Projects Using The Internet In University English School Rooms (i-tesl-j)

The Internet TESL Journal

Victoria Muehleisen

Institute of Language Teaching, Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan)

vicky [at]

A presentation given at the CALL: Basics and Beyond convention at Chubu University, Nagoya, Japan, on May 31, 1997.

Reasons for using the Internet in English training

I had important motivations for starting to apply the Internet in my English classes. First, I desired students to be exposed to a much wider range of English than they typically come upon in their every day lives in Japan; in particular, I hoped to discover local speakme email penpals for them. Second, I desired to inspire college students to apply English for pleasure outdoor of sophistication, and idea if I taught them the basics of e mail and “netsurfing,” they would be likely to retain those activities all through their free-time. When I genuinely attempted using the Internet inside the school room, those expectancies have been fulfilled, and I additionally found many other true reasons for doing such tasks.

  • Learning to apply computer systems affords a strong intrinsic motivation for gaining knowledge of English. For maximum of my students, the usage of computer systems continues to be a pretty new (and accordingly thrilling) experience, so college students are eager to apply computer systems in magnificence. Currently, Japan is experiencing an Internet “increase,” and students want to be a part of it. Practical considerations additionally motivate a few students; they anticipate that they’ll want to use computer systems and English of their careers or when they examine abroad, so that they appreciate studying the practical talent of writing and sending email in English.
  • The Internet locations English in an global context. Students fast find out for themselves that a majority of the records on the Internet is in English; in addition they discover that they can use English as a way of studying approximately and communicating with human beings around the arena, and no longer just in English talking countries. Of path, students of English need to make contact with local audio system, but many of my college students even have a robust interest in speaking with human beings from other international locations as properly. They are happy to find out that even if they do not know Thai or Chinese, as an example, they could use English to talk with a keypal (e-mail penpal) from Thailand or Hong Kong and to discover internet sites with information approximately these places.
  • Internet initiatives are interactive. Even while college students are virtually browsing, they may be actively deciding on what they will look at subsequent. Searching for statistics includes paintings on the a part of the scholars, as do web sites which ask the user to fill out bureaucracy. Most web web sites have electronic mail addresses so that viewers can ask questions or send remarks to a creator of a site, something which makes the net more without difficulty interactive than a book or magazine. Corresponding with a keypal is of course very interactive, and making a class internet web page is also potentially very interactive as students assume the desires of their target market and then reply to the email they (with any luck) will receive from preople who view their site.
  • Facilities for the usage of the Internet are frequently with ease available, so from a sensible factor of view, tasks using the Internet are frequently less complicated to perform than different CALL tasks. At my faculty, as an example, there are many computer labs around campus which might be already linked to the Internet and installation with software for e mail and surfing the WWW, and a lot of these labs have hours while students can use the device at some point of their free time. In contrast, there are only some labs where instructors can install their own CALL software, and get admission to to those labs is frequently confined for both instructors and college students. Also, a lot of my students have get entry to to Internet-related computer systems at domestic or at one of the new Internet cafes which might be shooting up around Tokyo.

Typical activities using the Internet

There are a huge range of possible activities using the Internet. In the rest of this text, I describe 4 foremost varieties of sports and give suggestions for instructors who wish to try them.

  • Surfing the Net
  • Using E-mail
  • Doing Research
  • Making a Class Web Site

Surfing the Net

Because a lot of the fabric on the Internet is in English, even non-directed interest along with “surfing” the World Wide Web can contain a notable deal of studying in English, and it may be a gratifying, but effective, manner of introducing college students to the primary capabilities of the browser including the Forward and Back buttons, the Jump feature and bookmarks. You probable wouldn’t want to spend every elegance period simply letting college students surf, however by using giving them an awesome begin, you will be encouraging them to preserve outside of class.

As readers of this Internet article are no doubt conscious, in the beginning browsing can regularly be extra frustrating than a laugh: occasionally you click on an thrilling hyperlink and wait a long term for a web page to seem to your display screen, best to find a listing of latest hyperlinks; then whilst you click on one, you get every other listing of links. For students with restrained English capabilities, it’s far even greater frustrating–page after page of foreign language may be absolutely overwhelming. There are several matters, but, that you may do to reduce the extent of frustration and help your students’ first stories cross smoothly.

Set up a web web page in your magnificence, an “digital bulletin board” wherein you post schedules, bulletins and copies of facts you hand out in magnificence. This receives college students used to the concept of the use of the Internet for data–in the event that they pass over a class or lose a handout, they are able to find out what the challenge is on their very own. Your college students will in all likelihood like it if you encompass private records approximately your self. For example, my home page consists of a segment referred to as About Me where college students can examine the answers to my “regularly asked questions” along with “Why did you return to Japan?” and “Can you use chopsticks?”

Put together a list of “beginning hyperlinks” for college kids who’re new to the Internet so they join directly to exciting websites while not having to go looking first. Make the hyperlinks as direct as viable, so that scholars see applicable data proper away while not having to choose from an extended list of alternatives. For instance, maximum newspaper sites have a web page with the each day headlines which contains some pictures and a brief listing of top information tales. Make links that reflect your students’ interests; if you add new hyperlinks often and ask college students to signify new links, they will preserve coming returned for your page. My English Class Links page at> includes links to the forms of websites listed below:

  • Purely fun web sites which includes The Cyrano Server at http://www.nando.internet/ toys/cyrano/version2/compose-cyrano.html>; you fill in phrases (a name, an adjective, a plural noun, and so on.) and the computer writes a love letter which you could then e-mail to the person of your choice. (The stage of Engish used at this web page proved to be a little difficult for my elementary students, but my intermediate stage students loved it.) Another website famous with my college students is the Home Page of the National Basketball Association at>.
  • Newspapers which includes The Japan Times at jp:80/>, The Washington Post at>, and The Guardian at or>.
  • Electronic news resources including The United Nations Daily News Page at’s.htm>.
  • Links approximately have a look at overseas, such as Study within the USA: A General Guide for International Students at>.
  • Sites for English study, including Dave’s ESL Cafe at> and Self-Study Quizzes for English Students at>.

Teach simple looking talents. Demonstrate a way to use some of the basic serps (e.g. Excite at> and Yahoo at http://www.>) and help students learn how to pick seek terms efficiently.

Show students how to make bookmarks and copy them to their very own disks. Make a manner for college kids to share their preferred sites with classmates, perhaps by using posting them at the class net page.

Try a WWW Treasure Hunt contest wherein students practice their seek talents (and their English skills) as they race to answer questions. Write questions primarily based on thrilling pages you discover whilst you are browsing, and ask your advanced college students to write down a few questions too. Here are a number of the questions I used in a Treasure Hunt last 12 months:

  • How many hairstyles has Hillary Clinton had due to the fact her husband has been president? Can you find a page which indicates you some of them? (The answer can be discovered at>.)
  • What is the authentic mascot of the Nagano Olympics? Can you discover a picture of it? (The answer may be found at>.)
  • Can you discover an English web page of a person who has the same first name or remaining name as you?

Download pages ahead of time onto an on-campus pc. While I have no longer finished this myself, I think it’d be very useful at colleges wherein there are troubles with Internet access, if, as an instance, only some computers are related to the Internet, or if the connections are usually very busy or very gradual. You can use your net browser’s Save As Source command to do that, however in case you are going to down load a number of pages with pictures, it’d probable be useful to use a software designed for this reason, consisting of the WebWhacker software to be had at>.

Using E-mail

Reading and writing e mail in English is greater interactive (and accordingly greater challenging) than netsurfing. There are many ways to use e mail inside the school room, including the ones underneath:

Make a category e-mail listing and encourage students to pratice through sending English email to every different.

Find keypals (electronic mail penpals) on your students, or assist them discover their very own. In the suitable situation, each pupil is matched with two or 3 university students in other countries, however this will on occasion be difficult because of differences in school schedules. (In Japan, as an example, the academic year starts offevolved in April and the spring term runs thru July, and it could be difficult to locate classes in Europe or North America which are meeting on the same time.)

In cases wherein you want to carefully supervise the e-mail exchanges (if, as an example, you’re requiring e mail as a part of the homework for a class) it might be better to in shape your magnificence with every other magnificence so that you and the opposite trainer can without problems screen what the students are doing and ensure that every student is getting a response from a keypal. In other situations (as an example, if you actually want to offer superior students with non-compulsory English practice outside of sophistication) it is probably enough to direct the students to websites in which they can discover keypals on their very own. There are many Internet web sites which address keypals; those I have located maximum useful are listed underneath.

  • Intercultural Classroom Connections at iecc/index.html> is the nice web site I’ve discovered for teachers who want to in shape up classes for keypal exchanges or other Internet initiatives.
  • The EXCHANGE listing of penpals at> is a superb web page for person students seeking out keypals. All listings are modern (vintage listings are eliminated after one month) and contain information about the keypals’ interests and interests.
  • The Pen Pal Exchange at> has listings for individuals searching out penpals as well as for teachers who need to fit up training. Most of the magnificence listings are for simple through high college classes, but.
  • Dave’s ESL Cafe also has a listing of folks that are searching out penpals at>.

Use worldwide email exchange in elegance initiatives. This may be as easy as assigning a homework task in which college students ask their penpals approximately their opinions on a specific topic, or it may tons extra complicated.

  • Ruth Vilmi on the Helsinki Institute of Technology, for instance, has an on-going task in which college students from exclusive international locations trade their essays on particular subjects. You can study about the project and spot a number of the scholars’ writing at>.
  • Another interesting task was executed by using Jon Brokering’s students at Chuo University; his students exchanged email with humans in Hong Kong as part of their studies on the subject of the go back on Hong Kong after which provided the results of their research at the Internet. The project may be seen at>.

Encourage college students to ship e-mail remarks as they surf the internet. Most pages have an address to which visitors can send questions and feedback.

Recommend discussion lists in your college students who experience electronic mail and have masses of time to examine and write it. There are specialized dialogue lists on each potential subject matter, despite the fact that the language utilized in lots of them may be too tough for some students. For this motive, Lloyd Holliday of La Trobe University in Australia and Thomas Robb of Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan have started mailing lists for college kids of English on subjects inclusive of business, contemporary activities, films, and science and generation. You can discover extra approximately these lists and a way to be part of them at>. You’ll want to warn your students, but, that dialogue lists can on occasion result in excessive volumes of e mail.


Once students have a simple know-how of the Internet, they are able to begin to use it to actively learn about things they are interested by and to paintings on assignments on your elegance and different lessons. In order to guide students efficiently, you will need to spend a while locating out what is available on the specific subjects they may be interested in. Below I’ve indexed a number of the varieties of assets available at the Internet. (My examples are associated with linguistics and language teaching, however of direction, those sorts of assets are available in lots of other educational disciplines too.)

  • On-line newspapers, magazines and journals consisting of the one you’re studying right now.
  • Reference materials consisting of dictionaries, bibliographies, databases, e.g., the ERIC database at>.
  • Computer software program (often freeware or shareware), e.g., CONC concordance program available from the Summer Institute of Linguistics at>.
  • Official press releases and reviews from governments and NGOs, e.g., the United Nations at>.
  • Discussion lists devoted to a selected subject matter, e.g., the Linguist List ( part of the Linguist Network at>). These provide a manner for college kids to ask questions and phone professionals within the subject.
  • “Mega-web sites” which incorporate links to all of those assets and extra. The Linguist Network, as an instance, consists of links to a variety of web sites of interest to linguists, along with book reviews, dictionaries, databases, job records, syllabi and more.

Making a class internet website online

This is a way for college kids to apply English to percentage their thoughts and/or the results in their studies and sophistication paintings with the arena. There are quite a few extraordinary opportunities and formats. For example, you may submit portions of scholar writing, have students take images and write captions, or maybe prepare a query-and-answer web site wherein humans ought to send their electronic mail questions about a subject your college students recognize nicely. How you organize the undertaking and what your pages in the end appear like will rely upon a range of of things, together with, as an instance, the quantity of students for your class, their level of English talents and pc abilties, and the quantity of sophistication time in order to be spent at the project. Below, I’ve listed some of the steps you’ll probable need to take in carrying out a category web web page task.

  • Decide on the dimensions of running agencies and the division of hard work. Will college students paintings personally, in small groups, or as a category? Will college students learn how to use html to do the layout of the pages themselves, or will you be doing the actual coding yourself?
  • Decide on a topic, both one associated with class topics or one associated with students’ other pursuits. A elegance internet web site may be used to give Internet-primarily based research or the effects of greater traditional elegance assignments.
  • Decide on a target market. Will your pages be for different university students? For human beings with an interest in regulation or sociology? For folks who are interested in Japanese subculture?
  • Look for associated pages on the WWW that you may need to link to.
  • Have students browse the WWW focusing on web page format. Have college students reflect onconsideration on the following questions: What makes a web page interesting and smooth to read? What is a superb ratio of snap shots to text? How lengthy does it take for the pictures to load?
  • Have students study websites made with the aid of different college students for ideas about issues and layout. In addition to the class pages made at Helsinki Institute of Technology and Chuo University, defined above, some examples encompass:
    • The Daily Life in Japan web site made through my Intermediate English magnificence at Waseda at students/students.html>.
    • The Famous Personages in Japan site made by way of college students at Kyoto Sangyo University at>.

    Links to extra pupil web sites are indexed inside the resources underneath.

  • Conclusion

    In end, I might urge English teachers to utilize the Internet in their English classes. Such projects are a terrific manner of motivating students to apply English outside the school room and to make English a part of their day by day lives. This article has provided quite a number tasks, and whilst it would possibly no longer be desirable or even possible to do all of those initiatives with one magnificence, I hope that you will use a number of the thoughts here with your training.

    Useful Resources

    In addition to the numerous beneficial articles and teaching suggestions in the The Internet TESL Journal , the sources underneath also comprise beneficial records for planning tasks using the Internet.

    Print Resources

    • Williams, Bard. 1995. The Internet for Teachers. Foster City, CA: IDG Books Worldwide.
    • McGuire, Steve. 1997. Resources for Teachers at the Net. The Language Teacher 21:3, 33-five.
    • McGuire, Steve and Tim Newfields. 1997. Language Teaching and the Internet: An Introduction to the World Wide Web. The Language Teacher 21:1, 32-24.

    Internet Resources

    • The Linguistics Funland TESL PAGE at> has hyperlinks to web sites containing sporting activities and sports for college students, articles and essays about TESL, coaching substances and software, teaching jobs, and more. Linguistics Funland is the place to begin of the ESL Loop,which hyperlinks diverse internet sites related to ESL.
    • VOLTERRE-FR: Internet Projects for Learners and Teachers of English at> consists of hyperlinks to tasks around the world.
    • The EXCHANGE site at> presents a place for ESL college students to submit their writing. There also are penpal listings, self-take a look at substances, and hyperlinks to magnificence tasks.
    • The Foreign Language Teaching Forum (FLTEACH) at is “an incorporated service for FL teachers.” It consists of the documents of the FLTEACH dialogue listing, in addition to links to records of hobby to language instructors.

    The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. III, No. 6, June 1997

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