I have browse to the link http://host8.123flashchat.com/eslcafe/ at www.eslcafe.com and also http://www.englishbaby.com/ to join the ESL chat central. It is good to join the chat room with people from all over the world where you can enhance your English in terms of vocabulary, grammar and so on by chatting with them. However, one of the disadvantages of this chat room is only a few people like to visit this website; when there is no one online you could not chat, you have to wait until there is someone entering the chat room. As for my case, I have to wait for almost twenty minutes before one person enter the room and join the chat with me.Furthermore, there are some backgrounds in this chat room are immoral and not decent enough, for instance, there is one background that shows a boy and a girl kissing passionately. In addition, I found that one of the flash emotions provided there is not really appropriate to be used such as when the user clicks for a sleepy emotion; it shows a Buddhist’s feature who is chanting somehow feel very sleepy. This emotion might insults the Buddhist and people from the other religions may feel not comfortable with it. When I try to join ESL teachers chat, the room is closed. Nevertheless, teacher discussion forums are really good as the reference for the teacher. Teacher from all over the world can register at this website and join the forum to discuss any topics related to teaching and learning process. Here, teachers can express ideas and opinions about anything regarding schools, students, learning teaching process and so on.
From my personal opinion, I think chat room or discussion at these sites could be integrated into the classes that I am going to teach in future. One of the ways of integrating chat room and discussion is by giving one specific topic to the students and then asks them to enter the reliable English chat room; the address will be given by the teacher. For example, teacher teaches about the topic Recycle; students can exchange the opinions on how people in different countries practice the recycling habits, what have their government done to encourage their people recycle their things and so on. May be as a preparation, teacher can provide a handout related to the topic and have the students to write down the points that they have discussed with their virtual friends in that handout. It will prove whether they join the chat room for the good purposes or not.
From my experience, I think integrating Computer Mediated Communication into ESL classes can affect second language learning. Usually, students will feel really excited when they get the chance to make friends with people from all over the world. Students can get into the conversation without worrying about the grammar. Moreover, students who do not actively participate in oral discussion in class will participate in a chat room or discussion board because learners feel more comfortable to involve in conversation; they think that nobody will be biased about their race, gender, accent, physical and status as they cannot see each other’s physical appearances. They only could see the words typed on the screen. They also were not nervous about making a mistake as they cannot see nonverbal cues such as frowning, hesitation from others in the chat room or discussion board. All in all, I really hope that I could integrate computer mediated communication in my classes when I am posted to the school as it will give the chance to the students to experience an authentic conversation with people who use English at the same time they could practice and improve their English competency.
*Thank you hazimah. It is very good that you have addressed about the moral value underline the website. Good reflection (^_^)..huu, so happy to receive such an encouraging comment from sir..posted this entry to share with my friends on how to integrate the technology into our lesson instead of using the tarditional methods only. hope students we'll enjoy learning coz English is fun! (^,~)