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How Does ICT Enhance Teaching and Learning?

Fitria Rahmawati, S.Pd.

Sanata Dharma University 2010 ABSTRACT This paper presents a proposed technique that the teachers can implement in order to promote learners’ motivation in writing.The technique is by the integration of writing skills with a developed tool known as Information – Communication Technology (ICT).

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The nature of ICT provides an ideal framework for language learning, since its main entity is information and its purpose is communication.ICT provides a feature called word-processing which enables the learners to write and revise their compositions effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, ICT along with the access to internet also allows the learners to be exposed to unlimited wide-variety of sources which are essential to develop ideas in writing. Thus, the integration of the three ICT components namely information, communication and technology in a foreign language writing classroom is beneficial to improve the learners’ motivation to write. Keywords: Motivation, Information-Communication Technology, Word-Processing, Internet.

INTRODUCTIONThere has been a strong notion that writing can be very challenging for learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) as they must overcome the personal challenges associated in writing such as generating ideas, understanding organization, grammatical and orthographical knowledge in order to develop the skills requisite for a well-developed, coherent and cohesive writing. Furthermore, the most common problem that confronts teachers of a writing class does not lie so much on what to ask learners to write about, the difficulty is rather on how to motivate the learners to write interesting and effective materials.By the introduction of information – communication technology (ICT) into the foreign language-writing classroom and access to the internet, the learners have been provided with unlimited sources of information in the form of readable, authentic materials that address a wide variety of topics which are essential for the language development. By this wide variety of topics, the learners are more motivated in terms of developing ideas to write. Therefore, the implementation of information – communication technology is an ideal means to promote the learners’ motivation in writing. DISCUSSIONThe focus being discussed in this short paper is motivation in a language-learning context, to be specific, in a foreign-language writing classroom. Tough so, there is also another significant variable discussed here that can lead to motivation, namely: Information-Communication Technology (ICT).

The term ICT refers to the use of both technology in general and its features including word-processing and internet in particular. Theory of Motivation ‘Motivation is like food for the brain’. (Peter Davies) The term motivation is frequently used both in psychological and educational contexts.Many definitions have been given to motivation. In general, the term motivation is concerned with the processes that describe why and how human behavior is activated and directed. Motivation is defined as an internal drive that activates behavior and gives it direction (Keller, 1987). Motivation is also defined as the impetus to create and sustain intentions and goal-seeking acts (Dornyei, 1998).

Furthermore, according to Webster’s, to motivate means to provide with a motive, a need or desire that causes a person to act achieving a goal.To sum up, motivation is factors which initiate, direct, and sustain one’s activities to achieve certain goals. Motivation in a Language-Learning Context ‘Without knowing where the roots of motivation lie, how can teachers water those roots? ’ (Oxford ; Shearin, 1994) Though there is no single exact definition for motivation, many researchers consider motivation as one of the key factors that influence the rate and success of second or foreign language (L2) learning. This is in line with Gardner and MacIntyre (1993) as cited in Graham (1997) that motivation is ‘a central mediator in the prediction of language achievement’.The most supporting reason is because motivation determines the extent of active, personal involvement in the L2 learning (Oxford & Shearin, 1994). In other words, it determines the extent of the learner’s active involvement and attitude toward the language learning. Furthermore, as stated by Dornyei (1998) motivation provides the primary impetus to initiate learning the L2 and later the driving force to sustain the long and often tedious learning process.

Thus, generally speaking and especially in the milieu of the school, motivation is paramount.In such surroundings, learning is most meaningful, rapid, and satisfactory when the learner sees that what is being learned is significant to him, forwards him aims, and helps him to approach a goal which seems to him important. In order to promote learners’ motivation in the learning process, a teacher, certainly, needs to understand the sources which can trigger motivation. In general, explanations regarding the sources of motivation can be categorized as either extrinsic (outside the person) or intrinsic (internal to the person).The first is extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation that comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are for instance, rewards like money, good grades and also threat of punishment.

While intrinsic motivation is a motivation which is derived from a genuine interest or desire to learn on the part of the learner (Gardner ; Tremblay, 1994). The main difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is the goals of the learners. With intrinsic motivation, the learner studies subject material for the sake of learning.These learners find that learning is enjoyable and learning new ideas as a reward itself. Extrinsically motivated learners study for the sake of outside influences such as getting teacher and peer praise, acquiring a good grade or some other type of reinforcement that a teacher or peer might offer. Another difference that is worth mentioning is that research shows that intrinsically motivated learners learn more than extrinsically motivated learners. This could be due to the fact that intrinsically motivated learners are also extrinsically motivated.

But on the other note, extrinsically motivated learners are seldom found to be intrinsically motivated. Furthermore, Wilson ; Corpus (2005) mention ‘motivation is a significant predictor of academic performance which leads to the conclusion that intrinsic motivation is a major factor in determining academic success’. Therefore, if intrinsic motivation is beneficial to learners’ learning outcomes, it stands to reason that teachers should strive to cultivate and enhance the intrinsic motivation of learners. Another thing about motivation which is worth discussing is the learners’ behaviors to be indicative of motivation.

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Guilloteaux and Dornyei (2008) provide three variables as the indicator of motivated learners. The three variables are attention, participation, and volunteering for teacher-fronted activity. The first learners’ behavior indicating motivation is attention which involves a general readiness to deal with incoming stimuli and is closely related to the learners’ affective of motivational state.

Guilloteaux and Dornyei’s second learners’ motivated behavior is participation. The participation includes oral participation in the classroom and concentrated effort on the assignments given.This is considered to be evident when the learners are actively taking part in classroom interactions or working on assigned activities. The last behavior indicating motivated learners is volunteering for teacher-fronted activity. Guilloteaux and Dornyei (2008) propose that ‘At least one third of the learners are volunteering without the teacher having to coax them in any way’. In such situation, the learners are considered motivated in the learning activities. Motivation in a Writing Class ‘Motivation is at the heart of the learning process.

’ (A. M. Jordan)Writing is one of the four language skills should be achieved successfully by a language learner. Learners need to master writing skill because of some reasons. The first and foremost reason is because writing skill is always examined on the high school final examination. Another reason is that the ability to represent oneself well is surely helpful to get a job later on. Furthermore, for those who are willing to enrol education to tertiary level, writing capability is prerequisite.

However, many researches are still reporting that the learners tend to have inadequate competence in writing because of several factors.The first factor is the difficulty dealing with generating ideas. The learners have difficulty in developing their thought to write well organized, flowing essays with clear language. The next factor is the difficulty in understanding organization, grammatical and other writing features. Furthermore, the most significant aspect is because the learners are unmotivated on writing tasks. Motivating learners is somewhat like being parents to a baby that has taken a first step. A first baby step brings with it claps and screams of joy even though the step is not perfect.

A positive reaction from parents will get the baby to attempt another step, just as a positive reaction from the teacher will get learners to go a step further. Without realizing it with each step the learner will gain courage. Once motivation has taken the learner step by step toward higher achievement and self-confidence, fear and insecurity will have been replaced with necessary courage to attempt writing. Therefore, the teacher needs to apply some techniques which help the learners to be more motivated in writing.The technique proposed in this paper is by the integration of writing skills with developed tool called Information – Communication Technology. Information Communication Technology The nature of Information – Communication Technologies (ICT) provides an ideal framework for language learning, since its main entity is information and its purpose is communication. With the emerging new technologies, the teaching profession is evolving from an emphasis on teacher-centred, lecture-based instruction to learners-centred, interactive learning environments.

The learners change from passive into active participants.As educational technologies move the classroom toward a learners-centered model, the role of the teacher becomes a coach or facilitator. By this changing role, the learners become more motivated to contribute themselves in the classroom interactions. There have been several programs or applications available in ICT supporting the learners’ writing development, including word processing and internet. Word processing is the pioneer application of educational technology used in writing instruction. Although it requires the mastery of basic keyboarding skills, word processing allows he learners to write and edit their work more easily. Differ from the former tool, type writer, word processing facilitate the learners with an easy, fast and efficient way of writing and editing their works.

They don’t need to do some type-x-ing or waste some sheets of paper to edit their works, rather just simply press backspace or delete button. This facility makes the learners motivated to write longer and better compositions. In addition, word-processing tools such as spelling checkers are useful aids that improve the quality of learners’ writing.Research indicates that the learners who are motivated working with word-processing write longer papers, spend more time writing and revising, and show improved mechanics and word choice (Lehr, 1995). Another significant feature belongs to the ICT which is beneficial to improve the learners’ motivation in writing is internet. The Internet, with the capacity to connect users throughout the world, has also been extensively examined for its potential to aid in the development of foreign language learner’s skills.The Internet has made many opportunities available to both learners and teachers that were not feasible in the past.

For example, there are endless resources available in the form of newspapers, magazines, government listings, grammars, dictionaries, newsgroups, key-pals, and mailing lists just to name a few. In other words, with the emergence of the network, the Internet provides a wealth of information, enriches learners’ knowledge, and also promotes the learners’ thinking activeness.Furthermore, results of a number of studies indicate that the Internet is found to contain real language in a meaningful context (Warschaur ; Healey, 1998), and as a result of viewing those materials, the learners develop into creators of language rather than passive recipients. The general claim of why internet is as an effective means to improve the learners’ motivation in writing is that the internet provides the learners with unlimited sources of information in the form of readable, authentic texts that address a wide variety of topics that are essential for developing ideas in writing.In order to be able to develop the ideas smoothly and clearly, the learners need some sources and information as the background knowledge on the topic being discussed. By the availability of the sources in the internet, the learners become motivated to write as they have adequate sources to develop the ideas in the writing process. Therefore, the integration of the three ICT components namely information, communication and technology in a foreign language writing classroom is beneficial to improve the learners’ motivation to write.

In the traditional language classroom, the writing activity has been used mainly as a means of evaluating the learners’ lexico-grammatical competence, a technique for individualized assessment, where the learner is isolated, without access to information. While in the current Information Society, technology provides effective and efficient facilities to write and revise learners’ compositions. Furthermore, it also provides access to information resources which help the learners to develop ideas. CONCLUSIONAlthough writing in a foreign language can be a daunting experience for learners, the implementation of information – communication technology (ICT) within the foreign language writing classroom provides unique opportunities to aid the development of the learners’ writing skill competence. Two of the significant features of ICT supporting the writing skill development are word-processing and internet. Those features are excellent means to promote the learners’ writing competence for they positively influence the learners’ motivation which contributes to an overall greater willingness to write (Kern, 1995).

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