Laptops in English language teaching

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för språkdidaktik

Abstract:

The aim of the study was to investigate the use of laptops in English language teaching, its benefits and disadvantages. Three classroom observations, six student interviews and three teacher interviews were carried out to answer the study’s research questions, namely, what are the benefits and disadvantages of using laptops in the teaching of English at schools under study? How do teachers solve technical and pedagogical problems related to the use of laptops? What kinds of IT-support and possibility to develop teaching skills required by laptops are available for teachers of English?

Results of the study indicate that easy access to authentic English through laptops is a benefit when teaching English at two Swedish compulsory schools and one high school. Furthermore, the study has shown that laptops are beneficial tools when teaching writing proficiency and working with problem-solving tasks in the classroom. The results of the study have also pointed to the disadvantage in the use of laptops during classroom activities, which are caused by students who are engaged in browsing off-task websites. However, a solution to this could be to include these websites into English language learning activities. The data from the interviews with the three English language teachers have provided evidence about different possibilities for IT-support and IT-development for these teachers.

This study makes it clear that a successful implementation of one-to-one laptop programs requires teachers who can invest their time and energy into learning new technology, IT-development provided by the school and municipality through courses, workshops and visits at IT-fairs and other schools with one-to-one laptop program as well as a functional IT-support.

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