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Internet Usage for Children on Language Learning Materials

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Discuss the implications of increased internet usage by children for creators of language learning materials. How should such resource creators adapt their approach for the next generation of learners?

With the proliferation of advanced technology on internet usage, the popularity and accessibility of online learning has increased rapidly for children’s using with various learning materials. Employing computers has become a mainstream in many fields, language learning in particular. Social networking sites, such as Facebook or blog, are good choices to adopt in learning languages. For one thing, Internet is what motivates children most. For another, its widespread prevalence helps get the closest to people’s lives. According to Becta (2008a), the Internet and other new technologies are widely used among young people with different ways to promote informal and formal learning materials in daily life. Accessing into the Internet becomes easy because of diverse options of the usages and learning materials.

As for young people, it is essential to choose appropriate language learning materials to help them be autonomous learning. In terms of learning methods, there are different aspects among learning autonomously and lecturing instructingly. Based on the definition provided with Collins English Dictionary, the range age of children can be defined a boy or girl between birth and puberty. While the development of high technology and popularity of the Internet get rising around the world, the uses of computers or mobile equipment have effectively gained importance in many aspects of human lives with no exception in the field of education. The essay will be discussed about how multimedia used, what language learning materials adopted, what learners’ attitudes toward learning accesses including learner-generated and instructor-provided approaches (Chen & Liu, 2012), and the influences and challenges of multimedia learning in the future.

There are many abilities that are important in helping children adapt to the rapid and profound changes that are the result of the world becoming a ‘global village.’ Some necessary and helpful abilities encompass language ability, computer skills, and different approaches of teaching methods and materials. People live in a fast-paced society where knowledge is emerging at ‘seem-to-be-explosive’ speed due to the prevalence of advance technology. Thus, computer skills are an indispensable ability for children to facilitate nowadays. For one thing, it is beneficial to receiving and absorbing the latest information and current events. For another, it is a global tendency that only when one is well-equipped with computer skills can one be proven competent enough or any kind of events. Multimedia integration for language e-learning stated by Sanchez-Villalon, P., Ortega and Sanchez-Villalon, A. (2010) is one of learning methods in the education world.

These experts mentioned that language learning, which is one of the advancing trainings in the application and using of the information and communication technologies, is commonly accepted, preceded by the wide used of audiovisual resources integrated in the digital zone and led to usages of multimedia. As known, most recent decades, language learning has become an evolutional role in the implementation of portfolios to education (Sanchez-Villalon, P., Ortega and Sanchez-Villalon, A., 2010). They claimed that the reading or writing web where the user apart from accessing information is under the evolving process towards its original function and besides learners can develop their own information and have communication more interactively by using technology-promoted learning places to combine text with multimedia for the authentic public both in the classroom as well as outside.

It is effective for learning primarily through reading, writing and audiovisual interaction from online learning environment (Sanchez-Villalon, P., et al, 2010). As these experts point out the research from the point of view of Warschauer and Healey (1998), there are appropriate tools to practice and develop the diverse language skills by using the technology in the language learning process with an integrating mode of technology-enhanced language learning. This embodies the different genuinely communicative language skills, such as speaking, listening, reading and writing, which are integrated in the technology of language learning process.

Sanchez-Villalon, P., et al (2010) mentioned the opinion of Warschauer and Healey (1998) presented: ‘In integrative approaches, students learn to use a variety of technological tools as an ongoing process of language learning and use, rather than visiting the computer lab on a once a week basis for isolated exercises (whether the exercises be behaviouristic or communicative).’

From these two experts’ viewpoint, the opportunities for authentic, communicative language activities can be provided from an online learning environment. As these researchers argue, the usages of web as a social network, accessing information, publishing their achievements in e-portfolios and exchanging their learning experiences with others by using micro-resources to read or write on the Internet can benefit language learner especially for children to gain more interests for their lifelong learning.

As for the language learning materials, some constructive approaches encompass different reading materials, audiovisual and writing activities, for instances, diverse online platforms for children to have practices including journal-exchange, correction-writing as well as guided writing through Facebook, blogs or Twitter. Due to its high degree of flexibility on topic selections and genres, learning pleasure will be brought back to lives. In addition, children can switch, give and share ideas instead of correcting errors on their learning materials. As for their mistakes, children are given chances to see precise models in different ways and they will not fear because of too much red ink. That means learner anxiety will be lowered.

Moreover, owing to leaner variety, creators of language learning materials can develop different and appropriate levels of ways and assessments in the direction of diversity. According to Tomlinson (2012), he mentioned that coursebooks, videos, graded readers, flash cards, games, websites and mobile phone interactions, are materials for language learning which can be used to help learners to facilitate the learning of a language. He also stated that materials can be informative, which means informing the learner about the target language, instructional, which presents guiding the learner in practising the language, experiential, which refers to providing the learner with experience of the language in use, eliciting, which stands for encouraging the learner to use the language, and exploratory, which help the learner to discover about the language.

In addition, based on Tomlinson’s statement (2012), materials development means that practitioners who produce and use materials for language learning try to create the processes of learning materials of evaluation, learners’ adaptation, design, production, exploitation as well as research. As a result, it is of importance that creating a useful tools and materials of young people’s uses of the Internet is attractive for them to use the Internet to learn language without anxiety and nervousness (Tomlinson, 2012).

Autonomous learning, accordingly, is the key point in language learning as well. According to Chen and Liu’s research (2012), they mention issues about effectiveness of using learner-generated and instructor-provided multimedia on foreign language reading comprehension and attitudes. This is related to learners’ field-dependent and field-independent situations.

From their research, it is concluded that higher-level learners are much better with learner-generated skills than lower-level ones with instructor-provided skills. In their research, they provide Ariew and Ercetin’s points (2004) that functions of traditional learning skills are to provide textual information, for instance and definitions of words, extra information related to the topic of the text. In this context, Akbulut (2008) stated that computer-based applications that offer information in an indirect way through multiple types of annotation are based on multimedia annotation. As for Chen and Liu’s perspectives (2012), how learners get proficiency and attitude toward learning languages will be managed in dependent varieties to discover the effects of facilitating diverse multimedia quantitatively.

Future challenges are still in the way of learner’s attitudes on learning languages. As for some research mentioned above, autonomous learning has been a trend for long time. Children should be encouraged to be autonomous learners who gain knowledge from different ways, such as online information and learning materials. For the cognitive part, however, teaching is, by nature, a very flexible ad creative career which is unlikely to be conducted by an electronic device. Confronted with learners of different attitudes, capacities and temperaments, instructors, rather than a computer, can give on-the-spot instructions and adopt different approaches and adjust their teaching methods constantly to satisfy learners’ needs.

On the contrary, computers cannot be expected to invent spontaneously instead of a tool. For another psychological reason, instructors can give learners emotional and mental support whereas computers hardly know how to respond. Teaching is increasingly regarded as a process of interaction and communication between instructor and the instructed face to face, and thus learners’ signs of frustration, disappointment, or even despair can be immediately noticed by the caring and observing instructors, who can encourage and enlighten the and give inspiration and instructions.

Briefly speaking, learning languages includes different aspects on not only psychological parts but also physical parts. Besides, the development of some significant personal attributes is of great significance as well. If all these tangible and intangible abilities are facilitated, learners filled with an open mind and equipped with computer skills to adapt the technological world, the process of adapting to the quick chances occurring will be made far easier.

Akbulut, Y. (2008) Predictors of foreign language reading comprehension in a hypermedia reading environment. Journal Educational Computing Reasearch, 39, 37-50. Ariew, R., & Ercetin, G (2004). Exploring the potential of Hypermedia annotations for second language reading. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 17. pp. 237-249. Becta. (2008a). Harnessing Technology: Next generation learning 2008-2014. Becta: Coventry. Bo-Kristensen, M., Ankerstjerne, N., Neutzsky-Wulff, C. & Schelde, H. (2008). Mobile City and Language Guides-new links between formal and informal learning environments. p.113. Bo-Kristensen, M. (2006) “ContenDevelopment in Adult Second Language E-learning”, in: Remenyi, D. (ed.) Proceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning, University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada, 22-23 June 2006. UK: Reading, pp. 23-30. Chen, C. & Liu, P. (2012). Comparisons of Learner-Generated versus Instructor-Provided Multimedia Annotations. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 11(4), pp.72-83. Eynon, R. & Malmberg, L. (2011). A typology of young people’s Internet use: Implications for education. Computers & Education, 56(3), pp.585–595. Lomicka, L. (1998). To gloss or not to gloss: and an investigation of reading comprehension online. Language Learning and
Technology, 1(2), 41-50. Moyle, K. (2010). Building innovation. 1st ed. Camberwell, Vic.: ACER Press. Prensky, M. (2005). Computer games and learning: Digital game-based learning. Handbook of computer game studies, 18, pp.97-122. Sanchez-Villalon, P., Ortega, M. & Sanchez-Villalon, A. (2010). Multimedia Integration for Language e-Learning: Content, Context and the e-Dossier. Online Submission, 7(8), pp.1-10. Tomlinson, B. (2012). Materials development for language learning and teaching. Language Teaching, 45(02), pp.143-179. Warschauer, M. & Healey, D. (1998). Computers and language learning: An overview. Language Teaching, 31, pp. 57-71.

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