PowerPoint is an incredibly popular piece of software, mainly because it comes with Microsoft packages. PowerPoint files are easy to create and can be e-mailed as attachments. They can be posted on or downloaded from websites. Not only can PowerPoint presentations be traded and exchanged, they can also be modified to fit any individual classroom setting. Although PowerPoint has been around for years, it’s just begun to spread to schools and ELT classrooms as more and more classrooms and teachers have access to computers and the hardware to use PowerPoint. For these reasons, PowerPoint is becoming an increasingly popular medium in ELT.
During the recent conference at Bilkent University, an issue that was repeatedly mentioned was the dilemma of getting students to use language in real time situations. This article 1) discusses the implications of getting language learners to use internet chat rooms for language learning purposes, and 2) aims to prove that the author wasn’t asleep during the conference.
Advantages of Chat Rooms
Firstly, they allow learners to interact in an authentic context with native speakers without being restricted by location. In many ways, this is an unprecedented learning opportunity. Language students can use a chat room at any time to interact with any number of people anywhere in the world.
Secondly, Chat rooms can promote learner autonomy. This is primarily due to the fact that the teacher’s role is minimized. Transcripts are generated which are useful for studying the language used. Every line of conversation is recorded, and can be seen in full thereafter.
The use of computer technology allows a lot of self-access work for students. For example, a lot of the repetitive drilling at lower levels in the class can be replaced by having students working alone on computers. There are many stimulus/response type programs on the market which can help students with basic structures in a lively and interesting context.
There are several programs designed to help students with their skills. Skimming or scanning reading skills will by aided by the use of time limits or by the setting of a particular type of question. The ‘storyboard’ programs are very useful at getting students to guess unknown words from context – another skill needed by successful readers. Word processor programs can help students in their organisation of letters, for example and the spell checker, imaginatively used, can be employed to give students an incentive for checking their own work.