The project “Computer and
English : an ideal melting pot” originates from the awareness based on the fact that
computer has become a “useful tool” in our daily routine and school life in particular.
If the autonomous as well as guided use of it is associated with the use of English as Language 2 (spoken and written English) it happens that the subjects, sts in particular, may become “autonomous learners” through the so-called “learning by doing” process. In this way , computer and English become that “melting pot” each student can put his/her knowledge, competence and skills in, to exchange information and knowledge that enrich the sender as well as the addressee.
Indeed to speak of the simple use of the computer may seem to be scanty, since it is connected to a serious of tools (web-cam, modem, scanner etc.) essential for the learning process as Maria Pia Vitulano writes in her article “…multimedia system and even multimedia labs for the teaching and learning of English are …. available for students….. Just like TV, the readily observable peculiarity of the use of multimedia system is that they “attack” two senses at the same time : sight and hearing. This characteristic makes multimedia system a crucial resource when working with autonomous learners.”
The total use of such instruments allows the strenghthening of ESL stimulating on one hand new subjects learning and on the other hand the opportunity of discovering new didactic backgrounds. Internet, for example, offers all this and much more since unconsciously sts play with the language when they chat, read, listen and write e-mails for instance. On doing it, English becomes a lively tool which takes them to be active makers of the learning process.
Computer and English are, then and doubtless, an ideal melting pot in the developing of sts’ intelligences such as musical (the ability to catch a time, hear a melody, sense rhythm) visual/spazial (the ability to perceive visual or spazial information such as space, line, color and shape), intrapersonal and interpersonal too.
This project has therefore been developed taking all the above said items into consideration so as to produce specific activities aiming at developing language skills : reading, listening, speaking, writing and interaction.
Finally , I have to say that even though technology is a new and lively resource for language teaching, we can’t forget that only teachers can teach, technology does not teach ! “Computers are just tools and you have them work for you, not against you...” , the teacher has to be a guide giving sts “the strategies they need for working on their own”.
Daniela De Martino