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English is one of the most important languages which have played a significant role in the process of globalization and knowledge explosion. It is the most common means of communication throughout the globe. This is why it is termed as a Link language, Global language as well as Lingua Franca. English has become the window to the world. As the world is changing, there must be changes in language learning. But contemporaneous collide of globalization, the expanse of English and technological development have transformed our learning and teaching English as a Lingua Franca in an unprecedented way.

Science, information and technology are playing a vital role in every aspect of human life. Even in the field of education, technological developments have started a new page. Technology has become a tool for making the learners innovative and also became a source for motivating the learners towards learning and to compete with the native speakers of English.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has a lot of things to offer to both teachers and students for the enhancement of their vocabulary and improvement of English language skills. It is necessary to use modern approaches and tools of ICT to develop a better understanding and acquisition of basic skills -Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (LSRW) of the English language among the students. Some of these approaches, facilities and tools are Computer Assisted Learning (CAI), Computer Assisted Language Assessment (CALA), Computer Assisted Language Instruction (CALI), Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL), Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), blogs, wiki, e-mail facility, digital libraries, multimedia, mobile learning, free and open-source software and social media, virtual classrooms, documentaries, digital storytelling, mobile applications, i-Pads, digital notebooks, tablets, smartphones, recorded audio-video materials, online spoken tutorials, digital pronunciation dictionaries etc.

Modern studies and researches show positive results of the integration of ICT in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT). The ideal of learning  English is to develop all major skills and the supplementary skills in the most balanced manner so that both linguistic and communicative competencies are nurtured to the maximum level. ICT has paved the way for individualized learning and provided freedom of learning anytime, anywhere according to the needs and convenience of the learners. So, the proper step should be taken to integrate ICT in the field of ELT to make the learners well versed in English language skills.

ICT provides more opportunities for communication between peer learners. With the use of ICT, there is a two-way exchange of knowledge between home and school/ college. The teacher abides key to the successful use of ICT for learning. CALL is a broad and ever-changing discipline. CALL software, CD-Roms, and office software applications have become commonplace in many teaching and learning environments. The computer can act as a stimulus that generates analysis, discussion and writing. The internet offers the best way to learn a language other than immersion in an English speaking milieu. The student’s relationship with websites is more noticeable than with print-based text. Internet users may return to sites frequently or use the internet for interaction to share their information and ideas. Digital technology is rapidly used by pupils and teachers not only in the classroom but also in their personal life. The internet saves our time and energy. With the internet students can learn English anywhere at any time and whenever they want. The internet offers instant feedback to the learners which enhance their learning experience of students.

An e-book is an electronic version of a traditional print book that can be read by using a personal computer or by using an e-book reader like i-pad and kindle. E-books are also used to improve teaching and learning skills in the classroom. In e-books, teachers and students can add images, infographics, posters, video, and text, audio and so on. Learners can share e-books with their friends. E-books strengthen students’ note-making skills, knowledge of English grammar and application skills. Audiobooks are recordings on CD or digital file of a book that is read aloud. Audiobooks are applicable for English language learners and young people who are craving for learning English with stories. Audiobooks develop the four language systems; phonological, semantic, syntactic and pragmatic. The use of audiobooks is powerful with struggling, reluctant or second language learners since they act as a scaffold that allows students to read above their actual reading level.

The webinar is another best example of online learning. The webinar is an interactive seminar conducted via the World Wide Web. Usually a live presentation, lecture or workshop that, happens in real-time as users participate through chatting, video-chatting, file-sharing or asking questions with a microphone. Webinars are more helpful in learning grammar. Interactive White Board (IWB) acts as a motivational tool. IWB has to be connected to the computer and data projector. IWB offers teachers to comprise video clips, films interviews, electronic microscopes, different websites etc. It improves the social skills of the students like cooperation and participation. In IWB, lessons can be recorded and saved for further use. The power of images and capacity for collaboration is very significant in White Board’s impact on learning. IWB teaching is completely different from traditional methods of teaching. New vocabulary, word formation and sounds are practised easily by IWB.

Mobile digital devices like laptops, i-pods, tablets, smartphones have made English language learning easier. At present, there are so many apps available in the App Store and Play Store markets. These apps furnish students with quizzes, games, dictionaries, podcasts and tests. Simultaneously teachers can now constitute the “gasification” element into their teaching which put out interest in the students for a given topic. Mobile apps can perform as a personal 24/7 English language teacher. Some mobile apps which are amending English language learning and teaching are, Hangman, Grammar’s, Quizmaster, 60-Second Word Challenge, Mobile Air Mouse, Ankhi Flash Cards, English Idioms Illustrated etc.

In the 21st century, the use of Audio Visual Aids (AVA) has become inevitable. It has started a new genre in the field of teaching and learning the language. Apart from traditional teaching teachers must adopt topical and innovative teaching techniques.

    • The use of AVA makes the students active.
    • Students can get rid of their boredom and dullness in the class.
    • Provide attentiveness and enthusiasm.
    • They help to nurture the power of surveillance and independent judgment.
    • They clarify the content in the textbook.

To make ideas explicit we need some visual aids. Slides and slide projectors are used for unveiling objects in full colour. Overhead projectors are used in language teaching and learning to supplement the blackboard. Tape-recorder/gramophone is useful for teaching pronunciation, stress and intonation. The recorded information can be reproduced in the classroom. It gives a chance to the students to develop an interest in pronunciation. It helps the students to test their speaking skills. The most efficient medium for teaching is television. Television appeals both to the ears and eyes. It is possible to record some language teaching programmes and telecast them. This shows a significant impact on the minds of the students. Radio and television give us the experience of the real world in the classroom. Television is a companion, entertainer and instructor. Knowledge acquired through films has a lasting effect. We can project some educational films, dramas etc. This can develop the listening and speaking skills of the students. The language laboratory is another innovation in language teaching. In this, we have sound devices and projectors, computers etc. which can give the students the practice of listening and speaking.

Web 2.0 applications encourage sharing between users. In this, we can have a variety of applications such as blogs, social networking websites etc. The learners can be encouraged to write their blogs. These can be useful for language learning. The mobile phone has also become a very essential tool for learning a language. In mobile phone assisted language learning, we can find portability, social interactivity, community, individuality and immediacy.

Advantages of ICT in ELT

    1. The use of ICT has positive effects on foreign language teaching-learning.
    2. We can get the required information within a fraction of a second.
    3. Learners become more innovative with the help of e-learning.
    4. ICT provides the information to the students which will be useful for them to compete in the competitive world.
    5. English lessons that incorporate multimedia applications can provide students with motivation and exciting new ways to learn.
    6. ICT can make students and teachers work with current and authentic sources.
    7. ICT ameliorates the learner’s interaction, verbalization involvement in group collaborative learning.
    8. Students can learn independently.
    9. With ICT pictorial description is available.

Disadvantages of ICT in ELT

    1. Students get a short span of attention because of the ICT in language learning.
    2. Online learning can hardly offer human interaction.
    3. Students may open or log on to unnecessary websites to play games or watch movies etc.
    4. Repeated use of recorded programmes creates boredom in the students that leads to the problem of indiscipline in the study environment.
    5. Intense requirement for self-discipline and self-direction.
    6. Often student fails to learn the targeted objectives of the English language teaching.
    7. Good infrastructure and trained manpower is required to use the ICT tools in teaching and learning.

The ICT tools have changed the paradigm of the English language teaching-learning process. So a teacher needs to be familiar with modern ICT tools and use them properly to achieve the aims of ELT.

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Devika Panikar
δάσκαλος (dáskalos) means the teacher in Greek. Devika Panikar has been teaching English Language and Literature since 2006. She is an Assistant Professor with the Directorate of Collegiate Education under the Government of Kerala. She teaches at the Government Colleges under this directorate and is now posted at the Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram. This website is a collection of lecture notes she prepared by referencing various sources for her students’ perusal. It has been compiled here for the sake of future generations.