Using Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and Multimedia as media to promote Second Language Acquisition

 

1. Language Learning and Multimedia

Language is proven to be essential regarding communication and the success of delivering the message to attain certain purposes in many different contexts, such as economics, politics, social, etc. Therefore, learning widely used and spoken language is inevitably important.  The top 3 languages used worldwide are Chinese (mandarin), and followed by Spanish and English. 1 English, although it is positioned in number three, in some way, people always associate it with international language. This is mainly because English plays a very important role in world’s aspects since most of advanced countries in the world use English as their national and official language, therefore; communication is performed by using English in all aspects to promote good and mutual relationship among all countries.

There are at least two major impacts and results of this phenomenon; first, people all over the world nowadays recognize the importance of English as an international language. Secondly, all countries compel and require English to be involved in education field and schools and it should be taught at early ages as well.  There are many varied ways applied and used to promote the success of using English for students particularly here in Indonesia, for instance, compiling and arranging syllabus with more language points to improve students’ achievement and language proficiency, adding more time for students to study English at schools, providing more trainings for English teachers, etc. However, none of the ways above gives more opportunities and chances for students to get exposed to the language they are learning. Even tough the government through National Education Department has provided some fund to be allocated to increase and promote English, for example, by providing Language Laboratory at schools and libraries with English books, all of these ways are considered not enough for students to acquire English as their second language.

Furthermore, students have their own learning strategies; one of the examples is using certain media such as such as comic books, games, songs, movies, etc., in order to make their learning environment more convenient and comfortable to be ready to study. Advanced technology and vast information have given a great influence to language learners as they get the exposures of the language they are learning unintentionally. This fact is in accordance with the Comprehensible Input by Stephen Krashen who stated that learning process occurs when the learner is ready and conditioned in a low-anxiety environment. He also claimed that language acquisition does not occur when learners focus on form, yet it only happens when they engage with the messages they are conveying and understanding. 2

This big invasion of technology have brought them to the position where they are now relatively familiar with certain gadgets or common technology devices and media, such as computer, i-pod, internet, chatting room and even with popular social network, such as Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, etc. According to Lee, there are some reasons why language teachers should apply computer technology in second language learning process: 3

(a)  It can help students practice through experimental learning

(b)  Increases students’ motivation

(c)   Enhances student achievement

(d)  Increases authentic study materials

(e)  Encourages greater interaction between teachers and students, students and peers

(f)   Emphasizes individual needs

(g)  Regards independence from a single source information

(h)  Enlarges global understanding

As language teachers, we can help our students obtain as many exposures as they can with the help of technology, such as Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and multimedia. CALL or Computer Assisted Language Learning is a form of computer-based learning which carries two important features: bidirectional learning and individualized learning. 4 The term multimedia refers to an electronically delivered combination of media, including video, still images, audio, animation and text in such a way that can be accessed interactively. 5 By using CALL and multimedia, teachers can perform many language competences and skills, such as grammar, pronunciation, spelling, structures and even communication skills.

Here are some simple examples on how CALL and multimedia can help teachers through the learning process. When teaching pronunciation, teacher can use multimedia program in the computer and ask the students to use it and see the instruction. Then the model in the program will say something and it asks students to repeat what model says by recording their voice with microphone, and afterwards they can hear the comparing part so they can evaluate their pronunciation. When teaching grammar points, students can play some games and they will be told if they make mistakes and the way to correct their mistakes.

When teaching communication skills, there is a multimedia program that enables students to have a conversation with the model in the program. The programs are also supported with animation, sounds, high resolution video and attractive layout and appearance that make it more interesting for learners. Usually, there is a practice part at the beginning of the session to give some time for students to think about their responds if the model asks certain questions, and after they have practiced, their voice will be recorded when they give responds and at the end of the session the program will let students hear their responds with the correct responds and it also allows students to redo this part so students will feel more confident and learn certain expressions and intonation used in real life communication. Moreover, for students who are at younger age or lower level, we can use multimedia such as animation, video and music to enrich their vocabulary and improve their listening skill.

This technology use and multimedia are not a teaching method or theory; it is a tool that will enable teachers to help students get more exposure of the language and as a teaching aid to replace teachers when they are not in the classroom and to help learners to get the control of the learning process. 6

2.   Strength and weaknesses in using CALL and Multimedia to foster Second Language Acquisition

(a)  Strengths

  • Flexibility and interactive

By using CALL and multimedia program, students are able to choose the right time for them to try the program at any convenient time. Furthermore, the interactive pictures, animation and video in the program will make students feel interested and avoid them from boredom. One of the main reasons why using CALL and multimedia is considered more effective is because these tools enable language learners to absorb the input set up in the multimedia program in the situation in which they are in a low-anxiety situation and feel relaxed, so they can process and internalize the materials given in the program by doing some interactive games, or even exercises.

  • Practical and handy

Particularly for teachers, having and applying multimedia and CALL program in our classroom will help us in preparing teaching materials easily and also the tasks or exercise that will be given to our students. This mainly because of the content of the programs that mostly has been set up well, so teachers can use it any time they like. Moreover, most of CALL programs have instructions and certain “Help” button or icon to help learners and teachers as well understand the stages or the steps in carrying out the programs. As we all recall, back in the old days, we used to use flashcards and other teaching aids that are in fact not practical, for instance, we had to cut some printed pictures so we could use them to make flashcards and we had to bring certain media player or speaker when we wanted to focus on listening skill. Nevertheless, with the help of CALL and multimedia programs, we can combine all those things that we would like to do or teach in the classroom with a single program, in which learners or students will learn various language points and skills.

  • Help students with different speed and pace of learning

In a common language classroom, most of the teachers find it difficult to balance varied speed of their students in doing tasks or comprehending certain materials. Some students are very fast, while the others need more time to complete a certain task before they can do another task. CALL and multimedia programs can solve this problem because the programs enable the learners or students to move to the next level or stages in the program depending on their speed in carrying out the program; therefore, teachers can benefit from this point of view.

  • Increase students’ motivation

Dornyei identifies motivation as why people decide to do something, how long they are willing to sustain the activity and how hard they are going to pursue it. 7 And according to Sevtap, motivation plays a significant role in the process of learning a second language and language teachers cannot effectively teach a language if they do not understand the relationship  between motivation and its effect on second language acquisition. 8 Therefore,  By providing interactive activities, games and exercises and also interesting appearance with interactive animation, layout, sounds and even video, then the students will be more interested in the language the are learning and it will attract their attention. This then will also result in the increase of their motivation in learning English as their second language. With greater and high motivation, students or learners will grasp and comprehend the materials easily and will use their effort and time to know and find out more about the language they are learning.

(b)  Weaknesses

  • Costly and High maintenance

In order to operate CALL and multimedia programs at schools, it requires some important tools and facility, such as hardware (Personal Computers, speaker, headsets, mouse, and keyboards), software (CALL programs and software) and also the place which provides all the tools altogether, such as Language Laboratory at schools. Those equipments are clearly expensive; therefore, not all schools or other informal educational institution can afford to support and provide their educational environment with the equipments, particularly in villages or remote areas. Not to mention, the maintenance cost will not be cheap as well, because there are many things or parts which need regular and frequent check or update, such as the software and hardware of the computers.    

  • Time consuming for novice students

With the exposure and the flood of new technologies coming to developed countries, we expect that people are now getting accustomed with technology. Yet, we should not generalize that all people are well-informed with the latest technology and even able to operate, apply and make use of it. We should be grateful because we live in big cities so we get the exposure of the latest technology easily. But, what about people who live in remote areas and villages in which is awfully difficult to just get the electricity? It would be difficult for them to get used to it, and not mention that when we would like to apply CALL and multimedia program as a teaching tool in remote areas or villages, firstly, we have to introduce them to the general knowledge about technology and give them basic knowledge about computer and technology. In other words, even if we or the schools had the money to support and provide the schools with CALL facilities, we would have to teach them the basic knowledge until they are able to apply it and ready to use CALL and multimedia programs. And this then would be time consuming and lead to another obstacle in using CALL and multimedia programs to foster second language acquisition.

References

  1. http://wiki.answers.com, browsed on February 16, 2010 at 13:09.
  2. Stephen Krashen. Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. 1982. New York: Prentice Hall.
  3. K.W. Lee. (2001). English teachers’ barriers to the use of computer assisted language learning. The internet TESL Journal. Retrieved June 25, 2006 from http://www.4english.cn/englishstudy/xz/thesis/barrir.
  4. Browsed from http://www.answers.com/topic/computer-assisted-language-learning, on February 4, 2010 at 15:54.
  5. Browsed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia, on February 4, 2010 at 14:04.
  6. R. Joseph Ponniah. Getting exposure to input in multimedia language laboratory – a pleasurable learning experience. The internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, no. 2, February 2000. Browsed from http://www.languageinindia.com/march2009/multimediaponniah.html, on February 4, 2010 at 16:09.
  7. Dornyei. (2002, p.8) in Donna Moss and Lauren Ross-Feldman. Second Language Acquisition in adults: From research to practice, browsed in http://www.cal.org/Caela/esl_resources/digests/SLA.html, on December 12, 2009 at 13:03.
  8. Sevtap. The effect of motivation on second language learners, browsed in http://www.socyberty.com/Languages/Second-Language-Acquisition-Through-Motivation.77128, on December 21, 2009 at 12:21.

February 22, 2010 at 9:33 am Leave a comment

Information and Communication Technology: Using Online Chat to Promote Second Language Learning

           I.              Introduction

It is very essential for Indonesian students to recognize the importance of English as their second language since it is the language spoken and used by most of people in the world nowadays. Every teacher would like to see their students succeed and have great language proficiency and be able to apply their skills by using English inside and even outside their classrooms at schools. There are many types of learning strategies used by students to make them succeed in learning their second language, such as using pictures or flashcards, listening to songs and music, reading favorite novels or magazine, etc.

In a world where technology has been an integral part of our daily communication with people with different cultural background, it leads to the situation in which our students have been relatively familiar with this technology invasion particularly internet. Everything seems to be easily accessible, and computers are not always necessary to get to the internet connection. At present, we can access, download and even get the internet connection through our mobile phones in order to get information or even to communicate with other people. This subsequently has resulted in increased students’ awareness and knowledge about technology, internet, its applications and functions. This also explains why most of our students have an excellent understanding and familiar with some social networks and chat rooms in the internet, such as Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, Yahoo Messenger, E-buddy, etc.

Online chat is one of the most used applications used by students to communicate with other people and their friends from different places or even different countries with the help of internet connection. There are so many different and interactive chat rooms, such as chat room in Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, E-buddy, meebo, etc. In accordance with the second language learning process, chatting is one of the most effective media to help students expand everything they have learned or acquired consciously through a communication with native speakers. According to Fritzler (1995):

“The main purpose of the internet is to connect people all over the world to share information, experiences, and opinions. Because the internet is a natural resource (i.e. not a textbook created for the purpose of teaching a language), it contains real language. As students navigate their way around the primarily text-based internet, they must read and write in English, which helps them acquire the language …”

Furthermore, Kitao & Kitao (1995) stated that chatting is communicating in real time by typing a message into a computer, so that it can immediately be read on other computer screens, even computer screens in another part of the world. They also argued the importance of interaction and it influences the language learning process, because it can involve a range of speech acts, a high quantity of directives and extending utterances and opportunities to practice.

Online chat also supports the theory of cognitive approaches which claim that language learners construct a mental model of a language system, based not on habit formation but rather on innate cognitive knowledge interaction with comprehensible, meaningful language (Chomsky, 1986).  It means that learners or students are learning when they use the knowledge they have already learned through communication and interaction. Moreover, this theory stated that learners’ output (what they say or write) is beneficial principally to the extent that it helps make input (what they hear or read) more comprehensible or salient so that the learners can construct their own cognitive model of the language (Warschauer, 1999).

          II.            Objectives

Based on the background and the introduction previously, the objectives of this essay are as follow:

  1. To help language teachers recognize the importance of use of technology in teaching and learning process
  2. To encourage language learners to use online chat as one of the technology media to promote second language learning
  3. To encourage language teachers to use and apply online chat as one of the effective teaching tools in their teaching and learning process at schools

          III.           Review of Related Literature

Kitao and Kitao in 2000 investigated a study on the subject of using Online Chat in Language Teaching. Their research mainly related on what an online chat is, and list of sites on internet that will be useful for students, and as one of the teaching tools for teachers as well. Their preliminary research with Japanese students as their subject showed that many students do not have the opportunity to use English extensively outside of the classroom, so the have difficulty in seeing English as a means of communication. This is generally because students in Japan believe that English is only necessary for college entrance exams, so they have to learn it to pass the test, instead of using it for communicational purposes.

Taking from other prior theories, they provided their study with supported theories regarding online chat in language learning. They described online chatting as communicating in real time by typing a message into a computer and it can be immediately read on other computer screens even on computer screens in other parts of the world. They also argued the use of online chat as one of the means of communication; therefore, teachers can also use it as a tool in teaching and learning process. Using online chat is one of effective teaching tools which can be used by English teachers, because online chat provides media for students to communicate and to use all the things they have learned in the classroom and eventually implement it by having interaction with other people.

They also listed some chat rooms and sites on the internet that can be used for teachers and students that is synchronous communication models and some chat-related sites. The examples of synchronous communication models are SchMOOze University and Central Chat at Dave’s ESL Café. The SchMOOze University is a virtual college campus with dormitory, offices, classrooms, malls and off-campus bar which the users can chat, play games and decorate their dormitory room. Meanwhile, Central Chat at Dave’s ESL Café is a web page where users can chat in many chat rooms and messages can either be directed to entire room or to any individual logged on at Chat Central.

          IV.          Analysis

From the relevant theories and related literature review above, here is some analysis of using online chat to promote second language learning viewed in some major points as follow:

  1. Strength
  • Flexible and practical

Using online chat is flexible and can be accessed at any time convenient as long as the internet connection is connected. It is also practical because most of schools have provided and supported internet connection and Language Laboratory so students can try to practice their communication skills through online chat.

  • Increase students’ confidence

Most of the time, students are not confident when they have to speak, say something or even communicate by using English. They often feel embarrassed, shy and afraid of making mistakes when they speak. This sense of lack of confidence can be reduced and at the same time, it can increase students’ confidence by using online chat to communicate with other students or even with English native speaker without having a face-to-face conversation. Furthermore, students have more time to think what they want to say when they chat compared to the situation where they are having a direct and face-to-face conversation.

  • Fun and interactive

One great thing about online chat is that it is always fun and students can also choose the chat rooms they want to go, because normally the chat rooms also provide the topics or titles about what they are discussing or talking about at that moment. Some chat sites even provide a live online chat where the users can use web camera so students can see the face or facial expression if their chat friends.

      2. Weakness

  • High cost and maintenance

The equipments used to provide online chat are quite expensive, such as computers, CPU, internet fare, speakers, headsets, mouse, keyboards, etc. Those equipments also need to be maintained that is not inexpensive.

  • It doesn’t cover some language proficiency aspects

Although online chat is effectively proven to improve students’ communication skill, however, it doesn’t cover or improve some language proficiency aspects, such as pronunciation, intonation, and language expressions. When they chat with English native speakers, they will not be able to practice their pronunciation and intonation. Moreover, when they talk about certain topic, they actually need to listen to the sound expression or even see the facial expression of their chat friends to know the meaning of certain utterances they are saying.

  • Inappropriate behavior and intercultural obstacles

Inappropriate behavior might be one of the main reasons why most teachers avoid using online chat as one of their language teaching tools. Teachers are worried if their students are receiving rude or inappropriate behavior, such as swearing words, sexual harassment, racism, and even religious insults, which sometimes happens in the internet. Culture is also one of the obstacles that keep a distance from the users of online chat. This is mainly because every tradition or nation has different culture from one to another. For instance, for so many western people with their western cultural background, sending kisses are common, whereas it is uncommon for many eastern people. So when the students are chatting and their chat friend is a western and send the students a “kiss” smiley to break the ice, then our students might get it wrong and eventually get the wrong idea or comprehension.

          V.           Summary and Recommendation

With vast advanced technology rise, there are so many ways for students to acquire and to attain the exposure of their second language through technology. Interaction and communication are integral parts in a language; therefore, by making the use of technology as a media to bridge the communication among people around the world through online chat, students will get more opportunities to explore their communication skill and play a role as one of effective teaching aids for teachers.

          VI.          Bibliography

  1. K. Fritzler. (1995). The Internet as an Educational Tool in ESOL Writing Instruction. MA Thesis. http://thecity.sfsu.edu/~funweb/thesis.htm
  2. S. Kathleen Kitao & Kenji Kitao. (2000). Using On-line Chat in Language Teaching. http://www1.doshisha.ac.jp/~kkitao/library/article/exeter.doc
  3. N. Chomsky. (1986). The Rise of the Network Society. Malden, MA: Blackwel.
  4. M. Warschauer. (1999). Electronic Literacies: Language culture and power in online educaton. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

February 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

Analyzing and evaluating CDs as one of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Media to promote successful language learning process

There is one set of Compact Discs (CDs) which consists of four CDs, namely English Words, Vocabulary, Speak English and Learn English. Here are the results of the analysis and evaluation accomplished from the four CDs based on the criteria; interactivity, effectiveness, performance, usability and the content of the material.

1.   CD 1: English Words

       a. Interactivity

The CD is very interactive because it is provided with full animation layout and sounds and attractive pictures, so it will attract learner’s attention and eventually avoid them from boredom. There are 4 interactive games in the program: Roadhog, Rescue, Night Search and Frozen Food.

       b. Effectiveness

In my opinion, the CDs are very good and effective particularly when we would like to drill and enrich students’ vocabulary and English words; moreover, with the help of attractive animations, it will help students understand and absorb the materials easily.

       c. Performance

With good animations and layout, the appearance of the CD is very attractive. However, the instruction of the program is quite difficult to understand and unclear. Even though the instruction page is provided with pictures and animation to help the learners, they have to do it or to play the games at least 3 times until they understand how to play the game. For example, in the part of game called Roadhog, learners have to match the color of the picture with the color of the drainage pipe across the street by dragging the mouse to move the hedgehog so it can arrive at across the street safely in the correct color of drainage pipe. When learners are doing this part, they might get a little bit confused at the beginning and it will take some time for them until they finally understand.

One great thing about this program is that before the learners can start the game, they can take a peek of Help Level icon right next to Start Now icon in order to review the list of English words they are going to learn and play with the program. Furthermore, if the learners go to the main menu and click on the game menu, and they decide that they don’t want to play the game, they can’t go back to main menu page because there isn’t any icon or button to help learners go back to the main menu page. Therefore, they must do the game part until it is finished so they can go back to the main menu page. A very interesting and excellent part about this program and CD is that teachers are able to see the progress of each student because the program records students’ progress. Teachers can see if they have finished certain part of the program and they can see the results of the lessons in the program as well.

The program is very flexible because learners and teachers can use it at any convenient time and also, the program doesn’t have any time limit so learners are able to do it relaxingly and conveniently. Moreover, whenever they get lost or need help, there is always an icon that looks like a golden smiley saying “Hi, click on me if you don’t know what to do”, in which is very much helpful for the learners.

        d. Usability

In my opinion, the CDs will be very good, effective and appropriate for Elementary students. This is mainly because most of the list of words or vocabulary is taught for students in those grades at schools. Moreover, the levels of English words are also provided, so students can choose the level they want to try and at the beginning of the program, However, the instruction of the program is quite difficult to understand, so students might have to try it more than once in order to get used to using the program and understanding the materials.

        e. Content of the material

It is mainly consisted of English words or vocabulary about people, jobs and family which learners can review by clicking Help Level icon before they can start the game. The list of English words are quite basic and I think students who are in grade 2 above will be able to understand it because they also have the same words taught at their schools. The list of the words are divided into 12 different levels, namely People, The Home, The Street, Animals, Shopping, The Body, Clothing, Transport, Colors, Shapes and Numbers, Games & Past times, The Park and The Countryside. When learners click on Help Level icon, they can se all English words they are going to learn, and it is all presented by using pictures instead of long explanation in a text. The pictures are also provided with arrows in order to show learners the specific part of the word, for example, the picture shows a male adult and a boy, the arrow is used to point to the adult male as a father and the boy as a son. Moreover, if learners click on the pictures, they can hear the sound, so they can also practice their listening skill as well. 

2.   CD 2: Vocabulary

        a. Interactivity

The interactivity aspect of this CD as one of the CALL media is relatively similar to the previous CD, because the layout, design and animation are very attractive and interesting.

        b. Effectiveness

This CD is very good mostly to enrich students’ vocabulary and also students will be able to know the definition or meaning of the vocabulary. Furthermore, before the students can start the game, there will be Level Help icon to help them look up the vocabulary and see the definition of the vocabulary based on the levels of the games.

       c. Performance

There are 4 kinds of game in the CD, namely Balloonsz, Haunted House, Bats and Stuntman which are very interesting. Nevertheless, when students are playing Balloonsz, they will have a dart and colorful balloons (red, blue, green and yellow). And on their menu tab, they will see a sentence and they have to guess the vocabulary defined in the sentence by matching the color of the balloons with the color of the correct vocabulary options. The problem appears when students try to throw the dart to hit the balloon which has the same color as the answer. Even though the students hit the correct balloon, if they miss the hit or even don’t throw the dart to the middle of the balloon, it then will lead to wrong answer and reduce their chance to play the game.

The great thing about this game and the games from previous CD is that they provide high score that will increase students’ motivation and boost up their competitiveness among other students in order to be the best of all. Furthermore, all games don’t have any time limit, so students can take their time to be relaxed and enjoy the games without a rush.

In addition, when the students start the program, they will be asked to fill in their data, including their name and date of birth. When they are finished, there will be a result showing their progress and the lessons they have done and also it provides the grades ranged from A, B and C. The teachers can see the results as well and even print it by clicking the Print icon.

       d. Usability

This CD provides levels of vocabulary list ranged from nature, science, the body, occupations, religion, education, verbs, adjectives, technology, aquatic, music & poetry and miscellaneous. The range of vocabulary shown above explains that the materials or vocabulary list is appropriate for junior or even senior high school students. However, if it is appropriate and suitable for junior and senior high school students, the animation and design are too “childish” and immature for them. The program should be designed more sophisticated and give images of maturity, yet, it should still provide interesting and attractive layout and designs.

       e. Content of the material

As have been explained previously, the CD mainly focuses on Vocabulary ranged from varied daily topics that are suitable and appropriate for junior and even senior high school students. The list of the vocabulary is quite challenging because it doesn’t provide any pictures to help students understand the meaning. And the games are quite tricky compared to the games that we have in previous CD, because the options of the answer are not found in the same vocabulary list. This then will be very helpful for students as their concept checking questions in the games.

3.   CD 3: Learn English

        a. Interactivity

The CD provides excellent and attractive designs, animations and sounds. Moreover, it also provides people’s pictures with natural movements of their body and sound as if they were real people.

        b. Effectiveness

This CD will be an effective tool or aid to help teachers explain about materials related to some aspects in language proficiency such as speaking skills, vocabulary, pronunciation, and communication skills.

       c. Performance

There are some points that I have highlighted from the performance aspects of the program. Firstly, the provided icons to help learners are not very clear, because it doesn’t have any words or phrases to help learners understand what the functions of the icons are. And when the students start, there isn’t any instruction on how they can do the program, so they have to find it themselves by clicking on help icon. Moreover, there will be some language options that students can choose when I tried it, it was in Bahasa Indonesia and I thought I could change it in English but I can’t. This can be one of the weaknesses of the program, because it would be so much better if they provided the language in English, this then will help students attain more exposures to English as they are learning through the program.

Secondly, the great thing about this program is that students can adjust the volume by moving their mouse to the right or left on the volume icon. And when they start the program they will hear an auditory instruction and telling the students that they should reach 1800 points as the target which they can get in every game; however, for students who are not familiar with English yet, they might not be aware of this, so teachers have to remind them at the first place on how to reach the goal. Furthermore, when the students are about to start the program they can choose their own “Avatar”, which is their representative image in the program, and it can be done by clicking an icon that looks like a man next to the volume icon.        

        d. Usability

This program will be suitable and appropriate for adult learners or even junior and senior high school students, because the materials and the animations and layout of the program was designed for adult learners or high school students. Furthermore, teachers will find using this program easy and helpful for them, because it allows students to learn the materials in the program and teachers can print the pictures shown in the program as well.

        e. Content of the material

There are 9 main parts of the program, namely Country, First Words, Food, Colors, Useful Language, Body, Numbers, Time and Shopping. Each part has a reading practice, speaking practice, easy game and difficult game. It was quite confusing for me at the beginning because there isn’t any instruction for each part on how to do and to play the games. In reading practice, students are introduced to new language, new vocabulary and its spelling aided with pictures. They can also practice their listening skill and pronunciation at the same time by listening to the model’s voice and recording their voice and compare it with the model’s voice. However, there are some pictures that do not match with the meaning or even describe the words clearly. For instance, when we go to the practice part in First Words, we will hear the model saying “thank you” and the picture is a man holding a bag filled with dollars inside. Another example is when the model says “please”, and then the picture of a dog will appear. This can lead students to confusion as they do not understand the relationship between the utterances or phrases to the pictures.

Secondly, students can try to improve their speaking skill in the speaking practice where their voices will be recorded and they can compare it with the model’s voice. In the games part, students will have to review what they have learned previously by playing some games and the great thing about these two games is that it has immediate error correction when the students make mistakes, so they won’t repeat the same mistakes and will be able to identify their mistakes.

4.   CD 4: Speak English

        a. Interactivity

The program was designed very excellently regarding animation and sounds, and it is a well organized program that can be used or accessed by students or learners ranged from high school students to adult learners.

        b. Effectiveness

The program will be very effective particularly to help learners learn speaking skills, which the program will allow learners improve and practice the parts of speaking skill, such as pronunciation, intonation and even conversation.

        c. Performance

The attractive layout and interactive design make the learners feel comfortable and they eventually will enjoy every part of the program. The instruction is very clear with clear icon pictures. Moreover, auditory instruction is also provided, so it will make the sound more interesting and avoid students from boredom. The auditory instruction is giving motivation when they keep on reminding students by saying “you can do it!” or “Enjoy and Have Fun!”.

        d. Usability

The program can be used and applied for junior and senior high school students and adult learners as well. it is mainly used to improve students’ speaking skill.

        e. Content of the material

The materials in the program mostly help learners improve their speaking skills aspects, such as pronunciation, intonation and even the learners get the opportunity to have a conversation with the models.

February 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

She Found Happiness

This very morning my mom forced me to go to her friend’s son’s wedding. I gotta admit that going to wedding is not my favorite, but because it was my mom who woke me up very early (I’m not a morning girl) and with all her yelling and long explanations of how tremendously important it was to go to a wedding, I then reluctantly woke up and dragged my feet to the bathroom and started to dress up. as soon as we arrived, I wasn’t really expecting that it would be a great flawless extravagant wedding, and that was true, everything seemed to be just ordinary, just like other common traditional wedding, with Javanese style decoration and all the sheet and flowers were arranged in brown, red and white. The family wore traditional dresses with careful details and same color. They greeted all the guests, including me and my mom, the little girls at the receptionist desk gave me a souvenir, a wooden fan, which I really love to have, to thank all the guests for being present at the wedding. And according to the tradition, all guests must greet and give best wishes and prayers to the couple and their family at the wedding stage when they arrive at the wedding. My mom and I afterward went inside and I could see the bride’s face from the distance and I asked my mom how old the bride was. And my mom replied it sarcastically and humorously at the same time, “24. She’s just as old as you are. And she’s now married”. And all of a sudden I laughed aloud and my mom had to pinch my arms to stop laughing that loud in the crowd. I knew that she was actually trying to tease me (and probably remind me of the things I should start to think about; getting into a serious relationship and married right away.. ahahaha.. mom you’re the best!).

Anyway, after we greeted the newly wed couple & family, my mom grabbed a plate of fruit salad and, as usual; we shared it and gave comments and compliments about the wedding. It might sound crazy but this is what we do at the wedding. If professional critiques give comments about actors’ performance in movies, my mom and I give comments to wedding. After few comments, my mom suddenly asked about my best friend who soon is getting married. I told her that she’s engaged and trying to prepare her wedding. “She must be really happy and excited”, said mom. Talking about her rang me a bell which reminded me of her own “pursuit” of happiness.

When my best friend and her boyfriend started to date, she introduced me to him and ever since that, we’ve been a great best friend, sometimes they asked me to go out together (even tough I didn’t have any boyfriend, and when I did, we even had a double date, a very fun one). And when I broke up and fell apart, they were always there for me. They even tried to match make me with their friends. It was a great time to spend with them. My best friend loved him so much and so did he and people could tell that from the way they looked at each other’s eyes. They were madly in love. And they were so happy together. Except the fact that they are ‘different’, they have different faith and their families were very strict about that. Her boyfriend even had stated that he wouldn’t convert and said that it was forbidden to convert in his family and it would bring dishonor to his family. We all knew from the very beginning that it would be a major problem for them in the future. Going to their 5th year they’d been together, everything went well, until she told me that her family told her not to see him anymore, because they didn’t want her to have a future husband whose faith is different. They were afraid that they were getting more serious.

But it was impossible for her to leave him, all that she could do was cry and pretend that everything was okay in front of him. Whenever he asked about her eyes that got swollen from crying the whole night, she would tell him that she didn’t get enough sleep. I was in a dilemmatic situation as well, whether to support her family or her boyfriend. On one side, I was their best friend and supposed to support them through the best and worst thing, but on the other side, I didn’t have a heart to see my best friend suffered from the situation in which she had to choose between what she believed and what she felt at that time. Even when she had to leave him, she knew that she could never do that because there were just so perfect together. Until she finally decided to follow what her heart said and that she should sacrifice her love and feelings for her boyfriend, when she told me that, I asked her how she would tell him. She said that she wouldn’t, and she would sacrifice herself instead. I assured her whether it was the best way and decision for her. She paused and looked at me in the eyes, her eyes told me everything she felt inside, and they reflected grief and unimaginable sadness. Seeing her that way made me feel so sad and finally justified whatever she decided. She started to see someone else and when her boyfriend found it out, he went to her house and saw her with another guy, he was completely calm and wasn’t mad at all. But he kept on asking her “why” for so many times in front of her, and that guy and her family. He didn’t lose his temper, he just wanted an answer from her, but she didn’t give any, but to shut the door and leave him at the doorway. For the following weeks, he still wanted an answer, he texted her, called her, begged her and even asked my favor to try to talk to her. I could only promise him that I would try, but I knew that it wouldn’t work. Her decision was final.

Time passed by, she was still in a deep grief, yet, her family was very happy knowing that there was a guy who loved her and more importantly had the same faith and came from the same city. She pretended that she loved him and every time I asked her how she could go through it, she always said she couldn’t. She told me that she did that so he would think that she was no good for him because she cheated on him and hoped that he would eventually forget her and try to find another girl, the one who really loves him and has the same faith as what he believes in.

Years after that, she told me that she was ready to tell everything and the truth to her new boyfriend. She expected that he’d be surprised and mad at her, but he didn’t, he even told her that he understood and would never bother and even ask about that again. As she was telling me that, I could see something different from her eyes, her eyes flared like a fire, and it was exactly the same eyes that I saw when she told me she was in love with her boyfriend when they first met at college. Somehow, I felt so relieved knowing that she was okay even tough she still found it really hard to forget him. I didn’t dare to ask her about what she felt, neither about her current relationship, nor how she felt about her ex.

It’s been almost 4 years now, and when we met in October she told me that they were going to get married. I was so thrilled to hear that. I’m so glad that she is finally happy again. Other people who know this story think that she’s being so extremely selfish, thinking about herself and dumped someone who really loved her in such a mean way by cheating on him. But I fully understand what she’s been through. They were just some lovers who loved each other unconditionally, and this world was being so mean to them. Yet, everything happens for a reason, and to my best friend, what had happened to her should bring triple happiness for her and her ex. she told me that everything seems to be better for her and her ex, they appreciate and enjoy their friendship and the last time her ex called me, he said that he had forgiven her and the most exciting part was to hear that he was trying to get close to another girls and ready to start all over again (he even asked my opinion about girl’s best gifts to be given on first date!).

I’ve learned so much from her story. I’ve learned that loving doesn’t mean possessing, loving is seeing your loved ones happy, it may never be fair, but when we see our loved ones smile, the pain and aches inside are worth taking. I’ve learned that true happiness is never too far away, it is right here, it is all around us. I’ve learned that forgiving is an ultimate power that can heal your grieved soul. I’ve learned that hopes and prayers always keep our head up high wherever we go in this mean & crazy world. I’ve learned that for every painful thing that happens to us, we should stop asking ourselves “why”.

It took years for her to heal and discover happiness, yet, it takes forever for her to forget him who once was in her heart. A week ago, her ex and I happened to be online and I asked how he was doing, “never been more awesome than this” was the words that popped up from the computer screen. He also told me and everyone else that I should stop calling him her ex, and start calling him as her friend.

December 24, 2009 at 9:02 am Leave a comment

Song of the week

I found it really hard to get rid off this song out of my mind, i guess i’m kinda stuck on it. At first, i thought it was just another ordinary-what-so-called-punk underground song, but when i listened to the lyric, i was like: “Hell yeahh.. this is something!!!”. So, GIRLS, if you ever feel that you’ve been brokenhearted, cheated, and disrespected by some brainless stupid guys out there, this is a perfect song that will make you realize that you deserve better than JUST that guy.. Cheers!!

Buried Myself Alive (by The Used)

You almost always pick the best times
to drop the worst lines
you almost made me cry again this time
another false alarm
red flashing lights
well this time I’m not going to watch myself die
I think I made it a game to play your game
and let myself cry
I buried myself alive on the inside
so I could shut you out
and let you go away for a long time

I guess it’s ok I puked the day away
I guess it’s better you trapped yourself in your own way
and if you want me back
you’re gonna have to ask

I think the chain broke away
and I felt it the day that I had my own time
I took advantage of myself and felt fine
but it was worth the night
I caught an early flight and I made it home

I guess it’s ok I puked the day away
I guess it’s better you trapped yourself in your own way
and if you want me back
you’re gonna have to ask
nicer than that
nicer than that
nicer
nicer

December 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm Leave a comment

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

November 22, 2009 at 4:46 am 1 comment


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