needs for CALL. CALL and internet allow students to interact in English with people all over the world which may manifest through many forms, including chatting, video conferencing, writing and listening to online radios and social networking. This gives students firsthand experience in learning English.
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