ELTWeekly Vol. 5 Issue#32 | September 2, 2013 | ISSN 0975-3036
This book review is submitted by Maryam Sioofy, Dept. of Foreign Language Education, Faculty of Education, Azad Islamic University, Tabriz, Iran.
Title: How to Teach English with Technology (with Audio CD)
Authors: Gavin Dudeney and Nicky Hockley
Year of publication and No. of pages: 2007- 197 pages
Today most of schools around the world are equipped with computers, data projectors, computer labs or even access to the Internet. Yet, it does not mean that all teachers are fully trained in how to handle technology in their teaching. Teacher training courses lack training in the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Teachers are not fully aware of how to use ICT in their teaching. However there are new publications in the field of incorporating technology in language teaching among which are Computer Applications in Second Language Acquisition written by Chapelle (2001), How to teach English with technology written by Gavin Dudeney and Nicky Hockley (2007) and CALLing all foreign language teachers: Computer-Assisted language learning in the classroom edited by Tony Erben and Iona Sarieva (2008). These books provide practical ways and guidelines to use technology in language teaching.
The book “How to teach English with technology” written by Gavin Dudeney and Nicky Hockley is utilizing technology in language teaching. Gavin Dudeney has worked in education for the past 24 years as a teacher, material developer, IT manager and Web/user interface designer. Nicky Hockley is director of pedagogy of the consultants and has worked in the field of face-to-face and distance education since 1987, as a teacher, teacher trainer and consultant. The book is useful for both novice and experienced teachers on how to use ICT tools in the classrooms. It has 12 chapters, each chapter containing introduction as well as theoretical background of each topic which is followed by introducing different software and hardware and further activities to be used in classrooms. Each chapter is ended up with a summary of the whole chapter. Furthermore, the book has an Audio CD_ROM which contains interviews with teachers around the world explaining their experiences of using technology in their teaching. There are also useful tutorials on topics such as how to set up a blog.
Chapter 1 with the title of Technology in the classroom gives information on why to use ICT in language teaching. As the authors stated, Computer-Assisted Language Learning(CALL) is traced back to the early 1980s. Although ICT can be considered as a normal part of ELT, some teachers have negative attitudes towards technology due to the lack of confidence, time limitations or lack of facilities in schools. In addition, chapter 1 contains explanations on how to implement ICT in the classroom and on which skills and equipment are needed in implementing ICT.
Chapter 2, Word processors in the classroom, focuses on what the use of word processors is for the teachers and students, how texts and pictures can be added to the computer-based activities. Additionally, this chapter includes some practical exercises on how to use word processors for language practice.
Chapter 3, Using websites, gives lots of information on how to search for and find different websites suitable for classes of different levels of proficiency and how to evaluate websites to see whether they are suitable, practical and useful for our classes.
Chapter 4, Internet-based project work, provides useful information on how to use Internet-based projects in the classroom by focusing on group work and tasks.
Chapter 5 and 6, How to use email and How to use chat, introduces email and chat as two useful tools for teachers since they enable teachers to keep in touch with each other around the world to exchange information which leads to teachers’ professional development.
In addition, email and chat are considered as useful tools enabling learners to communicate with each other outside the classroom. Therefore, these two chapters should be taken into account by teachers since they provide some insights on how to use chat rooms, chat lessons and emails in language learning.
Chapter7, Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts, introduces social software by means of which people can communicate and connect online. Since the use of blogs, wikis, and podcasts can be very motivating for learners, teachers themselves should be knowledgeable enough in these tools as well as how to handle them in classroom.
Chapter 8, Online reference tools, focuses on the use of online resources as dictionaries,thesauruses, and translation services.
Chapter 9, Technology-based courseware, deals with the theoretical background of CD-ROMs and DVDs. As the authors stated, these tools are considered as motivating for learners. Therefore, teachers need to know how to evaluates them to see whether they are suitable to improve their students’ language proficiency. In addition, this chapter deals with computer-based testing and introduces some software by means of which teachers can assess their students’ language proficiency on line. Furthermore, this chapter introduces interactive whiteboards, what they are and how they are used.
Chapter 10, Producing electronic materials, gives us information about electronic materials and how they can be created, what an authoring tool is some types of it like Hot potatoes or Quandary.
Chapter 11, e-learning: online teaching and training, focuses on the importance of online training and tutorials, discussion lists and online groups.
Chapter 12, Preparing for the future, deals with how to keep up-to-date and be familiar with new technologies which come out, what virtual learning is like and what m-learning is.
The book ‘How to teach English with technology’ is a practical guide for teachers who wish to use technology in language teaching. This book has various useful features one of which is that each chapter not only provides theoretical background of the topic but it also introduces different software and hardware by means of which teachers can create their own materials or they can have access to authentic materials. This book also makes teachers familiar on how they can update their ideas or teaching materials by utilizing the latest technologies such as m-learning. Containing an index can be considered a good aspect of this book through which readers can have easy access to the information presented in the book. Although this book is valuable in various features, it has some shortcomings. For instance, the book lacks introducing useful websites and journals in the field of using technology in language teaching. For example, the book could have introduced journals like TESL EJ or CALL EJ as additional resources on the use of technology in language teaching and learning. In addition the book could have divided the four language skills into different chapters and could have introduced different technologies to support each skill separately.
In general, this book provides valuable information for all teachers with different experiences and gives them practical techniques to use in the field of language teaching.
Chapelle, C. A. (2001). Computer Applications in Second Language Acquisition, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Dudeney, G. & Hockly, N. (2007). How to Teach English with Technology. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Erben, T., & Sarieva, I. (Eds.) (2008). CALLing all foreign language teachers: ComputerAssisted language learning in the classroom. NY: Eye on Education.