Media helps teachers taking the real world into the classroom, and makes tasks more meaningful and thus, more exiting.
There are many classifications of media, the more general one classify media into mechanical (related to technological innovations) and non-mechanical (daily life objects; these objects must be adapted by the teacher according to students’ level of proficiency and needs). Other classifications are: technical (costlier)/non-technical (user friendly), software (consumable)/hardware (equipment), authentic/not authentic, commercial/teacher produced, used alone/multimedia.
We have to take into account which purpose the media will be used for, select one media, and then think about the advantage that kind of media has (each media have unique advantages), and what sort of adaptation have to be made to reach students’ needs and capacities.
Media should be viewed as an important part of the lesson, if not the most important one. It motivates students because it presents language in a communicative and meaningful context; it also provides cultural richness input.
Media help students to process information and teachers to avoid excessive explanation, and provide a real context in which the task will be developed.
Framework: (a guide for teachers, not a step-by-step guide)
1) Information and Motivation stage: Topic and background information is presented.
2) Input stage: Teacher ensures comprehension of items presented
3) Focus stage: Students practice the task and manipulate items until they feel confident.
4) Transfer stage (communicative oriented): Students offer personal comments or share experiences related to the topic.
5) Optional feedback stage: Recording of students is used to guide assessment
At the time of choosing media we have to be aware that instructional media will be found in almost infinite variety of forms and can play equally varied roles.
Taking this into account, at the time of selecting what kind of media will be used in our classes we have to consider:
*The type of concept to be presented.
*Students preferences (age, interests, learning styles, &c.)
*Teacher preferences (teaching style, equipment familiarity, &c.)
*Availability of software and hardware.
*Physical circumstances of the classroom or lab.
(Availability and teacher creativity will be the determining factors in selecting what media will be used)
Finally, we have to use media to vary and make classes less monotonous, media help us to reinforce the points we want to make and provide a real context to work about; it is a source of input, media also help to individualize instruction and appeal to the variety of cognitive styles in the classroom. Media involve students integrally in the learning process and facilitate language learning by making it a more authentic process.