The article focuses on benefits of using online technologies at foreign language classes. Various opportunities and forms of distance learning in higher education institutions and also promising from authors’ point of view e-learning technologies, platforms, their strengths and drawbacks are analyzed in the work. Special attention is paid to the capabilities of the Zoom program as the most functional tool that allows teachers to conduct training sessions in the video conferencing mode. The authors suggest instructional techniques in the framework of distance learning, enabling to increase the efficiency of the transmission and perception of information that is necessary for students. The authors come to the conclusion that teachers’ task, at present, is to intensify the process of mastering the foreign language through the application of state-of-the-art technologies, facilitate each student’s activity in the process of distance learning and provide opportunities for their academic independence and creativity. The proper use of computer programs and Internet technologies in the framework of distance learning is of big importance in the improvement of the foreign language skills of students.
XXI century is a century of new technologies and innovations in various spheres of human life. The education system is no exception. Today, the Internet is inextricably linked with the life of almost every person. At the current time, students and schoolchildren actively use the computer and the Internet in their lives and education. The use of information technologies within distance learning opens up new opportunities for continuous training and retraining of specialists, obtaining a second education and more accessible training. Currently, when the situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus has spread to many countries, people have switched to a remote work format, as a result of which the concept of remote work has become very popular in the first half of 2020. One of the active consumers of this format of interaction is the educational sector. This is due to the fact that modern Internet resources provide «interactivity and multimedia support of the educational process, control of the assessment of cognitive activity of students». Internet technologies allow the teacher to conduct online training, use resources for distance learning, creating conditions for full assimilation of the material. There are many online schools where learning is built entirely on online platforms. Distance learning takes place when the instructor and the learner are not in the same physical location. In the work «Use of distance education model of teaching students in the educational process», A.Yu. Tseryulnik notes that there are a large number of Internet resources and programs that allow teachers to establish remote communication with students and organize the learning process as productively and sometimes unconventionally as possible: sending messages (email, WhatsApp, WeChat, etc.); collaboration documents (Google Docs, interactive whiteboard IDroo, NoteBookCast, etc.); social networks (Vkontakte, Facebook, Instagram, etc.); video conferencing (Zoom, DingTalk Lite, Google Meet, TrueConf, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.) [1; 34]. With the help of programs that allow to send messages, teacher can organize groups of students and quickly contact all participants, sending them information not only in the form of text, but also photos, videos, and audio recordings. Collaboration work opprtunities allow all participants to be engaged in the activity, both online and at any convenient time, and place. For example, if a student’s assignment needs to be checked, a teacher can use Google Docs, where students can place their files (essays, etc.). Virtual boards will help in organizing classes, because they can upload texts, multimedia, files, teacher can draw, and the cursor movements will be visible to all participants. Some boards even have options such as voice communication and using video via webcam (for example, Scratchwork)» , [2, 165].
The possibilities of social networks are now also actively used in the educational process. For example, Instagram has a live broadcast function, during which the teacher can conduct lectures for students. One of the advantages of online learning is an unlimited number of listeners and the ability to embed a visual component (photos and videos) in this live broadcast. In recent years, with the development of media and computer technology, educators have begun to use the interactive multi-media technologies to improve their teaching including language learning. This is particularly true in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The published researches’ quality on the effectiveness of media and technology use in language instruction is encouraging. Among other benefits, information technologies present opportunities to accomplish various instructional goals (e.g., integrated language skills, critical thinking, and cooperative skills). They may also be responsive to different learning styles (e.g., auditory, visual, tangible). The practice of incorporating multimedia and computer technology into language instruction opens up a new horizon for teachers of English language to improve the overall quality of language instruction.
Educational researches in the given field indicate that media and digital technologies are effective in language learning. Modern communicative approach use in teaching develops foreign languages students’ skills in real-life situations. Use of interactive multimedia technologies in communicative teaching foreign language considerably raises quality of a lesson and efficiency of mastering of the material by pupils. As practice shows, introduction and use of ineractive technologies, the multimedia equipment enriches the maintenance of educational process, raises motivation of students to learn English language and, at the same time, a close cooperation between teacher and pupils is achieved.
According to I.V. Robert, distance learning is understood as a pedagogical activity in which interaction is organized between the teacher and student, between the students themselves, and it is also an interactive source of information resource that reflects all the integral components of the educational process. Training is carried out in the context of the realization of the possibilities of information and communication technologies (effective training in methods, organizational management, training and control) [3, 323].
As noted by M.L. Kondakova and E.Ya. Podgornaya, network technologies in the educational process have the following properties: 1. flexibility, adaptability; 2. interactivity; 3. asynchrony (the ability to carry out technological training, regardless of time, convenient schedule).
The analysis of articles on the problem of distance learning has shown that a number of authors understand distance learning as learning at a distance, that is in a situation where the student is distant from the training distance [4, 105].
A.V. Zubov notes that «distance learning is a new form of organization of the educational process, combining traditional and new information technologies of training, based on the principle of independent knowledge acquisition, which mainly involves the telecommunications principle of delivering the main educational material to the student and interactive interaction between students and teachers both directly in the learning process and when evaluating the knowledge and skills they have acquired in the learning process. In his opinion, distance education involves the presence of certain means of receiving and transmitting data, common protocols for their interaction, appropriate software, as well as an administrative management group. He again points to the need for «appropriate software» [5, 95]. In this regard, A.A. Andreev emphasizes that the peculiarity of distance education is not that the presentation and exchange of educational information is carried out exclusively with the help of new information technologies. In our research, we rely on the definition of A.A. Andreev, as the most fully reflecting the essence of the concept: «Distance education is a system in which the process of distance learning is implemented and the individual achieves and confirms the educational qualification».
In accordance with methodologists who studied application of multimedia in language teaching, multimedia is the integration of more than one medium into some form of communication or experience delivered via a computer. Most often, multimedia refers to a computer-assisted technology that integrates media such as text, sound, graphics, animation, video, imaging, and spatial modelling into a computer system. According to Jonassen and Reeves, there are two major approaches to using media and technology in schools: students learn «from» media and technology, and they learn «with» media and technology. Learning «from» media and technology is often referred to computer assisted instruction . The findings concerning the impact of computer assisted teaching in education can be summed up as: 1) computers have positive effects on learning and are more motivating for students; 2) computer assisted teaching can fulfil a given set of educational objectives in less time than needed in more traditional approaches.
In our opinion, the situation in Kazakhstan, concerning online technology use and its development, is at an average stage, but a lot is being done in this direction. For example, the installation of digital educational technologies in educational institutions is being done successfully. The introduction of digital technologies in the educational process, the connection of resources and the use of opportunities provided by the Internet environment will allow actively involving all its participants in active work, increasing their motivation of training and, accordingly, the quality of education.
The Kazakhstan researcher S.S. Kunanbayeva (2017), who studies the problem of foreign languages education, believes that «…finding a rational method to meet the social requirements for the quality of language acquisition demonstrates the progressive development of foreign language teaching methods based on today’s socio-historical context». In the works of Dzhussubaliyeva (2016), Artykbayeva (2017), N.U. Nurgaliyeva (2017), studies were conducted on effective ways of organizing distance learning, as the highest level of informatization of education. The ways of introducing pedagogical and informational activities on the basis of digital educational resources are presented in the works of a number of Kazakhstan scientists.  F.K. Atabayeva (2010) believes that Internet and digital technologies are designed to make the educational interaction between a teacher and student convenient. In Kazakhstan’s educational institutions, the use of DER is not only expedient but also inevitable . The introduction of digital technologies in the educational process, the connection of resources and the use of opportunities provided by the Internet environment will allow actively involve all its participants in the educational process, increasing the motivation of training and, accordingly, the quality of education. One of the main characteristics of the educational material in the distance learning process, according to D.M. Dzhusubalieva, is flexibility. It allows the teacher to adapt the course of the educational process to the individual characteristics of the student, i.e. to be adaptive. The flexibility of the material is also necessary for the activity of the trainees. Educational material shows the property of flexibility if it is well-structured, organized and developed .
As stated by L.A Duiseyeva, «despite the rapid development of information technologies in the current century, online language learning may not be as effective as it is expected. Even if students can gain at least a basic grasp of a new language, they are not expected to reach anything near fluency. The students are ready for online language learning and positively inclined to it. However, it requires more self-control and responsibility, it may be less effective for academically challenged students who lack motivation and self-discipline and need a classroom with a teacher’s support» . A.M. Rakhimzhanov (2001) gave an analysis of the tendencies of reforming and improving the national education model, on the basis of which the role and importance of Internet resources in the formation of the national model of the education system are determined.
G.K. Nurgaliyeva (2001) identified ways to solve the development problems of distance education in Kazakhstan as an integral part of the State program for the digitalization of education. This is the basis for the development of online learning, the transition to the widespread use of social networks in professional education of the university.
The conducted experimental test on the assessment of the quality of teaching and learning a foreign language using digital educational resources, convincingly showed a positive impact of the effectiveness of the use of electronic learning tools in the educational process .
Kazakhstani researchers Zh. Karaev and E. Balafanov define distance learning as a new type of education characterized by the polyfunctionality of educational services, the specificity of teaching methods, and a high degree of activation of subjects of the educational process. N.T. Danaev, D.Zh. Ahmed-Zaki, M.E. Mansurova believe that «the implementation of distance education in the educational process necessitates the need to develop new methodologies for the design of training courses that would provide a target level of service quality, on the one hand, and a target level of production profitability, on the other» .
Materials and methods
The study was conducted applying methods of generalization of the material studied within the framework of the set goal and objectives on the use of Internet resources in distance foreign language teaching. The research on the problem of interactive technologies application in foreign language teaching shows that linguistic community with the potential of ICT in mind is making certain contribution to the effectiveness and quality of foreign language teaching to non-linguistic students.
As university teachers, for a number of years we have been practicing distance learning technologies use through the «Moodle» system. The «Moodle» system was chosen by us, because it has such advantages, as, students:
- show interest to the subject;
- consolidate the educational material;
- improve their knowledge of the English language.
Currently, the virtual learning environment based on Moodle is widely used in the higher education system. Moodle is a web platform that refers to free software environments with open access to code. Owing to the open source code, this system can be easily adapted to the goals of a particular educational project. With the help of this resource, a teacher can create a full-fledged course, including lectures, tasks for practice, tests with different types of tasks, and much more.
According to Tseryulnik A.Yu., Zoom is a leader among all other programs. Zoom is a service for video conferences, online meetings and distance learning. With the help of it, it is possible to conduct large interactive events with the broadcast of video, sound, and screens. Zoom is configured to manage large audiences using registration, organizer controls, surveys, questions and answers, hand-up voting, chat, video recordings of the event being held, etc. . Among the advantages of Zoom, Tseryulnik A.Yu. points out the ability for each group of students to set up a conference with a separate ID. Also, the teacher-organizer of the conference has the opportunity to turn on the «Waiting Room». This means that when connecting to the conference, the student does not immediately get into the virtual environment room, but only after the teacher's confirmation. During the lesson, the teacher can send the student to the «Waiting Room» and then return him to the shared virtual room. This feature will be useful, for instance, in the case of any game tasks in the classroom, when the student does not have to be present in the virtual classroom at a certain time. The teacherorganizer of the conference has the ability to turn off and turn on all microphones, as well as turn off the video and request the inclusion of video from all students, which is also a useful option that allows you to optimally organize the work process and control it. One of the most important advantages of Zoom for distance learning is the advanced screen demonstration capabilities. This option allows users to clearly explain any material. In Zoom, one can include a demonstration of the entire screen, as well as only a single application (for example, a presentation). One can only share audio, not including a screen demonstration. Also, user can pause the screen demonstration. In the settings, one can allow all participants to share the screen or enable restrictions so that only the organizer can do this. During the demonstration of the screen, as well as the screens of students, the teacher-organizer of the conference can use the comment function in Zoom. This means that user can write, draw on top of the screen demo. In other words, the basis of a virtual whiteboard can be demonstrated.
All the services mentioned above, of course, are of great importance in distance learning. However, the best results can be achieved by direct contact with students. This is possible when using video conferencing programs, as the teacher can work with a group of students and, at the same time, hear and see them. A unique feature of Zoom is session rooms. To understand the essence of this function, teacher can draw an analogy. During a traditional face-to-face practical lesson, teacher-organizer could divide students into groups and give them a task to prepare for a situation. This task can be organized using session rooms in Zoom, and students do not need to disconnect. Students may be divided into groups and distributed in separate virtual rooms — session halls, where they will communicate only with each other, the rest of them will neither see nor hear. The number of rooms is determined by the teacher-organizer. Participants can be assigned automatically or manually. The teacher-organizer has the opportunity to enter all rooms and observe the work of students, can also move participants from room to room. In the settings, teacher can additionally specify the time when students are in the virtual room, and the teacher can also send a message that will automatically appear in all rooms. It is also possible to call the teacher to a specific room if students have questions during the task. The possibility of session halls can also be used in the process of exams.
Another useful feature of Zoom, as Tseryulnik A.Yu. emphasizes, is the ability to make video recordings of classes with students. Teacher-organizer can also use this function to record video lectures that include a presentation, a voice explanation of the topic, and a video (when the webcam is turned on). The video can be paused and then continued. The video recording is saved after it is turned off and the conference ends. Comparing the traditional education with remote, it should be noted the advantages of the latter: the possibility of obtaining vocational education in a shorter time frame, taking into account individual inclinations of the student, the oppportunity of receiving educational services at a convenient time and regardless of the location of the institution, the possibility to combine the receipt of educational services and work, the use of a huge number of sources of information, the widespread use of information and telecommunication technologies. Also, among the advantages of online learning, one can highlight the possibility of improving one's level of IT competence, which allows a person to eventually «maintain competitiveness and not be shocked by constant technical and intellectual innovations». It should be noted that the productivity of the distance education system depends not only on the use of modern digital technologies but also on the awareness of the need for a creative approach to work, the establishment of interaction between students and teachers in the information space [1, 11].
Results and Discussion
Information technologies have a lot of benefits to live more comfortable. Distance learning is more convenient in the pandemic time. As a result of COVID-19, all schools, colleges and lyceums, universities and also some work places start teaching, learning and working in the distance without going anywhere. Distance learning enables students to study wherever they want across the globe, giving them opportunity to choose the university based on their location.
There are many reasons why online programs have become a popular form of distance learning in higher education today. The online technologies offer unprecedented opportunities for people who would be otherwise limited for access to the education.
Strengths of online learning are as follows:
- saves learners’ time and energy: save up a lot of time and energy on commuting. Students could stay in one area and a course might be pursued in any available area .
- study at one’s own pace: one of the biggest advantages of distance learning is that learners can study at a pace that is comfortable for them. The main advantage of asynchronous online learning is that it allows students to participate in-high quality learning situations when distance and schedule make on-ground learning difficult-to-impossible. Students can participate online classes from everywhere, if they have an electronic device and Internet connection. In addition, the online format allows physically challenged students (and teachers) more freedom to participate in class.
- offers professional development training. It is possible to study remotely in several courses simultaneously to receive the next higher degree. For this purpose, it is not necessary to take a vacation at the main place of work or go on business trips. There are educational organizations that organize corporate training for employees of firms and civil servants. In this case, the study does not interrupt the length of service, and the studied issues can be immediately applied to working life.
- can ensure high training results. Studies by American scientists show that the results of distance learning are not inferior or even superior to traditional forms of education. In distance learning students study most of the learning material on their own. This improves the memorization and understanding of topics learned, and the ability to immediately apply the knowledge in practice.
- offers mobility. Communication with teachers/tutors is carried out in different ways, both online and offline. Consulting with a tutor by email is sometimes more effective and faster than scheduling a face-to- face meeting in person.
- provides availability of training materials. Access to all necessary literature is available for students after registration on the university website or they receive educational materials by mail .
- distance education is cheaper. If we compare training in a single specialty on a commercial basis, both full-time and remotely, the second one will be cheaper.
- it is convenient for the teacher. Teachers and tutors who teach remotely cover a big amount of students and work while on maternity leave.
- individual approach use. In traditional teaching, it is difficult for the teacher to give the necessary amount of attention to all students in the group and adjust to the work pace of each. The use of distance technologies is suitable for organizing an individual approach in teaching and learning process.
Distance education aims to deliver a qualitative education to students who are not able to be physically present on campus. It’s a process in which using modern technologies the essential training aids are sent to the learner by teacher, although he is far away from the place where he studies.
In our view point, there are also disadvantages of distance learning: the lack of direct contact between students and the teacher is one of the main drawbacks; the absence of people around significantly reduces the effectiveness of the learning process. It is difficult to create a natural learning environment with students if classes are held in front of computer monitors.
Another problem of distance learning is the need for a personal computer and Internet access. One needs to constantly have access to sources of information, and this requires technical training .
Furthermore, there is an issue in the authentication of users while monitoring students’ knowledge. Since the best technological solutions have not yet been proposed, most distance learning programs still have a face-to-face examination session. It is difficult to identify who is on the other side of the screen. In some cases, this is a problem and requires special measures, admissions and tutors ' skills. Part of this problem is solved by installing video cameras on the training and program side.
Distance learning requires strict self-discipline, which directly depends on the independence and awareness of the student. Students tend to feel a lack of practice. There is no constant control over students, which is a powerful incentive for a person. It is required to have strong motivation to study online. Almost all training materials are mastered by the students themselves independently. This requires developed willpower, responsibility and self-control. Not everyone is able to maintain the right pace of learning without control.
Distance education is not suitable for the development of communication skills, confidence, or teamwork skills. In distance learning, students' personal contact with each other and with teachers is minimal, if any. Lack of practical knowledge is also a problem. In teaching remotely, it is difficult to deal with specialties which involve a large number of practical activities. Even the most modern simulators will not replace future physicians or teachers of «live» practice . The problem of user identification is one more problem. So far, the most effective way to see if a student has passed exams or credits honestly and independently is through video surveillance, which is not always possible. Therefore, students have to come to the final exam in person.
In our work with students of economics specialty the following sites were used: https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/grammar-vocabulary; www.eslvideo.com, http://engblog.ru/,
While working on the platform zoom.us, we usually use demonstation screen and show the students of economics specialties video films from the site www.eslvideo.com. For instance, While studying the theme «World tourism» students were shown the video «Top 10 things to see in California», The beauty of Hawaii. The learner can concentrate in detail on visual clues to meaning such as facial expression, dress, gesture, posture and on details of the environment. Even without hearing the language spoken clues, the meaning can be picked up from the vision alone. Using visual clues to meaning in order to enhance learning skills is an important part of video methodology. We often use at our English classes kahoot.com platform, which is a game-based learning and trivia platform. In the framework of the given platform, teachers can create multiple choice games related to class content.
In conclusion, it should be noted that digital technologies are developing and improving from day to day. Despite the difficult epidemiological situation worldwide, a lot of resources and programs allow not only support, but also increase the productivity of the teaching and learning process, which makes it interesting for students and motivate their cognitive activity.
Overall, we point to the significance and convenience of distance learning. Using multimedia technologies in teaching and learning process makes the lesson more productive and effective, i.e. they are a powerful tool for students’ foreign language skills improvement. In Buketov Karaganda University, various platforms are used to implement distance educational teachnologies (DET), each of which has a lot of opportunnities. Working on the Zoom platform allows teachers to see positive results in the development of students’ foreign language skills and increase motivation to study foreign language. There are the following benefits of using DET in the classroom:
DET encourages individual learning: no one learns in the same way because of different learning styles and different abilities. Technology provides great opportunities to make a learning process more effective for everyone with different needs, eg. students can learn at their own pace, review difficult concepts or skip ahead if they need to. Proper use of the Internet gives students opportinuty to use a broad range of resources in conducting research.
DET encourages collaboration: students can practice collaboration skills by getting involved in different online activities, i.e. working on different projects by collaborating with others on forums or by sharing documents on their virtual learning environment.
Thus, it can be concluded that distance learning is one of the flexible ways of the improvement of the education quality level and also professional career development.
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