Written By Aina Farisha Binti Azhar
The Fourth Industrial Revolution gave birth to Artificial Intelligence and other technologies, hence being called the Digital Era or the Digital Revolution. The technologies used are mostly created purposely for assisting mankind in everyday life, including education. The utilization of technology in traditional classroom settings can have its own limitations to both language learners and language educators.
Technologies in Traditional Language Classroom
The enhancement of computing technologies in the Digital Age brings the language educators ideas on utilizing various multimedia technologies in their traditional language classrooms. This is because of several reasons; the language learners are mainly called the digital natives, who are more intrigued with graphics than texts. In other words, the digital natives or the language learners are more keen to learn languages by using various computer technologies, rather than listening to the language educators giving lessons on whiteboards or blackboards. Ahmadi (2018) cited Ahmadi (2017), who mentioned that the language educators’ techniques in the language learning process are vital learning elements. This means that the methods used by the language educators in the classroom determines the effectiveness of the language learning process. In today’s classroom settings, computing technologies have been applied in the language learning classrooms, such as the usage of the Internet and videos. Tondeur et. al. (2016) stated that the usage of any type of computer technology depends on the language educators’ knowledge of the ICT itself. This means that the computer technologies that are used in language classrooms must be well-known o by the educators themselves. Other than that, digital games and social networking sites are also used in enhancing language learners’ language acquisitions.
In order for the language educators to gain the language learners’ attention during the lessons, computer technologies such as gamification must be utilized. Digital games help learners, the Digital Natives especially, to gain motivation in language learning classrooms as, in traditional language learning classrooms, the language educators, also known as the Digital Immigrants, prefer to teach students by texts, rather than graphics. One of the reasons is because most Digital Immigrants are more comfortable with texts than graphics and they most likely do not familiarize themselves with the various growing technologies surrounding them in the age of technology. The implementation of Digital Game Based Language Learning and Teaching (DGBLLT) in a traditional classroom setting helps language learners to adapt well in the process of learning language in a digital era, where technology is used as a supplement in everyday life, including in the process of learning or gaining knowledge. This is because the Digital Natives are more interested in graphics, rather than the text, compared to the Digital Immigrants. In addition, the attention span on the Digital Natives towards texts is shorter than the Digital Immigrants. This can be an obstacle for learners to gain knowledge on language learning.
Another example of the types of games for language learning is serious games, which refers to the creation of any games that have the primary purpose of learning languages such as Drop, Memrise, and Duolingo. These mobile applications use gamification elements to help learners feel motivated and increase their vocabulary in the languages that they are learning. By using digital games in a traditional language classroom, according to Krashen’s Second Language Acquisition theory, communication is strongly encouraged among players either in single-player games or multiplayer games. Single-players, for example, communicate with other players to discuss tips on defeating a boss level or finding a treasure in a game. This discussion can be seen in a game called Homescape, where players are mostly solo players and they discuss matters such as tips to win a level in that game. Multiplayer games, on the other hand, such as Mobile Legends, PUBG, and Order and Chaos Multiplayer need both teamwork and communication among the group members, also known as allies. The communication needed is strategizing their movements and attacks on the other parties before the game as well as giving commands during the games such as ‘initiate retreat’.
The advancement of technology especially in the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has helped the Digital Natives to interact with people not only with those who are from their own local society, but also with the global society. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube help the digital society to interact with each other globally. Other examples of the implementation of computer technology in language learning classrooms is the application of social networking sites in the classroom setting. Social networking sites such as Busuu, Mondly, and Speaky.
Social networking applications allow language learners to interact with the native speakers to enhance their listening and speaking skills. Aldemar and Valencia (2016) stated the differences between social network sites and social networking sites; social network sites (e.g Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) is a social media platform, focusing on the interaction between people who have known each other in the offline world while social networking sites (e.g Busuu, Speaky, and iTalki) is a platform for online interactions between online community. This means that social networking sites helps language learners to acquire and practice certain languages without knowing their language partners, thus increasing their self-esteem in enhancing their language skills.
Limitations of utilizing computer technologies in traditional language classrooms.
Despite the encouraging enhancement of computing technology in the era of Artificial Intelligence, there are several limitations to the utilization of technologies in traditional language learning classrooms. The usage of computer technology must be coherent with its purposes in a language classroom and the language educators’ knowledge of the computer technology. Ammade, Mahmud, Jabu and Tahmir (2018) agree with this statement by saying, “… diverse factors may affect technology integration for teaching: for instance, it could come from the teacher’s competence on technology. In other words, the language educators must learn the types and usage of computer technology that they can use in their language classroom. Ammade, Mahmud, Jabu and Tahmir also stated that the language educators need sufficient training in the usage of the computer technology.
Besides that, geographical factors can also be the limitations of the utilization of computer technology in traditional language classrooms. This is because some areas in a country, such as the rural areas, may not get enough internet connection to use the computer technology. For example, students’ workbooks, nowadays, do not have any answer sheets in them. Instead, they need to access the Internet and search for the answer sheet files in the publicators’ websites. This can be a concern if the schools that are using computer technology are in areas with slow Internet connections. Johnson, Jacovina, Russell and Soto (2016) stated that, “ If a teacher’s school does not possess adequate computers and fast internet connection, the implementation of educational technology is not feasible” (p. 3). In short, geographical factors can affect the utilization of computer technology in traditional language classrooms in terms of access.
Social networking sites help language learners or the digital natives to be more confident and help their self-esteem in acquiring or learning languages. However, the sites only provide online platforms, thus they solely provide high self-esteem to their users online. Bicen, Sadikoglu, and Sadikoglu (2015) stated that, “…, despite all these positive statements students feel anxious about communicating in the target language” (p. 1048). This means that, as mentioned previously, online platforms such as social networking sites could only provide -online self-esteem to their users and they may face difficulties when interacting in an offline world, especially in their target languages.
Computer technology in the Digital Age brings functionalities to society as well as consequences. The utilization of computer technology in traditional language classrooms help both language learners or the digital natives and the language educators, also known as the Digital Immigrants. Some of the computer technology that is currently used in traditional classrooms is digital games, also known as Digital Game-Based Language Learning and Teaching (DGBLLT) and social networking. Both social networking sites and social network sites connect people around the world in learning and communicating in their target languages.
Ahmadi, M. R. (2018). The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review. International Journal of Research in English Education, 3(2), 115–125. https://doi.org/10.29252/ijree.3.2.115
Aldemar, J., & Valencia, Á. (2016). Computer Assisted Language Learning Language views on social networking sites for language learning: the case of Busuu. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(5), 853–867. https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2015.1069361
Ammade, S., Mahmud, M., Jabu, B., & Tahmir, S. (2018). Integrating Technology in English Language Teaching: Global Experiences and Lessons for Indonesia. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(6), 107. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v8n6p107
Bicen, H., Sadıkoglu, S., & Sadikoglu, G. (2015). The Impact of Social Networks on Undergraduate Students Learning Foreign Language. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.072
Johnson, A. M., Jacovina, M. E., Russell, D. G., & Soto, C. M. (2016). Challenges and solutions when using technologies in the classroom. In D. S. Crossley, S.A. McNamara (Ed.), Adaptive educational technologies for literacy instruction (pp. 13–29). New York: Taylor & Francis, Routledge. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED577147.pdf
Tondeur, J., Van Braak, J., Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2016). Understanding the relationship between teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and technology use in education: a systematic review of qualitative evidence. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9481-2