A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Naim Zuhdi Odeh Entitled, "L2 Teachers' Perception Towards the Use of Computers in L2 Language Instruction," May 2008. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
The way people communicate with others, conduct research, and gather information has changed due to the dramatic changes in computer technology. Computers have become prevalent everywhere and their presence in schools has been inevitable. In many countries of the world computer-based instruction has been widely used with the advent of computer networks and Internet technology. This can easily be seen in the number of ESOL websites, web projects, and articles about Internet use within the last four or five years. Since the use of computer technology is a new trend in language instruction, it has its opponents and proponents. Many educators think that there are great things that can be done with computers in education, but many others talk about the negative impact of computers on children, especially at early stages. Those who argue against the use of computers in the classroom cluster their arguments around three main ideas: negative impacts on children's health, socializing skills, and education. Proponents of computers, on the other hand, mention many advantages of using computer technology like motivating students to learn, helping students become more independent learners, helping students become more disciplined, providing a wide variety of registers and accents, providing simulations not found in traditional resources, and encouraging language acquisition. In the field of language testing, they argue that using computer technology has many benefits such as immediate feedback, individualized testing, and randomization through test banks to increase test security. Utilizing computer technology in school systems is not only a matter of making a decision of doing that. There are a lot of barriers to overcome. These barriers include the school infrastructure, lack of hardware and software, finances, teacher training, lack of technical, administrative and institutional support, lack of technical and theoretical knowledge necessary to enable teachers to resolve technical problems when they occur, acceptance of technologies, computer anxiety and lack of confidence, and teachers' beliefs and attitudes. This study examines how teachers of English at the secondary schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) perceive the use and incorporation of computer technology in language instruction through an investigation of teachers' attitudes and beliefs about integrating this technology into their classroom practices. Data was collected using a questionnaire that was administered to a number of English language teachers in secondary public schools of the UAE. It was found that teachers responses show positive attitudes towards using computers for general purposes such as surfing the Internet, and using e-mail for personal and/or professional communication. Teachers also show willingness to be trained to incorporate computer technology into classroom practices. This study also reveals that those teachers do not use the Internet for teaching purposes because they have no access to it in their schools.