E-mail Writing: Providing Background Information in the Core of Computer Assisted Instruction
The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education
The present study highly supported the effective role of providing background information via email by the teacher to write e-mail by the students in learners' writing ability. A total number of 50 EFL advanced male students aged between 25 and 40 at different branches of Iran Language Institute in Tehran, Tehran. Through the placement test of Oxford English Language Placement Test (OELPT) the students' proficiency level seems to be nearly the same. Participants were randomly assign into two
... ups of experimental and control, each consisting of 25 students. After the administration of the proficiency test, all groups were assigned to write topic 1 as the pre-test. Next, the teacher involved the learners in the new instruction (treatment). During writing topics 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 experimental group's background knowledge was activated through e-mail before writing and e-mailing topics while the control group received no background knowledge activation through e-mail. After the treatment was given to the experimental group, the students in both groups were required to write another composition about the last topic, topic 8. Again, in this phase, none of the groups received any background information. The results indicated that providing background information via e-mail by the teacher to write email by the students significantly improved learners' writing ability. Education technologies were one of the newest areas in the world in the second half of the 20th century. In the late 1950s, in developed countries, computers which have arrived the academic life are still developing without any stop throughout the world. Today, computers have become more powerful, quicker, easier to use, more convenient and cheaper, and they can process and save much more information, as well. At the end of the 20th century, the computer-mediated communication and the Internet have reformed the use of computers for language learning. Computers are no longer a way for just information processing but also a tool for information processing along with communication. With the help of the Internet, language Learners can now interact with others or target language speakers all over the world. According to Dhaif (1989), computers can never substitute the 'live' teacher, specifically in language teaching, where the attention is on mutual interaction between people. It can just accept a role in teaching the second or foreign language as help to the teacher. The abbreviation of CALL which stands for Computer Assisted Language Learning is a term used by teachers and students to refer to the use of computers as parts of a language course (Hardisty & Windeatt: 1989). It is traditionally described as a means of 'presenting, reinforcing and testing' particular language items. Firstly, the learner is provided with a rule and some examples, and then answers a set of questions which test her/his knowledge of the rule and the computer provides proper feedback and determines a mark, which may be stored for later scrutiny for the teacher. Jones & Fortescue (1987) present that the traditional description of CALL is inappropriate and they introduce the computer as adjustable classroom aid, which can be used by teachers and learners, within and out of class, in different ways and for various purposes. On the other hand, as any other teaching aid, using the computer needs to be connected to ordinary classroom task and CALL lessons, like the other lessons, need to be planned meticulously. Keeping up to date with e-learning is a -moving plan on the Internet. Today, the activities such as reading daily e-learning newsletters, online magazines and attending e-learning conferences are offered. Interpersonal communication involves learners in real life communication with main partners. E-partners can be detected on the Net by employing ordinary search engines. Unfortunately, emailing haphazardly between pals does not lead to beneficial learning, and, as a rule, is restricted to sharing personal information. Even with appropriate key partners, e-mailing can often be challenging in the case of time and reliability of the relationship. Since the telephone, e-mail appears to be the most substantial, unique way for communication and increasing relationships (Suller, 1998). First, it is easy to use. Second, people consider it to be familiar and safe -it is like letter writing. Third, it is the most usual and powerful. Unlike face to face communication, e-mail interaction is asynchronous, i.e. does not take place in 'real time'. A person has time to think, evaluate, and compose a message. Having the chance of thinking time can immune e-partners from unnecessary misunderstandings and discussions. However, aperson's Statement of the Problem CALL has had different impacts on the foreign language learning process. In their study titled "Language learning in cyberspace", for second language learners from universities, Donaldson & Kötter (1999) conducted a real-time MOO (Multiuser Object Oriented) system. For five months the sample used this system one session a week for cooperative tasks.