Realistically, especially in Vietnam nowadays, there are also other factors that schools and even highly motivated teachers as not all of them have a reluctant attitude) have to face. Despite being in the 21 SST century, the Internet is still not satisfactorily accessible to everyone. However, when speaking about educational institutions, most of them have access to the Internet. Even so, not all teachers have the luxury Of access to a computer laboratory everyday, if at all, because there are not sufficient computers for the whole school and its students.
In addition to this, many people (including English teachers) are not familiar with the use of the Internet. 1. 4. Advantages and disadvantages of the use of the Internet and World Wide Web in English language teaching 1. 4. 1 . Advantages Many studies have shown that there are numerous indispensable advantages of the use of the Internet and World Wide Web in the teaching and learning of English. First and foremost, it is possible for students to get access to different forms of communication and many highly effective learning materials that were previously unavailable through Internet networks.
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One of the benefits of the Internet is the acquisition of communicative skills students acquire through the web, which provides a learning environment such as groups or forums (online discussion groups), multimedia lecture presentations, learning tools and educational games which are up-to-date, interactive and provide activities that students need to develop their understanding of others’ ideas and the articulation of their own. Students have opportunities of negotiating, persuading, clarifying meaning, requesting for information, exchanging ideas, discussing, asking questions, etc. (Morass, 2001).
Hence, students can study independently online, communicate with tutors, submit assignments, have access to course guides electronically from ours web sites, and communicate with teachers and classmates for questions and discussions in chatting rooms. Interactive environments on the Internet provides an optional chance for shy students who do not dare to speak in class, but are willing to chat in real time with other students around the world. Additionally, as stated in Cotton (1997), the Web can also provide flexibility in teaching and learning, free from the physical boundaries of classrooms and the time restraints of class schedules.
Added to this, lectures and demonstrations are possible through Web-based multimedia thus, enrich he learning experiences for students (net meetings, conferencing). There is no doubt that learning resources of colleges and universities can be increased and shared via the World-wide-Web (WWW) and educators in different institutions will finally shift their focus from teaching to learning from teacher to student. In other words, teachers can give more responsibilities to learners to monitor their own learning.
Berger (2000) has highlighted the changing roles of teachers and students that emerge in online learning. Teachers’ role has changed from lecturer and instructor to consultant, guide, coach and source provider; teachers have become expert questioners, rather than providers of answers; teachers have provided structure to student work, encouraged self-direction; teachers have shifted from total control of the teaching environment to sharing with the students as fellow learners. In short, according to Berger, teacher-learner hierarchy is broken down.
Likewise, Berger (2000) posed challenging roles to learners: a change from students acting as passive receptacles to students who are constructing their own knowledge; a type of students who put hands into complex problem solving activities rather than just memorizing facts; an increased role of collaborative/ cooperative group members and teamwork in online classrooms; a shifting role towards autonomous, independent, self-motivated managers of their time; a role that makes emphasis on knowledge use rather than only the observation of the teachers expert performance.
Another primary advantage of the Web use is that it is attractive to students and therefore, it increases student motivation. Students have been using computers for the past decade, and they are really part of their lives. They cannot live without them. “The use f computers motivates students to learn” as ‘”videos, pictures and sound presented by computers stimulate sight and hearing simultaneously in a way traditional resources do not. ” (Galatia, 1998). Cotton (1997) also agrees to this.
He states that students, who play and learn with computers, tend to be more interactive with computer technology and are more visual learners than previous generations because their world is full of visual stimuli. The WWW is a very unique way of linking text, images, sound, and video resources on computers connected with the Internet, and it is much more interesting to experience a conversation with live audio and video than simulating UN-real conversations in class.
Moreover, the Internet is a new medium and students often want to work with the Internet because it is fashionable. Besides, using the Internet gives students more control over their learning as it lets them work at their own rate and they can choose their own paths according to individual needs. Last but not least, students nowadays are more visually oriented. Using the Internet is more common and interesting for them than using textbooks because it offers a lot of visual materials, which aid impression and make texts more attractive for learners.
According to Warehouse and his colleagues, one of the biggest values of the use of the Internet in LET is that it “brings English teaching ALIVE” (Warehouse, Shatter and Mellon 2000, 7 – 8). This is explained briefly as follows: “A” stands for “Authenticity”, which is a key component of English learning. All people learn most effectively and successfully when the learning takes place in an authentic context. The Internet contains an enormous amount of authentic material that can be used in language lessons. Authentic material provides information about language culture, which often cannot be found in course books.