Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week 3: Using Technology To Enhance Aural/Oral Skills

How to analyze, evaluate, and create was an ultimate goal in mind before this course. I surfed the internet for more ways to develop these skills for me and my students. I’ve read an article about using blogging for enhancing HOTS (*). However, there is a big difference between something you read and something you see in a practical way.

These tasks we are asked to do in this course, especially the third task of this week provide me with many chances to analyze and evaluate the readings provided by Deborah and my colleagues’ posts, blogs and comments, then create my own. Before this course, I thought developing such skills are very difficult. Now I use them automatically as the proverb says “Practice makes perfect”. I’m so happy to achieve my goal and I promise to help my students to reach it.

The third task of this week is to read at least one of 3 articles recommended by Deborah about CALL for listening, speaking and pronunciation skills and then explain how technology could be helpful in improving my students’ aural/oral skills.

I’ve read the article written by Miller (2003) Developing listening skills with authentic materials: She suggested a very good framework to develop students’ listening skills. She divided the lesson into 3 stages: Pre, While, Post. It is not a new approach as I have attended a training dealing with the same idea for all language skills not just listening. What makes it new is the involvement of technology tools that provides more authentic materials. Among these tools are the Radio, TV/Video and the Internet/CD ROM. These tools provide students with many opportunities to listen to native speakers. I know it is a good idea to do this, but I should adapt these tools first and then step by step students will be ready to these authentic materials.

In general, technology makes students’ learning process more easier and colorful. It creates a safe environment through which they succeed to get rid of anxiety when speaking or listening. It also provides them with many resources from which they can select according to their learning styles and needs.

However, when dealing with technology, we shouldn’t forget about our humanity. Although technology proved its utility in all areas, it failed in developing the emotional aspects. That’s why many researchers call for using blended learning as it combines two methods: the traditional face-to-face instruction and the technological one. This doesn’t mean I’m against using technology, but it is desirable to use more than one approach in your classroom. I like to be multi-approaches teacher. ……… What do you think?

Recommended Resource:
  • (*) Zawilinski, L. (2009). HOT Blogging: A Framework for Blogging to Promote Higher Order Thinking. The Reading Teacher, 62 (8), pp. 650-661.


  1. Hi Azhar,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You make a good point when you suggest that blended learning (combining the traditional face-to-face instruction and online learning) is a good approach to language teaching. By integrating (blending) technology into classroom situations we are essentially creating blended learning environments. Some educational researchers and practitioners call this concept of mixing e-learning tools and traditional teaching techniques as "hybrid learning." I think that blended or hybrid learning environments actually enhance the possibilities for human interaction. Human interaction can now be in-person as well as computer-mediated. While the in-person interaction is limited to those people who are physically present in a particular area, the computer-mediated interaction can take place between/among people who are geographical distributed. It seems that a community of language learners might have more options for practising and building their language skills in a blended environment. When we integrate computer-mediated interaction we expand the reach of our community of learners beyond the classroom.


  2. Dear Azhar and Stephen:

    Nice comments you made in your reflection about blended learning, which Stephen highkighted. The term "Hybird Theory " is an addition to my reportoire of educational terms.
    I tried investigating it more and so I found this intresting site, which I will book mark,

    By the way my dear Azhar,the blog I am using is


    It is not the one you listed.I have learnt from your remarks a lot



  3. Dear Azhar,

    I am all for blended learning and agree with you that we shouldn't forget about humanity. There are many benefits of using computers in the classroom but I certainly do not think that they can replace teachers. Computers do not show compassion for students the teachers do. Teachers generally care very much about their students and want them to succeed and will go the extra mile to make sure that happens. Computers cannot do this. Students also want teachers to interact with them. Even with all the modern day technology in teaching tools, nothing can replace face-to-face contact. As well as teachers can feel when students are loosing interest in the lesson and introduce some changes to revive their interest.



  4. Dear Azhar,
    I also agree that blended learnin g is the best way. In fact, I think we can only gain from using the best from any resource we have, so why should we use only one approach?!
    As Victoria points out face-to-face contact is important because it allows us to check the students' feedback and thus we can reformulate the lesson...
    I like the way we are learning in this course, but I feel sorry that we can't meet personally... Sure, it would be very difficult and expensive, but don't you all agree we would all love it?!

  5. Dear Azhar,
    Thanks for raising the issue of blended learning around which there seems to be an obvious consesus among cousemates. However, allow me to briefly share with you my thoughts on the relation between the teacher and technology.Antagonism is absolutely out of the question and teachers can never be replaced by technology for the reasons you already mentioned.Complementarity is perhaps the right epithet to describe such a relation. In my humble view, technology is no more than a tool meant to assit teachers in achieving the desired behaviour changes in their students. It's rather an extension not an elimination of the teacher. But, I think overuse will certainly have negative effects. Not all lessons could be better conducted using technology. There are activities which could be done much efficiently by teachers.Hence the wisdom behind blended learning. We should adapt technoloy to our the learning ends of our students.