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The internet in the British Columbia French as a second language classroom Ellis, Stefan 1995

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THE INTERNET IN THE BRITISH COLUMBIA FRENCH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE CLASSROOM by STEFAN ELLIS B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1992 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Modem Languages Education Department of Language Education We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA JULY, 1995 ©Stefan Ellis, 1995 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date Ovv^e ?G> )°)CltP DE-6 (2788) Abstract This study investigates the role of the Internet in teaching and learning French as a second language. In facilitating communication with francophones and access to topical information in French, the use of the Internet addresses many of the criticisms identified in prior research of the static nature of traditional computer-assisted language learning (CALL). The Internet potentially plays an important role in realizing the goals of the communicative approach in the British Columbia Core French curriculum. This study documents a variety of language learning activities that make use of the Internet's many facets, such as electronic mail, listservs, gophers, Usenet newsgroups, and World-Wide Web. Questionnaires were distributed to French teachers who either registered for an electronically-distributed course or attended a workshop on using the Internet in the French as a second language classroom. Follow-up interviews were conducted with a selection of teachers who completed and returned the questionnaire. The present study found that French teachers continue to value the Internet most for the exchange of electronic mail with francophone students. While expressing interest in other Internet-based activities, the teachers identified overriding concerns about keeping their students on-task, and about the poor quality and quantity of computing facilities at their schools. Further research should involve case studies with teachers who are implementing a variety of Internet activities over an extended term. iii Table of Contents Abstract ii Table of Contents iii List of Tables v List of Figures vi Acknowledgement viii CHAPTER ONE Introduction 1 Research Questions 4 CHAPTER TWO Background Review 7 The language laboratory 7 Computer-assisted language learning 9 The Internet 14 The Internet in the French as a second language classroom 18 Accessibility to computing facilities 22 Computer skills 24 Glossary of Internet terminology 26 Summary of background review 27 CHAPTER THREE Research Method 29 Subjects 38 Group 1: Registrants in Community Learning Network on-line course 39 Group 2: Internet workshop participants 42 Instruments 43 Questionnaires 44 iv Interviews 45 Summary of research method 46 CHAPTER FOUR Results: Research Question 1 47 Gopher resources 47 Usenet newsgroups 57 Electronic mail 64 Mailing lists 70 World-Wide Web resources 76 Language learning software on the Internet 82 Summary of resources 82 CHAPTER FIVE Results: Research Questions 2, 3 & 4 83 Profile of respondents 83 Evaluation of statements 86 Evaluation of Internet activities 88 Interviews 92 Summary of questionnaire and resource data 95 CHAPTER SIX Interpretation and Discussion 96 Interpretation of data collection 96 Summary of findings 101 Recommendations for administrators and practitioners 102 Recommendations for further research 104 References 105 Appendix A: Subject recruitment notice 108 Appendix B: Teacher questionnaire 109 List of Tables Table 1: Years of teaching experience 84 Table 2: Confidence in French fluency 84 Table 3: Computing skills 85 Table 4: Responses to evaluation statements in questionnaire 87 Table 5: Responses to Internet-based language learning activities 89 vi List of Figures Figure 1: Internet excerpt demonstrating dropped accents 16 Figure 2: Internet excerpt demonstrating two-keyed accents 16 Figure 3: Internet resource available in two versions 17 Figure 4: E-mail message explaining relocation of Internet resource 30 Figure 5: Sample e-mail message 33 Figure 6: E-mail exchange request 34 Figure 7: Sample gopher menu 35 Figure 8: Listing of Usenet newsgroups 35 Figure 9: Listing of messages in newsgroup 36 Figure 10: WebLouvre World-Wide Web home page 37 Figure 11: Primary French Immersion resources on the BCTF gopher 48 Figure 12: French as a Second Language resources on the BCTF gopher 49 Figure 13: Excerpt from SchoolNet gopher 49 Figure 14: Description in French of gophers 50 Figure 15: Menu from the French Embassy gopher 51 Figure 16: Geographical information on the French Embassy gopher 51 Figure 17: Course information on the French Embassy gopher 53 Figure 18: Budgeting information on the French Embassy gopher 54 Figure 19: French-language news excerpt from the Internet 55 Figure 20: Tourist Information on the Internet 56 Figure 21: Description of culinary specialties in Alsace 56 Figure 22: Sample Minitel-based language learning activity 57 Figure 23: Hierarchy of French-language newsgroups 59 Figure 24: Message from moderator for k12.lang.francais newsgroup 60 Figure 25: Objectives of the French Data Network 60 Figure 26: E-mail exchange request from students in France 61 vii Figure 27: Sample dialog on the newsgroup 61 Figure 28: Follow-up messages to query on French-language newsgroup 62 Figure 29: Excerpt from the soc.culture.french newsgroup 63 Figure 30: Description of Internet character sets 64 Figure 31: Description of Usenet newsgroups 64 Figure 32: Sample requests for e-mail correspondence 67 Figure 33: E-mail exchange request from France 68 Figure 34: E-mail correspondence from France 69 Figure 35: Conventional exchange resulting from Internet project 69 Figure 36: Activities schedule for La Classe Globale Francophone 71 Figure 37: Excerpt from EduFrancais listserv 72 Figure 38: Excerpt from Frogmag listserv 73 Figure 39: Excerpt from Immersion listserv 74 Figure 40: Excerpt from French Terminology listserv 74 Figure 41: Excerpt from Cinema listserv 75 Figure 42: Excerpt from FrenchTalk listserv 76 Figure 43: Open Government home page 77 Figure 44: Fables de La Fontaine on the World-Wide Web 78 Figure 45: Page from on-line museum in France 79 Figure 46: Radio France International Web page 81 Acknowledgement I would like to thank: Dr. Stephen Carey for encouraging me to take on the Master's degree; Drs. Ken Reeder and Victor Froese for helping me to articulate my thesis research; Dr. Bill Winder for inspiring me to pursue my interests in languages and computers; and the teachers who participated in the data collection for this study. 1 CHAPTER ONE Introduction The Internet is growing exponentially. No longer the exclusive domain of the academic community, the Internet is now easily accessible to a worldwide audience of individuals, companies, and institutions. The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that was initially designed by the U.S. military to withstand a nuclear war or natural disaster. Data on the Internet takes an unpredictable route through a complex, worldwide web, automatically bypassing disrupted links. This decentralized nature of the Internet remains its most distinguishing characteristic. No single individual, corporation, or country has control. The Internet shows no signs of abating and simply cannot be stopped. The quantity of information on the Internet is also growing as rapidly as its number of users. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) adds several hundred entries weekly to its listing of new Internet resources. Most of these new resources are commercial. For example, Internet users can now order books over the Internet from Duthie Books in Vancouver or from Kenny's Bookshop in Galway, Ireland, and browse, listen to, and order compact discs from extensive on-line catalogues. These services make use of recent advances in Internet technology that permit the rapid exchange of text, audio, pictures, and video. Non-commercial individuals and institutions are also taking advantage of the Internet's open architecture. The several thousand Usenet newsgroups and listservs host lively discussions on a wide variety of topics: Interested in practising your French? You can subscribe to CAUSERIE . Ceramics and pottery? Try CLAYART. Electronic music? EMUSIC-L. Beatles music, bonsai, copy editing, food and wine, Latin, automotive repair, pipe organs, greyhounds, 30-somethings, graphic design, Buddhism, meditation, screenwriting - the list is eclectic and enticing. (Scott, 1993, p. 15) 2 The growth in non-commercial usage of the Internet is especially noticeable in the educational community, where teachers and students are beginning to realize the Internet's educational potential. In British Columbia teachers and students are joining the Ministry of Education's Community Learning Network (CLN), which provides full access to electronic mail, educational discussion groups, Usenet newsgroups, listservs, and to World-Wide Web sites. Amongst these educational users are French teachers who are beginning to take interest in the Internet's potential as a language learning tool. In October 1994 forty language teachers attended an Internet workshop hosted by the British Columbia Association of Teachers of Modern Languages. This workshop provided the attending teachers with an brief overview of the Internet. Using a computer laboratory connected to the Internet, these teachers conducted their own hands-on exploration of its language learning resources. The Internet workshop was filled to capacity, suggesting that the Internet is catching the attention of language educators. In November 1994 thirty-four British Columbia French teachers enrolled in an eight-lesson distance education course distributed by the CLN that explores the use of the Internet in the FSL curriculum. Using school or home computers, French teachers receive the lessons via electronic mail, which can be printed out for easy reference. The electronic distribution of the course is indicative of the changing nature of access to information; one's physical location is no longer a factor in determining the availability of information. This philosophy underlies the principles of distance education, and will extend into the French classroom, where teachers will have convenient access to information on the contemporary cultures of francophone communities. As part of the phenomenal growth of the Internet, new services and resources are catering to the growing on-line community of French teachers. La Classe Globale Francophone (CGF) is a worldwide consortium of French teachers who use the Internet for collaborative learning projects. The CGF coordinators encourage group 3 collaboration over the Internet, which is in contrast to the traditional use of telecommunications for class-to-class exchange of electronic mail. EduFrangais is an electronic bulletin of information relating to the teaching of French. Coordinated by the French cultural attache in Canada, EduFrangais provides French teachers with updates on seminars, workshops, new vocabulary, and other topical issues. The American Association of Teachers of French provides an Internet service that features extensive lesson plans for how to include the Internet in a French as a second language curriculum. Teacher education programs have not kept pace with the rapid growth in the Internet. The only cross-curriculum computer instruction in the 1994/1995 teacher education program at the University of British Columbia was a single three-hour workshop in a compulsory course. With only three hours of computer instruction, these teachers will be further discouraged to use computers in the classroom when they are met in the school system with inadequate facilities to accommodate even the most simple computer-based activity. French teachers who have formerly had little or no technological or computer-based training may have unrealistic expectations of the Internet's potential based on the current wave of popular media euphoria. A French teacher recently told me that she wanted to use the Internet to access in-depth articles on AIDS-related issues affecting teenage girls. Her expectation was that the information superhighway would naturally lead to this database. She was disappointed to learn that this information is not available, at least not for free, over the Internet. Thus, popular media may in fact create an adverse reaction for teachers who develop unrealistic expectations for Internet usage in their classrooms. On the other hand, teachers possessing little instruction on the Internet may also underestimate the Internet's role in the second language classroom. The Internet's relevance to the teaching of French in British Columbia is heightened not only by the growing availability of computer technology but also by 4 changes in the curriculum that place a greater emphasis on students' use of French for authentic communication. In this view, students actively use the French language to interact with francophone culture, thereby gaining an understanding of the link between language and culture. This approach is in contrast to the former emphasis on students' linguistic competence, which comes at the expense of understanding its integral relation to francophone culture. The Internet potentially plays a significant role in bolstering communicative competence by providing an inexpensive link to francophone resources worldwide. In light of these curricular changes as well as the growing prominence of the Internet, there is a pressing need to understand how the Internet could be used in the French classroom, and to examine what obstacles face French teachers who are interested in using this fascinating medium. Research Questions The following principal research questions guide the research in the present study: 1. What are the current Internet resources that are suitable for the French as a second language (FSL) curriculum? 2. In what ways and under what circumstances would these French teachers use the Internet with their students? The following ancillary questions were also identified: 3. How do these French teachers evaluate their schools' computing facilities for conducting Internet-based activities with their students? 4. How do these French teachers evaluate their own computer- and Internet-based skills? The first question serves to define the Internet as it was available to French teachers during the writing of this thesis. This question is especially important due to the volatility of the Internet, as today's resources may not be available tomorrow. Similarly, new resources are rapidly appearing as the Internet continues its exponential 5 growth. The documentation of the Internet's FSL resources is important because to date little academic attention has been given this medium in terms of French teaching. The second question asks how French teachers would use the Internet in their classrooms. This calls for French teachers to review language learning activities that are currently possible on the Internet. The teachers may raise pedagogical concerns with particular Internet activities. Some resources, such as Usenet newsgroups, provide an insight into the contemporary life and culture of the world's francophone communities, but usually contain poorly written responses. To what extent are French teachers willing to tolerate these shortcomings in light of the Internet's ability to provide a contemporary perspective on francophone culture? Some resources may be difficult to access or integrate into the curriculum. Other resources, such as La Classe Globale Francophone, which is tailored for French instruction over the Internet, may receive acclaim from French teachers. The second research question also asks under what conditions French teachers would use the Internet in their classrooms. One technical difficulty in implementing the Internet in the FSL curriculum is the inconsistent support for diacritical characters, which were excluded from the initial design of the Internet. Since French teachers encourage their students to correctly use the diacritical characters in French, additional procedures must be followed in order to handle the transmission of these characters over the Internet. The third research question investigates the computing facilities that are available to French teachers. Some Internet resources, such as those on the World-Wide Web, are designed for interactive, hands-on exploration by students. However, this sort of activity would be difficult to organize when only one Internet access line is available to an entire class. The fourth research question investigates the computing skills of French teachers. Do these teachers possess adequate knowledge about the Internet and computers in 6 general to begin planning Internet-based language learning activities? To what extent are these teachers confident in their own computing abilities? In the next chapter, the literature and background information relevant to the research questions are reviewed. 7 CHAPTER TWO Background Review The Internet is the latest in a series of technological innovations for second language education. The rise and subsequent fall of its predecessors, namely, the language laboratory (LL) and computer-assisted language learning (CALL) software, provide important clues to understanding the Internet's potential for success in the language classroom. The language laboratory The language laboratory is perhaps the best known and most notorious example of a technological innovation in the second language classroom. It is difficult for a younger generation to imagine the wave of genuine enthusiasm which accompanied the rise of language laboratories in the U.S. in the 1960s (and in Europe five years later). For a time, these machine banks seemed to capture the imagination of linguists and foreign language teachers alike and to acquire the near-mythical status of the language teaching medium par excellence. (Harding & Rodgers, 1985, p. 21) The traditional language laboratory is comprised of a series of booths, each providing a cassette deck, and accompanying microphone and headphone. Using a central control panel, a teacher monitors students' interactions with pre-recorded tapes that usually feature native speakers. This activity was based on the perceived need for language reinforcement through drill-and-practice, and for increased exposure to native speakers: 'Trial and error learning,' or 'operant/instrumental conditioning' was concerned with the building of micro-behaviors into macro-patterns. This view of learning, in which verbal behavior was modeled, mimicked, and reinforced, proved very attractive to language educators, especially since the language laboratory seemed the ideal technological means to model and reinforce student verbal responses in a foreign language. (Harding & Rodgers, 1985, p. 22) 8 The pedagogical justifications for the language laboratory were accompanied by claims supporting its ability to motivate. "Language laboratories were a major breakthrough in language teaching methodology because in theory they took the boredom out of the classroom. Teachers could leave to the lab all of the drudgery of drilling and pattern practice and keep for themselves the interesting aspects of instruction." (Harding & Rodgers, 1985, p. 23) This excerpt suggests that language laboratories succeeded in motivating teachers, not students. As an undergraduate student in the University of British Columbia's Department of French, I along with my fellow students found that the compulsory laboratory sessions easily qualified as drudgery, resulting in poor attendance when the instructor was not present: Even competent materials did not guarantee student interest and learning. Students were not long in discovering how extraordinarily tedious and boring even 'good' language laboratory materials could be. As well, students found that they could detect when the teacher was monitoring them and pretend they were working only at that moment. They also found that individualization was simply another word for isolation. (Harding & Rodgers, 1985, p. 26) To be sure, the language laboratory provides for student-teacher interaction. However, the amount of human interaction in the language laboratory is minimal, calculated roughly by the number of minutes in the class divided by the number of students. Each student in a fifty-minute class of thirty students would receive only one minute and forty seconds of interaction with the instructor. "Motivation to speak or write in a foreign language often is linked to a genuine desire to communicate a message-- to be understood and to understand another human being" (Lyman-Hager, 1992, p. 9). Thus for the most part students in the language laboratory speak into an unreceptive cassette machine, repeating the voice on the tape. Somehow earnest scholars decreed that language learners would be stuffed with dull, tedious, and repetitious material, until they regurgitated it automatically, and not unexpectedly the students tuned out. Where 9 possible, the students walked out of the language laboratory or refused to walk in." (Rivers, 1990, p. 273) The traditional language laboratory's irrelevance to individualized instruction was even more apparent with the shift to the communicative approach to second language education. "With a more active and communicative classroom the work in the laboratory seemed dull and irrelevant." (Rivers, 1990, p. 274) The same criticism of irrelevance would later be levied against the technological successor to the language laboratory, namely, computer-assisted language learning (CALL). Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) Despite its widespread use, computer-assisted language learning continues to suffer from criticisms that originate with the traditional language laboratory. Ever since the use of computers in language learning has been promoted, the realization of this task has been accompanied by critical comments and warnings from applied linguists, language teachers and educationalists. This hardly comes as a surprise when one looks back to the initially almost euphoric reception of the language laboratory (LL) and its subsequent decline as a tool for language learning. (Bickes & Scott, 1989, p. 21) Computers are now considered standard equipment in the language laboratory. The language laboratory facilities of the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia, for example, were upgraded to include a network of IBM-compatible and Macintosh workstations. The University of British Columbia's Ritsumeikan laboratory, used by exchange students from Ritsumeikan University in Japan, includes a network of twenty-one Macintosh computers, some with built-in multimedia capabilities. The University of Victoria's Language Centre offers both Macintosh- and IBM-based computer workstations to students in the university's undergraduate language programs. Many language laboratories continue to serve mainly in their traditional cassette-based role, despite the availability of sophisticated computer equipment. One reason is the large quantity of cassette-based curricular resources that are available to serve the 10 traditional language laboratory. Cassette-based activities are easy to use and produce, requiring no more than a cassette machine with accompanying headphone and microphone. Computer-based exercises, on the other hand, are expensive and usually have very specific computer hardware requirements, such as a particular operating system (e.g. Macintosh, DOS, Windows), or sound card and high-resolution monitor. These factors limit the usefulness of software in a laboratory with a diversity of computing facilities. For example, the Multimedia Facility in the UBC Faculty of Arts has twelve Macintosh computers and twelve IBM-compatible computers. Since most language learning software is designed for only one operating system, so that only twelve students (from a class size of thirty students) would have exclusive access to a computer-based activity. Students are often grouped at each workstation, usually resulting in one student in front of the keyboard, with the others gathered passively around. The advent of computers in the language laboratory promised to drastically improve upon the shortcomings of the traditional language laboratory, giving rise to computer-assisted language learning (CALL) software. CALL has provoked controversy in the language learning community and consequently has not gained widespread approval. CALL software purports to motivate second language learners in the same way that the language laboratory promised to motivate second language teachers - by removing the boredom of the language classroom. The computer is infinitely patient, consistent, and attentive to the smallest of details. Furthermore, the power of CALL programs to motivate and maintain the student's attention appears to exceed that of traditional workbooks (Wyatt 4) - reason enough to warrant our closer attention as language professionals. (Blake, 1987, p. 26) However, subsequent research suggests that CALL'S motivating capacity is overestimated. Jones (1991) observed that students used their native language to 11 discuss strategies for solving a ESL reading game, instead of using English to discuss the content behind the game, the intended learning activity. Jones argues that CALL is often relegated to a Friday afternoon fun activity because of its reputation for placing task motivation before syllabus motivation. Another widely-touted advantage of CALL is that the unidirectional transfer of information associated with the traditional laboratory's video-and tape-recorders is replaced in CALL with a "bidirectional exchange of information, instant response to the student's input and individual tutoring without classroom constraints" (Bickes & Scott, 1989, p. 25). Using CALL, students work at an individual pace by providing automated feedback to cloze and multiple-choice questions. The major advantage of technology-assisted language learning is indubitably its potential to meet the needs of individual learners, giving students time and the opportunity to repeat or not repeat material at will, providing immediate access to the desired information, illustration, correction, modeling, or guidance, or the right to ignore such aids. The student may choose more or less practice, exploration, advice, or evaluation. (Rivers, 1990, p. 276) However, Eastment (1986) observes that the CALL programs developed in the 1960s and 1970s were "essentially limited exercises. There is a finite number of manipulative changes you can ring on a text; and an exercise that is fun the first few times can rapidly become merely tiresome" (p. 2). Eastment notes that the limitations of these programs reflects the linear, rigid and inflexible nature of the computer languages used to create them. However, the legacy of these programs continues as the majority of CALL programs in use today are relics of the era of linear programming; the recent advances in multimedia technology have not resulted in a parallel increase of high-quality multimedia software. As a former programmer for the UBC Faculty of Arts computer language laboratory, I observed firsthand that the majority of programs in-use were developed before the advent of window- and mouse-based software. 12 Thus, the majority of CALL software continues to focus on grammar-based exercises where only one or two correct answers are possible. Despite the limited usefulness of such software, CALL, and computers in general, were viewed as the natural successors to language teachers. Eastment (1986) suggested that computers would replace teachers and become the new focus of the language classroom: "A great deal of this [CALL] software can actively erode the teacher's role... As this process goes on, there is very little a teacher can do, beyond wandering around the room monitoring what is going on at each machine. And it is not a role that all teachers are comfortable in!" (p. 5). Bickes and Scott (1989) argued that teacher opinion of CALL is strongly affected by the computer's potential to perform a large part of their job, because the "very ability [of CALL] to simulate the role of the teacher, combined with their limitations in doing so owing to the technology underlying them, makes them liable to criticism and misconceptions derived from exaggerated and inadequate expectations" (p. 25). Garrett (1988) makes an important distinction between the language teacher's opinion of the merits of computers in general and of computers in the language classroom. She observes that language teachers recognize the numerous advantages to the word processor but that they are divided on the role of the computer in language teaching: this "provides unarguable evidence that language-teaching software, in contrast to word-processing software, is not yet sufficiently developed to persuade [language teachers] immediately of its worth" (p. 6). Perhaps CALL suffers most from its rigidity in light of the complexities of natural languages. For example, a program designed to provide drill practice on French verb conjugation is useful for nothing else. The content of commercially-available grammar tutorials, which are usually marketed without a specific curriculum in mind, may also conflict with the sequence of lessons selected by a teacher. Authoring systems, such as MacLang, were developed as a response to the inflexibility of predefined tutorials, but suffer from similar shortcomings. Authoring 13 systems provide the framework in which teachers can develop their own exercises, usually consisting of cloze and multiple choice questions. However, this additional is offset by the additional time that teachers must invest in learning how to use the authoring system, and in developing customized exercises for use by their students. The conceptual gap between the lesson author and the computer can be bridged by a number of authoring 'aids' or 'tools'. These are combinations of programs and programming languages which allow teachers to encode their knowledge in ways which the computer can understand and exploit. (Sussex, 1991, p. 16) This description is revealing in its acknowledgment that the complexities of natural languages must, for the purposes of CALL, be reduced to structures that the computer can understand. The computer, to be sure, is a powerful tool with an infinitely large capacity to store data, but to what extent do language teachers have the interest, time, and expertise to develop a database to account for every possible mistake? Blake (1987) argues that CALL can succeed only when this comprehensive database is developed: The development of sophisticated error-analysis routines remains the key to the successful incorporation of CALL into the foreign language curriculum in a way that uses the computer's special features without trivializing that complex phenomenon, human speech, (p. 28) In this model, the future of CALL rests on a major and possibly unattainable breakthrough in computer technology. Language teachers stand aside while the computer programmers sort out the details of these sophisticated error-analysis routines. Garrett (1988) suggests that teachers do not disapprove of using the computer for automated learning tasks: [Language teachers] would like to be able to delegate the more 'mechanical' and 'tedious' and 'noncommunicative' language-learning activities (i.e., work on grammar and vocabulary) to the computer, in order to free class time for spontaneous interpersonal language-using activities. (Garrett, 1988, p. 7) 14 This philosophy offers a limited view of the computer's potential in the language classroom. Jones (1991, p. 4) argues that using computer in this role defies the 'ends before means' principle of pedagogical materials design. The emphasis on computer technology is also found in literature on potential roles for computer-assisted language learning. Flawelling (1993) discusses advances in voice synthesis and recognition technology. Underwood (in Smith, 1987) explores artificial intelligence techniques for language learning, including mechanical parsing, machine translation, speech recognition and speech synthesis. The computer is not limited to noncommunicative language learning tasks. It can also server in a more passive and unobtrusive, yet essential, role. The computer has a real role to play in materials design, even in the communicative classroom-based lesson - as long, however, as computer programs are seen in the same light as more 'conventional' materials resources, i.e. as lesson aids rather than the lesson itself. (Jones, 1991, p. 5) In this role the computer promises to be very useful to second language educators. One important way to more fully realize this role is in connecting to the Internet. The Internet The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that interact on a standardized set of protocols. These protocols operate independently of particular computer operating systems, allowing for a variety of access methods to the Internet. For example, the Internet can be accessed as easily from a Macintosh Classic computer in a multimedia laboratory in Vancouver, Canada, as it can from a Pentium-based IBM-compatible computer in a student's home in Sydney, Australia. The Internet has long been accessible to educators. Teachers in British Columbia were provided with free accounts on the University of British Columbia's MTS-G system, 15 well before the current euphoria surrounding telecommunications in the classroom. However, the interface presented to teachers was crude. A cold prompt would await teachers who logged into the MTS-G system. This command-line interface made assumptions about the computer literacy skills of its users, most notably that the user knew what to type in next. Despite the long-time availability of the Internet, its usefulness for French as a second language instruction is just now being realized. Until recently francophones and francophone resources on the Internet were scarce. One important reason for this absence was that the Internet was not designed initially to support the French language, since its original purpose was to provide an impenetrable computer network for the U.S. military in the event of nuclear war or natural disaster. The developers of Internet did not anticipate its use beyond the cold war and consequently did not account for the diacritical characters that appear in most other languages: Initialement, les Americains n'ont pas prevu les accents ni les caracteres accentues des differentes langues lorsqu'ils ont elabore la messagerie electronique pour I'lnternet. (Chateauneuf, 1994, p. 9) With the arrival of sophisticated telecommunications equipment at the end of the cold war the military no longer needed the Internet for its original purpose. The Internet was adopted by scientists and university researchers for exchanging data. As computers became popularized as household appliances in the mid-1980s, the population at large became interested in data communications. The Internet's ongoing usefulness as a worldwide communications tool is hampered by the widespread use of the US-ASCII character set, which does not support the diacritical characters that appear in most other languages, including French. Several makeshift solutions were developed to address the problem of representing diacritical characters in the US-ASCII character set. The most common method is to 16 replace accented characters with their non-accented equivalents, as shown in the following excerpt from a daily French news summary: Figure 1: Internet excerpt demonstrating dropped accents Le p r e s i d e n t F r a n c o i s M i t t e r r a n d a e x a l t e h i e r s o i r " 1 ' u n i t e " des combattants p o u r . l a L i b e r a t i o n de P a r i s , s u r l e p a r v i s de 1'Hotel de V i l l e . "Ah! sachons p r e s e r v e r ce q u i d o i t nous u n i r quand i l s ' a g i t de l a p a t r i e " , s ' e s t exclame l e p r e s i d e n t de l a Republique, q u i a nomme l e s heros de c e t t e journee, au premier rang desquels l e g e n e r a l de G a u l l e . This representation is found in most casual e-mail correspondence, where the content of the message is usually more important than its orthographic or grammatical correctness. In more formal contexts, accented characters are represented by two characters, one to represent the base letter, the second to represent the diacritic, as shown in this excerpt from the Internet: Figure 2: Internet excerpt demonstrating two-keyed accents Au r i s q u e de choquer, i l f a u t b i e n r e c o n n a i A t r e que l e malheur peut a v o i r quelque chose de beau quand i l f a i t l ' o b j e t d'une photo. Et p e u t - e ^ t r e e s t - c e c e t t e beaute' q u i rend l e drame encore p l u s grave, p l u s p oignant, p l u s p a t h e ' t i q u e encore. This format, despite its accurate representation of accented characters, is cumbersome to type in and awkward to read. Using the search-and-replace function of most word processors, two-keyed accents can be converted to properly-accented letters. Some services, such as the Revue de Presse, are available in two versions. The "versions accentuees" in the list below offer diacritical characters using the ISO-8859-1 character set; the other versions drop the accent but not the base letter, as described above. The following Internet excerpt shows the two-version listings for the Revue De Presse: 17 Figure 3: Internet resource available in two versions REVUE DE PRESSE AVAILABLE IN TWO VERSIONS 7 Revue de Presse du 3/8/94 (version accentuee). 8 Revue de Presse du 3/8/94 9 Revue de Presse du 4/8/94 (version accentuee). 10 Revue de Presse du 4/8/94 The ISO-LATIN character set was developed to accommodate diacritical characters. However, since the ISO-LATIN character set requires an upgrade of computer software for Internet hosts, most of the Internet continues to use US-ASCII, resulting in inconsistent display of diacritical characters. The confusion and inconsistency surrounding diacritical characters is at best discouraging for language educators. Until the ISO-LATIN character set gains widespread acceptance, language educators will have to deal with an inconsistent handling of the diacritical characters that give the French language its unique appearance. English is the language of the Internet. If an Internet service, such as a discussion group or mailing list, does not identify itself to be in a particular language, the default language is English. Sometimes, a predominantly English discussion group will contain a message in another language. Although this message will be tolerated, it will be passed over by most English-speaking Internet users, consequently reaching a very small audience. Fortunately, the Internet contains numerous repositories where the use of another language, such as French, is actively encouraged and often strictly required. The predominance of English on the Internet is accompanied by the Internet's poor reach into francophone regions of the world. Despite the Internet's strong roots in North America, where the extensive data communications infrastructure allows for widespread access, the Internet is poorly represented in other countries, such as the francophone countries in Europe and Africa. In France, for example, the French government invested heavily in Minitel, which gives consumer-level access to information on train, flight, and television scheduling, and pricing details for various other 18 commercial services. The Minitel provides various chat lines, but is not designed to interact with services outside of France, such as the Internet. Although France is wired for the Minitel, the interface between Minitel and the worldwide Internet is poor. Consequently, FSL educators' request for contacting francophones on the Internet for the purposes of cultural and language exchange projects are often unanswered. Internet accessibility from France, however, is increasing dramatically. Data on Internet usage ( shows that the number of Internet hosts in France has jumped by 117% from January to October, 1994, more than the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Japan, and Sweden. The rapid increase in Internet access to francophone communities will result in a similar growth in French-language Internet resources. In this thesis, the documentation of these resources therefore serves to identify the resources that were available to the teachers who participated in the subsequent research questions. Internet in the French as a second language classroom The second research question in this study asks how French teachers are using or would use the Internet in their classrooms. A recent survey by the CLN suggests that teachers do not think of the Internet firstly as a resource for their students: Benefits for students however were not the primary advantages associated with CLN use. For various reasons, teacher subscribers perceived the network as having more benefits for themselves personally than for their students, at least for the immediate future. Teachers valued their exposure to the network because it allowed them to gain new personal skills, to improve their computer knowledge, and to explore the new field of telecommunications. (BC Ministry of Education, 1994c, p. 1) The CLN survey also found that three-quarters of the interviewed teachers had not been ready or were not able to allow students to have hands-on experience with the Internet. 19 Increasingly, however, students are becoming involved in exploring and contributing to the Internet. For example, the Internet Invitations listserv broadcasts teachers' requests for arranging correspondence via e-mail on the Internet. The Internet is also used as a publishing medium; students at Patch American High School in Germany ( use the Internet to publish artwork. Second language students have also succeeded in using the Internet for inter-cultural communication. Sanaoui and Lapkin (1992) studied the logistics and pedagogical outcomes of linking via e-mail anglophone students in Ontario with francophone students in Quebec. The project addressed the need, identified in prior research, for more interactions with native speakers of the target language. The students, who organized their written exchanges on thematic units, revealed that e-mail exchange motivated them to apply their language skills and to gain a cultural awareness. Sanaoui and Lapkin predictably conclude that the computer provides a more prolonged correspondence to a wider audience for considerably less cost than in-person exchanges. Thus, if computer networks can and do provide possibilities for [...] cultural rapprochement, as well as linguistic and motivational benefits, [...] more efforts should be made to research and promote the use of this technology in the French as a second language classrooms which are geographically distant from or do not have easy access to Francophone communities. (Sanaoui and Lapkin, 1992, p. 544) This is perhaps the most promising role for the Internet in the French as a second language classroom. French teachers may already hold a positive opinion of the Internet based simply on their understanding of its ability to access distant cultures. Reynolds (1992) observes that telecommunications is suited to the language classroom because of the expenses associated with distant correspondence by other means. 20 The global classroom capability of telecommunications is of particular interest to the foreign language teacher because the target of the curriculum is a remote culture, a distant place. To this point, the available means of communicating with the native have been either financially discouraging, as in actual trips or telephone calls to the country of interest, or they have been sporadic, as in penpal letters or guest speakers. (Reynolds, 1992, p. 22) Telecommunications in the French classroom is especially relevant in British Columbia, which is geographically distant from the francophone population in Quebec. The Internet provides an affordable medium for communicating because the costs of doing so are absorbed by the network at large. This is in contrast to telephone calls, which are billed to the participating parties. A logistical justification for using the Internet in the French classroom is the emphasis on asynchronous communication: students compose their messages when it suits the school timetable or availability of computers. A live telephone call, conversely, requires coordination between time zones. The asynchronous nature of most communication over the Internet also frees students from the anxiety associated with live interactions. (Until recently, live video conferencing has not been possible over the Internet.) In addition to these technical and economic reasons, the use of the Internet is also justified by recent changes to the pedagogical principles of French teaching, which emphasize the study of language in a cultural context. The British Columbia Ministry of Education published these new guidelines in its Core French Curriculum Guide (1994a): Core French recognizes that language and culture are inextricable and interdependent. Experience of one enhances understanding of the other. More than that, personal experience of francophone cultures increases understanding and appreciation of other cultural groups, and opens the mind to new and different ways of seeing the world, (p. 7) Each objective of the Core French program reveals the need for a medium such as the Internet that can provide a contemporary and ongoing link to francophone culture. 21 1. Communicating. French is used to establish and maintain personal relationships, to share ideas and opinions, and to get things done. The Internet is ideally suited to this task because students can use electronic mail to link to francophones worldwide. In this way, the Internet facilitates the use of the French language in an authentic setting, which is in contrast to the contrived nature of textbook-based interactions. 2. Acquiring information. French is used to acquire information from French language resources for a variety of purposes. An authentic purpose engages the students in thoughtful learning and is meaningful and relevant to their lives. Students can engage in explorations of French-language resources on the Internet's World-Wide Web. Numerous resources are ideally suited to this task, such as the French Embassy's gopher service. Various museums and art galleries in France provide hypertext encyclopedias that are accessible over the Internet. These resources are described in the overview of Internet resources in the following chapter. 3. Experiencing Creative Works. French is used to listen to, read, and view creative works in French in various formats, and to respond to them in personal ways. Here, the Internet can serve not only as a medium for viewing creative works, but also as a platform for students' own compositions. For example, the Fables de la Fontaine are available on-line through the Ministry of Education's Projet Telecolombie. Students are invited to contribute their own drawings to accompany the text. Numerous public schools are using the World-Wide Web for publishing students' work for other Internet users to explore. 22 4. Understanding Cultural Influence. French is used to participate in francophone cultures, and experience personally the ways in which cultural background influences one's view of the world. Here, the Internet provides students with a vast collection of French-language resources that identify the many facets of francophone cultures. By using these resources, students gain a better understanding of how their own lifestyles are shaped by the culture that surrounds them. 5. Using Language Learning Strategies. Specific language learning strategies enable students to gain access to information, clarify and negotiate meaning, and cope more effectively in unfamiliar situations — in French, in their first language, and in additional languages. By engaging in on-line Internet explorations in French, students are involved in discussing strategies for navigating menus and locating information. In this way, the Internet is the incidental purveyor of information as well as the topic of discussion on the French classroom. Another way to engage in language learning strategies on the Internet is to partake in live interactions with francophones using video conferencing technology. The Internet provides a way for French teachers and students to make use of the computer as a means to resources that reside beyond the immediate classroom. Accessibility to computing facilities "It is probably fair to assume that the relative scarcity of computer resources is a significant contributing factor in retarding the development of expertise in the teaching force." (Beairsto, 1986, p. 58) The absence of suitable computing facilities also affects the prospects of student-based Internet activities in the French classroom. In British Columbia, teachers and students have access to the Internet through the Community Learning Network, a collaborative educational project established to pilot the development of a broadly based learning network for all B.C. communities. The CLN 23 provides its subscribers with a full range of Internet features, including electronic mail, province-wide discussion groups, world-wide Usenet newsgroups, gopher menus, and the World-Wide Web. The CLN also provides technical and curricular support for using the Internet; some of the subjects for the present study were selected from one of the CLN's on-line pedagogical courses. In order to access the CLN, subscribers must connect their computers in one of two possible ways. The most preferred method of Internet access is by means of a hardwired backbone connection whereby networked computers are physically attached to the Internet, resulting in reliable, high-speed transmissions. However, the second method of Internet access involves installing modems in individual computers for a connection over conventional phone lines. Limited accessibility to suitable computing facilities restrict the usefulness of the Internet in the French as a second language curriculum. Although the Internet works equally well with IBM-compatible and Macintosh computers, schools may not have sufficient telecommunications equipment for satisfactory Internet access by teachers and students. In the CLN's survey, "at least half of the teachers interviewed revealed that the main technical problems were lack of hardware in appropriate locations and lack of access to outgoing telephone lines." (BC Ministry of Education, 1994c, p. 2) Sanaoui (1992) identifies the need for "upgrading of computer facilities available to second language programs in schools" (p. 545). The exact availability of computers in British Columbia is difficult to ascertain. In a thesis investigating computer usage in intermediate classrooms, Beairsto (1986) found that his results "confirm the conventional wisdom that computer-based education in British Columbia is still in its infancy, (p. 58). He also found that the typical classroom housed one or no computer, and that the extent of computer availability was difficult to ascertain because the computers were shared between classes or organized into labs. 24 Computer skills The issue of foreign language teachers and computer literacy is related to the general problem of computer training for all teachers. Foreign language teachers, like all teachers everywhere, are bombarded from all sides by elements of the ComputerAge. (Hoch, 1985, p. 17) Curtin and Shinall (in Smith, 1987) suggest that foreign language teachers are especially prone to anxiety because they have almost nothing to do with computers; most school computer laboratories are set aside for business or computer science courses. The authors identify several skill areas that are essential for the foreign language teacher: the history of computers, terminology relating to computer-assisted instruction, hardware, databases, hard disks and networking, and programming (p. 267). The particular skills that are required will vary depending on the quality of computing facilities available to the teachers. When the Internet first became accessible to educators, its disparate modes of communication required users to use separate programs, each with a unique interface. For example, a newsreader program was required to access the Usenet newsgroups; a gopher program was required to access the elaborate gopher network. New software programs like Netscape simplify Internet navigation by presenting a common mouse- and windows-based user interface to the Internet's services, including e-mail, Usenet newsgroups, gopher menus, and the World-Wide Web. The primary factor that limits the use in schools of these browsers is the need for a high-speed connection to the Internet in order to transmit sounds, images, and text. As discussed in the previous section, this speed can be achieved either with a direct connection to the Internet or with high-speed modems and adequate phone lines. Although this equipment may not exist at school, the teachers in the present study may be familiar with Internet browsers if they own a home computer that has a high-speed modem. 25 The effective use of the Internet in a language learning environment often involves several different software programs used in combination. For example, the French students of one teacher who participated in the data collection for this study use Word Perfect for Windows to compose their e-mail messages. The teacher later uses the same program to collect the files containing the students' messages, then uses the Windows Clipboard to export the messages from the word processing program, and then loads the telecommunications program, where the data are sent as a single e-mail message to students in France. These tasks require the teacher to know how to use a word processing program, a telecommunications program, files, and networks. Limited information is available on the technical preparedness of British Columbia French teachers to take on Internet-based language learning activities. The subjects for the present study, to be sure, were selected from an on-line course that was designed specifically to improve French teachers' skills. However, the course assumes that the teachers already possess the requisite technical knowledge to explore the resources introduced in the course. In an informal survey of Primary French Immersion student teachers at UBC, typing and basic word processing skills were most prevalent, as all respondents used a computer at home. However, most respondents did not own a modem or know how to make use of one. Not one respondent actively used the Internet in any capacity. The CLN's survey (1994c) found that "Once connected, very few of the teachers complained of difficulties in using the resources. Although a few described fairly minor navigational problems such as 'not all menus were friendly', others were pleased that 'the menus are very self-explanatory'." (p. 32) However, the CLN survey did not ask teachers about their competence in computer skills; the sections of the survey that deal with 'technical use' focus on teachers' frustrations with poor equipment. The enumeration of various computer skills in this study is an attempt to redress this absence from the CLN study and to develop a profile of the respondents' 26 preparedness to take on Internet-based activities with their students. One important limitation in posing this question is that the subjects in the present study represent a group of French teachers who are already inclined towards using computers in their classrooms. It is also possible that only the more enthusiastic (and consequently more knowledgeable) teachers may return the questionnaire; the CLN survey involved 267 teacher questionnaires, amounting to a 34% return rate. Glossary of Internet terminology The following glossary explains the computer terminology that appears throughout this study. authoring system. A software program that assists teachers and courseware developers in developing computer-based exercises or tutorials. Community Learning Network (CLN). An Internet service for primary and secondary school teachers in British Columbia. Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). This acronym refers generally to the application of computers to second language learning. Various CALL software programs are available for use on Macintosh and IBM-compatible computers. electronic mail (e-mail). The fundamental mode of communication on the Internet, e-mail enables Internet users to communicate efficiently and economically. file transfer protocol (ftp). A method of transferring computer files over the Internet. gopher. A text-based network of menus that leads to information on computers throughout the Internet. host. A computer directly connected to the Internet that accepts connections both from other computers on the Internet and from local computer users. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). The script language underlying the World-Wide Web that defines how text, pictures, video, and hypertext links are displayed. 27 Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). A method of communication on the Internet that works in conjuncation with HTML scripts in providing World-Wide Web access to Internet users worldwide. Internet. A worldwide network of computers and computer users. listserv (mailing list). A structured transfer of mail between Internet users who share a common interest. Any member of a listserv can send an e-mail message to all other members via the listserv. Minitel. An on-line service in France that provides access to services similar to those available over the Internet. modem. A device that enables a computer to interact with others computers over a standard phone line. Mosaic. A popular software (browser) program for exploring resources on the World-Wide Web. Netscape. A popular software (browser) program for exploring resources on the World-Wide Web. Usenet newsgroups. Discussion groups, numbering over four thousand, for Internet users worldwide. World-Wide Web (WWW)- A world-wide collection of Internet resources that are accessible via a browser program such as Netscape or Mosaic. Summary of background review This chapter reviewed literature relating to the use of the language laboratory, computer-assisted language learning (CALL), and the Internet in second language instruction. Each of these technologies has generated successively less academic research and literature, in part because of novelty of current technology and perhaps because of growing disinterest or skepticism in the language learning community as a result of the failures of older technologies to produce a noticeable improvement in 28 second language acquisition. The research questions raised in the present study are intended in part to address the present absence of comprehensive research on the role of the Internet in the language classroom. In the next chapter, the research methods for this study are presented. 29 CHAPTER T H R E E Research Method Introduction This chapter describes the data collection methods, a rationale for their selection, the procedures for data analysis and the manner in which the subjects were selected for this study. Method for research question 1 The first stage of data collection addresses the first research question in this study: "What are the current Internet resources that are suitable for the French as a second language (FSL) curriculum?" The answer to this question defines the Internet for FSL instruction during the period of data collection for this study, and in doing so establishes the resources that were available to the teachers who participated in the evaluative component of this study. This first data collection method involves a systematic documentation of Internet resources relating specifically to the teaching or learning of French. These criteria exclude the numerous resources that cater to educators in general, as well as resources that are written in French but have no meaningful application in an FSL setting. The task of documenting Internet resources is made difficult by the amorphous nature of the Internet, which defies static categorization. As introduced in the previous chapter, the Internet consists of the sum of its dispersed parts, expanding from all corners without approval from a central controlling agency. Any Internet user has the capacity to add new information to the global exchange of data over the Internet. Since this ability to publish is subject to no central regulation, Internet resources may appear, disappear, or relocate with little or no advance notice. For example, the availability over the Internet of the daily news in French was disrupted by a worker's strike at Radio France International. I happened to receive the following explanatory message via an Internet mailing list: 30 Figure 4: E-mail message explaining relocation of Internet resource To: Stefan E l l i s <> Date: Mon, 03 Oct 94 16:26:07 -0800 Message-ID: <m244> From: Alexandre Malouvier <Alexandre_Malouvier@QMGATE.ARC.NASA.GOV> Subject: News de l'AFP-E f i n i t a l a c Content-Type: text/x-mindlink; c h a r s e t - u s - a s c i i To: L i s t About Everything French <> Mail*Link(r) SMTP News de l'AFP-E f i n i t a l a comedia Cheres g r e n o u i l l e s , C e s t avec t r i s t e s s e , mais sans surprise, que je vous annonce 1 1 i n t e r r u p t i o n de l a d i s t r i b u t i o n des news de l'AFP par l e serveur gopher de l'ambassade d'Ottawa. V o i c i l e message que j ' a i trouve cet apres-midi: Ce service est interrompu. A i n s i l e f r i c continue de ronger l e f r u i t . II me semble que les temps gl o r i e u x de 1 1 Internet l i b r e et g r a t u i t se terminent. Je ne forwarderai done plus l e s news (ni l a RdP qui presente moins d ' i n t e r e t ) . Comme RFI est en greve, i l ne reste plus beaucoup de sources de nouvelles g r a t u i t e s en Francais. Toutes mes condoleances au reseau. Spoutnik Moffett f i e l d , CA, USA In addition to political reasons for service disruption, Internet resources may disappear for legal purposes: the authors of WebLouvre, an on-line art gallery, were contacted by lawyers representing the unaffiliated Louvre Museum in Paris. The following message appears on WebLouvre's Internet service: Important! We are NOT related to the French Musee du Louvre, which is NOT online (also: we're free; they aren't!) Actually their cultural service has threatened to get their lawyer to annoy my headmaster, even if the paintings are in the public domain. If this exhibit disappears... you know why. This WebLouvre service also serves to demonstrate how an Internet resource can relocate on short notice. WebLouvre is so popular with Internet users that its information was copied to three different server computers, each with its own Internet address, in order to reduce overall network traffic. Internet users who contact the original server receive a message akin to a "This number has changed" message on the conventional telephone. 31 Another complication in keeping abreast of developments on the Internet is the absence of a central registry for new resources. The Internet, to be sure, offers a variety of indices and search tools for locating resources on a particular topic. However, these programs succeed in finding only those resources that are already registered in the searching database; the task of conducting a thorough search of the Internet in response to every request would unnecessarily burden the Internet with excessive network traffic. Many Internet users discover resources by chance; for example, I discovered the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) gopher after spending several hours exploring the Internet. This would be similar to entering a library without a call number in hopes of finding a book on a particular topic. The elusiveness of Internet resources is frustrating not only for researchers but also for teachers who have limited time to explore the Internet. One useful technique for conducting a thorough search of the Internet, and one that I employ in this study, is similar to the snowball sampling technique (McMillan & Schumacher, 1989, p. 183) whereby one source of information leads the researcher to another relevant source, and so on. On the Internet, this snowballing effect is possible due to the way resources are interconnected by means of hyperlinks in gopher menus and World-Wide Web pages. For example, the gopher service of the French Embassy in Ottawa lists other francophone-related Internet resources that the Internet user can access by making a simple menu selection. These other resources may in turn refer to even more resources, and may also refer back to the French Embassy gopher. Another way of keeping informed of relevant resources is to subscribe to an Internet mailing list, such as EduFrancais, that caters to the needs of French instructors. In these ways, Internet users are not left fending for themselves in the unruly Internet. Despite the semblance of complete disorganization, the Internet's resources can be classified in terms of broad methods of communication, such as electronic mail, listservs, Usenet newsgroups, gopher menus, and World-Wide Web pages. These 32 classifications provide a useful structure for organizing the documentation of resources in this study, and are now discussed individually. Electronic mail. Electronic mail plays an important role in second language education, especially as a vehicle for written exchanges between two geographically separated classes. Electronic mail is fast, efficient, and inexpensive in comparison to other methods of communication with native speakers. In this study, I describe various e-mail-based projects that involve students of French. Electronic mail, or e-mail, is the primary mode of communication on the Internet. Initially capable of transmitting only simple written messages, e-mail can now contain multimedia data, such as audio, still pictures, and video. Electronic mail is sent to Internet mail addresses, which uniquely identify users on the Internet. For example, my e-mail address is: An e-mail address reads similar to a conventional mailing address, beginning with the specific recipient (stefan_ellis), followed by the recipient's location (the mindlink Internet service in be, Canada). Any Internet user anywhere in the world can use this electronic address to contact Stefan Ellis. 33 Figure 5: Sample e-mail message PINE 3.05 COMPOSE MESSAGE Folder:inbox 6 Messages To :, Cc : Attchmnt: Subject : thanks f o r the information Message Text Thank you f o r informing me about i n t e r e s t i n g mailing l i s t . In return, I have attached the most recent copy of my project, e n t i t l e d : "Hello World! The Global Educator's Guide to the Internet". Enjoy. Stefan E l l i s F aculty of Education, U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada E-Mail: s t e f a n e l l i s @ m i n d l i n k . b e . c a ; Get Help AC Cancel AR Read F i l e ^ Y Prev Pg "K Del Line *0 Postpone AX Send A J J u s t i f y W^ Where i s ^ V Next Pg AU UnDel Lin^T To S p e l l The essential components in this e-mail message are the primary recipients (displayed in the To: field, above), the message subject (displayed in the Subject: field, above), and the message text. After a message is sent, the computers on the Internet direct the message towards its final destination. Messages usually arrive at their destination within minutes. Listservs (mailing lists). Several listservs cater to the needs of teachers of French as a second language. I subscribed to various listservs in order to understand what information was being passed on to French teachers. In this study, I provide a summary of the content in these listservs, with a focus on their value in the FSL classroom. Listservs, or mailing lists, permit an organized exchange of e-mail messages between a group of Internet users who share a common interest. Each listserv subscriber can send an e-mail message to all other subscribers; this is accomplished by sending the message to the listserv host computer, which handles the distribution of the message to all subscribers. Some listserv subscribers are active participants, contributing to every topic of discussion; other subscribers prefer to passively eavesdrop 34 on the dialog. Some listservs are designed expressly for one-way dissemination of information. For example, the following message appeared on the CLN's Internet Invitations mailing list: Figure 6: E-mail exchange request To: Stefan E l l i s <> Date: Wed, 12 Oct 94 10:36:05 -0800 Message-ID: <> From: Internet I n v i t a t i o n s <> Subject: Keypals: Gr.7, French Speaking Content-Type: text/x-mindlink; c h a r s e t - u s - a s c i i To: M u l t i p l e r e c i p i e n t s of l i s t <> ***************************************^^ Bonjour! My name i s Elaine Jastrem and I teach Grade 7 (11-13 year olds) at Qualters Middle School i n Mansfield, Mass., USA. I teach 3 beginning French classes, each containing about 24 students. I would l i k e to arrange a classroom Gopher menus. A variety of gopher services provide useful information to French teachers and students. Some gophers, such as the gopher of the French Embassy in Ottawa, potentially serve as on-line encyclopedias of information. The French teacher can assign activities that require the student to locate particular information in French. Other gophers, such as the B.C. Teachers Federation, provide curricular information of particular interest to French teachers. In this study, I document the gophers that are relevant to FSL instruction. The Internet's elaborate gopher network is an elaborate web of interconnecting menus that lead to text-based information. Gopher menus were developed to accommodate Internet computer terminals that can display only simple text. Newer methods of communication, such as World-Wide Web, take advantage of the contemporary computer's ability to produce still images, moving video, and sound. The following figure shows a typical gopher menu: 35 Figure 7: Sample gopher menu Internet Gopher Information C l i e n t v l . l l World --> 1. A l l the Gopher Servers i n the World/ 2 . Search t i t l e s i n Gopherspace using veronica/ 3 . A f r i c a / 4 . A s i a / 5 . Europe/ 6 . International Organizations/ 7 . Middle East/ 8 . North America/ 9. P a c i f i c / 10 . South America/ 11 . Terminal Based Information/ 12 . WAIS Based Information/ 13 . Gopher Server R e g i s t r a t i o n . Press ? f o r Help, q to Quit, u to go up a menu Page: 1/1 Usenet newsgroups. A large number of newsgroups focus on topics of interest to francophones. These newsgroups are ideal sources of the French language in action, and potentially provide the French teacher with contemporary vocabulary and topics for use in the classroom. In this study, I introduce the various francophone Usenet newsgroups, and discuss their potential application in the FSL classroom. The newsgroups are similar to listservs in that they provide for the exchange of information on a particular topic. Unlike listservs, the messages are not delivered to individual e-mail addresses, but instead appear in a central bulletin board that is accessible to all Internet users: Figure 8: Listing of Usenet newsgroups u 418 news.announce.newgroups C a l l s f o r newgroups & u 419 Discussion of Bob's w u 420 bionet.agroforestry Discussion of Agrofor u 421 comp.os.mach The MACH OS from CMU u 422 misc.emerg-services Forum f o r paramedics u 423 soc.rights.human Human r i g h t s & a c t i v i u 424 comp.dcom.lans.hyperchannel Hyperchannel networks u 425 comp.mail.multi-media Multimedia M a i l . u 426 sci.aeronautics The science of aerona 36 Newsgroups are organized into broad families (the comp prefix denotes a computer-related topic; the soc prefix denotes a newsgroup dedicated to societal issues). Newsgroups typically have up to three or four progressively specific classifications; for example, denotes a newsgroups that is broadly defined as societal, relating to culture, and finally, relating to Quebec. The newsgroup contains e-mail messages from its participants: Figure 9: Listing of messages in newsgroup 1 + 24 Bourgeault (was Re: Canada News Summary/Jan.1 Louis B o i v i n 2 + o r i g i n a i r e de l'outaouais Martin V a l l i e r e 3 + 2 test Fatima Ghailane 4 + 2 La PEURISIE... JD 5 + 5 en g l i s h i n Quebec? Michel Careau 6 + 7 Reflexion a mediter Nadine Gaine 7 + 12 Avenir du Quebec JD 8 + 10 non-ingerence & non-indifference Derepentigny Yves 9 + 4 Martin V a l l i e r e From this list, an Internet user can access individual messages, and then choose to compose either a follow-up response to the newsgroup for all participants to read, or a private reply via e-mail to the original author. World-Wide Web resources. The World-Wide Web promises to play an important role in second language education. The Human Languages Page serves as an index to the Internet's resources relating to the world's natural languages. Another WWW server that focuses on the Tour de France could provide useful background information for in-class projects. In this study, I document the various WWW pages that are useful in a FSL setting. The World-Wide Web (also known as WWW or W3) is a form of information exchange over the Internet that supports multimedia (sound, still images, video) and hypertext links. The WWW is best explored with a browser program, such as Mosaic or Netscape, that takes advantage of the multimedia capabilities of contemporary personal computers. The following figure shows the Netscape browsing program connected to 37 WebLouvre, a service featuring images and text based on paintings in the Louvre Museum in Paris: Figure 10: WebLouvre World-Wide Web home page Netscape - [WebMuseum: Bienvenue! (Welcome from the curator]] File Edit View Go Bookmarks Options Directory Help St # Back Forward Home Reload Images Open Print Find Stop Location: Bienvenue au WebMuseum! As curator of this place, I would like to personally welcome you to a celebration of the WebMuseum million visitors from all over the world in just one year, with over 3 million documents delivered every week... thanks to the WebMuseum contributors and mirrors! PS: remember to click on the inlined thumbnail images to enlarge them... Welcome to the WebMuseum! I wish you the most pleasant visit. Please take a couple of seconds to switch to the closest site in the ever-expanding WebMuseum network; this should dramatically improve the speed of data access. N O R T H A M E R I C A ( U S A ) : • USA - Florida: OIR. University of Central Florida • USA - North Carolina: SunSITE University of North Carolina • USA - California:, Berkeley • Canada - Ontario: Atkinson College, York University SOUTH AMERICA: This interface is a major improvement over its predecessors in that the user requires only a mouse click to explore the Internet's distributed resources. Netscape provides various useful options, which are accessible from the menu bar and toolbar at the top of the screen. For example, the user can save the address for a WWW page in a bookmark file for future reference. From the File menu, the user can select Print to send a copy of the current page to the printer, or Save to store a copy of the page on the computer's hard disk. The World-Wide Web's multimedia capabilities and ease of use are grabbing the attention of educators worldwide. Schools are using the WWW format to broadcast 38 information about their staff students, and educational activities. For example, Vose Elementary School in Beaverton, Oregon offers an on-line index of its teachers and students, and of educational resources in a variety of disciplines. Uniform Resource Locators. Gopher menus, World-Wide Web pages, newsgroups, and e-mail addresses are all addressable by means of a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address. URL addressing is rapidly gaining acceptance as the standard method of uniquely identifying Internet resources. Here are some sample URL addresses. This URL uniquely identifies the welcoming page for Le Coin des Francophones et Autres Grenouilles, a World-Wide Web index page to various French-language Web servers on the Internet. The http prefix identifies the resource as using the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, the technical language that drives the World-Wide Web. The remainder of the address identifies the host computer - - where ch refers to Switzerland. Gopher menus are similarly represented in URL addressing. For example, gopher:// points to French Language News, a gopher resource that provides daily news summaries in French. The gopher prefix identifies the resource as a gopher menu; the remainder of the address identifies the host and file respectively. Subjects The subjects for the evaluative component of this study are French teachers in British Columbia who have expressed at least an initial interest in using the Internet. The purpose of this study is not to account for the opinion of all French teachers but rather to identify the preferences and concerns for a sample of those teachers who have had at least a preliminary introduction to the Internet. This technique is identified as 39 purposeful sampling (McMillan & Schumacher, 1989, p. 395) whereby individuals are selected from a specific group. An important advantage in employing purposeful sampling in this study is to factor out lack of interest as a confounding factor. My assumption is that teachers who are interested enough to attend a workshop or to sign up for an on-line course are more likely to provide constructive criticism of the Internet. To be sure, a study involving teachers who had little or no interest in the Internet would also reveal obstacles to widespread implementation of the Internet. A survey of 600 post-secondary language instructors (Olsen, 1978) found predominantly negative attitudes towards computer use in the classroom. Olsen observes that "many of the negative comments are based on impressions, uninformed opinion, or even prejudice, while the remarks from other groups, the departments with [computer-assisted instruction] are supported by firsthand experience and observation." (p. 342). This study benefits by concentrating on the opinions and preferences of teachers who are interested in exploring the Internet's potential. This does not necessarily lead to a more positive description or conception of the Internet, as initially enthusiastic teachers may be frustrated with deficiencies with their own computing skills, disappointed with the Internet's resources, or unable to access suitable computing facilities. I selected the initial list of subjects for this study from the list of registrants for an electronically-distributed course on use of the Internet in the French classroom (N=35), and from the list of attendees at an Internet workshop for second language teachers (N=22). Subjects, Group 1: registrants in Community Learning Network on-line course. The first group of teachers were selected from the list of registrants for the Community Learning Network's (CLN) on-line course that explores the use of the Internet in the French as a second language (FSL) classroom. The registrants in the 40 on-line course are ideal subjects for this study because in experiencing the Internet for the first time they provide an interesting account of their initial impressions of the Internet. The CLN , operated by the Technology and Distance Education branch of the B.C. Ministry of Education, provided teachers with on-line courses for mastering various aspects of the Internet. CLN users register for the on-line lessons from the CLN's on-screen menus. The teachers who subscribed for the French course receive two lessons per week beginning in November 1995. All eight lessons were delivered by early December 1995. In September 1994, I contacted the CLN to request access to the list of registrants for the on-line course. The CLN authorized the release of this information in a letter of reply, noting that teachers would be entitled to ask for their names not to be released. In November 1994 I circulated via e-mail a recruitment notice to the 34 names that were provided by the CLN (Appendix A). I timed the release of this notice to coincide with the CLN's distribution of lessons three and four, in the hope of contacting teachers before they stopped checking messages as the end of term neared. Fourteen teachers responded to my recruitment notice. Twelve of these teachers agreed to participate in the study; the remaining two declined. I received no reply from two thirds of the course registrants, even after sending a second recruitment notice via e-mail. Many of these teachers may have registered for the course early in the academic year and subsequently stopped logging in to their CLN accounts. This theory is supported by the CLN evaluation report (BC Ministry of Education, 1994c), which suggests that many CLN e-mail accounts are dormant: Although there were a large number of accounts on the network, less than 40% of the subscribers had logged onto the network and less than 15% could be considered as "busy" users during the evaluation period (i.e., they had more than 2 hours of use of the network), (p. 2) 41 The teachers who registered for the on-line course were not as homogenous a group as I initially anticipated. My initial assumption was that these would have already mastered the prerequisite skills for successfully completing the lessons. In theory, the teachers who signed up for the French course should have taken the CLN's technical courses as prerequisites. In practice this probably did not happen since the technical and pedagogical courses were developed and offered at the same time. The CLN did not ask for the registrants in the French course to demonstrate some knowledge (by taking the technically-oriented courses, for example) of the prerequisite skills necessary to successfully complete the French course. The homogeneity of the group of course registrants was further weakened by the development that not all registrants completed the on-line lessons. In January 1995 e-mail messages some teachers cited curricular and personal obligations, including maternity and medical leave. One teacher attributed her inability to complete the course to the considerable coursework associated with her extra year of university studies. These irregularities demonstrate that there is no predictable prerequisite knowledge amongst the teachers who signed up for the course. Their progress through the lessons is subject to considerable variation, and their prior knowledge of the Internet or of computers in general is also unpredictable. Thus the on-line course did not produce a homogeneous group of teachers but nevertheless a group whose diverse background should reflect the variety of challenges facing the successful integration of the Internet into the curriculum. The registrants were not informed that I was the primary researcher and author of the CLN's on-line course. The teachers know that the CLN provided an on-line course and that a UBC student was conducting an independent study on the same topic. These teachers should therefore not hold back on their criticism of the Internet based on their knowledge of the investigator's background. 42 Subjects, Group 2: Internet workshop participants. The second group of participants in this study were selected from a one-day workshop that I conducted in November 1994 on behalf of the British Columbia Association of Teachers of Modern Languages (B.C.A.T.M.L.). The intent of the workshop was to explore the use of the Internet for second language instruction. The workshop was offered on a school professional day, enabling teachers from throughout the province to attend. I started the workshop with a basic introduction to the Internet's overall structure. This included a description of the Internet's origins during the cold war, and its subsequent use by researchers and by the general public. I informed the teachers of the Internet's strong presence in North America in contrast to its weak though growing presence in francophone regions. I used an overhead projector to demonstrate Internet resources, such as electronic mail messages from teachers who were starting up a student exchange, listserv messages providing information for French teachers, and French-language gopher and World-Wide Web resources. I then distributed a three-page handout listing a variety of French-language Internet resources, which the teachers used to do their own hands-on exploration using temporary Internet accounts that were created for the workshop. At the end of the workshop, I asked the teachers to participate in the data collection for this study. Twenty-two teachers provided their names and mailing addresses for this study. The teachers who attended the Internet workshop are ideal subjects for this study because they were sufficiently interested in the Internet to attend the workshop, and therefore conform to the subject selection criteria. The teachers who attended the workshop are knowledgeable with my dual role as the workshop instructor and the researcher in this study. At the beginning of the workshop, I briefly described my role as a graduate student in the University of British Columbia's Department of Language Education, and my general interest in telecommunications in the language classroom. After the workshop, I described this 43 study and asked for interested teachers to leave their names and mailing addresses on slips of paper that I provided. Instruments This study's data collection methods underwent a series of changes as the composition of the selected subjects became known. These changes are worth noting, as they help explain the final form of the data collection techniques that I employed in this study. I initially anticipated an equal number of teachers from the two subject groups. I also expected that the teachers who registered for the on-line course would have explored all of the resources introduced in the course, and would therefore be confident in providing rich feedback, unlike the workshop attendees, whom I expected to be very unfamiliar. Based on these assumptions, I initially decided on distributing two separate questionnaires - one for the course registrants, who could answer questions based on specific Internet resources, and one for the workshop attendees, who could speak more generally about their likes and dislikes about the Internet. Survey respondents should be competent in providing reliable information (McMillan & Schumacher, 1989, p. 256), and survey questions should be relevant to the participants' experience. Instead of making assumptions about the subjects' background, I decided to formulate a single questionnaire for all participating teachers, providing optional parts for those teachers who were able to explore the Internet in greater detail. I developed a questionnaire to address the second, third, and fourth research questions in this study. A questionnaire was the most effective and efficient method of collecting data from teachers distributed throughout British Columbia. 44 Questionnaire. I developed the questionnaire to accommodate a wide range of experience, with some questions focusing on specific Internet resources, and others on generic activities that are possible using the Internet. I organized the questionnaire in four parts, including a combination of short-answer and Likert-scale questions in order to add variety to the questionnaire. What follows is a breakdown of how the questionnaire relates to the main research questions in this study. In what ways and under what conditions would French teachers use the Internet in their classrooms? The first part of this question asks "in what ways" French teachers would use the Internet. In the questionnaire, I assembled a list of activities (Part 3) that are based on the resources that I identified in this study. Teachers are asked to evaluate their interest in these activities on a four-point Likert scale of Most Uninteresting, Uninteresting, Interesting, and Most Interesting. I grouped related activities together so as to evoke a comparative evaluation. For example, some teachers may favour Internet information about Quebec over similar information from France, or from other francophone regions. Respondents to the questionnaire are also invited to write down additional Internet-based language learning activities that come to mind, and to comment on specific Internet resources that were introduced in the CLN's on-line lesson. The second part of the first research question asks "under what conditions" French teachers would use the Internet with their students. The answer to this question is addressed in Part 2 of the questionnaire, which consists of a series of statements requiring an evaluation of a four-point Likert scale of Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, and Strongly Agree. I added the additional choices of Don't Know and Undecided for those teachers who were unable to evaluate a particular statement. In this section, the teachers were presented with a variety of situations, such as whether or not they would use the Internet even if their students did not have access, or if they 45 would use the Internet even if it meant that their students would read French without accents. Other statements asked if Internet-based activities should become part of the standard curriculum, or if the teachers thought that their schools' computing facilities were under too much demand to realistically plan activities. How do these French teachers evaluate their schools' computing facilities for conducting Internet-based activities with their students? The general quality and availability of suitable computing facilities was addressed both in Part 1 (background information) and Part 4 (open-ended questions). The ability for teachers to conduct Internet-based activities depends on the number of computers that can simultaneously access the Internet. Each access line requires a modem, which is a device that enables the computer to communicate with an Internet service, such as the CLN. In the questionnaire teachers are asked to specify if students at their schools are provided with Internet access, to list the number of computers available in classrooms where they teach French, and to identify the number of modems that are available for access to the Internet. The questionnaire asked teachers to state whether or not they were satisfied with the existing computer facilities, and to state how they would like to see additional money spent to improve Internet usage. How do these French teachers evaluate their own computer- and Internet-based skills? Part 1 (background information) of the questionnaire included a list of computing skills which would be necessary for the most basic operations on the Internet. Teachers were asked to check of the skills in which they were reasonably confident, to identify the extent of computer usage at home, and (in Part 2) to state their self-confidence in using a computer and interest in learning more. Interviews. The purpose of the interviews is to follow up on ideas that were developed by the teachers in the questionnaire. To this end, a selection of the questionnaire respondents 46 were chosen as interview subjects. This is unique-case purposeful sampling, whereby subjects are selected based on some exceptional philosophy or activity. During the subject recruitment phase of this study, one teacher sent me a lengthy e-mail message describing his use of the Internet as a source of authentic French in action. His views would be best developed in an interview, rather than in a questionnaire. I was also interested in interviewing the few participating teachers who have had extensive on-line experience. The direction of each interview depends largely on the teachers' individual responses in the questionnaire. To this end, the interviews consist of semi-structured questions that focus specifically on the subject's particular interests. Excerpts from the transcribed interviews appear in the Chapter 5 of this study. Summary of research method This study employs a variety of qualitative research techniques to arrive at a better understanding of the availability and evaluation of French-language Internet resources and of the present state of Internet preparedness amongst teachers and schools in British Columbia. The content of the questionnaires and interviews underwent changes as it emerged that most teachers in my study's subject pools had only cursory hands-on experience with the Internet. I revised the overall tone of the questionnaire to focus more on an evaluation of particular language learning activities, rather than particular Internet resources. In the next chapter, I answer the first research question by documenting the Internet's French-language resources. 47 CHAPTER FOUR Results: Research Question 1 This chapter addresses the first research question, "What are the current Internet resources that are suitable for the French as a second language (FSL) curriculum?" The following resources were available to French teachers as well as to all Internet users in February 1995. Gopher resources The Internet's gopher menus collectively make up an elaborate network of text-based information. All of the presented information is stored in static files on computers around the world. This is in contrast to electronic mail, listservs, and Usenet newsgroups, which all depend on an ongoing dialog between Internet users. As passive resources, gopher menus do not provide the live contact between language students and native speakers that attract most French teachers to the Internet. The Internet's ability to serve as a reference source may appeal to teachers who do not have the time or computing facilities to effectively coordinate an e-mail exchange. Some gopher resources are suitable mainly for the professional development of French teachers, whereas others are suitable for access both by teachers and students. The Community Learning Network gopher. gopher:// The gopher service of the Community Learning Network, the Internet service for teachers in British Columbia, offers a document on computer networking for second languages, including a brief introduction to listservs and KIDLINK (a worldwide e-mail exchange project), as well as a listing of messages from French teachers who are starting up e-mail exchange with francophone students. 48 B.C. Teacher's Federation gopher. gopher:// The British Columbia Teacher's Federation's (BCTF) gopher service includes the following resources for teachers of French: the BCTF gopher provides French translations of all BCTF publications; the objectives and priorities of the French Immersion program; and the table of contents from current journals published by the Association Provinciale des Professeurs de I'lmmersion et du Programme-Cadre P S A (Provincial Specialist Association). The BCTF's resource listings for French teachers are organized into submenus according to grade level and subject matter. Listings for intermediate-level French Immersion resources are included under the topics of environmental education, language arts, science, and multiculturalism. The Primary menu leads to additional submenus for language arts, science, and social studies. The following excerpts from the BCTF gopher display science-related resources for primary French Immersion and French as a second language, respectively: Figure 11: Primary French Immersion resources on the BCTF gopher F8530 L'Air et l a Pression Atmospherique Susan S l a t e r 11 p. 1989 $3 . 00 Includes u n i t objectives, 13 a c t i v i t i e s , teacher's guide. student evaluation and a C e r t i f i c a t e of Authorization. Suitable f o r : Grades K-3 F8533 Les F e u i l l e s : A c t i v i t e s Pour L'Etude des Plantes Susan S l a t e r 13 p. 1989 $3 . 00 Includes 10 a c t i v i t i e s , notes f o r the teacher, student evaluation and a C e r t i f i c a t e of Understanding. Suitable f o r : Grade 1-3 F8536 Les Ombres: Les A c t i v i t e s Pour L'Etude de L'Energie Susan S l a t e r 9 p. 1989 $3.00 Includes unit objectives, 11 a c t i v i t i e s , teacher's guide, student evaluation and a N o t i f i c a t i o n of Status C e r t i f i c a t e . Suitable f o r : Grades K-3 49 Figure 12: French as a Second Language resources on the BCTF gopher 5113 French Resource Book compiled by the B.C. As s o c i a t i o n of Teachers of Modern Languages 700 p., three-hole punched 1990 $33.00 This book i s a compilation of French material, which has appeared i n recent issues of the BCATML. Included are'ideas for the classroom, i n d i v i d u a l and group a c t i v i t y tasks, "trues du metier," ideas for o r a l work and t i p s on t e s t i n g . This i s but a few of the o f f e r i n g s i n t h i s book. Two supplements include French software, evaluation and games. M2 0 0 French Songs Betsy Clarke a s s i s t e d by Sue Haberger and Nancy Webber 20 p., 50 min. cassette tape 1972 $7.00 A tape of French songs with g u i t a r accompaniment arranged from easy to d i f f i c u l t both musically and substantively. A booklet of the l y r i c s from the tape i s included. The BCTF gopher service demonstrates how the Internet is a useful source of information for conventional curricular materials in the French classroom. This may encourage French teachers to think of the Internet not only as a source of computer-based activities, but also as a source of information for conventional resources. French Schoolnet. SchoolNet is an initiative of the federal government that provides educational resources in French and English to teachers across Canada. In addition to a strong emphasis on topics relating to science and technology, SchoolNet also features information of general interest on Canada-wide educational projects and exchange programs, such as Tous pour la paix: Figure 13: Excerpt from SchoolNet gopher "Tous pour l a p a i x 1 , i n i t i a t i v e conjointe de l a Commission de l a Capitale nationale et du magazine TG, encourage les e c o l i e r s a s'informer sur l e maintien de l a paix et l a r e s o l u t i o n de c o n f l i t s . Les eleves etudient l e r o l e du Canada en tant que gardien de l a paix, i l s apprennent comment et pourquoi l e Canada a c o n s t r u i t un nouveau monument dedie au maintien de l a paix, et i l s se f a m i l i a r i s e n t avec 1 1 a p p l i c a t i o n des pr i n c i p e s du maintien de l a paix et de l a r e s o l u t i o n de c o n f l i t s dans leur v i e quotidienne. 50 The SchoolNet gopher describes various school projects in support of this theme, as well as background information in French about "Le Monument national au maintien de la paix" and suggestions for supplementary class activities. The SchoolNet gopher also provides information on exchange programs, such as one sponsored by La Societe Educative de Visites et d'Echanges au Canada (SEVEC). SEVEC, in cooperation with Canadian Parents for French, organizes in-person and video exchanges between anglophones and francophones from 11 to 18 years of age. "Ce programme permet aux jeunes etudiants de mettre en pratique leurs connaissances de leur langue seconde, et d'en apprendre davantage sur la famille, les amis et I'ecole de leurs jumeaux." University of Montreal gopher. gopher:// French Immersion teachers may be interested in exploring the Internet in French with their students as a language learning activity. French-language documents are available on the University of Montreal's gopher that describe Internet operations such as e-mail, Usenet newsgroups, gopher, and ftp. This excerpt describes the basic function of gophers: Figure 14: Description in French of gophers Gopher permet, au moyen d'un systeme de menus, de se deplacer vers une multitude de s i t e s et de ressources de 1 1 Internet. Les branchements se font de facon transparente, ce qui rend l a navigation beaucoup plus f a c i l e . These documents can provide advanced Immersion students with a good grounding not only in telecommunications vocabulary but also in the Internet itself. French Embassy in Ottawa gopher. gopher:// The French Embassy in Ottawa has one of the most comprehensive and well-organized gopher services on the Internet, featuring cultural events listings, documents describing France's history, culture and politics, and information on French classes for 51 teachers and students. The gopher provides the foundation for students' on-line investigations of French culture, politics, current events, and study abroad. The Information generates surla France menu option leads to the following submenus, each providing specific information about France: Figure 15: Menu from the French Embassy gopher Informations generales sur l a France 1 Les services de presse et d'information de l a France au Canada. 2 Geographie de l a France. 3 2000 ans d ' h i s t o i r e . 4 I n s t i t u t i o n s p o l i t i q u e s francaises. 5 Composition du gouvernement. 6 A c t u a l i t e s / 7 Tourisme. Under Geographie de la France students can access information in French describing France's geography and population: Figure 16: Geographical information on the French Embassy gopher S u p e r f i c i e : 551 600 km Pays l e plus etendu d'Europe occidentale (pres du quart de l a s u p e r f i c i e de l a Communaute europeenne), disposant d'une vaste zone maritime (11 M de km2 de zone economique e x c l u s i v e ) . Population : 57 526 000 habitants Densite : 104 hab./km. Les 3/4 de l a population vivent dans des communes de plus de 2 000 habitants. L'agglomeration de Paris regroupe pres de 10 m i l l i o n s d'habitants. La France compte 12 v i l l e s de plus de 350 000 habitants et 30 de plus de 200 000. La ' Republique francaise comprend l a metropole (divisee en 22 regions et 96 departements) a i n s i que 4 departements d'outre-mer (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, Reunion). S'y ajoutent 4 t e r r i t o i r e s d'outre-mer (Polynesie Francaise, Nouvelle Caledonie, Wallis et Futuna, l e s Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises) et l e s c o l l e c t i v i t e s t e r r i t o r i a l e s , a statut p a r t i c u l i e r , de Mayotte et de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. The menu option 2000 ans d'histoire describes France's history in summary form: "En 1789, La Fayette introduit le blanc, embleme de la royaute, a la cocarde bleue et rouge de la Garde Nationale de Paris. Le drapeau tricolore est I'embleme officiel de la Republique francaise depuis 1880." 52 Menu options 4 and 5 above contain an overview of France's political institutions as well as a listing of the politicians holding current governmental portfolios. Menu 6, Actualites, contains summaries of current news, as well as the headlines and editorials of daily, weekly and monthly publications in France. This menu option also includes some transcribed interviews with French spokespeople, and editorials based on current news stories. The French Embassy's gopher also provides comprehensive information on classes and seminars for French as a Second Language teachers and students, including information about visas, grants, bursaries and fellowships, work tips for study abroad, typical student budgets, and listings of Canadian language institutions in France. Various menus provide information on placement tests, course dates, conditions, tuition fees, transfer credits for university students, registration, and living accommodations. This information serves as an on4ine reference source for French programs overseas, and provides an insight into the cost of living in France. French teachers could print these listings so that interested students could learn about opportunities to continue work in French after graduation. 53 Figure 17: Course information on the French Embassy gopher Villeneuve d'Ascq French Class U n i v e r s i t e dete Minimum Age: 17.Please send a 1500 FF deposit Placement t e s t s given upon a r r i v a l . Housing: -At the u n i v e r s i t y ( a l l meals included) -With a family (lunch included)(The u n i v e r s i t y finds Housing f o r a l l students without charge.) Other a c t i v i t i e s : Computer or audio/oral lab work, extra conversation Classes. U n i v e r s i t e dete de Boulogne-sur-Mer BP 149 59653 Villeneuve-dAscq CEDEX T e l . : 20 91 97 66 fax: 20 4 7 23 62 Students w i l l attend discussions, conferences, and v i s i t the cinema, theater, studios, r o c k / c l a s s i c a l concerts, the Chateau-Musee. Other a c t i v i t i e s include sports, and p a r t i e s . Other day t r i p s include excursions to the s i t e of the Channel-Tunnel i n Nord/Pas-de-Calais and other regions. Classes: Summer courses (general session) Fees: 2800 FF Diplomas: C e r t i f i c a t e . These summaries include relevant addresses and fees, as well as the length of classes and cultural activities that accompany the programs. Dozens of programs are available for each region of France, and are described fully on the French Embassy gopher. The geographical information in the French Embassy gopher could be used as vocabulary-enriching material, or as a topic of conversation. With sufficient access to computer resources, French students could conduct on-line explorations of the French Embassy gopher in search of information on particular aspects of French history or culture. French teachers could also ask their students to develop similar descriptions for Canada for use in e-mail exchanges with students from France. Another interesting in-class exercise could involve comparing living costs in France and Canada. This activity provides a contemporary perspective on French life and culture unmatched by a static textbook. Since costs on the Embassy's gopher are provided in French francs, students could use a local newspaper to translate the rates 54 into Canadian dollars. This activity simulates the real-life experience of budgeting for an overseas stay at today's exchange rates. The following figure shows a typical expense sheet for studying in France: Figure 18: Budgeting information on the French Embassy gopher PROVINCE PARIS Chambre en v i l l e 2 310 1 790 30 p e t i t s dejeunes a 10 F (1) 315 315 60 repas a 20 F minimum 1 260 1 260 60 boissons a 6 F (1) 390 390 F r a i s d'etudes (2) 315 315 Transports (3) 210 210 L o i s i r s 370 370 E n t r e t i e n 370 370 Total 5 540 5 020 This document also demonstrates subtle differences between French and Canadian customs. For example, Canadians write $5.23 whereas the French write 10,50 F; Canadians use a comma to separate large numbers (1,260) whereas the French use a space (1 260). Other cultural differences are also noticeable in the excerpt above, such as the anticipated budget for drinks, which are notoriously expensive in France. One of the most useful options available to the French teacher through the Internet is the posting of the daily news summaries in the Revue de Presse. Both headlines and summaries of the major stories are posted each day and archived by month so that it is possible to access the news summaries from a previous day and follow a particular story week by week. The news are available in two formats. The first is a direct summary of the news from Radio France International, which focuses on international stories; the second is a summary of the headlines from French journals, which focuses on stories about internal French politics. The news is released daily over the Internet, allowing for in-class activities based on topical news stories. 55 Figure 19: French-language news excerpt from the Internet 11 HEURES / 6.2.95 / WM Attentat a n t i - i s r a e l i e n dans l a bande de Gaza autonome. Un v i g i l e i s r a e l i e n a ete tue et 1 autre grievement blesse. La p o l i c e palestinienne s'est lancee a l a poursuite des agresseurs. Pas de cessez l e feu entre l e Perou et l'Equateur. Les pourparlers de Rio pour mettre un terme au c o n f l i t f r o n t a l i e r entre l e s deux pays ont encore echoue a l o r s que les combats ont continue h i e r . La Chine et l e s Etats-Unis evitent de se p r e c i p i t e r dans l a c r i s e . Pekin a accepte de reprendre l e s negociations sur l e s d r o i t s de l a propri e t e i n t e l l e c t u e l l e . Une guerre commercials p o u r r a i t a i n s i etre e v i t e e . Another document describes the editorial viewpoint of various French print and broadcast media outlets' (e.g. "Avec un style decapant, [L'Evenement du jeudi] denonce extremismes et archaismes, politiques ou autres."). The distribution of the daily news demonstrates the Internet's effectiveness in providing a contemporary perspective in the French classroom. Teachers could post the daily news summaries on the classroom door for students to read between classes. An in-class assignment could involve paraphrasing a particular story and summarizing it to the rest of the class. Advanced students could use the Embassy gopher to search through old Revue de Presse files to trace the progress of a particular story. Another activity could involve matching stories that appear in the Revue de Presse with stories from the international news section of a local newspaper. French Embassy in Washington gopher. gopher:// The gopher service for the French Embassy in Washington offers practical information on travel to, from, and in France. Detailed information is available on French customs for driving (speed limit of 130km/h on some highways), tipping (usually included in the price of a meal), and using telephones (most public phones accept 56 "telecartes", not coins). This document describes the current status of smoking in France: Figure 20: Tourist Information on the Internet Since November 1, 1992, r e s t r i c t s smoking i n a l l enclosed p u b l i c places, i n c l u d i n g on the Metro and i n Metro s t a t i o n s . On long-distance t r a i n s , c e r t a i n cars are reserved f o r smokers and smoking i s forbidden i n the restaurant cars. Hotels, restaurants and theaters are free to decide how large a smoking area they provide. Espace Fumeur 'designates the smoking area and Espace Non-Fumeur designates the non-smoking area ;. The gopher also describes the unique features of France's many regions, such as the following description of the rich cuisine of Alsace: Figure 21: Description of culinary specialties in Alsace Alsace s p e c i a l i z e s i n hearty dishes l i k e t r a d i t i o n a l choucroute garnie, with a f o r t r e s s of t h i n Strasbourg sausages, ham and bacon perched on a mountain of sauerkraut, or steaming Backeoffe, a. pork, lamb and beef casserole with s l i c e d potatoes, steeped i n wine. But with 28 Michelin-starred restaurants, there are imaginative a l t e r n a t i v e s : choucroute with salmon, smoked trout and perch; or with preserved duck; or even with s n a i l s and wild mushrooms. Other l o c a l dishes: f o i e gras (invented i n Strasbourg); delicatessen meats; t a r t e flambe, a double-cream, onion, cheese and bacon A l s a t i a n version of pi z z a ; onion t a r t ; i r r e s i s t i b l e f r u i t t a r t s with custard and cream; Kougelhopf cake and cheese p i e . American Association of Teachers of French gopher. gopher:// The gopher for the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) is a project of the Telematics Commission of the American Association of Teachers of French and is hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio. The AATF gopher offers complete Internet-based activities for French as a second language classes. However, most of these resources require access to Minitel, France's network of mini-computers. Although at present there is no direct access to Minitel from the Internet, it is possible to acquire a Minitel terminal at a reasonably low cost by phoning 1-800-MINITEL for information. Minitel's advantage over the Internet from the perspective of French instruction is its concentration of information in French. This is in contrast to the Internet, which is primarily an English-language telecommunications network. The following screen is an excerpt from a AATF activity based on a Minitel service: 57 Figure 22: Sample Minitel-based language learning activity ACTIVITE: Etudier l a n u t r i t i o n FONCTION PEDAGOGIQUE: apprendre l e vocabulaire technique de l a composition des aliments et ce qui constitue un regime e q u i l i b r e , appliquer ces connaissances a 1'analyse de le u r propre regime ou a 1'elaboration d'un regime i d e a l (un bon exercice pour 1'emploi des temps a u s s i ) . PUBLIC: des eleve a tout niveau DESCRIPTION: Le professeur prepare des textes et tableaux sur l a n u t r i t i o n et l e s d i s t r i b u e aux eleves. Ensuite avec l e professeur, en p e t i t s groupes ou individuellement, i l s etudient l e s documents de facon a en t i r e r l e s considerations de base pour un regime e q u i l i b r e . A p a r t i r d'une l i s t e personnelle de ce q u ' i l s ont mange pendant un jour ou une semaine, i l s analyseront l e u r regime d'apres l e s c r i t e r e s et projetteront ce q u ' i l s pourraient f a i r e dans l ' a v e n i r pour ameliorer leur regime. SERVICES: 3614 OBERVAL, 3615 TRIP, 3615 CIQUAL, 3615 DANONE, 3615 HORECA LOGISTIQUE: Les recherches peuvent se f a i r e sur ordinateur a p a r t i r de f i c h i e r s que l e professeur a u r a i t r e c u e l l i s prealablement ou a p a r t i r d'un texte imprime. RESULTATS POSSIBLES: Les eleves apprendront du vocabulaire s p e c i a l i s e concernant l a n u t r i t i o n a i n s i que l e s termes pour l e s aliments et l e s boissons. I l s apprendront egalement ce qui constitue un regime sain. The listing beginning with 3614 OBERVAL, above, refers to the Minitel services that are required in order to complete this activity. Gophers tend to represent an institutional view of the Internet. Thus far, the following organizations featured in this review of gopher resources include the Community Learning Network, the British Columbia Teacher's Federation, the University of Montreal, the French Embassies in Ottawa and Washington, and the American Association of Teachers of French. This pattern of use may have resulted from the complex technical requirements for establishing a gopher menu. The remaining forms of communication to be reviewed in this chapter favour the active participation of individual Internet users, and in this way provide other opportunities for the French as a second language classroom. Usenet newsgroups. The Usenet newsgroups collectively form a lively forum for discussion, debate, and information exchange between Internet users. The newsgroups purvey a 58 humanistic element of the Internet in that their livelihood depends on an ongoing interaction between Internet users. New messages in Usenet newsgroups are transmitted rapidly around the world; within minutes of a provincial, national, or international news or sports event, Internet users worldwide race to their keyboards either to type in their opinions or to take part in the debate. The institutional viewpoint often encountered in gopher resources is countered by the perspective of individual users in the Usenet newsgroups. A growing number of Usenet newsgroups are available for discussion exclusively in French, with topics ranging from casual conversation between French language students, to the discussion of the politics and culture of the world's francophone communities. Specific French-language newsgroups are also available for the topics of cuisine, humour, and sports. The French-language newsgroups also include a variety of documents that describe computing operations in French. One such document describes the difficulty with transmitting diacritical characters over the Internet; another document describes in French the role of Usenet newsgroups. The most popular role for the newsgroups is as a forum for discussion on topical events. This forum often provides follow-up to the news stories that students have accessed from the French Embassy gophers. The utility of a particular newsgroup will vary according to the current profile of events; for example, the newsgroup, at the time of the writing of this chapter, contains a lively debate on the effects of Quebec's possible separation from Canada. The Usenet newsgroups are ideal forums for students and teachers of French to exchange ideas with other francophones worldwide. Some newsgroups, like k12.lang.francais, are set aside exclusively for dialog by students of French; other newsgroups, like, features an adult audience of fluent anglophones and francophones. The French teacher should gauge the tone of a particular newsgroup before introducing it to students. Teachers do not necessarily have to 59 contribute to the newsgroups in order to make use of them in the French classroom. The newsgroups often contain a lively debate between francophones on a topical issue. These dialogs can serve as a source of authentic use of French, which may appeal to teachers who think that the French used in textbooks is too contrived. The following figure shows the newsgroups (denoted by asterisks) that are introduced in this chapter. Newsgroups names indicate the larger families to which they belong. For example, newsgroups beginning with the soc prefix deal with societal issues; the k12 prefix signifies education-specific topics, and the fr prefix denotes a newsgroup containing correspondence in French. Newsgroups are often classified into more refined groups: fr newsgroups are organized into news for news-related newsgroups, and rec for recreation-oriented newsgroups. Figure 23: Hierarchy of French-language newsgroups kl2 . kl2.lang.francais soc. soc.culture.trench f r . f r . r e c . fr.rec.cuisine fr.rec.divers k12.lang.francais newsgroup. The k12.lang.francais newsgroup features an eclectic mix of e-mail exchange requests and other information about francophone Internet projects. As a moderated newsgroup, all submissions are sent to a moderator; the moderator for this newsgroup, Robert Brault (, requires that all submissions to the newsgroup be in French. The following paragraph is part of the Code de Conduite message that appears periodically in the newsgroup: 60 Figure 24: Message from moderator for k12.lang.francais newsgroup L'idee de base de cette section (est d'encourager chacun a s'exprimer en f r a n c a i s . Tel q u ' i l est mentionne dans l e f i c h i e r ECHOTAGS.K12 dans K12_INFO: "French-only discussion", ce qui impliquera que les mots ou phrases en anglais devront etre l i m i t e s au maximum a f i n que tous fassent un e f f o r t pour comprendre et s 1exprimer en f r a n c a i s . The moderator has the ability to exclude submissions that do not conform to the guidelines for the newsgroups; unmoderated newsgroups often contain a high proportion of messages that are irrelevant to the overall focus of the newsgroup. This newsgroup reaches a worldwide audience. Submissions to this newsgroup have been made from all of the following countries: South Africa, Germany, England, Australia, Belgium, Canada, United States, Finland, France, Holland, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Tasmania. The k12.lang.francais newsgroup is a good place for French teachers to contact other French teachers, or for students to contact an e-mail pen-pal. Anglophones outnumber francophones in contributing to the newsgroups. However, an increasing number of messages from francophones are appearing as francophone countries begin to connect to the Internet. A posting on the k12.lang.francais newsgroup describes the French Data Network, an initiative that promises to increase francophone representation on the Internet: Figure 25: Objectives of the French Data Network Les principaux buts de cette manifestation sont: - de f a i r e de'couvrir l e s mondes Internet et Usenet aux e ' c o l i e r s , - de promouvoir l a francophonie - plus de 550 e'coles dans l e monde recoivent l e s groupes K12 (groupes de news pour l e s e ' c o l i e r s ) , en France, une seule e'cole r e c o i t pe'riodiquement ce groupe. The following message on k12.lang.francais is an example of a message from students in France who are interested in contacting similarly-aged students throughout the world: Figure 26: E-mail exchange request from students in France 61 Bonjour! Nous sommes une classe de 21 1 ves de cml-cm2 (8 10 ans). Nous voulons f a i r e connaissance avec des enfants ou des adultes du monde e n t i e r . Nous habitons Radinghem en Weppes, 10 km de L i l l e , au Nord de l a France. C'est un v i l l a g e de 1000 habitants. D i m i t r i , A l i n e , Pierre-Henry, Marion, Grgoire, Ophlie, David, Lucie, Vincent, Charlotte, Nicolas, J u l i e , Maxime, Cline, Rmy, Emilie, Thomas, Elodie, Sbastien, Jennyfer, Benot. Pierre Hno, leur matre This request received several replies, which are also posted to the k12.lang.francais newsgroup. newsgroup. The newsgroup is used mainly for discussion of issues relating to Quebec. English-language messages are accepted, although most of the messages are in French. As such, the newsgroup is an excellent source of day-to-day francophone parlance, as most contributors to the newsgroup write in a conversational tone. This may appeal to French teachers who are looking for authentic uses of the French language in action. As an example, the following figure is an excerpt from a discussion between two newsgroup participants on the merits of wearing a bicycle helmet. The comments of the previous respondent are prefixed by the > symbol: Figure 27: Sample dialog on the newsgroup > Pourquoi a l o r s je continue de porter un casque? He bien, > j ' a i quelques raisons bien personnelles: Surtout parce que > mon a t t i t u d e en velo est tres d i f f e r e n t e lorsque j ' a i un > casque sur l a tete, je suis simplement plus prudent. Pour t o i , o u i . Mais on ne peut ge n e r a l i s e r l o r s q u ' i l s'agit d ' e t a b l i r une l o i imposant l e casque a tous l e s c y c l i s t e s . II y a un phenomene appelle 1 1homeostasie du risque. Cela d e c r i t l a tendance qu'on certaines gens a f a i r e preuve de plus de bravoure lorsqu'entoure d'equipement s e c u r i t a i r e . Par exemple, un automobiliste qui s'achete des super-pneus a crampons pour 1'hiver mais qui, en connaissance de cause, conduit plus v i t e dans les courbes annulant a i n s i l ' e f f e t s e c u r i t a i r e de ces pneus speciaux. Une a t t i t u d e s i m i l a i r e a aussi ete observee dans l e s ligues d'hockey mineures apres 1'imposition du casque. Another dialog on the newsgroup focused on the Internet's role in preserving or diluting the French language. The initial query result in two follow-up messages, which are also displayed below: 62 Figure 28: Follow-up messages to query on French-language newsgroup > A f r i e n d has reported hearing a pronouncement from > Quebec's new Mi n i s t e r of Culture and Language that the > Internet, being l a r g e l y English, i s a threat to the French > language. Can anyone confirm t h i s scary pronouncement? [Response #1] Au c o n t r a i r e . Madame Malavoy, qui est u n i v e r s i t a i r e (a l ' U n i v e r s i t e de Sherbrooke) est une des personnes l e s mieux placees pour assurer que l e s Quebecois aient l e meilleur acces aux ressources globales de 1'autoroute electronique. Auriez-vous ecouter l a presentation des ministres de Monsieur Parizeau, que vous auriez entendus l e Premier ministre p a r l e r directement de 1'autoroute electronique l o r s de l a presentation de madame Malavoy. A l o r s que Daniel Johnson nous p a r l a i t de bazous e l e c t r i q u e s (avec un r i d i c u l e 7 5 m i l l i o n s de budgetys de recherches), l e s candidats du PQ ont a mainte r e p r i s e evoques 1'autoroute electronique. [Response #2] l a d e c l a r a t i o n de madame Malavoy e t a i t a peu pres: "En temps que ministre de l a cult u r e j e suis concernee par 1'autoroute electronique. S i chaque foyers quebecois se retrouve branche sur un systeme qui amene chez l u i n'importe qu' e l l e s t u p i d i t e , l a culture quebecoise est en danger" Je ne me souviens pas des mots exacts mais i l n ' e t a i t pas question de 1'anglais, mais p l u t o t de l a p i e t r e q u a t l i t e de 1 1information dans internet. These responses suggest either that the French language may be best served by an expanded role for the Internet, or that the problem with the Internet is not the predominance of English but rather the low quality of information on the Internet. Articles such as the one above could form the foundations of an in-class project on the role of telecommunications on language and culture. Students could compare the influence of television — a more prevalent yet more passive medium than the Internet — with that of the Internet on retention of one's language and culture. the soc.culture.french newsgroup. The soc.culture.french newsgroup is for discussion relating to French culture and everyday life. The most notable feature of this newsgroup is its accompanying Frequently-Asked Question (FAQ) list, which provides a comprehensive overview, in French and English, of information relating to France. 63 Figure 29: Excerpt from the soc.culture.french newsgroup Caracteres accentues French s p e c i a l characters Ou p u i s - j e trouver un d i c t i o n n a i r e electronique Where to f i n d an s p e l l i n g checker or di c t i o n n a r y Ou trouver de l a presse et des l i v r e s e c r i t s en francais Where to f i n d french newspapers and books Ou trouver des disques, cassettes, cd francais Where to f i n d french records, cassettes, CDs Emissions t e l e v i s e e s francaise hors de France French TV broadcasts out of France French material on the Internet (books) Que s i g n i f i e "Cedex" dans une adresse postale ? What does "Cedex" i n a p o s t a l adddress mean? Citoyennete et d r o i t de sejour C i t i z e n s h i p and residency Que s i g n i f i e n t l e s couleurs du drapeau francais ? What i s the meaning of the french f l a g ' s colors? Paris Metro Qu'est-ce que l e M i n i t e l ? What i s the M i n i t e l ? Ou trouver des fromages francais Where to f i n d french cheese Ou trouver des vins f r a n c a i s Where to f i n d french wine This FAQ list serves as an invaluable guide to current information about France. The FAQ list is actively maintained, which further adds to its usefulness in comparison to the information found in printed textbooks. fr.* newsgroups. The fr prefix is for newsgroups that are exclusively in French. These newsgroups do not necessarily receive widespread distribution in North American, as they are intended primarily for a European audience. Fr.rec.cuisine features an exchange of recipe ideas in French. Teachers could hand out recipes to their students; students, in turn, could translate their favourite recipes and possibly even post them on the newsgroup. Recipes in this newsgroup are not necessarily accurate: the author of a chocolate cake recipe submitted a follow-up message correcting the required quantity of milk from 100cl to only 10cl! Other newsgroups beginning with the fr. prefix include fr.rec.clivers and, for discussion of leisure activities and sporting topics, respectively. Crossposted articles on the Usenet newsgroups. Some documents are of interest to francophones in general, and therefore appear in most of the French-language newsgroups. For example, one French-language article 64 (Les accents francais et Usenet) describes the technical difficulty, described in Chapter 4, of handling diacritical characters on the Internet. The following excerpt from this article promotes the use of the ISO-8859-1 character set, which includes the characters for a wide variety of written languages: Figure 30: Description of Internet character sets Pourquoi adopter ISO-8859-1 sur Usenet? Tout simplement parce q u ' i l n'y a pas de me i l l e u r choix. ISO-8859-1 convient pour toutes l e s langues suivantes: allemand, anglais, danois, espagnol, f i n n o i s , f r a n c a i s , i s l a n d a i s , i r l a n d a i s , i t a l i e n , neerlandais, norvegien, portuguais et suedois. On trouvera une l i s t e des caracteres ISO-8859-1 a 1'annexe 1. Le s i t e f t p : / / f t p . u n i possede quelques documents interessants sur l e s standards ISO, y compris 8859. Another interesting set of cross-posted articles provide instruction on Internet basics in French. These articles are translations from a similar set of articles that are available in an English-language newsgroup. One of these documents, (Le savoir communiquer sur Usenet) introduces the Usenet newsgroups, including the need for user etiquette when posting articles to a large number of potential readers: Figure 31: Description of Usenet newsgroups Plus de 2 500 000 personnes u t i l i s e n t Usenet dans l e monde e n t i e r . II ne faut jamais l ' o u b l i e r . Pensez aussi que vos proches, votre quartier, votre v i l l e font p a r t i e de ce monde e n t i e r . Et que parmi l e s lecteurs se trouve p e u t - e A t r e votre patron ou fu t u r patron, votre beau-fre"re ou un ami de vos parents. La plupart des gens sur Usenet ne vous connaissent que par l e fond et l a form de vos e ' c r i t s . F a i t e s done att e n t i o n a" ce que vos e ' c r i t s ne vous mettent pas un jour dans 1'embarras. The small number of French-language documents on Internet-related activities is bound to increase as francophones become more active on the Internet. These documents will appeal to French teachers who want to maintain the use of French for all instructional purposes, and to students of French who may be very interested in technology-related vocabulary. Electronic mail Electronic mail is the most popular feature of the Internet in educational settings. As the medium of communication for collaborative projects between distant classrooms, 6 5 e-mail is especially useful to second language learners who are usually separated geographically from speakers of the target language. Traditional paper-based pen-pal relationships are migrating to the Internet, where messages are transmitted rapidly at little or no cost. Several monitored exchanges (see Chapter 2) have reported increased motivation and interest in the target language amongst e-mail participants. The role of electronic mail will become even more important to learners of French as francophone communities become more active on the Internet. The challenge to anglophones is in locating francophones who not only have access to the Internet but who are also interested in participating in an exchange; the Internet is largely an English-language network, so for many francophones the Internet IS anglophone. This imbalance results in more requests from anglophones than from francophones for setting up an e-mail correspondence. Although most requests from anglophone schools ask for francophone counterparts, e-mail can also serve an important function in linking two anglophone classrooms in a collaborative French-language project. This may appeal to teachers whose students do not possess sufficiently advanced skills in French to engage in a meaningful correspondence with a francophone class. These exchanges would be easier to organize because they would involve teachers from the same school district or geographical area. The language of correspondence becomes an issue for the teachers involved in an inter-cultural exchange. For example, although a class of anglophones learning French would be interested in communicating in French, the francophone class learning English would be most interested in communicating in English. Another complication results from determining the format of correspondence; a student-to-student pairing is more interesting for the participating students, but requires equally-balanced class sizes; a class-to-class exchange involving group projects would be easier to organize, but would also be somewhat less interesting for individual students. 66 A properly organized e-mail exchange project also taxes a school's computing resources. Although only two computers — one at each end — are required for correspondence between any points on the Internet, teachers must find a productive way for an entire class to participate in the production of exchange material. One way to effectively use a computer laboratory is for students to use word processing workstations. The teacher can then collect the work from the individual workstations, concatenate the files, and then send them as single e-mail message from a computer that is connected to the Internet. This arrangement makes effective use of a school's computing facilities because every available computer can used for data entry. Concatenated word processing files must then be converted to plain text format, a requirement for e-mail messages on the Internet. Most word processors include special formatting commands for bold, underlined, and italic lettering. This step requires knowledge of how to convert word processing files to plain text, and then how to send this text as part of an e-mail message. The precise scope of e-mail exchanges is difficult to determine because most correspondence occurs between privately-accessible e-mail accounts. This is in contrast with other resources on the Internet that are openly accessible to all Internet users. Fortunately, there are several places on the Internet where French teachers can find and place exchange requests. Establishing Internet e-mail exchanges. French teachers can explore a variety of Internet resources in search of an exchange school. A popular source of exchange information is the Community Learning Network's Internet Invitations mailing list. The staff of the CLN searches the Internet for exchange requests and project ideas from other teachers, and then distributes relevant information to the e-mail accounts of teachers who subscribe to the Internet Invitations 6 7 list. A survey of the messages on this list between September 1994 and February 1995 reveals numerous requests for exchanges involving French as a second language: Figure 32: Sample requests for e-mail correspondence 24 students of French i n 7th and 8th grade at Town School f o r Boys, ages 12-14 are seeking penpals. Please contact me at the following address i f you are i n t e r e s t e d . 24 eleves en langue francaise recherchent des eleves avec qui echanger des l e t t r e s . Ce sont des garcons entre 12-14 ans. 12 eleves sont en premiere annee de f r a n c a i s et 12 sont en troisieme annee. Ecrivez-moi a l'adresse suivante s i vous etes interesse. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. P a t r i c i a Teefy French Teacher I p r e s e n t l y teach 2 classes of French and 3 classes of Spanish i n the United States. I am looking f o r a c l a s s who i s i n t e r e s t e d i n corresponding with us on a low l e v e l . My kids are only i n t h e i r f i r s t year of each language. Preferably I would l i k e a c l a s s outside of the U.S. but I welcome a l l messages. My kids are i n 8 grade and are 13-14 years i n age. Hope to hear from you!--Mary Ricks Fellow 'netters, My students are ju s t beginning to become acquainted with the Internet. We would be very happy to receive the e-mail addresses of any school (French or English) that would be i n t e r e s t e d i n corresponding with us. It w i l l be a fun way of students from across the country g e t t i n g to know a b i t about each other and exchanging information about the Internet. Much appreciated, + --- + + --- + Kevin Coughlan 1 * 1 I I F i e r d'etre Dartmouth, Nova Sco t i a . | | | | Acadien ! kcoughla@f ox.nstn. ns . ca + + + + 68 Figure 32: (continued) "FOLLOW US" PROJECT SEEKING PARTICIPANTS Canadian Richard Weber and Russian Misha Malakhov w i l l s k i 750 km i n 120 days from the northern t i p of Canada to the North Pole, using a c a l c u l a t o r - s i z e d notebook with s a t e l l i t e uplink to d e l i v e r reports and answer questions. The proje c t , coordinated by volunteer students at Confederation High School near Ottawa, w i l l also get a d d i t i o n a l assistance from s c i e n t i s t s and researchers from the National Research Council and the U n i v e r s i t y of Ottawa i n En g l i s h and French. P a r t i c i p a t i o n i s l i m i t e d to 300 schools world-wide without charge. (For i n f o : John_Hindle@CarletonBE.Ottawa.ON.Ca). Another useful source for establishing e-mail exchanges is EuroSesame, a scholastic telecommunications network that was established in France in 1984 and now promotes worldwide correspondence between students. French teachers can send their requests for exchange classes to the organizers of the Eurosesame/lnternet connection, Robert and Yvette Valette (e-mail: The following message is from group of students in Bordeaux who want to communicate with students overseas: Figure 33: E-mail exchange request from France Date: Tue, 20 Dec 94 21:13:43 -0800 From: EUROBORDEAUX@ARTHUR . CITI2 . FR Subject: correspondance Salut a tous ! Nous sommes 27 lyceens du Lycee E l i e Faure a Lormont , v i l l e de l a banlieue Bordelaise. Notre region est renommee pour ses vins et ses echanges avec l'etranger. La v i e y est agreable car Bordeaux se si t u e pres de 1 1Atlantique, des Pyrenees et de l a f r o n t i e r e espagnole. [. . .] Quant a notre classe, e l l e se compose de 5 garcons et 22 f i l l e s ages de 16 a 18 ans qui ont c h o i s i de f a i r e des etudes l i t t e r a i r e s . En plus du Francais, nous etudions l e L a t i n , 1'Anglais, l'Espagnol et l ' l t a l i e n , et c'est pourquoi nous recherchons des correspondants dans l e monde e n t i e r pour echanger nos idees. II nous p a r a i t interessant que chacun communique dans sa langue maternelle a f i n que le s messages recus soient aussi authentiques que p o s s i b l e . Nous aimerions connaitre l a v i e des jeunes de votre pays et savoir quelle image vous avez du notre. One of the French teachers who participated in this study was successful in using EuroSesame to establish contact with a class of similarly-aged students in Le Mans, France: Figure 34: E-mail correspondence from France 69 Date: Mon, 12 Dec 94 07:51:24 -0800 From: EUROLEMANSOARTHUR.CITI2.FR Dear , My name i s .1 am teaching English at i n Le Mans,which i s a rather small co-educational secondary school with European and International l i n k s . Le Mans which i s s i t u a t e d i n the Sarthe region about 2 hours from Paris i s famous f o r the 24-Hour Motorcar-Race held every year i n mid-June At school,I have got a group of 8 fourteen-year-old students who are very eager to s t a r t a correspondence i f you are s t i l l i n t e r e s t e d .At f i r s t they would l i k e to exchange l e t t e r s of i n t r o d u c t i o n and discuss NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS.Later on they could do questionnaires or work on t o p i c a l issues. Therefore we are looking forward to hearing from you soon. The outcome of this ongoing exchange is discussed more fully in the following chapter. Yet another source for establishing exchanges is the k12.lang.francais newsgroup, introduced earlier. Whereas EuroSesame focuses on establishing exchanges between classes, the requests in the newsgroup are usually posted by individual students who are looking for a pen-pal. The Internet and conventional correspondence. The Internet is also used to establish conventional exchanges. This may appeal to teachers who do not have access to adequate computer facilities for conducting an ongoing exchange over the Internet. The following message describes one exchange that uses the Internet for e-mail and uses the postal system for exchanging video tapes: Figure 35: Conventional exchange resulting from Internet project Last year our grade 5,6 c l a s s wrote to a p r i v a t e g i r l s school i n Maryland USA. The students exchanged about 3 l e t t e r s with t h e i r keypals. Each school made a video and exchanged them. The teacher i n USA wrote our teacher on a number of d i f f e r e n t occasions asking questions about the immersion program since they were only doing FSL. The two teachers are going to continue the exchange of e-mail t h i s year. Technical and budgetary limitations prevent the sharing of video messages over the Internet. The amount of Internet bandwidth required to transmit full-motion video is significantly greater than the bandwidth required to transmit plain text. 70 Another Internet service (gopher:// lists students from France who are interested in corresponding by conventional mail. Students on the Internet can search for pen-pals in age groups of 14 years or younger, 14 to 18 years, 18 to 22 years, and over 22 years. Students can also register their own names for inclusion in the on-line list. Mailing lists (listservs) A variety of specialized mailing lists (listservs) are available on topics of interest to French teachers and students. Teachers who have no time to conduct their own extensive explorations of the Internet would benefit from subscribing to one or two mailing lists, which deliver information directly to easily-accessible e-mail accounts. Beyond the initial subscription message via e-mail, teachers do not have to do anything further to receive all correspondence on the mailing list. Some mailing lists, however, expect their subscribers to contribute regularly; others feature a one-way delivery of information and do not expect their subscribers to actively contribute. La Classe Globale Francophone listserv. La Classe Globale Francophone (CGF) is an excellent resource for teachers and students of French as a second language. The CGF is operated by Yona Webb of the Cleveland Freenet's Academy One program, and by Bruno Oudet of the French Embassy in Washington, DC. The CGF focuses on collaborative projects and widespread information sharing between all of its participants. As such, the CGF is not a forum for establishing isolated exchanges between two classes. The CGF features a combination of organized and spontaneous projects and discussions. A schedule of organized activities is automatically mailed to all CGF subscribers: 71 Figure 36: Activities schedule for La Classe Globale Francophone ORGANIZED ACTIVITIES: Sept/Oct - ADMINISTRATIVE: P a r t i c i p a n t R e g i s t r a t i o n & Goal Setting, Online help with Download/Upload, Encoding/Decoding Accents, UUEncoding / UUDecoding File's, GIF F i l e s . - COMPUTER TERMS: Vocabulary L i s t , Puzzles, Word Games. - UNITED EUROPE: Update, Comments. Oct/Nov - OUR CLASS: Survey, Comments, Discussions. INTRODUCTION TO SPACE SIMULATIONS. November - OUR SCHOOL: Survey, Comments, Discussions. Dec/Jan - OUR CITY: Teens Tourist Guide, Comments, Reactions. January - A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ... , A PROFILE OF A TEENAGER-1994: Creative Writing Contest -1-, Comments, Discussions. February - VALENTINE'S DAY, MARDI GRAS: Creative Writing Contest -2-March - LE GRAND CONCOURS DE POESIE : Poetry Writing Contest 1994-95. March/Apr - ECOLOGY: Facts, Comments, Art Exchange: Top-10 by popular vote. A p r i l - BEST APRIL FOOL'S DAY JOKE: Creative Writing Contest-3-May 10-16 - TELEOLYMPICS: A t h l e t i c Competition at the Schools and C o l l e c t i n g the F i n a l Results. May/June - EVALUATION of *La CGF* 1994-95 and PLANS f o r 1995-96. One collaborative project began when a French teacher posted a list of French computer vocabulary. Other teachers used the CGF to post follow-up suggestions for new words to add to the list, as well as corrections and new translations for existing words. Teachers could post copies of the vocabulary next to computer terminals where students will be working on Internet-based activities, and students could design word search games using the words. The CGF often contains postings from students and teachers who created games or activities that would be useful to other on the CGF. Teachers on the CGF shared techniques for using word processing software to enter accented characters and to create text-only files for uploading to the Internet. A French teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, initiated another activity that called on CGF participants to create extended dictionary definitions for basic family words. For 72 example, for "ma soeur" one student wrote "elle est ma meilleur amie"; for "Papa", "II est mon professeur, mon pere, et mon ami." These definitions were circulated to all C G F participants. EduFrangais listserv. A project of the French Embassy in Ottawa, the EduFrangais listserv's three goals are (1) to serve as a question-answer forum for teachers of French; (2) to announce new books, institutions, and services; and (3) to host a discussion of educational methodologies for the teaching of French. The EduFrangais list regularly informs its subscribers of new Internet resources of use to French teachers. For example, in January 1995 EduFrangais announced an Internet service that features pictures from cave paintings that were discovered in Ardeche, France. Another message announced the availability of audio broadcasts in French (along with other languages) from the Voice of America's Internet service. Another regular feature on EduFrangais is a publication in text format from Radio France International on interesting aspects of the French language. The following excerpt describes expressions involving the mule: Figure 37: Excerpt from EduFrangais listserv DES MOTS ET DES ANIMAUX La mule... Tetu comme une mule... Se d i t de quelqu'un de tres obstine. La mule est l e produit du croisement de 1'ane et de l a jument. Le male est un mulet et l a mule ou l e mulet ont, comme l'ane, une reputation d'entetement. Charge comme une mule: lourdement charge. Quand l a mule aura mis bas: se d i t d'une chose impossible, l a mule etant generalement s t e r i l e . On d i t a u s s i : tetu comme un mulet: tres tetu. Garder ou t e n i r l e mulet ou l a mule: attendre dehors avec impatience Et e n f i n : rembourre comme un bat de. mulet: extremement vetu. Another listing described subtle differences between the French spoken in Europe and in Africa. Most of the resources in EduFrangais would appeal to advanced levels of 73 French; the excerpt above deals with refined points of the French language that would be well beyond the capabilities of most students of French. Frogmag listserv. Frogmag is a service of the science and technology branch of the French Embassy in the United States, providing articles written by francophones around the world. For example, one article (Tremblement de Terre a Kobe) provides a lengthy personal perspective on the January 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan: Figure 38: Excerpt from Frogmag listserv Le plus grand seisme au Japon depuis des decennies s'est solde par plus de 5000 victimes, des centaines de m i l l i e r s de sans-abris dans un etat d'extreme p r e c a r i t e , l a majeure p a r t i e d'une metropole a reconstruire comme apres l a guerre. Les incendies ont ravage des quartiers e n t i e r s , l e s p e t i t e s maisons en bois ne sont plus que tas de cendres. Pour ces maisons, l e s secours ont souvent ete juges vains des l e depart. Les incendies ont dure p l u s i e u r s jours. II faut de 1'eau pour l e s eteindre... This article could form the foundation for an in-class discussion on earthquake-related issues, or as a vocabulary-building exercise. The level of French, however, may be suitable only for senior French students. FYIFrance listserv. FYIFrance is another useful electronic publication that features information about new developments in France, such as expanded Internet access. This September 1994 news bulletin also describes in detail the link between the popular Minitel system in France and the worldwide Internet. FYlFrance's monthly bulletin also includes pointers to new on-line resources; for example, a January 1995 posting announced the new on-line exhibit of cave paintings at Ardeche (described more fully in the World-Wide Web section of this chapter). Internet users can subscribe to this mailing list by e-mailing its author, Jack Kessler, at 74 Immersion listserv. Simon Fraser University in British Columbia operates a mailing list for French Immersion. This list is for teachers, teacher trainers, administrators and researchers who are interested in exchanging ideas on immersion teaching. The listserv's introductory message lists a variety of possible topics: "teaching techniques, teaching materials used in immersion classes, conferences, new publications, courses on immersion, also with administrative problems, research projects, research findings, etc." Teachers have used the listserv to introduce themselves to other subscribers, to announce various language conferences, and to publicize writing contests: Figure 39: Excerpt from Immersion listserv L'Association canadienne des professeurs d'immersion (ACPI), Canadian Parents fo r French (CPF), 1'Association canadienne des professeurs de langues (ACPLS), l a Societe educative de v i s i t e s et d'echanges au Canada (SEVEC), l a Societe pour l a promotion de 1'enseignement de 1'anglais langue seconde au Quebec (SPEAK) et l e Ministere du Patrimoine canadien presentent l e concours A VOS CRAYONS!! 1995 Etudiants de 10 a 13 ans! Ecrivez une l e t t r e au Premier Minis t r e Jean Chretien pour l u i expliquer 1'importance d'avoir 1'anglais et l e fr a n c a i s au Canada et pourquoi vous etes f i e r s de connaitre l e s deux langues o f f i c i e l l e s . Ensuite, redigez un slogan qui demontre comment c'est super d'etre capable de p a r l e r 1'anglais et l e f r a n c a i s . Terminology listserv. The Terminology listserv is for the discussion of French vocabulary, with a particular focus on technological concepts. For example, one subscriber asked for a good translation for "pen pal" in French. Other subscriber responded with two suggestions: Figure 40: Excerpt from French Terminology listserv > Quelqu'un a - t - i l une bonne traduction ( o f f i c i e l l e ou non) pour > pen p a l (ou pen f r i e n d en GB) ami connu principalement ou > uniquement par correspondance Je c r o i s a v o i r deja entendu "ami de plume " ou "copain de plume", qui n'aurait r i e n de v o l a t i l e . 75 Chanter listservs. This set of listservs is dedicated to the discussion of French-language music and singers. A regular feature on the Chanter listservs is a weekly music chart from a French music program on Much Music, and from a French-language rock station in Montreal. Teachers could use this list to add some contemporary francophone culture into the classroom. Their students may already be familiar with more prominent artists, such as Roch Voisine and Celine Dion. Three separate lists are available - one is for all francophone artists, one for male artists, and a third one for female artists. Cinema listserv. The Cinema listserv is dedicated to the discussion and review of movies in French. Participants in this listserv often post reviews of English-language movies. However, most reviews focus on French films: Figure 41: Excerpt from Cinema listserv LE COLONEL CHABERT, de Yves Angelo. : T i r e d'une oeuvre de Balzac, ce f i l m r e l a t e l e retour au pays d'un homme se pretendant etre l e colonel Chabert, suppose mort a l a b a t a i l l e d'Eylau. Ce retour n'est pas du gout- de tout l e monde, et notamment de son ex-veuve, qui a f a i t f r u c t i f i e r l a fortune de 1'heritage. C e s t 1'occasion de d e c r i r e l e s comportements humains associes a tous ces c o n f l i t s d ' i n t e r e t , et Yves Angelo y a r r i v e avec une p r e c i s i o n qui f a i t f r o i d dans l e dos. Pour tout d i r e , ce f i l m m'a emballe, meme s i quelquefois i l y a des p e t i t e s longueurs... Et quelle d i s t r i b u t i o n ! FrenchTalk listserv. The FrenchTalk listserv is for general conversation in French. FrenchTalk is a high-volume mailing list — on average, forty to fifty new messages appear every day. This list is mainly for fluent French speakers, and would not be suitable for students with poor writing skills. However, the mailing list may occasionally feature an interesting perspective on a topical news event. The following message was posted by a Hawaiian resident shortly after the Tsunami that resulted from an earthquake in Japan: 76 Figure 42: Excerpt from FrenchTalk listserv I c i , a Hawaii, je me r e v e i l l e a 7h00 du mat et j'entend l e s sirenes d'Honolulu c i n g l e r a tout va, a l o r s moi ma tete dans l e patee, j'allume l a t e l e , et nous avons une a l e r t e de TSUNAMI (tres grande vague cree par l e tremblement de t e r r e au Japon qui a r r i v e d r o i t sur nous), l e meilleur de l ' h i s t o i r e : pas d'un i v e r s i t e : YOUUUPPPIII !! I c i , c'est une journee a l e r t e nationale et tout est fermee, l a vague est censee a r r i v e r a 10h28 tres precisemment et i l est maintenant 10h33 et je suis toujours vivant. World-Wide Web resources The World-Wide Web (WWW) is at once the most appealing feature of the Internet and the most demanding in terms of the computer equipment required to properly explore it. The WWW unites a variety of Internet features, including gopher menus, newsgroups and file transfer protocol (ftp) sites, with its own multimedia interface under a common interface. Although Internet users with less sophisticated equipment can explore the text that makes up the WWW by using a text-based browser like Lynx, the best effect of the WWW is achieved by using a multimedia browser like Netscape, which is available both for Macintosh- and Windows-based computers. Netscape also requires a specialized access (SLIP) to the Internet, which the Community Learning Network now supports for teachers in British Columbia. However, this development is sufficiently recent that French teachers will not have had significant exposure to the benefits of the WWW in the language classroom. Ardeche Cave Paintings. The discovery of caves featuring prehistoric art was shared with the world on the French Ministry of Culture's World-Wide Web service, which features several colour images of the wall paintings, as well as a full description in French of the discovery. The French Ministry of Culture was quick to display images of the cave paintings on the Internet: According to FYlFrance, a listserv described earlier, the caves were found in December 1994, announced to the public on January 17, 1995, and appeared on the Internet along with explanatory text on January 24, 1995. These events demonstrate 77 the Internet's ability to rapidly convey topical information, which may appeal to French teachers who want to maintain a contemporary focus in their classrooms. Open Government - Gouvernement Ouvert. Figure 43: Open Government home page Netscape':;[Open Goverhrherit.- .Gouvernement Ouvert] File Edit View Go Bookmarks Options Directory Help ®t ® I ^ % < 5 Back Fora'SKf Home Reload 1 Imsg&s Open Print Find -Stop Location: http:// Le Senat du Canada L a section sur le Senat vous fournit des renseignements sur le role des senateurs dans le Parlement canadien et les informations necessaires pour communiquer avec eux. Chambre des communes L a section sur la Chambre des communes vous fournit les informations necessaires pour communiquer avec les deputes et certains renseignements sur la Chambre des communes proprement dite. Cour Supreme du Canada L a section sur la Cour supreme permet d'avoir acces a certaines de ses recentes decisions, a des informations concernant les juges et a des renseignements d'ordre historique concernant la Cour supreme. W*M\ [Document : D o n e The Open Government WWW service provides information in French and English on Canada's Senate, House of Commons, and Supreme Court. This WWW service is ideal for on-line research by students, as it features numerous hypertext links and extensive information on Canada's political and judicial institutions. Open Government also provides additional hyperlinks to various governmental departments, government 78 documents (such as the Constitution and the North American Free Trade Agreement), as well as provincial information providers. le projet Telecolombie. Figure 44: Fables de La Fontaine on the World-Wide Web Netscape - [Fables de J e a n de La Fontaine] EE File Edit View Go Bookmarks Options Directory Help Back Forward Home Reload images Open Print Find Stop Location: Fables de Jean de L a Fontaine Vo ic i , pour vous divertir, quelques-unes de ses fables populaires. Le nombre de mots dans le texte ainsi que l'indice de lisibilite Flesch suivent chaque titre. • L e chene et le roseau [213/53] • L a cjgale et la fourmi f 100/55] • L e corbeau etle renard \128/69] • Laarenouil le qui se veut faire aussi grosse que le hoenf f 1 i W * t ] • Les arenouilles qui demandent un roi p ? l / 5 6 ] • L e heron [179/69] • L e lievre et la tortue [219/60] • L e loup et l'agneau [186/62] • L e loup et le chien [277/68] • Le meunier. son fils et l'ane [707/64] • L a poule aux oeufs d'or [95/68] • L e rat de vine et le rat des champs f 149/68] • L e renard et le bouc f216/61] PW<gal [Document: Done This WWW page describes Le Project Telecolombie, a distance education project for the British Columbia Ministry of Education. It also features an on-line listing of Fables de la Fontaine, with an invitation to French teachers and students to contribute pictures to the stories. This demonstrates the creative element of WWW page generation; instead of passively reading WWW pages, students are actively engaged in creating their own on-line resources. This is a popular activity for many schools that have a presence on the Internet; for example, an American high school in Germany 79 ( publishes artwork from its students on the World-Wide Web. Le siecle des lumieres dans la peinture des musees de France. Figure 45: Page from on-line museum in France Netscape - [WebMuseum: Cezanne, Paul] File Edit View Go Bookmarks Options Directory Help m Back Forward Home Reload I ages fA a Open I Print 3$ Find Location: W e b M u s e u m , P a r i s Cezanne, Pau l ;(b. Jan. 19, 1839, Aix-en-Provence, F r .— d. Oct. 22, 1906, Aix-en-Provence) French painter, one of the greatest of the Postimpressionists, whose works and ideas were 17JI68 influential in the aesthetic development of many 20th-century artists and art movements, especially Cubism. Cezanne's art, misunderstood and discredited by the public during most of his life, grew out of Impre s sionism and eventually challenged all the conventional values of painting in the 19th century through its insistence on personal expression and on the integrity of the painting itself He has been called the father of modem painting. [Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1994] T h a n k s to M a r k H a r d e n for most of the work i n those pages. Cezanne's portraits Bathers Til rs?<g>l IDocument: Done I Museums worldwide form an active presence on the World-Wide Web, whose multimedia capabilities allow for virtual visits that come close to exploring the actual museums themselves. France is home to a number of on-line exhibits in French. Le siecle des lumieres dans la peinture des musees de France, a WWW resource funded by the French Ministry of Culture, features Enlightenment paintings and accompanying text. The hypertext links are extensive; the user can click on Diderot to view an overview of his life and to view portraits of him. 80 This resource would be ideal for on-line explorations by students. The complexity of the hypertext links and the large volume of data limit the usefulness of this resource for on-line exploration; although teachers could print out pertinent excerpts for discussion in-class, students would miss out on the opportunity to conduct self-guided exploration. WebLouvre. & Le Musee des Arts et Metiers These on-line museums feature paintings from the Louvre Museum in Paris, and Le Musee des Arts et Metiers in Paris, respectively. WebLouvre is not affiliated with the actual Louvre Museum, but nevertheless receives a large worldwide audience, as it recorded its 500,000th on-line visitor in February, 1995. English-French dictionary. This on-line dictionary effectively demonstrates the interactive capabilities of World-Wide Web pages. The user can type in a word in English or French and receive the equivalent words in translation. Unlike CD-ROM-based dictionaries, the user must be actively connected to the Internet. Unlike hard copy dictionaries, this resource does not provide a facility for random browsing through entries. Despite its limitations in light of the available alternatives, some teachers may want to inform their students of this resource. Velonews Tour de France Service. This English-language WWW service provides a variety of information on the French Tour de France cycling race, including team lineups and colour maps for each stage. This information could be useful to less-advanced levels of French in conjunction 81 with a project on sports or cycling. The WWW server also invites questions about the race via electronic mail. Radio France International (RFI). Figure 46: Radio France International Web page N e t s c a p e - [ I M S : R a d i o F r a n c e I n t e r n a t i o n a l ] EH F i l e Edit V i e w G o B o o k m a r k s O p t i o n s D i r e c t o r y H e l p Back For word Home Reload I Itrio j^th.i'. Open Print Find >:>i>:.p L o c a t i o n : h t t p : / / l o w n . h a 1 1 . o r g / t r a v e l / f r a n c e / r f i . h t m I Radio France International Learn French in your spare time with the popular program from Radio France International, P A R L E R A U QTJOTTDIEM. Each lesson is typically between 2 and 2.5 megabytes. Radio France International also brings you daily news transcripts in French. Rebroadcast of Monitor Radio is made possible by the Internet Multicasting Service and our sponsors. "C'ESTMA EA UTE/ C 'ES T DE MA FAUTE" Evolution du "bon usage" : ce qui etait jadis senti comme incorrect est aujourd'hui correct, et inversement. .au format (Mb), gsm format (Mb), .ra format (Mb). Radio France International provides thirty audio programs, each from three to five minutes long, on the French language. These audio segments require a computer that is equipped with a sound card and accompanying speakers. Once transferred, however, these audio programs could be copied onto conventional cassette tapes for use in the classroom. Human Languages Page. This WWW page contains a comprehensive index to Internet-based resources that relate to the world's natural languages, including French. This resource serves as a 82 useful reference page to French teachers who want to stay abreast of the latest Internet services for the French language. Language learning software on the Internet The Internet offers a small selection of software programs that feature drill-and-practice exercises for basic vocabulary and verb conjugation skills. Users of this software are expected to pay a nominal fee to the author, whose address is usually contained in documentation that accompanies the program. The process of accessing these files involves connecting to file transfer protocol (ftp) site, where the French-language software programs are located in the /pub/msdos/langtutr directory. Summary of resources The review of French-language Internet resources in this chapter reveals an eclectic mix of information that caters to a variety of French-speaking audiences. However, most resources are presented without regard to their use in an educational setting. This may be apparent in the sophistication of French employed to address a primarily francophone audience, or in the absence of an overall structure that lends itself naturally to use in a classroom setting. A few exceptions to this general observation are resources and activities like La Classe Globale Francophone, the Open Government project, and organized e-mail exchange with francophones that appeal directly to an audience of teachers and learners of French. In the next chapter, I answer the second, third and fourth research questions by presenting the results of the questionnaires and interviews. 83 CHAPTER FIVE Results: Research Questions 2, 3 & 4 Profile of respondents I received a total of 21 completed questionnaires from the 34 questionnaires (61%) that I sent out. This return rate is considered high in circumstances where the subjects do not provide prior consent to receiving the questionnaire. However, in the present study all teachers provided informal consent in advance of receiving the questionnaire, leading to my expectation for a higher response rate. The genders are equally represented with 11 male respondents and 10 female respondents. The respondents represent a wide range in years of teaching experience (see Table 1) with a mean median of 11 to 15 years. Secondary school respondents outnumber elementary school respondents 3 to 1. Most secondary school teachers teach Immersion in addition to French as a Second Language. The respondents tended toward a confident, native, or native-like evaluation of their fluency in French (see Table 2). Overall, the respondents expressed confidence in most basic computer skills. However, the respondents were less confident in Internet-related skills (see Table 3). Twelve of the responding teachers attended the B.C.A.T.M.L. Internet workshop; 9 respondents registered for the Community Learning Network's on-line course. Two respondents participated in both activities. Of the nine registrants for the on-line course, only three finished all eight lessons; two teachers completed six or more lessons; and the remaining four teachers completed two or more lessons. 8M Table 1 Subjects' years of teaching experience Years teaching 5 or less 6 to 10 11 to 15 16 to 20 21 to 25 26 to 30 31 or more Teachers 4 3 4 3 4 2 1 Table 2 Subjects' confidence in French fluency Confidence level Not at all Somewhat Very confident Native / confident confident Native-like Teachers 0 3 10 8 85 Table 3 Subjects' computing skills, sorted by number of teachers expressing confidence Confidence Number of Percent of Skill subjects total (N = 21) subjects basic word processing (saving, editing, and printing files) 20 95 typing on a computer keyboard 19 90 copying, deleting, and moving files on a computer 19 90 entering accented characters into a word processor 16 76 basic e-mail (composing and reading messages) 16 76 using a modem (dialing, connecting to the Internet) 15 71 navigating gopher menus 12 57 advanced e-mail (forwarding messages, using address 9 29 books) 86 Eighteen of the 21 responding teachers use a computer at home; eleven of these teachers access the Internet from home. All teachers except one have a colleague at school who can answer their computer-related questions. All respondents are equally comfortable in approaching this person for additional help. Computers are available for student use at the schools of all teachers who responded in this study. Thirteen schools provide Internet access to their students; seven of these schools provide 4 or less modems for student use. Evaluation of statements The subjects evaluated a series of statements on a Likert scale. Table 4 displays the cumulative scores that were derived by assigning values ranging from -2 for Strongly Disagree to +2 for Strongly Agree. The absence of scores near absolute zero indicates that most statements evoked a uniformly strong response either in agreement or disagreement. The questionnaires were answered by confident teachers. The statement "I am intimidated by computers" (-32) was soundly rejected, and the statements "I want to learn more about how to use computers" (31) and "I want to learn more about how to use the Internet" (31) were strongly supported. The statement "I am interested in using the Internet for my French teaching" (34) received the most acceptance, indicating that the respondents were very interested in using the Internet. 87 T a b l e 4 R e s p o n s e s to eva lua t i on s ta temen ts in ques t i onna i re r a n k - o r d e r e d by cumu la t i ve s c o r e S t a t e m e n t C u m u l a t i v e s c o r e I a m in te res ted in u s i n g the Internet for my F r e n c h t e a c h i n g . 3 4 I a m in te res ted in u s i n g the Internet to put my s tuden ts in con tac t with ac tua l u s e s o f 3 3 F r e n c h . T h e Internet l ooks p rom is i ng a s a l a n g u a g e learn ing too l . 31 I w a n t to l ea rn m o r e abou t h o w to u s e c o m p u t e r s . 31 I w a n t to l ea rn m o r e abou t h o w to u s e the Internet. 31 I w a n t my s tuden t s to exp lo re the Internet's F r e n c h - l a n g u a g e r e s o u r c e s . 2 8 I a m in te res ted in w a y s of us i ng the Internet for my t e a c h i n g e v e n if my s tuden ts can ' t get 2 7 a c c e s s . M y s c h o o l ' s admin i s t ra to rs w o u l d suppor t my efforts to d e v e l o p In te rne t -based l a n g u a g e 2 7 l ea rn ing M y priority o n the Internet is to con tac t f r a n c o p h o n e s . 18 I don ' t m ind if my s tuden t s r ead F r e n c h wi thout a c c e n t s . (The Internet s o m e t i m e s d o e s 13 not p roper l y t ransmi t d iacr i t ica ls . ) Internet ac t iv i t ies s h o u l d b e c o m e part of the s t a n d a r d F r e n c h cu r r i cu lum. 11 M y s c h o o l ' s c o m p u t e r s a r e u n d e r too m u c h d e m a n d for m e to rea l is t ica l ly p lan Internet- 9 b a s e d act iv i t ies . I k n o w e n o u g h abou t u s i n g the Internet to beg in p lann ing act iv i t ies . 8 I a m c o n c e r n e d that c o m p u t e r s , rather than F r e n c h , wil l b e c o m e the f o c u s of - 1 0 s t u d e n t - b a s e d Internet act iv i t ies . I d is t rust l a n g u a g e lea rn ing act iv i t ies that d e p e n d on t e c h n o l o g y . - 1 7 I h a v e too m a n y o ther cur r icu la r ob l iga t ions to c o n s i d e r u s i n g the Internet wi th my - 2 0 s t u d e n t s . I a m a s l o w lea rne r w h e n it c o m e s to c o m p u t e r s . - 2 0 I don' t h a v e t ime to learn abou t the Internet. -21 I a m in t im idated by c o m p u t e r s . - 3 2 N o t e . T h e c u m u l a t i v e s c o r e w a s de r i ved by a s s i g n i n g the fo l low ing v a l u e s to the sub jec t s ' r e s p o n s e s : S t rong ly D i s a g r e e : - 2 ; D i s a g r e e : - 1 ; A g r e e : +1; S t rong ly A g r e e : +2. A cumu la t i ve s c o r e of 0 i n d i c a t e s a n e v e n b a l a n c e o f a g r e e m e n t a n d d i s a g r e e m e n t wi th a s ta tement . T h e h ighes t a t ta inab le a b s o l u t e s c o r e for a n y s ta temen t is 4 2 (2 po in ts x 21 sub jec ts ) . 88 Statements evoking the most varied responses (the lowest absolute scores) include: "Internet activities should become part of the standard French curriculum" (11), "My school's computers are under too much demand for me to realistically plan Internet-based activities" (9), "I know enough about using the Internet to begin planning activities." (8) and "I am concerned that computers, rather than French, will become the focus of student-based Internet activities" (-10). The statement "Internet activities should become part of the standard French curriculum" generated the most "don't know" (3) and "undecided" (2) replies, followed closely by the statement "I am concerned that computers, rather than French, will become the focus of student-based Internet activities", which generated 1 "don't know" and 3 "undecided" replies. Evaluation of Internet activities The teachers used a 4-point Likert scale to evaluate a series of Internet-based language learning activities. Table 5 displays the cumulative scores that were derived by assigning values ranging from -2 for Most Uninteresting to +2 for Most Interesting. No activity produced a predominantly negative rating, as all scores are positive. However, a wide range of interest was observed amongst the activities. The activities gaining the most interest are "receiving letters in French from francophone students" (34), "exploring French-language museums and art galleries through an on-line multimedia (text, sound, images) tour" (31), and "sending letters in French to francophone students" (30). Activities receiving the least interest include "sending letters in English to francophone students" (0), followed by "receiving letters in English from francophone students" (4) and "receiving letters in French from anglophone students" (5). 89 Table 5 Respondents' interest in Internet-based language learning activities Cumulative Activity score receiving letters in French from francophone students 34 exploring French-language museums and art galleries through an on-line multimedia (text, 31 sound, images) tour sending letters in French to francophone students 30 reading information about Quebec 28 reading information about France 28 reading news about francophone music artists 27 reading information in French about the people, culture, history, and geography of 26 francophone regions exploring French-language articles in an on-line encyclopedia 26 conducting activities based on the daily French-language news 25 exploring course maps, team lineups, and other information on the Tour de France 25 reading information about other francophone regions (please specify) 24 reading messages in French on issues relating to francophone communities 23 listening to short audio programs from Radio France International on peculiar aspects of 23 the French publishing stories and articles in French on the Internet for others to read 16 reading food recipes in French 15 learning about the Internet in French 12 reading information in English about the people, culture, history and geography of 7 francophone regions reading information in French about NASA 6 receiving letters in French from anglophone students 5 receiving letters in English from francophone students 4 sending letters in English to francophone students 0 Note, The cumulative score was derived by assigning the following values to the subjects' responses: Most Disinteresting: -2; Disinteresting: -1; Interesting: +1; Most Interesting: +2. A cumulative score of 0 indicates an even balance of interest and disinterest with an activity. The highest attainable absolute score for any statement is 42 (2 points x 21 subjects). 90 Seven respondents (33%) stated that they were currently using the Internet for their French teaching. One teacher uses the Internet for ongoing e-mail exchanges with students in France and Quebec; another teacher exchanges mail with a school in Quebec; another teacher peruses the Internet for interesting material to use in-class. Thirteen respondents had an activity already in mind when they first thought about using the Internet with their students. Eight of these respondents stated that correspondence with francophones was the first activity to come to mind; the remaining respondents sited various activities, including on-line research and accessing the news in French. Ten of the respondents said they were becoming more interested in the Internet, for reasons including students' heightened motivation when conducting Internet-based activities, improved personal access to the Internet, and enthusiasm resulting from the B.C.A.T.M.L. Internet workshop. The remaining 11 respondents, who stated that they were becoming less interested in using the Internet, identified frustrations with limited access to computing facilities and with the time-consuming process of locating suitable information on the Internet. When asked to identify the most interesting aspects of the Internet for language teaching, the teachers emphasized the Internet's ability to provide quick access to francophone culture: "Instant access to information, people"; "The opportunity to communicate, to share experiences, to access information, throughout the world"; "Real contact with native speakers". The respondents identified several weaknesses with the Internet in terms of language teaching: "Internet not regulated. Anything (virtually) can get on without being edited or even proofread"; "Finding information EFFICIENTLY"; "Lack of accents. Technology as a gateway restricts easy access"; "Time consumption in establishing contact with the appropriate information source"; "Sometimes language used is colloquial, and students don't often know expressions". 91 Fifteen respondents had reservations about using the Internet with their students: "Access to material not suited to young people, too adult"; "Keeping them away from salacious material"; "Needs to be well thought out"; "Necessite de plannifier le projet de recherche"; "I would probably act as an intermediary rather than giving the students direct on-line access"; "Need to supervise or a lot of time will be wasted". All respondents agreed that the Internet would motivate their students for reasons such as these: "It would relate French to real-life experiences"; "To see that there are people who use this language". "Makes French more alive"; "More access to French information and contact with Francophones". All respondents approved of more money allocated for improving computing resources. The respondents requested more computers, more modems, direct Internet access, and additional training workshops. Sixteen respondents indicated that they were not satisfied with the computing facilities at their schools: "Totally inadequate access. Computers are outmoded"; "Too little access for courses outside of computer/business"; "Need more computers in classrooms, need CLN accounts, need phoneline hook-ups"; "I hope we can get more computers specifically for the French classes". The teachers were invited in the questionnaire to make any additional comments about the Internet in the French classroom. Here is a selection: "Teachers do not have time to become very proficient right away. It will take them some years before large numbers of them can implement Internet as a learning tool"; "I see the Internet as an exciting new teaching tool, but one which needs refinement and teacher experimentation before it will become a regular part of the second language teacher's toolkit"; "For students in B.C. the Internet could prove to be an essential tool. Students with the opportunity to communicate directly with native speakers (writers) will likely develop their own proficiency much faster"; "Students will probably lead the way! Many now have modems at home"; "Internet etant une technique si nouvelle 92 qu'on ne peut encore entrevoir toutes ses possibilites, ni ses repurcussions, dans I'enseignement et en particuler dans I'apprentisage des langues". Interviews I conducted follow-up interviews with five teachers who completed and returned the questionnaire. The interviews provided a forum for teachers to elaborate on the answers that they provided in the questionnaires. In an interview with one teacher who registered for the CLN's on-line course, it was apparent that the interest in e-mail extends beyond a simple exchange of e-mail. "I would like to be able to communicate but I don't want some communication like penpal. That is not the style I was looking for and unfortunately that is what is always proposed." This teacher, in particular, was looking for thematic communication whereby both participating classes select specific cultural themes for correspondence: "It's exchange with a purpose". However, in trying to implement this exchange the teacher ran into technical obstacles: S: The CLN is sometimes extremely busy during the class hours, and when we tried once or twice to show the children something specific, I just couldn't get through and in class there is not one minute you can waste. So we postponed it for the next day and after fifteen or twenty minutes, well, we just forgot about it. When asked about La Classe Globale Francophone, a consortium of French teachers that emphasizes thematic exchanges, the teacher indicated that she was late in joining the CGF'S scheduled activities, but would look into participating in their schedule for the upcoming academic year. The interviews also revealed that the French teachers are using their home computers to explore resources that are inaccessible at school due to shortages of suitable computing equipment: I: Were you able to use this program on the computer in the classroom at school? S: No. Unfortunately, I don't have enough memory. 93 I: This is a computer at home? S: Yes, at home. I: So you have access to the WWW at home but not at school? S: Not at school. This interview also revealed that the Internet potentially provides a way for teachers to use computers without requiring complex computer skills: S: It's a very different skill than typing. I don't type but I can go where I want on the net. If I have to type I am very slow but I can do it. I: So a tool like Netscape is very useful to you? S: Oh yes. This exchange reveals that basic computer skills, such as typing, are not necessarily prerequisite for effective use of the Internet. The dominance of English on the Internet, and its effect on French accents, was not a concern for one teacher: S: The main difficulty are the accents, often difficult to send - last time it was too complicated and I didn't do it. I: What do you think about that? S: Well, the Internet is mainly for English correspondence. I don't think that it really matters. It's not essential - separate from grammar exercises and writing exercises. The Internet is an experiment to correspond with real people. The purpose is to make friends with francophones. [...] It doesn't matter if it's perfect. What matters is that you connect, correspond and communicate. They get letters in English and they laugh because of the mistakes. And then they write letters in French and they know that people will be laughing. Another teacher expressed similar sentiments with regards to English language dominance on the Internet, stressing that she uses it principally as an extracurricular activity, primarily to be used as an encyclopedia-style resource: 94 S: It is not a part of the curriculum. It is extra-curricular. I do it on top of everything else, but what i really want is not current news, but more like periodical articles, magazines, because the news is just very superficial. Yes, I would like them to have access especially to news articles in French, recent news articles or periodicals. Encyclopedias they can find in the library, that's not so important. But encyclopedias don't talk about recent modern topics, opinions of Belgians, et cetera. Clearly, this teacher is interested in using the Internet to augment resources currently available to the classroom. Another teacher emphasized the importance of making personal contact with the francophone culture and people regardless of which language is used: S: With the French classes, the main thing is that they are getting relatively live contact with other people. Judging from the responses that we got back, their level of English wasn't much better than their level of French, so they felt a little more comfortable about sending stuff that they were doing. But, we need to have something that's going to be more consistent in our communication back and forth. It becomes a motivation. It makes the program itself more real, because it's so artificial at the moment. There were some reservations however regarding the efficacy of the Internet as a communicative tool in the classroom in light of the rigidity of school timetables: S: I would love to be able to set up some kind of system where they could write letters, but we also work on a quarter system, and that is not very conducive to an exchange of letters between schools. Another reservation is expressed by.the following teacher, who finds many of the available documents on the Internet are too advanced for school-age users: S: That particular article [referring to an article found on the Internet and its potential use in the French classroom] was not simple, so it would've been something that would appeal to grade 12 but probably wouldn't appeal to my grade 11s.. . certainly not to grade 10 because we're looking at something that's far too difficult for that stage. However, despite these reservations, teachers seemed to be generally excited about the possibilities inherent in the Internet: 95 S: One of the things that I think really attracted me to this is the very fact for the first time I've actually seen a real use for computers for me, other than something... right now, or up 'til now, I've seen it as a glorified typewriter, as a glorified worksheet producer, almost like a workbook, and paper workbooks are cheaper than the computer. So, until now I have just not found it something that really interested me, but I personally am interested in having access to resources around the world, so I can see it becoming much more useful and I think as time goes on it will become an easier thing for people to access as well. Summary of the interview and questionnaire data The data from the interviews and questionnaires present a profile of teachers who are beginning to learn enough about the Internet to assess its role in the French as a second language classroom. The profile reveals that although attempts to implement Internet-based language learning activities have been met with frustrations with the available computing facilities, most teachers are impressed with the variety and topicality of French-language resources on the Internet. In the next chapter, the data collection for all four research questions are interpreted and discussed. 96 CHAPTER SIX Interpretation and Discussion Interpretation of data collection The data collection in this study are discussed in reference to the four main research questions. 1. What are the current Internet resources that are suitable for the French as a second language (FSL) curriculum? This thesis was written at a time of immense growth in the availability of French-language resources on the Internet. Chapter 4 of this thesis captures an image of the Internet as it was available to the teachers who participated in this study. The resources documented in this thesis collectively represent a vast source of contemporary French, but at a level that may well provide limited usefulness in a second language setting. For example, the WebLouvre on-line museum exemplifies the Internet's potential for on-line exploration in French, albeit at an advanced level. One teacher described the Internet as too adult in content; another teacher described one World-Wide Web resource as interesting but too advanced for her Grade 4 Immersion students. The teachers criticized some Internet resources for their insuitability in an academic environment. Describing the FrenchTalk listserv, one teacher noted that "a lot of the stuff they were talking about is a lot of bs'ing that should be done around a table with a bottle of beer." Asked if he had tried using the daily news in French, available over the Internet, the same teacher replied: "It's not really aimed at students. [...] It's much more adult-oriented." Thus the Internet may provide an authentic French environment (e.g. francophones exchanging news and conversation) while at the same time excluding learners of French due to the Internet's emphasis on a fluent francophone audience. Although most of the Internet's French-language resources cater to an adult francophone audience, several education-oriented projects are also present. La Classe Globale Francophone provides a framework for students of French 97 to collaborate on scheduled activities. Only one teacher in this study expressly mentioned the CGF. I agree with the comments of several participants in this study that the Internet's present offering of French-language resources is too inconsistent and advanced for widespread implementation in the British Columbia French language curriculum. The inconsistencies are apparent in the constant relocation and addition of Internet resources, which place unrealistic time demands on the most enthusiastic French teachers. Most French-language Internet resources cater to a fluently francophone audience, ruling out easy integration into the second language curriculum. These issues will become even more prevalent as the Internet, along with French-language resources, continue to grow exponentially. Undoubtedly French teachers will need assistance not only at the technical level but also at the curricular level by means of more on-line courses like the CLN's and by means of intensive in-servicing. Data for the remaining research questions were obtained from questionnaires and interviews involving French teachers in the field. 2. In what ways and under what circumstances would these French teachers use the Internet with their students? The questionnaire and interview data in this study collectively provide an evaluation of the Internet resources that I documented for the first research question. The questionnaire data reveal that the exchange of electronic mail is the most popular Internet-based activity for French as a second language teachers. This finding comes from the teachers' ranking of Internet activities, where sending and receiving e-mail with francophone exchange partners were among the three highest-rating activities. The respondents' emphasis on e-mail is better understood in light of the lower evaluation of activities that use the Internet in a different manner. For example, one possible explanation for the low score for "publishing stories and articles on the Internet 9 8 for others to read" is that teachers have not been introduced to the World-Wide Web as a medium for creative input. Teachers highly rated using the Internet for "exploring French-language museums and art galleries through an on-line multimedia (text, sound, images) tour". In this capacity, the Internet serves as an interactive encyclopedia of information, much like educational CD-ROM publications. As the medium for this interactive multimedia work, the World-Wide Web received praise in several teacher interviews. One teacher was very interested in the WWW exhibit of cave paintings that were discovered in France and quickly converted for on-line viewing. The respondents favour the use of the Internet for gathering information in French (see Table 5). The emphasis on French is also evident in the teachers' low ranking of English-language e-mail correspondence. English on the Internet would still be important in some capacities. One teacher explained in the interview that English-language e-mail correspondence would provide incentive for the francophone school to maintain the exchange, and ease her own students' writing efforts by exposing mistakes made in English by their exchange partners. Evidently the Internet lends itself to increased written communication both in English and French with francophones. These learning outcomes can be viewed only positively in light of the present difficulties associated with establishing such correspondences by conventional means. All responding teachers except one said that they were interested in ways to use the Internet for the French teaching even if their students did not have access. This finding is consistent with the teachers' comments, both in other questionnaire items and in the interviews, that they are in an exploration phase with no immediate plans to implement Internet-based activities with their students. The teachers are cautious about launching into Internet-based activities without first having had the opportunity to fully understand and explore the Internet. 99 This hesitancy is also evident in the respondents' marginal support for the statement "Internet activities should become part of the standard French curriculum". Although the teachers are very interested in the Internet, they are not prepared to immediately support its inclusion in the curriculum. One teacher made this observation in the questionnaire: "I see the Internet as an exciting new teaching tool, but one which needs refinement and teacher experimentation before it will become a regular part of the second language teacher's toolkit." This observation parallels the findings in the CLN's survey, which found that teachers think of the Internet more as an immediate benefit to themselves than to their students. The teachers identified potential student misuse as a concern with introducing the Internet into the French classroom. These concerns included the lack of control that teachers experienced when their students were using the Internet, and the unregulated flow of information on the Internet. One teacher said that she would act as an intermediary, rather than provide her students with direct access. Although these findings suggest that teachers are wary about providing their students with direct, unsupervised access, the teachers in this study strongly supported the statement "I am interested in using the Internet to put my students in contact with actual uses of French." Numerous comments in the questionnaires identified the Internet as a source of instantaneous access to French resources. In identifying the Internet's advantages, one teacher wrote "The sense of making almost instantaneous contacts around the world to people and information otherwise unavailable in a small town." Other teachers observed that the Internet would bring French class alive by demonstrating to the students that French is actively spoken by real people. 3. How do these French teachers evaluate their schools' computing facilities for conducting Internet-based activities with their students? The data collection reveals a high dissatisfaction with the quality of and accessibility to computing facilities. A common complaint was that computers were 100 reserved for computer and business classes. One teacher expressed frustration in taking her French students to use a new laboratory with computers that don't work. Teachers complained of outmoded computers, lack of computers, and poor Internet access. Two teachers expressed a desire to have computers dedicated to their French classes. The schools with computer laboratories with 20 to 35 computers on average provide only 3 or 4 modems to access the Internet. Although this arrangement does not permit individual Internet access for a large French class, group or off-line work may be possible. For instance, one respondent whose students correspond regularly with France and Quebec compose their messages off-line in a word processing program; the teacher collects the students' work at the end of the class and creates an e-mail message which she sends on her own e-mail account. The respondents diverged significantly on evaluating the statement "My school's computers are under too much demand for me to realistically plan Internet-based activities". However, all teachers stated that they would support the expansion of computing facilities to include more computers, Internet access, and training. An interesting finding in the questionnaires is that teachers are using their home computers to make up for the shortcomings at their schools. One teacher encouraged his students to explore the Internet at home, where students are increasingly connecting to the Internet. These findings suggest that the future of Internet work for French as a second language teaching may well take place in the homes of French teachers and students alike, where assignments could be completed independently of a school's limited computing facilities. 4. How do these French teachers evaluate their own computer- and Internet-based skills? The respondents to this study were very confident in computer skills unrelated to the Internet, such as keyboard typing, word processing, and file management, and 101 somewhat confident in Internet-related skills, such as basic and advanced e-mail, navigating gopher menus, and using a modem. An interesting outcome of this study is that the collective computer skills required to make use of the Internet are becoming less demanding as hypertext interface tools like Netscape become prevalent. This observation comes from an interview with one French teacher who stated that she enjoyed using Netscape on the World-Wide Web because it does not require extensive use of the keyboard. At the moment, e-mail use in the classroom is complicated by inconsistencies in the way students' work is transferred from workstation to an e-mail message; the students of one teacher use Word Perfect on networked workstations to compose their messages. The teacher must then open the individual word processing files, concatenate the messages, open the communications software program, and upload the messages in text mode. These steps individually require an understanding of word processing programs, files, file copying, multitasking, and uploading. A program similar to Netscape that automates this networked e-mail exchange would reduce the number of steps required to effectively use computers in the language classroom, and would enable teachers to focus their efforts on students' questions about French. Summary of findings The Internet offers a wide variety of resources in French that could be useful in the second language classroom. The quality and quantity of these resources promises to increase as quickly as the Internet itself. However, most teachers in this study were not familiar with more advanced information retrieval functions on the Internet. Therefore the questionnaires and interviews in this study focused on hypothetical and potential uses of the Internet based on the pedagogical merit of the resources. The CLN's intent in preparing subject-specific courses such as the course for French as a second language was to fill a void that the CLN identified in teachers' 102 readiness to use the Internet. It is apparent from this study that although the teachers now have access to this background information they may not necessarily have the time or computing resources to make effective use of the Internet. The teachers involved in this study make up for these shortcomings with their interest and enthusiasm for the Internet. Overall the teachers in this study were prepared to reevaluate the computer's role in the language classroom in light of the advantages associated with using the Internet. The opinions in the questionnaire and interview data represent the French teaching population at large to the extent that the subjects represent French teachers who are more enthusiastic about computers and the Internet. The limited exposure to the Internet expressed by most subjects in this study suggests that a more broad survey of French teachers would reveal a more negative attitude toward computer-based language learning activities. Recommendations for administrators and practitioners Computer-based learning activities are both costly and controversial. The use of a computer in the second language classroom inevitably gives rise to complaints of the dehumanisation of the language learning process. The Internet, as a focus for computer use, is subject to criticisms of the unrestricted access that it provides to offensive and educationally unsuitable material. In any event, the expense of installing sufficient multimedia-capable computers with high-speed access to the Internet prevents most schools in British Columbia from providing teachers and students with a worthwhile on-line experience. How, then, do teachers of French as well as school administrators proceed in this age of uncertainty surrounding the fiscal and educational viability of Internet-based instruction? Home use of the Internet by teachers, parents, and students is perhaps the most effective solution to the current dilemma facing schools with limited budgets and 103 computer resources. Teachers and students at an innovative school could construct a custom home page with links to Internet resources that relate directly to in-class activities. This Web page would demonstrate worthwhile educational aspects of the Internet to staff and students as well as to community members who access the page. The Internet is home to dozens of such pages from schools around the world. From home, students could use the school Web page as a starting point to a meaningful Internet journey. Students without at-home Internet access could have priority access to computer facilities at school, or could pair up with other students for home-based Internet assignments. Instead of reserving precious class time for work in a school's outdated computer lab, French teachers could class time to address language-related matters as they related to home-based Internet activities, such as corresponding with francophones through a pre-established exchange. French teachers or their students could also use class time to introduce French-language materials that they found on the Internet. Teachers would also benefit exploring the Internet from home. I was impressed by the great interest in the World-Wide Web expressed by students in the University of British Columbia's teacher education program, for which I conducted Internet workshops. Many student-teachers who had never before explored the World-Wide Web were interested in upgrading their Internet accounts to support the use of Netscape from home. With regards to the the merits and drawbacks of an openly-accessible Internet, student-teachers in these workshops observed that students with access to the Internet from home already know how to access its controversial sites. Perhaps the novelty of such access would give way to more meaningful network exploration as students approached the deadline of an Internet-based assignment! 1 0 4 Recommendations for further research This study constructed a best case scenario for Internet use by approaching French teachers who already expressed some interest. In so far as this study found frustrations with the availability of computing facilities, further research could usefully engage in an in-depth case study that focuses on one teacher's effort to fully incorporate the Internet in the French as a second language classroom. This case study would take place in a well-equipped computer laboratory and in doing so would eliminate frustrations with equipment as a confounding factor in the teacher's evaluation of the Internet's worth as a language learning tool. The present study found that even the best-intentioned teachers encountered frustrations. Another interesting study could survey a broader base of French teachers, and in so doing include the views of those teachers who are more doubtful of the role of computer-based telecommunication in the language learning classroom. Another study could investigate the reaction of students to using the Internet in the classroom. This may include an evaluation of the students' computer literacy, their initial and long-term responses to the variety of resources introduced in the classroom via the computer, and their interest in taking on leadership roles in the classroom as a result of the self-directed learning process. 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CALICO Journal. 4(3), p. 35-45. 108 Appendix A: Recruitment notice to registrants in the CLN's on-line course TO: ALL REGISTRANTS IN THE CLN'S ON-LINE COURSE ON USING THE INTERNET IN THE FRENCH CLASSROOM As a graduate student in UBC Modern Languages Education, I am writing my thesis on the role of the Internet in the French as a second language (FSL) classroom. I am interested in your opinions as French teachers who are exploring the Internet through the CLN's on-line course. I would like you to fill out a questionnaire that asks you to evaluate the French-language Internet resources that you have explored, and to identify the logistical and technical difficulties that you have encountered, or expect to encounter, in using the Internet with your students. I will be mailing out the questionnaires in January, 1995. Please reply to this e-mail message, indicating whether or not you are interested in receiving the questionnaire. You are not obligated to return the questionnaire. In return for your participation, I would be pleased to mail you a detailed summary of the findings in my study. I look forward to hearing from you! Stefan Ellis graduate student, Department of Language Education Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia 110 Part 1 — Background information * Your answers to these and all questions in this questionnaire are confidential. 1. Name (optional): 2. Age: 25 or younger • , 26-35 • , 36-45 • , 46-55 • , 56-65 • 3. Sex: female • , male • 4. Years of teaching experience: 5 or less • , 6-10 • , 11-15 • , 16-20 • , 21-25 • , 26-30 • , 31 or more • 5. In the last three years, what grades and levels (e.g. FSL, Immersion) of French have you taught? 6. In the last three years, what languages other than French (if any) have you taught? 7. How would you assess your fluency in French? not at all confident • , somewhat confident • , very confident • , native/native-like • 8. Did you attend the Internet workshop at the 1994 B.C.A.T.M.L. conference? yes • , no • 9. Did you register for the CLN's course on using the Internet in the French classroom? yes • , no • # If yes, answer the questions in the box below; if no, proceed to the next page. 10. Check off the lessons (if any) you completed: • 1 (introduction) • 5 (Usenet newsgroups) • 2 (provincial & national gophers) • 6 (Electronic mail) • 3 (French Embassy gopher, part 1) • 7 (Mailing lists) • 4 (French Embassy gopher, part 2) • 8 (World-Wide Web) 11. If you did not complete most of the lessons, explain why: 12. Were you able to find the resources that were introduced in the lessons you completed? yes • , no • * If no, explain: 111 Part 1 (continued) 13. Check off the skills (if any) in which you are now reasonably confident: • typing on a computer keyboard Q basic word processing (saving, editing, and printing files) • entering accented characters into a word processor FJ copying, deleting, and moving files on a computer • using a modem (dialing, connecting to the Internet) Q basic e-mail (composing and reading messages) Q advanced e-mail (forwarding messages, using address books) • navigating gopher menus 14. Do you use a computer at home? yes • , no • • If yes, do you access the Internet from home? yes • , no • 15. Have you received computer training (apart from the CLN) from your school or elsewhere? yes • , no • * If yes, describe: 16. Do you have a colleague at school who can answer your computer-related questions? yes • , no • * If yes, do you feel comfortable in approaching this person? yes • , no • 17. How many students in total (approximately) attend your school? 18. Does your school provide computers for student use? yes • , no • # If yes, answer the questions in the box below. If no, proceed to the next page. 19. Does your school have a computer laboratory? yes • , no • # If yes, how many computers are in the lab and how often (times per month) could you reasonably expect to reserve the lab for one of your classes? 20. How many computers in total are available in classrooms where you currently teach French? 21. Do students at your school have access to the Internet (e.g. to the CLN)? yes • , no • , don't know • # If yes, how many student-accessible computers at your school have modems? ••. 112 Part 2 — Evaluation Statements • Evaluate the following statements using this scale: SD • Strongly Disagree, D - Disagree, A - Agree, SA - Strongly Agree If you can't evaluate a statement, please circle dk (don't know) or u (undecided). 1. I a m in te res ted in u s i n g the Internet for my F r e n c h t e a c h i n g . S D D A S A dk 2 . T h e Internet l o o k s p rom is i ng a s a l a n g u a g e learn ing too l . S D D A S A dk 3. M y priority o n the Internet is to con tac t f r a n c o p h o n e s . S D D A S A dk 4 . I a m in te res ted in us i ng the Internet to put my s tuden ts in con tac t wi th ac tua l u s e s of F r e n c h . S D D A S A dk 5. I wan t m y s tuden ts to exp lo re the Internet's F r e n c h - l a n g u a g e r e s o u r c e s . S D D A S A dk 6. I don' t m ind if my s tuden ts r ead F r e n c h wi thout a c c e n t s . (The Internet s o m e t i m e s d o e s not p roper ly t ransmi t d iacr i t ica ls . ) S D D A S A dk 7. I a m in te res ted in w a y s of us i ng the Internet for my t e a c h i n g e v e n if my s tuden t s can ' t get a c c e s s . S D D A S A dk 8. I h a v e too m a n y o ther cur r icu la r ob l iga t ions to c o n s i d e r us i ng the Internet wi th my s tuden ts . S D D A S A dk 9. Internet ac t iv i t ies s h o u l d b e c o m e part of the s t a n d a r d F r e n c h cu r r i cu lum. S D D A S A dk 10. M y s c h o o l ' s c o m p u t e r s a re u n d e r too m u c h d e m a n d for m e to rea l is t ica l ly p l an In te rne t -based act iv i t ies with my s tuden ts . S D D A S A dk 1 1 . M y s c h o o l ' s admin is t ra to rs w o u l d suppor t my efforts to d e v e l o p In te rne t -based l a n g u a g e learn ing act iv i t ies . S D D A S A dk 12. I a m in t im idated by c o m p u t e r s . S D D A S A dk 13 . I a m a s l o w lea rne r w h e n it c o m e s to c o m p u t e r s . S D D A S A dk 14. I don ' t h a v e t ime to learn abou t the Internet. S D D A S A dk 15 . I k n o w e n o u g h abou t us i ng the Internet to beg in p lann ing ac t iv i t ies . S D D A S A dk 16 . I a m c o n c e r n e d that c o m p u t e r s , rather than F r e n c h , wil l b e c o m e the f o c u s of s t u d e n t - b a s e d Internet act iv i t ies . S D D A S A dk 17. I d is t rus t l a n g u a g e learn ing act iv i t ies that d e p e n d o n t e c h n o l o g y . S D D A S A dk 18. I wan t to learn m o r e abou t h o w to u s e c o m p u t e r s . S D D A S A dk 19. I w a n t to learn m o r e abou t h o w to u s e the Internet. S D D A S A dk 11 Part 3 — Internet activities • Specify your interest in the following smdeot-based Internet activities using this scale: MU - Most Uninteresting, U - Uninteresting, I - Interesting, Ml - Most Interesting Assume that your students would have access to adequate computing facilities for these activities. 1. r e a d i n g in format ion in E n g l i s h abou t the p e o p l e , cu l ture, h is tory a n d g e o g r a p h y of f r a n c o p h o n e reg ions M U U M l 2 . r ead ing in format ion in F r e n c h abou t the p e o p l e , cu l tu re , h is tory, a n d g e o g r a p h y of f r a n c o p h o n e reg ions M U U M l 3 . r ead ing in format ion abou t Q u e b e c M U U M l 4 . r e a d i n g in format ion abou t F r a n c e M U U M l 5. r e a d i n g in format ion abou t o ther f r a n c o p h o n e reg ions ( p l e a s e spec i f y ) M U U M l 6 . r e c e i v i n g let ters in E n q l i s h f rom f r a n c o p h o n e s tuden ts M U U M l 7. r e c e i v i n g let ters in F r e n c h f rom f r a n c o p h o n e s tuden ts M U U M l 8. r e c e i v i n g let ters in F r e n c h f rom a n g l o p h o n e s tuden ts M U U M l 9 . s e n d i n q let ters in E n q l i s h to f r a n c o p h o n e s tuden ts M U U M l 10 . s e n d i n g let ters in F r e n c h to f r a n c o p h o n e s tuden ts M U U M l 1 1 . c o n d u c t i n g ac t iv i t ies b a s e d o n the da i ly F r e n c h - l a n g u a g e n e w s M U U M l 12 . r e a d i n g f o o d r e c i p e s in F r e n c h M U U M l 13 . r e a d i n g n e w s abou t f r a n c o p h o n e m u s i c art ists M U U M l 14. l ea rn ing abou t the Internet in F r e n c h M U U M l 15 . exp lo r i ng F r e n c h - l a n g u a g e ar t ic les in a n on- l ine e n c y c l o p e d i a M U U M l 16 . exp lo r i ng F r e n c h - l a n g u a g e m u s e u m s a n d art ga l l e r ies th rough a n o n -l ine mu l t imed ia (text, s o u n d , i m a g e s ) tour M U U M l 17 . r e a d i n g m e s s a g e s in F r e n c h on i s s u e s re lat ing to f r a n c o p h o n e c o m m u n i t i e s M U U M l 18 . exp lo r i ng c o u r s e m a p s , t e a m l i neups , a n d o ther in format ion on the T o u r d e F r a n c e M U U M l 19 . l i s ten ing to shor t a u d i o p r o g r a m s f rom R a d i o F r a n c e Internat ional o n pecu l i a r a s p e c t s of the F r e n c h l a n g u a g e M U U M l 2 0 . r e a d i n g in fo rmat ion in F r e n c h abou t N A S A M U U M l 2 1 . pub l i sh ing s to r ies a n d ar t ic les in F r e n c h on the Internet for o the rs to M U U M l r e a d 114 Part 3 (continued) * If you wish, briefly describe other Internet-based language learning activities that interest you (whether or not they are presently possible}: * Check off methods of Internet communication (appearing in bold)^at you are famthar Zmand use the lines to comment on their usefulness. if you took the CLN's on-Hne you may also wish to comment on the resources that appear m parentheses. • gopher menus (BCTF, University of Montreal, French Embassy in Ottawa, French Embassy in Washington, American Association of Teachers of French): • Usenet newsgroups (, soc.culture.french, fr.rec.cuisine): • e-mail (exchanges with francophone students): • Mailing lists (La Classe Globale Francophone, EduFrangais, Chanter, Cinema, FrenchTalk, Internet Invitations): • World-Wide Web (Open Government, Le project Telecolombie, Le siecle des lumieres dans la peinture de France, WebLouvre, Le Musee des Arts et Metiers, Velonews Tour de France, Human Languages Page, on-line French-English dictionary): • Check here if you are familiar with none of the above features of the Internet. 115 Part 4 — Internet in the classroom 1. Are you currently using the Internet for your French teaching? yes • , no • # If yes, how? 2. Did you have a particular type of activity in mind when you first thought about using the Internet with your students? yes • , no • * If yes, what kind? and is this activity still the most important to you? yes • , no • 3. Are you becoming • more or • less enthusiastic about using the Internet with your students? What (if anything) accounts for your change of opinion? 4. What interests you most about the Internet? 5. What is the Internet's greatest weakness in terms of language teaching? 6. Do you have any reservations about using the Internet with your students? yes • , no • # If yes, please explain: 7. Do you think that the Internet would motivate your students? yes • , no • * If yes, how? 8. Would you approve of your school spending more money on improving Internet access? yes • , no • * If yes, specify how you would like to see this money allocated (e.g. training workshops, more computers): 9. Are you satisfied with your school's computer facilities? yes • , no • # If no, why not? 116 Part 4 (continued) 10. Please use the space below to make any additional comments about the Internet as a language learning tool: Thank you for completing this questionnaire! / may wish to interview you over the telephone in order to build on your responses in this questionnaire. If you are interested in participating, please sign the consent form on the next page and return it with the completed questionnaire; we can then arrange a mutually convenient date and time for the telephone interview. 


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