Laptop classes. The benefits of using laptops in English Language Teaching


Term Paper, 2011
7 Pages, Grade: 1,7

Excerpt

Inhalt

1 Introduction

2 Technical considerations

3 Benefits using laptops in class

4 Problems using laptops in class

5 Laptops in the ELT classroom – Discussion

6 Literaturverzeichnis

1 Introduction

This paper is about the use of laptops in everyday classroom situations. Laptops supplement or replace other teaching materials like school books in part or in total. The scope of replacement varies. Pupils have their own laptops which they use both in the classroom and at home. This paper addresses the didactical surplus of laptop usage in everyday learning situations, in so-called laptop classes.

Computers are tools used in everyday life for researching information, writing texts and various other uses. Hence, computer skills become more important. In laptop classes, basic computer skills are imparted from early on. This, however, is only one aspect of laptop classes. The teaching scenario changes from more teacher oriented to more pupil oriented.

2 Technical considerations

Laptops are expensive goods. Before any machines are bought and put to use, important decisions regarding ownership, hardware considerations, software decisions and administration have to be tackled.

One basic aspect is the question of ownership of the laptops. They can either be private property or school property, i.e. the parents have to buy them or the school. Furthermore, questions regarding maintenance, replacement of lost laptops and repairing damaged equipment have to be taken into account. If the parents have to buy the laptops, ways to support those not able to pay for them have to be found. A public or private fund could help to support these parents. This has to be organized in some way and time and personnel have to be dedicated.

Decisions regarding hardware have to be made: these days, it is a decision between low-cost and low-performance netbooks like those used in the Ulricianum Aurich (Lange, 2011) and more expensive and higher performance laptops or tablet PCs. This can be a cost issue, but it also depends on the software used. Video and picture editing require a lot of computing power, a time-consuming affair on netbooks. A workaround could be to use desktop computers for special purposes – depending on the common use of these machines.

An important aspect is the decision on a particular operating system like Windows or Linux, the software package and user rights. Most laptops and netbooks are shipped with a current version of Windows (at present, Windows 7), so it might be useful to decide on a Windows machine with a pre-installed software package. The operating system and software have to be kept up-to-date, so it appears to be useful, in my humble opinion, to let the pupils administer the machines themselves. On the one hand, this can help save a lot of work on the part of the teacher or administrator. On the other hand, pupils will find means to circumvent restricted user rights for example by means of portable flash drives with undesirable programs or network resources. This means that a code of conduct using these machines has to be agreed upon. Furthermore, the pupils’ awareness of using computers and the internet and security issues have to be taken into account.

3 Benefits using laptops in class

First of all, pupils in laptop classes become proficient using computers and therefore acquire media competency and they become proficient understanding the basic mechanisms of using software. Additionally, they become proficient with the programs they use in the classroom, like word processing programs such as Microsoft Word or Open Office and sound and video editing software, to name but a few. Furthermore, there is a wide variety of language learning software like for example pronunciation and vocabulary trainers.

School material is easily and quickly available; everything is or at least ought to be on the computer. Homework can for example be published on a blog and thereby be controlled by both pupils and their parents, no more excuses like “I forgot to write it down” or “I didn’t have time to copy the exercises”[1]. The same holds true for the homework itself: it can be stored locally or on a blog. Not only homework, but all results of the lessons can easily be published and presented, be it on a blog, using a projector or another type of media. Material can easily and reliably be saved without producing an endless amount of paper. Furthermore, various other media types can be integrated, like audio and video material, where applicable. This way, pupils can use their creativity.

[...]


[1] No more homework eaten by dogs, too.

Excerpt out of 7 pages

Details

Title
Laptop classes. The benefits of using laptops in English Language Teaching
College
Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg  (Anglistik)
Course
WEB 2.0-BASED ENGLISH LESSONS
Grade
1,7
Author
Year
2011
Pages
7
Catalog Number
V193040
ISBN (eBook)
9783656180449
File size
438 KB
Language
English
Tags
laptop, english, language, teaching
Quote paper
M.A., M.Ed. Thorsten Witting (Author), 2011, Laptop classes. The benefits of using laptops in English Language Teaching, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/193040

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