Ict in efl

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  • Publicado : 11 de marzo de 2012
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Advantages and Disadvantages of ICTs in TEFL

 Nowadays, the use of ICT has been incorporated to most of our fields of action, due to the actual need to process and handle information faster than in the past decade, in order to facilitate information trading and to ease and enhance communication between individuals from all over the world since it is not reduced to the use of computers andinternet but to other kinds of devices that we can use any time, anywhere such as Cellphones.

Regarding the Education field though, there seems to be an uncanny lack of influence and far less change, in spite of the great efforts that the Ministry of Education of our country and Media mainly, have made to encourage educators to get into the Technology world in order to use it as a tool to providestudents with the necessary elements to become, not only competent and autonomous language learners, but also efficient individuals capable to succeed.

Nevertheless, the contemporary settings are favouring the development of competencies and performance-based learning, which are strongly supported and encouraged by new technologies. In addition, the instruction has moved from being ateacher-centred model to be a student-centred one. The use of ICTs support independent learning and encourage students to take responsibility of their learning process giving them the chance to choose the experts they want to learn from and to sort and handle information by themselves, so educators should not be afraid of Technology, on the contrary, they should learn to use it and the students’ interestand experience in their favour. The impact of the use of ICT with regards to TEFL has brought advantages and disadvantages that we should take into consideration before planning any activity to be carried out using any technological resource.  Such advantages and disadvantages can be sorted out in three aspects: availability, reliability  and employment.

On the one hand, educators and studentshave the possibility to have access to the most up to date sources and information rapidly and cheaply. Currently, there are many useful tools that we can found on internet or any other specialized software can be downloaded, printed, used for online free or easily bought via internet. The use of Internet allows even weaker students to learn at their pace from anywhere they are, either in school,home or any other place where they have and offer that service what makes it an great advantage for the language learning.

It would become a disadvantage if its implementation was mandatory and students did not have a computer at home. Although, the aim is to force students and teachers to find solutions to the limitations they must deal with throughout the process; so, if pupils do not haveaccess to a computer or internet connection at home, then school can provide that service, establishing schedules for use of the English lab. Nonetheless, there are simpler solutions like using other tech resources such as projectors and TV sets, which nowadays can be plugged to a laptop allowing all students to see and work at the same time on the same exercise or activity collaborating and helpingeach other understand the information. Another disadvantage for teacher is that planning activities using ICT is more time consuming than following a regular classroom task-based plan.

On the other hand, talking about reliability, there is a lot of sources from which a class can be taught, educators can select the ones that fit better to their students’ interests, experience, needs, ages,levels, abilities and learning styles detected. Many different resources for students’ learning, practice and exposure to the real language usage such as: blogs, e-portfolios, online encyclopedias, translators, online dictionaries of words, specialized terminology, synonyms, phrasal verbs, slang and even pronunciation, as same as discussion groups, e-books, voice and sound recordings, games, talking...
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