This evaluative study was undertaken about the Maine Middle School Laptop Program 2, where the performance of high school students on standardized tests after two years in the program, both for the organization of ideas and for grammar and syntax, were significantly higher compared to their baseline levels.
However, caution [LAROSE 2010], the conditions for obtaining such results are particularly demanding. In all cases where there was a significant improvement in the construction of competence in language skills, both oral and written, with the result being attributable to the use of icts, the following four conditions were observed :
– Students had stable individual access and used networked computers, both at school for all periods of language instruction, and at home ;
– Their teachers received a high level of support, both with technology and with managing an approach to the integration of icts ;
– The school curriculum was also adapted to the availability of personal computers and special educational devices ;
– Exhaustive information databases of teaching-learning situations (tls), adapted to widespread computer use, were developed and updated regularly.
An example of these databases is the digitized Trsor de la Langue franaise (“Treasury of the French Language” or tlf), which can be used to teach French :
The digitized Trsor de la Langue franaise allows students to discover the historical facets of our language. The digital version has 100,000 words with their history, 270,000 words with their definitions, 430,000 examples and 500,000 citations. The search engine offers three levels of search : simple, advanced and complex. All the words displayed in a tlf article can lead to a hypernavigation, providing access to diverse resources : The digital Trsor de la Langue franaise, the Dictionnaires de l’Acadmie (‘Dictionaries of the Academy’) 2 Silvenrail and Gritter, 2007 quoted by Larose et al., 2010.
Marcel Diki-Kidiri (8th and 9th editions), the Altilf Lexical Knowledge Base, the Frantext Base, and the Historical Database of French Vocabulary) 3.
To conclude, [LAROSE 2010] state the following :
More generally, our research, together with the available literature, suggests that the adoption of icts to teach mother tongues or second languages, just as their integration into the teaching practice of all scholastic disciplines, depends on the strategies of educational intervention that teachers adopt. In a relatively traditional and frontal view of education that leaves little room for student initiative in terms of research, analysis and integration of information, ict use remains marginal. On the contrary, in the perspective of an education that places a greater emphasis on research and integration of information, the role of icts as tools to support the students’ construction of knowledge is more evident.
SOME INDICATORS FOR DECISION AND ACTION In conclusion, a few basic principles should be considered in the decisions and choices made to ensure optimal use of icts in mother tongue education and teaching :
• The mother tongue is the first language of the child, and it must serve as the first language of knowledge acquisition. When controlled, it can facilitate the learning of other languages, such as a majority language when it differs ;
• The use of a mother tongue as language of instruction requires, firstly, the development of specialized vocabularies in that language for each discipline, and secondly, the teaching of that language ;
• When education is not undertaken in the mother tongue, the integration of mother tongue(s) in education requires a (rather deep) reform of the system at several levels : teacher training, the valuing of mother tongues by teachers, and their registration in official exams ;
• icts provide many forms of assistance to learning. Their use requires making carefully considered choices between different pedagogical 3 Retrieved from http://www.cafepedagogique.net/lesdossiers/Pages/2010/indis2011_ francais.aspx accessed on 8 Apr 2011. My translation.
Marcel Diki-Kidiri approaches, because they are decisions on which an educational system’s selection and development of methods and tools depend ;
• For optimal use of icts in education, especially mother tongue education, students must have access to a personal computer that is networked throughout the school year ; teacher training and curricula should be adjusted to optimize the use of technological resources ; and various databases in and on the mother tongue should be developed, or at least made available to students via intranet or internet ;
• One should always keep in mind that as computer hardware and software evolves and diversifies, it increasingly opens up new pedagogical possibilities for teaching professionals. Distance learning, already quite popular with businesses, is now on the rise in some schools, which have begun to use podcasting (via digital media players and mobile phones) and video conferencing (via webcam). Teachers should strive to integrate these tools, by now commonplace for their students, into their classes.
BIBLIOGRAPHY [ANGRIST 2002] Angrist, J. ; Lavy, V. 2002 « New evidence on classroom computers and pupils learning ». Economic Journal, vol. 112, no482, p. 735-765.
[BASQUE 1998] Basque, J., Rocheleau, J., Winer, L., Michaud, P., Bergeron, G., Paquette, G., Paquin, C. Un modle adaptable d’une cole informatise, Montral, cole informatise cls en main du Qubec inc., 1998.
[BASQUE 2002] Basque, J., Lundgren-Cayrol K. 2002 « Une typologie des typologies des applications des TIC en ducation » Sciences et techniques ducatives, no9 (3-4), p. 263-289.
[BAUMGARTNER 1998] Baumgartner, P Payr, S. « Learning with the Internet : A typol., ogy of application », Proceedings of ED-MEDIA/ED-TELECOM 98 (World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia & World Conference on Educational Telecommunications), Charlotesville, AACE, 1998, p. 124-129.
[BONNET 2009] Bonnet, Annick (Coord.) 2009. Elisabeth Brodin, Micheline Maurice, Chirine Anvar, Pernelle Benoit, Sverine Blache, Fiorella Casciato, Concetta Cirocco, Catherine Clment, Stphanie Favre, Olivier Gisselbrecht, Hayde Maga, Marianne Mavel, Olivier Steffen, Dominique Satg, Nicole Thiery-Chastel. Guide SAEL, guide pratique pour la conception, l’animation et l’amlioration des sites d’accompagnement pour les enseignants de langues. http://www.eurosael.eu/sites/default/files/3/ guide_sael_2009_0.pdf.pdf [CAZADE 1999] Cazade, A. « De l’usage des courbes sonores et autres supports graphiques pour aider l’apprenant en langues ». Apprentissage des langues et systmes Marcel Diki-Kidiri d’information et de communication (Alsic). Vol. 2, no2, dcembre 1999, pp 3 - 32.
http://alsic.revues.org [CRABRE 2010] Crabre, Batrice. Interview. Comment enseigner une langue difficile et minoritaire http://www.cafepedagogique.net/lexpresso/Pages/2010/02/ Fourgous_BCrabere.aspx [DEMAIZIRE 2007] Demaizire, Franoise. « Didactique des langues et TIC : les aides l’apprentissage », Alsic, Vol. 10, no1 | 2007. http://alsic.revues.org/index220.html [DE VRIES 2001] de Vries, E., « Les logiciels d’apprentissage : panoplie ou ventail », Revue Franaise de Pdagogie, no137, octobre-dcembre 2001, p. 105-116.
[FORCIER 1999] Forcier, R. C., The computer as an educational tool : Productivity and problem solving, Prentice-Hall, 1999, 2e dition, 1999.
[JONASSEN 2000] Jonassen, D. H., Computers as mindtools for schools : Engaging critical thinking, Prentice Hall, 2e dition, 2000.
[LAROSE 2010] LAROSE Franois, GRENON Vincent, CARIGNAN Isabelle et HAMMAMI Abdelhakim, 2010 « Les TIC en enseignement des langues au Qubec : objet obscur d’un dsir prescrit » Qubec franais, n°159, 2010, p. 71-72. http://id.erudit.org/ iderudit/61597ac [LEBRUN 2002] Lebrun, M., Des technologies pour enseigner et apprendre, De Bck, 2e dition, 2002.
[MUNN 2011] Munn, Yves 2011. Outils TIC en langues (ESL) http://www.reptic.qc.ca/ bibliotheque/enquetes-inventaires-compilations/outils-tic-langue-esl.html [PELGRUM 2004] PELGRUM, W.J., LAW, N. 2004 Les TIC et l’ducation dans le monde :
tendances, enjeux et perspectives. Unesco.
[SILVENRAIL 2007] Silvenrail David L. et Gritter Aaron K. 2007 Maine’s middle school laptop program : creating better writers, Gorham, ME, University of Southern Maine, Maine Education Policy Research Institute.
[WILEY 2001] Wiley, D. A. « Connecting learning objects to instructional design theory :
A definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy », In D.A. Wiley (d.), The instructional use of learning objects, Bloomington, Indiana, Association for Educational Communications of Technology, 2001.
[WILEY 2002] Wiley, D. A., Edwards, E. K. « Online self-organizing social systems : The decentralized future of online learning », Quarterly Review of Distance Education, http:// www.opencontent.org/docs/ososs.pdf Marcel Diki-Kidiri Marcel Diki-Kidiri DIGITAL SPACES PART Cyberspace is like so many invisible continents where billions of people develop or extend conversations, relationships, networks, creations, translations, knowledge, social links. What linguistic bridges exist to facilitate these human links within and beyond the technical constraints and cultural barriers STPHANE BORTZMEYER MULTILINGUALISM AND THE INTERNET’S STANDARDISATION The Internet exists in compliance with standards, protocols, formats and other collective rules necessary to interconnect and exchange data. Can these standards become a constraint limiting the range of possibilities What are the standards that manage languages on the internet Who defines them, what organizations elaborate them Are they well adapted to multilingualism or conversely are they lagging behind Are they a positive factor for languages Original article in French.
This article discusses the various practical standards that define the protocols, formats and other rules to be followed by software found on the internet. As in other sectors, the standards are both a benefit (without them, no internet, because no communication : imagine a Web where websites are visible by Firefox or Internet Explorer but not by both), and a constraint because they can limit what is possible. What are the standards that apply to multilingualism today Who defines them, and what sdo (Standards Development Organization) elaborates them Are they well adapted to multilingualism or conversely are they lagging behind Are they a positive factor for languages or rather one of the reasons for the problems of multilingualism Note that this article is about standards, and not their implementation issues. A standard isn’t everything ; if it isn’t applied in a programme, or if nobody is using it, it has no utility ; it becomes a “forgotten standard”.
We will see that, once a standard is complete, there is still work for programmers (to implement it), for system and network administrators (to deploy it) and for users (to use it).
Let us briefly review the treatment of multilingualism in computers.
The internet is based traditionally on the written word, and we must distinguish between language and alphabets. Scripts 1 can serve many 1 As defined by the IETF, RFC 6365, Terminology Used in Internationalization in the IETF, a script is a set of graphic characters used for the written form of one or more languages. Examples of scripts are Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, and Han Stphane Bortzmeyer languages (for example the case of the Latin alphabet) and a language can use multiple alphabets (for example in Azerbaijani 2 or Tamashek 3).
It is therefore important to distinguish when we need to handle multiple languages, and when to handle multiple alphabets.
On the other hand, human languages have not been scientifically designed : they are weird, full of incomprehensible rules and many idiosyncrasies. If we could redo languages from scratch, with the sole aim of facilitating their computerisation, we could greatly simplify the problems of multilingualism. But this is evidently not the policy of standards bodies, who all consider the current state of languages and alphabets as a given : it is impossible to envisage changing these. So when some people say that the Unicode standard, for example, is complex, they are missing the point. It is the alphabets, these human creations, that are complex and Unicode only reflects the real world 4.
Another obstacle to multilingualism : the lack of scientific knowledge about certain languages. The digital divide is evident here, some languages are not represented on the internet because they have not yet undergone rigorous modelling.
Finally, an additional difficulty comes from the sensitivity associated with language and alphabets. Any technical differences are quickly perceived as an affront to the sensibilities of a nation or a people, which often makes discussions rather less calm.
Another point that may be necessary to take into consideration : the functioning of the internet itself. It is important to understand that the internet has no central leadership that could give instructions such as “On January 15, 2011, all email software must accept email addresses in Unicode”. On the contrary, the deployment of any technology depends on the decisions of a number of players (sometimes a great number) and it is necessary therefore to persuade them to agree. As a result, and because of the huge investments that were made during the last thirty years, the weight, or significance, of history is high : you cannot throw (the characters, often called ideographs after a subset of them, used in writing Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). RFC 2277 discusses scripts in detail.
2 Written today with the Latin alphabet or Arabic, and has long been Cyrillic.
3 Written in the Latin alphabet but especially Tifinagh.
4 The complexity – very real – of Unicode is due also to technical constraints, such as the need for compatibility with pre-existing encodings.