The Journal, Volume 5, 1998

Teaching Technology: Selected articles following the TESOL France Colloquium, November 1997



Introduction and Editor's comments. Download here.

The Impact of Information Technology (IT) on the Language Classroom
Bernard Moro
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Les Nouvelles Technologies et l'enseignement des langues vivantes
Marie-Hélène Valentin
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Technology's Impact on the Learners' Identity in the Target Language
Peter Isackson
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L'innovation, pourquoi, et dans quel but ?
Jean-Paul Narcy
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Changing Language, Changing Technology
Michael Rundell
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Concordances, Collocations and Lexical-based Language Analysis: Implications for Computer-aided Pedagogy
Preston Perluss
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Integrating New Technology in the Classroom
Roy Sprenger
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Technology in Teacher Education
Julian Edge
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De la vidéo au multimédia et à Internet: un exemple en classe de 3ème
Christiane Caillot
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By Sally Bosworth Gérôme, Editor
The "Taming Technology" Colloquium was held in November 1997 but the issues discussed remain just as topical. Although the number is growing, today relatively few teachers in France have the opportunity to integrate multimedia and the Internet into their daily teaching activities. At the same time, both the Education ministry and the media have led the public to believe that information technology has already radically changed the way languages are being taught in schools. Even if the changes are not as widespread as the media would have us believe, they do exist and are growing in importance.

This volume of the TESOL France Journal is both for teachers who are just starting out on the adventure of using these new technologies and for those who have already begun and are well aware of the need to reflect on how to use them more effectively.

In Chapter 1, Bernard Moro introduces the subject with an article on the changing role of the language teacher and on the opportunities the Internet provides for bringing the real world into the classroom. In the next chapter, Marie-Hélène Valentin discusses how this unlimited access to information can become a building block for knowledge.

In Chapter 3, Peter Isackson suggests that the interactivity of the most recent multimedia systems might ultimately help learners to allow their identities to evolve in the target language. This would be an important improvement on most pedagogy, which has traditionally concentrated on short-term performance goals and left the question of learner identity in the background. Then Jean-Paul Narcy goes on to situate innovation in the language classroom in its social, institutional and cultural context. The specificity of teaching English in France to French people is not to be ignored.

Both language and the way we look at language are changing through the use of these new technologies. Keeping up with these changes could be a challenge, but in Chapter 5 Michael Rundell shows how automatic language analysis systems are giving us a better and a more up-to-date picture of the language that is actually being used. The fundamental role played by "collocation" is becoming more and more evident as computers furnish statistical analysis of real language. Preston Perluss suggests how foreign language teaching will improve through the contextual study of words.

The following chapters deal with more direct applications by discussing the use of new technologies in teaching experiences. Chapter 7 addresses the problem of the fears of language teachers by tracing the history of technological developments in language teaching and by going over some basic concepts. Technological progress leads to questions from both an educational perspective (These are our aims, how can technology help?) and a technological perspective (These are our machines, what can we use them for?). These are the points raised by Julian Edge in his discussion on his distance learning classes. The concluding article by Christiane Caillot brings us directly into the classroom with a concrete example of the use of new technologies with young adolescents.

Technological advances have already changed the way we look at language teaching, and they will continue to do so. I hope that these articles will help the reader on his or her quest for a better understanding of this revolution.

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