The Computer-supported Classroom
constructivist point of view, students start studying as independent learners
who decide for themselves how much and what they study. Students not only
have to learn which technical aid is available for translating, but they must
also be able to learn how to understand new programmes on their own after
having finished their studies.
Being aware of this, the first question asked is how teaching aids can be
1. One computer per student
First, the teacher helps the students acquire the necessary basic knowledge.
The more knowledge they acquire, the more the teacher withdraws from class
and limits himself to merely providing food for thought. The most effective
way to make students learn how to use a computer is to let them solve a
translating problem and have them hand in their translation in a specific
Advantage: Students acquire active knowledge related to their future
profession and work under real life conditions.
Disadvantage: High costs.
2. One computer per class:
Material used in class is projected to a wall by means of an overhead
projector or beamer, which is connected to the computer.
Advantage: Each student of the class concentrates on the same text
example. Lower costs.
Disadvantage: When working in a team, the individual students might
not come up with as many ideas as they would have in number 1. Teaching with
only one computer per class might tempt students to not actively follow the
class and evaluate what they have learned, but to be more passive.
Once the question of how learning aids should be distributed is answered, the
question, which teaching method shall be applied. is still open. In his book
"A Social Constructivist Approach to Translator Education", Don
Kiraly provides four methods, which can also be applied in a
1.One-to-many technique: Exchange of
ideas between a teacher and his/her class.
2.Many-to-many technique: Exchange of
ideas amongst the students (with or without the teacher) through discussions,
role plays, brainstorming or groups working on one project.
3.One-to-one technique: Exchange of ideas
between the teacher and one student, or between two students through online
communication or e-mail tandem.
4.One-alone technique: Independent
studying by making use of online data-bases, online magazines, Internet
applications and newsgroups.
Overcoming obstacles: :
For students who come to the university with little knowledge about specific
computer programmes, dealing with the highly developed computer programmes
and using them for translating can be an obstacle almost impossible to
overcome. To later be successful in working life, students have to acquire
more than just basic knowledge on computers while studying, but how can they
be made familiar with these programmes? One approach is to teach about
hardware and software the same way a new language is taught: in an
environment as natural as possible. In order to create such an environment,
the teacher has to devise realistic situations in which the students can
enlarge their own knowledge about computers. An example for this is working
in workshops in which a group of students with knowledge on computers tutors
students who are less familiar with using a computer for translating.