Advantages and Disadvantages Of Information and Communication Technologies in ELT
Midterm test for ICT
Lecturer: Hartoyo, M.A, Ph.D
Using the new technologies in information and communication is increasing in English Language Teaching (ELT), but it has changed in many aspects. But not all those aspects can be viewed as positive. The impact of the use of Information and Communication (ICT) in English Language Teaching (ELT) has brought not only advantages to it, but also, some disadvantages concerning to the availability of technologies to be used, some money to invest on and training for teachers.
The first advantage of using ICT is that teachers and students of English can have the access to get up to date sources and information rapidly and cheaply. This information can be found by using internet or any specialized software, such as the focused exercises that we can find on the net completely for free or we can bring any software via internet or in any store. However there is a concern about this advantage. Firstly, the access of those technologies is not cheap as we may think, so there are many devices needed to be accessed for the information and sources to learn English. For the example, we need a computer to be implemented, and it will be difficult because we have to get some tools. That means, if we need a certain number of computers in the classroom, it will cost a lot of money. Secondly, when the teacher tries to use ICT in learning English, it means a lot of time will be spent to look for useful material on the net to be focused on what it to be taught. And it becomes a hard task to find an already existing material on the topic the teacher of English in working on with his/her students than using a lesson plan.
The second advantage of using ICT is to help the students to develop their skills they need for their lives. There are many sources for teacher to teach in the classroom, she/he can select the ones that fit better to the student’s need based on their age, level, and abilities. There are many resources for ELT we may find on the internet such us discussion groups, games, talking books, interactive book reading, and chatting lines among others. However, this kind of instruction technologies can be use in a wide way, but it should be taken into account that not everything that is on the internet.
In regard of employment, some authors state that the use of ICT in English language teaching provides society with more jobs in areas such as computer programming, system analyzing, hardware and software developing and web designing given that all lessons planes are based on the use of technological devices. The classroom now needs any kind of technical support in case of breakdown, incapability to use specific software or anything that comes with the use of new technology. That means that the teacher would have to play the role of technician and be a master of technology being used given that he/she supposed to assist good teaching with it. That also means, however, that teachers with no training on this technology have no access to ELT using Information and communication technologies, given that he/she does not know how to manage classes. Many training institutions are not completely aware of the need of the implementation of ICT in English language teaching and, definitely need to enhance subject teaching using ICT. Another disadvantage concerning to employment is that not every teacher is capable to update his/her knowledge on ICT when teaching English. That situation is in some way problematic, given than it is not possible for some teachers to update their knowledge of technologies that they are not capable to use. Moreover, the updating of knowledge becomes nearly impossible in cases in which there is no sponsor or money to pay for training courses on ICT.
As a conclusion, it can be said that, as well as the use of Information and Communication Technologies has advantages on the modern English language teaching, it also has disadvantages that not allow every learner and teacher to make use of it during classes. In that way, every time that Information and Communication Technologies provide advantages such as quick and cheap access to the latest information, the developing of language skills and the emergence of new job opportunities, there are also disadvantages such as the lack of devices to carry out a class, the unreliability of some web sources and the inability of some teachers to train themselves in this technology.
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