Соболевська П.Я. The use of interactive technologies in foreign language teaching of primary school students

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Соболевська Поліна Ярославівна – студентка Педагогічного інституту Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка, спеціальність «Початкова освіта», кафедра іноземних мов і методик їх навчання Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка

Стаття підтверджує ідею необхідності використання інтерактивних технологій у сучасній початковій школі. Уточнено значення терміна «інтерактивні технології»; розглянено переваги і недоліки використання інтерактивних технологій у навчанні іноземних мов учнів початкової школи; запропоновано кілька порад з успішного використання смартдошки для вчителів.

Ключові слова: інтерактивні технології, ефективний засіб, смартборд, навчання іноземних мов, уроки англійської мови, учні початкової школи.

Статья подтверждает идею необходимости использования интерактивных технологий в современной начальной школе. Уточнено значение термина «интерактивные технологии»; рассмотрено преимущества и недостатки использования интерактивных технологий в обучении иностранным языкам учащихся начальной школы; предложено несколько советов для успешного использования смартдоски для учителей.

Ключевые слова: интерактивные технологии, эффективное средство, смартборд, обучение иностранным языкам, уроки английского языка, ученики начальной школы.

The article confirms the idea of necessity of interactive technologies usage in modern primary school. The meaning of the term “interactive technologies” is specified; advantages and disadvantages of interactive technologies usage in foreign language teaching of primary school students are observed; some general tips for teachers on how to make the best use of Smartboard are proposed.

Key words: interactive technologies, effective tool, SmartBoard, foreign language teaching, English classes, primary school students.


Relevance of the topic

Technology, ever changing, has become more accessible to teachers in the last few years. Teachers need to be able to use technology to increase their professional development and to have positive contact with pupils on a regular basis. The interactive technologies proved to be an exciting and fun bit of technology to integrate. It affects learning in several ways, including raising the level of student engagement in a classroom, motivating pupils, and promoting enthusiasm for learning.

Nowadays teachers face the challenge of school education computerization. So, they need to know how to use different interactive technologies to make their lessons more productive. In this article we will consider a problem of the correct usage of interactive technologies in foreign language teaching of primary school students.

Now when the necessity of foreign languages usage is very high, modern communicative oriented education prepares children to use a foreign language in real life, cultural, professional and personal contacts with representatives of different cultures.

Unfortunately, teaching a foreign language, namely English, at school today has a number of shortcomings, which naturally affect the level of English of those who are taught. As a result, most learners are very poor in English and are not able to communicate with native speakers.

The analysis of research

Analysis and research of contemporary scientific, educational, and methodological literature suggests that interactive technologies usage has become a subject of investigation of many native and foreign researchers. Thus, psychological approaches to the introduction of interactive forms and methods of teaching students at a particular age are identified in the works of L.I. Bozhovich, L.S. Vygotsky, V.A. Krutetskyi, A.V. Leontiev, Let Cooper, S.L. Rubinshtein and others. Other aspects of this problem were investigated by V.G. Ivanov, N.B. Lavrentiev, A.K. Markova, S.E. Matushkina, N.G. Morozova, V.D. Semenov, M.I. Tsvetkov, G.I. Schukina and others.

The purpose formulation of research

The aim of the article is to prove the importance of interactive technologies usage in primary school and to observe advantages and disadvantages of interactive technologies usage in foreign language teaching of primary school students.

The main material

Today, more than ever, advancements in technology influence our jobs, education, scientific development, market and political cooperations, communications, etc. Information and communication technologies have entered every aspect of our lives. Computers are no longer intended for the selected few since they exist in all forms of contemporary life, and thus including educational institutions as well.

Every day, we face the infinity of information that needs to be selected among many and then appropriately used. Computer technology has become a part of everyday activities in such an amount that present generations must be computer literate no matter what his or her expert of scientific field might be. Such a situation introduces an idea of on-line web-based curricula in order to respond to increasing demands of society [3, p. 12].

In spite of the fact that computers are being used for education purposes for the past decades, their usage still does not suffice. Introduction of Internet speeds up the usage of new technologies even more and reconsiders the social role of educational institutions. According to some research done by the American Technology Evaluation Office (Wellburn, 1996), the technology should be one of the major factors for bridging over larger and larger gap between schools and society. Online environments and the use of the Web have been seen as an educational panacea for providing students with skills such as online communication, discussion, and negotiation of meaning.

The new technology helps teachers with the educational process, presents new possibilities of creative work and two-way communication, and furthermore presents teachers with a challenge to provide an active participation of all students.

Browsers with interesting graphical designs, enable key word search for not only textual pages, but also search for pictures and sounds as well. Usage of emails also enables active participation in discussion lists where all participants can discuss, give their opinions or ask for help. Data transfer permits transmission of pictures, sounds, texts or programs needed for the classroom work. Electronic newspapers and search of distant libraries are also different and exciting ways of getting required information.

Today, computer technology and Internet need to be seen as unavoidable teaching materials that provide students with new ways of communication, different ways to access the authentic materials, initiative to individual research and also to the individual and team work. The main question today is no longer “Does the needed technology exist?” but rather “Are the educators ready for the new educational era, for further self education and for putting more effort and time in their preparations so that they can offer more interesting lessons and more importantly, to prepare present generations for future challenges?” [2, p. 86].

We need to understand what interactive technologies (IT) are. Interactive technology (IT) – is the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. When we use IT we are giving ability to improve the opportunity of pupils’ self-educating formation, technological literacy, analyzing, structuring, creativity, quick search for information, data processing, problem-solving [5, p. 24].

It must be mentioned that the substance of interactive learning is that the learning process is organized in such way that almost all pupils are involved in a process of learning, they are able to understand and to reflect about what they know and think. Dominance of any member of the educational process or any ideas is excluded. It happens in an atmosphere of goodwill and mutual support, which allows not only to obtain new knowledge, but also develops the cognitive activity itself, it translates into higher forms of cooperation and collaboration. In the dialog learning (namely it involves interactive learning) pupils learn to think critically, solve complex problems by analyzing the circumstances and relevant information, weigh alternative opinions, make informed decisions and participate in discussions, communicate with other ones.

It should be noted that interactive learning simultaneously solves several problems: -develops communication skills, helps establish emotional contact between learners; -solves the problem of information, because it provides pupils the necessary information, without which it is impossible to implement modern activities; -develops general educational skills (analysis, synthesis, goal setting, etc.), so provides a solution of training and development challenges; -provides a solution of educational problems because it trains and teaches to work in team, listen to others opinions.

Interactive learning partly solves another significant challenge. We are talking about relaxation, deliverance from nervous load, switching attention, changing forms of activity, etc. In this sense interactive learning as a form of educational process really can optimize the nature, content and structure of pedagogical interactions.

IT technologies are probably the most used technologies in foreign language teaching. There is probably no teacher who, next to the standard text books, does not bring authentic materials, like city maps, newspaper articles, book reviews, recipes, poems, etc., to his or her classroom. All of these and even more can be found on the Internet. Just by using search engines on the web, one can access far away libraries, find on-line magazines which cover specific topics, send massages, discuss problems, or ask for help. It proves that the new technology is not only a technical helping tool, but an educationally rich source for teachers and their students.

Web pages that offer different activities for students are considered to be very valuable as a source for various grammar exercises, comprehension reading exercises, writing of abstracts and letters, solving puzzles, vocabulary learning and many more. In this way, pupils practice their writing skills, they search for the things of their own interest and thus learning becomes more fun. Except for the primary aim, which is learning a foreign language, pupils are also working on their computer skills and new technology usage.

It should be noted that the Internet is only one of the possible uses of computer technology but is still the most disputed and the most praised one. For some, it is as a confirmation of the dominance of American ideas, and for others, a victory of globalization. Some emphasize a user and his or her writes, and some emphasize the idea that the Internet is leading us towards alienation and communication breakdown. We often hear about the variety of easily accessible information and knowledge, but also about unsatisfactory general culture and lack of education.

We have found similar reactions concerning the Internet usage in the process of education. Some of the advantages that are usually given as a vote for using Internet are 24 hour access to materials, all data can be easily changed, edited or added, data can be exchanged and compared among different users, learning is with more enthusiasm that leads to, faster memorizing of new materials, communication can be led outside the space learning place, exercises and drills are adjusted to different levels of knowledge, developing of new technology usage skills, developing skills for individual research and team work, acquisition of social awareness.

Undoubtedly, there are at the same time disadvantages that we should be aware of and which we should keep in mind when preparing the Internet materials for the classroom usage. They are lack of a person in charge of the information we find on the Internet, easy access to unsuitable content, surfing the web during and after the class time for the materials not connected with the learning process, virus threat.

In spite of these negative sides of the Internet usage, they should not be seen as a threat to using it at all. Teachers should have a central role here and with his or her choice of decisions use new technologies and Internet to enrich teaching process in multiple ways [2, p. 90].

We also have to remember that we can use not only the Internet and computer but a Smartboard, sometimes called Whiteboard, as well. What is it Whiteboard? Whiteboard – is basically a touch sensitive surface, which is connected to a data projector that allows a large scale computer screen to be displayed. With the help of Whiteboard many problems are solved in the classes: raising the interest of children by brightness and novelty, highly visualization of educational material, opportunity of independent pupils’ work, independent analysis and correction mistakes of pupils by themselves, increasing desire for creative activity [1, p. 22].

Teachers should bear in mind general tips on how to make the best use of interactive whiteboards. Here they are: – classroom organization – that means that you need to remember all rules about classroom organization: your whiteboard must be in the centre of the classroom or near the blackboard, it mustn’t be near the front door; – organizing the materials on the computer – your lesson must be prepared before the lesson so when children come to you classroom everything is turned on your computer; – time for work – it means you need to understand that you can’t use this tool throughout all the lesson because you should alternate different tools [4, p. 17].


Consequently, we may say that interactive technologies may become one of the major factors for bridging over larger and larger gap between schools and society. However, we should remember that the use of technology should never be the goal in and of itself, but rather one of the effective tools for helping language learners to use the target language in culturally appropriate ways to accomplish authentic tasks.

Further, all language learning opportunities whether provided through technology or in a traditional classroom setting, should be standards-based and help develop students’ proficiency in the target language through interactive, meaningful, and cognitively engaging learning experiences, facilitated by a qualified language teacher.


  1. Е. Сопова. Технологии интерактивного обучения на уроках иностранного языка [Электронный ресурс] / Е. Сопова // Просвещение. Иностранные языки: Интернет-издание для учителя, 2013. – Режим доступа: http://iyazyki.ru/2013/03/interactive-language
  2. M.D. Bush. Language Learning Via the Web. – Symposium of the Computer Aided Language Instruction Consortium, Albuquerque, 1996.
  3. M.-M. Chang, J.D. Lehman. Learning Foreign Language through an Interactive Multimedia Program: An Experimental Study on the Effects of the Relevance Component of the ARCS Model [Electronic resource]. – Available from: https://www.calico.org/memberBrowse.php?action=article&id=402
  4. O. Lopez. Lighting the Flame of Learning for English Language Learners Through the Use of Interactive Whiteboard Technology [Electronic resource]. – Available from: http://extranet.mypromethean.com/us/upload/pdf/ELL_WhitePaper.pdf
  5. Z. Dovedan, S. Seljan, K. Vučković. Multimedia in Foreign Language Learning [Electronic resource]. – Available from: http://dzs.ffzg.unizg.hr/text/mfll.pdf

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