For many years, the computer had generally been more associated with applications in the area of writing language than spoken language (Pennington & Esling, 1996: 153), but with new developments in Web 2.0 and teachers’ and learners’ increased access to the Internet for language learning and teaching, this focus has been changing.
Taking advantage of the expanded application of computers, this chapter includes both activities that use technology as a stimulus for discussion and others that suggest recording learners using Web 2.0 tools, which is one of the best ways technology can help learners improve their speaking skills. Nowadays, it is easy to record learners speaking, as most mobile telephones have built-in voice recorders, and there are many free web tools that enable you to do such recordings, as well.
There are many advantages to recording learners speaking. To begin with as it is difficult for a teacher to listen to learners in a crowded classroom, asking learners to make recordings make it easier for a teacher to assess how well a learner is speaking and to help them improve. When learners record themselves speaking, they can also listen to how they sound, and this should help them understand how well they speak English and what they need to do to get better. The fact that they are practice what they say or record themselves several times before they are happy with the result. This for homework can be a very rewarding way of using technology.
When the computer is being used as a tool, Levy (1997) suggests that the teacher will most likely be involved in some learner training; that is, part of the teacher’s time will be spent showing the learners how best to learn with the tool. These tools are often asynchronous (i.e. communication does not take place at the same time that the learner is recording) and can show improvements in speaking confidence and equality of output ‘through preparation, repetition and re-recording’ (Pop, 2011: 114).
Computer Mediated communication (CMC), which happens when two or more networked computers are used for communication, is also a feature in this chapter. CMC, using voice, is a technology can offer the language teacher and learners. With the Internet entering more classroom four walls and invite others to participate. Activity 8.8 takes advantage of such tools, and there are more ideas in Chapter 10 Protect work.
Most of the activities in this chapter deal with family with fluency; accuracy; pronunciations; and learner autonomy.
The chapter includes ideas for using technology to encourage speaking practice, both in class and at home. There are both speaking as monologue activities and interactive speaking activities. The former include scripted and unscripted dialogue.
Access to internet-enabled computers with a headset or separate microphone is amog the most useful tools for these activities. The technology that can be used also includes audio-editing software, voice recorders and audio-recording websites, internet telephony, mobile phones, webcams, video-interview websites, computer games and virtual worlds.
As I hope to show, there are now many tools available, and many ways in which technology can be used to enhance speaking. Hopefully, this chapter will help you to help your learners improve their speaking through the use of appropriate technology.