Web-based English learning and teaching in Taiwan: Possibilities

Web-based English learning
and teaching in Taiwan:
Possibilities and challenges
by Wen-shuenn Wu (吳文舜)
Department of Foreign Languages &
Literature, Chung Hua Unviersity
Hsinchu, Taiwan
E-mail: wswu@chue.du.tw
Website: http://www.chu.edu.tw/~wswu
Introduction (1)
• In 1969, the Advanced Research Projects
Agency Network (ARPANET) of the U.S.
Department of Defense was the world’s first
operational packet switching network.
• Computer-Assisted Language Instruction
Consortium (CALICO) was established in
• In August 1991 Tim Berners-Lee publicized
his new World Wide Web (WWW) project.
introduction (2)
• In 1993, Tim Berners-Lee created HyperText
Markup Language (HTML), a computer
language designed for the creation of web
pages, and HyperText Transfer Protocol
(HTTP), a primary method used to convey
information on the WWW.
introduction (3)
• Since the 1990s, many researchers have used
email in foreign language instruction (Lunde,
1990; Soh & Soon, 1991; Kelm, 1992), in
writing (Hawisher & Moran, 1993), and in
comparison of different communication
modes (Mabrito, 1991; Kern, 1995;
Warschauer, 1996a).
introduction (4)
• Chapelle (2000) pointed that while prenetwork CALL learners in 1980s interacted
with a computer program, users after the
middle of 1990s usually interacted with other
people in NBLT (network-based langague
teaching) activities (p. 204).
application of Internet to EFL
teaching & learning
• Keypal Exchange for Collaborative Learning
– participation of class members
– collaboration of language learners
– interaction of students between the computerassisted setting and face-to-face classroom
– Intercultural E-mail Classroom Connections
• Listserv and BBS for Information Sharing
– listserv for teachers (e.g. TESLCA-L)
– BBS for students
application of Internet to EFL
teaching & learning (cont.)
• Computer-Mediated Synchronous Interaction
– Instant Messenger (e.g. MSN messenger)
• experimental 4-hour online virtual class with MSN
Messenger by Wu (2004).
• learning effectiveness was not satisfactory, but
interaction with teacher was satisfactory
– Internet Telephony Skype
application of Internet to EFL
teaching & learning (cont.)
• Blogs
– the visibility of blogs in Taiwan is pretty low
(75% of my students in university hadn’t heard
about what a blog was before I asked them to
created on in 2004)
– advantages: user-friendly, graphical user
interface, peer editing, automatic date-stamping
for each post, automatic archiving
application of Internet to EFL
teaching & learning (cont.)
• Web Sites as a Learning Community
– Multimedia Presentation
• text, photo, audio, animation, and video
– Dynamic Interaction
• CGI, Javascript, PHP, ASP
– Database-enabled Interactivity
• combined with database
guidelines of Web-based EFL
• Consider Carefully Your Goals
– One of the ideal goals is to develop students’
“technology-enhanced literacy and
communication skills in the English
language classroom”. (Warschauer, Shetzer,
and Meloni, 2000)
guidelines of Web-based EFL
teaching (cont.)
• Think Integration
– how web-based activities can be integrated
into the overall design of a course rather
than how to use them in an isolated,
disconnected fashion.
• Don’t Underestimate the Complexity
– trouble shoot computer problems
(hardware, software, compatibility, or
– It’s more complicated if it is a crosscultural synchronous communication.
guidelines of Web-based EFL
teaching (cont.)
• Provide Necessary Support
– work with the staff of computer center or
Internet-literate assistants
• Involve Students in Decisions
– In a learner-centered, network-enhanced
classroom, teachers must learn how to shift
their role from an authority to a guide or
Challenges of Web-based EFL
• Technical Issues
• Digital Skepticism
– information overload can lead to techno-stress
– computer-mediated synchronous communication
has generated more text with minimal interaction
– learners’ disappointment due to a lack of
immediate feedback
– without enough CALL training for English
teachers, NBLT simply result in learner apathy,
disorientation and abuse
Challenges of Web-based EFL
teaching (cont.)
• Time-Consuming
– The use of computer may not save your time but
increase your preparation time.
• Credibility of Web sites
– Are articles of the web site genuine and credible?
• Stable and fast accessibility of Web sites
– If the network traffic stalls, how long will it be
before you give up viewing a web site? (20
seconds, 30 seconds, or 1 minute?)
Challenges of Web-based EFL
teaching (cont.)
• Information explosion
– Type “English learning” as a key word in Google
search engine  55,600,000 matched web sites in
0.08 second.
So What?
implications & conclusion
• The computer itself, like any other
educational technology (e.g., overhead
projectors, tape recorders, CD players), does
not bring about improvements in language
learning. Never can they substitute English
teachers. Engaging in CALL and NBLT is a
continuing challenge that requires time and
commitment. Internet is just a fast,
convenient, and powerful learning tool; what
matters is social interaction behind it.