Using Computers to Facilitate SRA Activities in Reading Classes by Hiromi Imamura & Margaret C. Pereira (Chubu University)

Reviewed by Kazunori Nozawa, Toyohashi University of Technology

Ms. Pereira first outlined what SRA reading materials are and how students use them in her classes. SRA is a self-paced and graded set of reading cards. They are quite popular in ESL programs in North America. She explained how she taught ESL using SRA at Ohio University. She then outlined some of the weaknesses of SRA. Since the SRA is a self-paced activity done mostly outside the classroom, one major problem is that students are not able to obtain feedback fro teachers regarding the work done. Teachers too may find it difficult to monitor students' progress. The worksheets available from the publisher are poorly organized and donot indicate the studentsŐ progress. Therefore, a HyperCard stack was developed at Chubu University to supplement the record sheets available with the kit.

Ms. Imamura then demonstrated the HyperCard stack step by step, after describing the introduction brochure given to the students on how to use the computer and the program itself. What interested me was the record keeping process by which each student could find out how he/she has been improving graphically (how well he/she read and the percentage of learned words) by looking at his/her chart on the progress sheet and also that the teachers can send messages to encourage individual students further.

Students can work on SRA materials quickly, as much as they desire, and at anytime. The most useful benefit is the immediate feedback. This is a useful advantage of a HyperCard program. The learners, however, must indicate which card they did and how well answered the questions. The teacher can then access this information and thus become aware of their studentsŐ progress. And the teacher can write brief comments on the studentsŐ progress.

There was a question and answer session at the end of the presentation. How can you involve human elements in such a SRA program? Since it is a self-paced and individualized program, not much human communication is involved, but via e-mail students can send questions or complains to the teachers who can also respond with answer or advice.

Copyright(c) 1997-2002 K. Nozawa. All rights reserved.