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Using Information Technology in the Learning and Teaching of English in Primary Schools
September 2003 - March 2004

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Session 2:
Using IT-supported language arts resources for the interactive learning and teaching of English

2.1 Introducing the meaning of language arts and its role in English language learning and teaching in the primary classroom

What is Language Arts?

Language Arts

Language Arts forms can be found in:

Language arts activities can be introduced to students at a very early age


2.1.1 All participants try to go online and find some songs that are good for learning English, e.g. some "Oldies", scout songs, kiddies songs with music. Look for files in MIDI or MP3 format, try downloading for class use. Be careful, the files might be covered by Copyright protections. (MP3 is a performance recording, MIDI is like a digital music score.) Can also be used for Campus Broadcast programmes e.g. Songs dedication
Ref: ELT Sites

2.2 Introducing different types of IT-supported language arts resources, including educational software and materials on the Internet

Different kinds of Language arts resources: Criteria for selecting appropriate Language Art resources:
Some of the advantages of using IT-supported resources, especially in relation to language arts areas, are:
  1. Ensuring a good standard of delivery of primary information to students. For example, in retelling stories, reciting poems and rhymes, there is a need to make sure that the original reading is of a high enough standard for students to learn from.
  2. They are sometimes more attractive to students than the presentation by teachers. Some of these resources are produced for interactive learning. Or at least, the audio / visual effects are helpful in drawing attention of the students.
  3. The effect of presentation of many forms of language arts materials, like songs, drama and speeches, can be enhanced if they are read, played or acted by professionals. Resources delivered by IT devices are helpful in this sense.

Note that IT-supported resources cannot work effectively on their own. They must be aided by teachers, with them as facilitators, promoters, supporters, monitors and evaluators, etc.

Thus, choosing appropriate IT-supported language resources is very important for teachers. The points above are a good reference for choosing IT based resources.

Types of IT devices:
There are lots of such resources in the market, and in resource libraries that we can use. They include:


How to find these resources?
Ask participants to share (very briefly) what they are using in their teaching practice. The instructor records good resources on the whiteboard for participants to copy if necessary.

  1. Searching at the HK public library website: http://www.hkpl.gov.hk/e_webpac.htm
    • Select <Library Catalogue Via Web>
    • Select <Media Resources>
    • Enter search term <English> by Subject Key Word
    You will find, for example:
    Early English drama : Quem quaeritis ; Abraham and Issac ; The second shepherds' play [videorecording]; The Three Little Pigs [CD-ROM]

    Participants can try other search terms.

    Alternatively, you may go to http://www.hkpl.gov.hk/index.html
    • Select <Electronic Resources>
    • Select either <CD-ROM Databases> or <On-line Databases> or <ebooks>
    • Select either <by subject> or <by alphabetical order>

    What is the difference between search in this way and from the library catalogue system?
    (From the library catalogue system, we can have detailed information about the resources, including the loan status, whereas the database system only provide the name of the resources.)

    Participants choose ONE IT-supported language art resource from the public resources catalogue and shares with the class. If all the participants are very familiar with using the HK Public Libraries website, this can be skipped.

    The site is useful because all the resources can be obtained without copyright concerns and the format is simple and useful.

    Appendix: A list of poems, rhymes and prose for youngsters at HK Public Libraries.

  2. Searching through the Hong Kong Educational Software Platform :
    • Go to http://www.hkedcity.net/esp/index.phtml
    • By Educational Level, select <primary school>
    • By Software Type, select <e-learning> or try another one (for example, can you find good resources for Drill and Practice?)

    Participant can choose ONE IT-supported language art resource from the public resources catalogue and share with the class

  3. Using General Search Engines
  4. There are many, general-purpose search engines on the Web that can be used to locate on-line language arts resources.

    Popular Search Engines:

    Try Google, www.google.com/
    What are your search terms?
    For example, <children rhymes>, <children song>, <children short story> (Young learners...)
    However, poorly selected search terms can result in too many links, few of them actually useful, wasting a lot of time for little reward.

    Some techniques for searching on the Internet:

    • Understand the search engine you are using. Each search engine has its' own language for defining searches.
    • Use Boolean logic to narrow down the search
      • a AND b Results must have both a and b. Default setting on Google.
      • a OR b Results must have one or more of a or b. OR on Google.
      • NOT Results without the term. - on Google.
    • Use other available features. Examples from Google:
      • + Google excludes common words (e.g. where, how) by default, prefacing a word with '+' forces it to be included.
      • " " Surrounding several words with quotes does a search for the exact phrase.
      • related: Finds pages that are similar to the specified page.
    • Try the Advanced search options

Try searching for <children rhymes>, <children song>, <childrenshort story> again, but use the techniques to narrowing down the search.

Go to http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/indexframe.html and select <children's>.
You will find a lot of good and short (sample) stories for children.
There is a <Teacher Forum> where you will find questions and suggested activities.

Participants are now introduced to a convenient web site for children, where they will find writings and pictures in journalistic style particularly for kids.
The web site is
Try this one. Go wherever you like.
What do you find? (Class report)
Jokes, news, music...

For all on-line resources, take care not to infringe the copyright. Other than this, you can use them freely.

Concluding remarks:

2.3 Using and adapting IT supported language arts resources for the enhancement of language learning, the promotion of communication skills, critical thinking skills and creativity and discussing ways of integrating them in the school curriculum

With reference to the English Language Education KLA Curriculum Guide (2002), "increasing motivation" is discussed under the short-term strategies for development (1.4.1). Increasing motivation is very important because language learning is often seen as "boring", and thus engaging students' interest is essential to achieving a good learning effect.

The Curriculum Guide suggested some ways of increasing motivation. Those relevant to IT supported learning are:
- the use of IT (e.g. writing e-greeting cards, interactive story-reading and games) for both junior primary and senior primary school students, teachers may create more opportunities for them to use IT in language communication. Sending e-greeting cards, making small jokes on a school web, uploading a class picture with caption on the web, etc. can be very interesting.

1. Use E-cards as a means to deliver a poem (suitable for KS1 and KS2)

Check if the participants would like to try sending an e-greeting card. Tutor briefly demonstrates. The message in the card can be language items that students can explore.
e.g. For Birthdays, Christmas, Invitation to a party, Thank you, Chinese New Year, Congratulations, Father's Day, Mother's Day...

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