2007/11/27

English grammar practice on the Web

We know some SLA authors say explicit grammar teaching is not the most efficient way to help our students learn a language. However, many teachers believe that specific grammar work is needed in order to deal with some difficult grammar points or structures and some students, especially those who are older, want to have grammar explanations and practice because they prefer to learn the rules before attempting to use the language in communicative situations (or because they need it to pass their exams). Anyway, many teachers and students demand grammar practice exercises and we can find a lot of them on the Web. As Levy & Stockwell (2006:185) have written:

"Despite this general movement away from drill-based grammar instruction, it is perhaps ironic that many people new to the field consider this type of activity to be the essence of what CALL is. Drill-based activities most certainly still have their place in the language curriculum."


The main ESL directories have wide grammar sections which include links to sites with grammar tutorials, exercises and activities.

Some of the websites which offer good repositories of grammar quizzes and exercises in their servers are the following:

  • About.com : With quizzes for different learner levels and grammar topics.
  • Activities for ESL Students : Grammar Quizzes about Places and different levels (Easy, Medium and Difficult).
  • Basic Grammar : For lower levels and review.

  • Clicknlearn : Multimedia activities for Spanish Secondary Education students.

  • E.L. Easton : Grammar section with links and exercises related to different parts of speech (Adjectives, Articles, Conjunctions, Nouns, Prepositions, Pronouns, Verbs).
  • English4U : Alphabetical classification and level rating.

  • English-Hilfen : Excellent German site with tutorials and related exercises. You can subscribe to their newsletter with the latest news.

  • ESLGold : From low beginning to advanced.

  • Learnenglishfeelgood.com : English grammar tests that focus on topics that ESL students often find difficult to understand.

  • Manythings.org : Some of the quizzes you can find here are also at the A4ESL site.

  • NonstopEnglish : If you register and login you can see which tests you have done and how successfully.

  • Road to Grammar : More than 300 interactive exercises and a section for younger learners.

  • World English : Exercises and tests covering the main areas, including a diagnostic grammar test.

Other sites with grammar games and other activities are the following:

  • Grammar Safari : Suggestions for "hunting" and "collecting" examples of specific words and structures as they are used in documents accessible to anyone on the Internet.
  • Netgrammar : Lesson plans on grammar contents with explanations, exercises and skills practice.
  • Tenses : English tenses tutorial.


Now that you have visited all these rich grammar practice sites, you should forget about them according to Steve Kaufmann's language learner's manifesto.

Of course, grammar games and tutorial exercises are not the only way to learn grammar with Web resources, there are more possibilities, just in case grammar should be taught at all. Levy & Stockwell (2006) see three main types of grammar instruction with computers:

"Grammar teaching in CALL generally takes one of three forms: grammar tutorial exercises, learner-centered grammar instruction, or communicative grammar instruction...

...(Learner-centered grammar instruction) places greater emphasis on the learners to deduce the rules of the target language for themselves. One means of doing so that features regularly in the literature is the use of concordancing and corpora...
...The only way in which learners are able to have access to 'unlimited' language input is through authentic communication, be this with native speakers or with other learners of the language. The choice of the appropriate form of computer mediated communication is a difficult one, and different types of CMC allow for emphasis on different aspects of language learning.
"

With regard to grammar learning in Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) activities, Chapelle (2005) comments the following:

"Whereas much grammar learning might best be carried out through explicit grammar teaching, we have seen that CMC tasks offer a wealth of opportunities for learning through language practice that is not directed specifically at the teaching of any particular grammatical point... CMC provides a mechanism for valuable communication, but shaping the mechanism into valuable opportunities for learning is the pedagogical challenge. Here the research is very difficult to interpret because researchers have studied a variety of phenomena, but the overall finding is that teachers need to plan for good CMC exchanges."

2007/09/23

Types of web resources for language teaching


From Woodsy’s photo gallery


This post is part of "The First ELL, ESL & EFL Carnival"

It is frequently said that the Web is full of teaching and learning resources.

What kind of language teaching resources can we find on the Web?

What do we mean by "web teaching resource"?

Teaching resources in general are a source of aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed to enhance the quality of teaching and therefore facilitate learning. They may be physical (board, book, poster, video projector, chart, ...) or conceptual and methodological. When we refer to web teaching resources we are talking about the different kinds of materials and tools that we can find on the WWW, with the same purpose of improving the quality and efficiency of learning in activities which make use of those resources.

Therefore, a first distinction can be made between materials, which provide contents, and tools, which let us process those contents, create our own materials or interact and collaborate with other people in learning environments. The type of web resources to be used will depend on the kind of activity to be developed.

As we know, when we search for contents in the Net, not only can we find text documents, also images, videos, audio files, presentations, conceptual maps or documents with a diverse kind of interactivity and graphic or multimedia combinations. Whatever their form of presentation, in my view, there are three general types of web materials for educative use:
  1. Teaching materials. They are usually created with a curricular didactic aim and may include different kinds of documents and activities: practice exercises (grammar, vocabulary, skills), tutorials, simulations, games, etc.
  2. Authentic materials. Their communicative or social function is authentic; they haven't been modified or adapted for teaching purposes. They can be used as a resource in discovery based learning activities and web tasks for language learning.
  3. Reference materials. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, manuals, concordancers online.

Web tools used as a teaching and learning resource can be classified according to its function:

  • Navigation
  • Search
  • Office online tools
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Content syndication
  • Communication
  • Content and learning management systems
  • Social networking
  • Multimedia edition
  • Didactic materials authoring

This could be an initial sketch to be completed and developed. Internet as a language learning resource is not only an immense network of contents with multimedia facilities, but also a communication technology that promotes interaction with other people and the media, providing the conditions for a more socio-constructive, cooperative and student-centered kind of learning, which takes into account the learner needs and fosters her or his autonomy.


2007/08/20

Because of YouTube!

Sing along changing YouTube for MyBlogs, Twitter or Facebook.



Via eCuaderno

2007/07/15

7 groups of NBLT activities

Network Based Language Teaching (NBLT) is language teaching that involves the use of computers connected to one another in either local or global networks. Whereas CALL has traditionally been associated with self-contained, programmed applications such as tutorials, drills, simulations, instructional games, tests, and so on, NBLT represents a new and different side of CALL, where human-to-human communication is the focus. (Kern & Warschauer, 2000)

However, language learning activities which involve the use of the Internet needn't be limited to computer mediated human-to-human communication. Traditional CALL activities can also be developed in NBLT and are actually found in most LT sites.
As we know, the Web is full of authentic, reference and didactic materials useful for language learning. It also provides excellent tools for the interaction with those materials, processing information (input) and student production (output). And for linguistic contents and skills work, either integrated o specific.

Here is a list of 7 groups of LT activities using the Internet (or NBLT activities):

  1. Lexical quizzes, games and other vocabulary learning specific activities (e.g. lexical maps, concordancers use, class dictionary building ...).
  2. Grammar tutorials, exercises, simulations and games.
  3. Listening and pronunciation virtual lab activities.
  4. Reading and writing webtasks: treasure hunts, webquests, ...
  5. Multimedia webtasks: scrapbooking, samplers, podcasting, tasks with authentic multimedia materials from social sites, ...
  6. Computer Mediated Communication activities (email exchange, collaboration projects, CoP, ...)
  7. Use of blogs and wikis for individual or group language learning e-portfolios.

2007/06/25

CALL and its dimensions

M. Levy & G. Stockwell (2006) looks in depth at seven important dimensions of CALL:

  1. design
  2. evaluation
  3. computer-mediated communication
  4. theory
  5. research
  6. practice
  7. technology
"There are 10 chapters in this book: an introduction, seven chapters that cover the dimensions of CALL, and two concluding chapters that complete the book."

The concluding chapters deal with ICT integration ("what integration really means and how it might be accomplished in institutional settings such as schools and universities") and the distinction between emergent CALL and established CALL.

"One of the real problems for the language teacher, software designer, or researcher who wishes to use technology in second -or foreign- language education is how to absorb and relate what has been achieved so far, and how to make sense of it. The kind of understanding that comes from a critical reading of a substantial literature in order to develop a balanced and detailed knowledge of the field is not easily achieved.
CALL Dimensions has been designed to address this problem."

It certainly does, with an excellent academic review of research done in the period 1995-2005, giving an accurate picture of the development and diversity of CALL in those years. Each chapter is divided into two sections: description and discussion. The description section reviews the recent literature of each dimension, identifying themes and selecting representative projects. The discussion section provides some analysis with further ideas and opinions from teachers.

However, as a teacher, don't expect ready to use materials, lesson or syllabus plans or even a selection of web resources. It isn't the aim of the book. This is mainly a research and theoretical review of CALL dimensions. But some important recent developments are missing or only just mentioned and not seen in depth: the educational use of wikis and its possibilities in language teaching, the use of blogs as language learning eportfolio, the use of new multimedia online tools and social web tools, podcasting and videocasting, the development of communities of practice (the important work developed by Webheads in Action is not mentioned) and the use of webquests in language teaching is only mentioned in a couple of pages. It seems that this rich dimension of emergent CALL is still to be developed or is being developed in the language teaching blogosphere and social networking.



2007/06/17

Chinswing: creating conversations

Chinswing is a global message board where anyone can add voice messages to ongoing topical discussions.
You can listen to conversations about Classroom 2.0, Teaching and learning in virtual worlds, Dreams, How people dress or Your favourite sweet, among others. You can record your own message on the chosen topic.

Via Twitter/carlaarena

2007/06/04

Guidelines for ideal language learning activities (& II)

Doughty and Long (2003) used Task-Based Language Teaching theory to derive ten methodological principles, or language teaching universals, which may guide the design of ideal tasks:
  1. Use Task, Not Text, as the Unit of Analysis
  2. Promote Learning by Doing
  3. Elaborate Input
  4. Provide Rich Input
  5. Encourage Inductive ("Chunk") Learning
  6. Focus on Form
  7. Provide Negative Feedback
  8. Respect Developmental Processes and "Learner Syllabuses"
  9. Promote Co-Operative/Collaborative Learning
  10. Individualize Instruction

2007/05/24

Guidelines for ideal language learning activities (I)

Which are the elements or characteristics that describe optimal language learning activities and environments?
Joy Egbert (2005, CALL Essentials: Principles and Practice in CALL classrooms, TESOL) identifies the following conditions for classroom language learning:

Any language lesson should support conditions for optimal classroom language learning environments regardless of the tools used. These conditions based on research from a variety of literatures, have been characterized in different ways, but a general list (Egbert & Hanson-Smith, 1999) includes the following eight items:

  1. Learners have opportunities to interact socially and negotiate meaning.
  2. Learners interact in the target language with an authentic audience.
  3. Learners are involved in authentic tasks.
  4. Learners are exposed to and encouraged to produce varied and creative language.
  5. Learners have enough time and feedback.
  6. Learners are guided to attend mindfully to the learning process.
  7. Learners work in an atmosphere with an ideal stress/anxiety level.
  8. Learner autonomy is supported.
Now let's compare these optimal environmental conditions with Chapelle (1998) hypotheses, derived from the Interactionist Theory, for developing multimedia CALL:
  1. The linguistic characteristics of the target language input need to be made salient.
  2. Learners should receive help in comprehending semantic and syntactic aspects of linguistic input.
  3. Learners need to have opportunities to produce target language output.
  4. Learners need to notice errors in their own output.
  5. Learners need to correct their linguistic output.
  6. Learners need to engage in target language interaction whose structure can be modified for negotiation of meaning.
  7. Learners should engage in L2 tasks designed to maximize opportunities for good interaction.


It seems that the focus on linguistic form (hypotheses 1 and 2) and learners error noticing and correction (hypotheses 4 and 5) are not present in Egbert's conditions (although "learners having feedback" is somehow related to "error noticing"), perhaps because these refer to environmental conditions and Chapelles's hypotheses refer to materials development. Another difference is that Egbert's emphasis on authentic tasks and audience is not present in Chapelle's list.

The characteristics of learning activities are mainly defined by the type of tasks learners are engaged in. Doughty and Long (2003) used Task-Based Language Teaching theory to derive ten methodological principles, or language teaching universals, which may guide the design of ideal tasks. ...

2007/05/08

Shift Happens

Results of the World's Best Presentation Contest at Slideshare.

1st Prize: Shift Happens



2nd Prize: Meet Henry

3rd Prize: Sustainable Food Lab

They can be useful for English learning and a model of good presentations for students projects (and inspiring for language teaching presentations).

2007/04/25

Is Krashen's Monitor Theory no longer valid?

Stephen Krashen's Monitor Theory has been one of the most influential SLA theories. It is based on 5 main hypotheses:
  1. The Acquisition-Learning hypothesis: Krashen claimed that formal instruction, or learning and studying about a language, is a different process from the natural acquisition that takes place as a subconscious act similar to the way children begin to understand their native language. We use learning to produce correct form or grammar, while acquisition is used to understand and produce meaning. As an example, if someone wants to learn Russian, she could learn Russian by taking classes on Russian grammar and vocabulary, but she could acquire the language by reading and listening to Russian texts or living in Russia and interacting with the people and culture in that country (how about interacting with Russian people through the net?).
  2. The Natural Order hypothesis: There is a natural, predictable order in which people acquire language. It is the same for each person and independent of the instruction program (this is related to Chomky's mentalistic view of language).
  3. The Monitor hypothesis: The learned system should have the purpose to self-monitor production. It is somehow related to the goal that the learner may be able to identify and correct mistakes or ask for help and reflect on the process of acquisition.
  4. The Input hypothesis: People acquire a language by receiving comprehensible input. This input should be slightly ahead of a learner’s current state of knowledge (i + 1).
  5. The Affective Filter hypothesis: When the learner is experiencing high anxiety, low self-esteem or low motivation, the filter turns on and causes the learner to block out input. Learners need both comprehensible input and a weak filter, that is, a learning environment free of stress and anxiety, where the learner is not forced to produce and can progress at his own pace. Krashen suggests that adolescence and puberty may not be good periods for SLA, as this ‘affective filter’ arises out of self-conscious reluctance to reveal oneself and feelings of vulnerability.
In the Wikipedia article on the Monitor Theory we can read the following:

"The model has been criticised by many linguists and is no longer considered a valid hypothesis. Its continuing value in the field is only for its historical significance, and the research it has inspired.
McLaughlin (1987) claims that none of the hypotheses is clear in its prediction. For example, the acquisition-learning distinction is not properly defined and the distinction cannot be empirically tested. If only acquired forms can lead to spontaneous speech, as Krashen claims, then it should be impossible for anyone who learns a foreign language in a classroom, and is taught it in their native language, to ever be able to produce spontaneous speech in the target language. This is clearly untrue. Likewise, Krashen provides no criteria for establishing i+1, or for delineating different levels of input..."

Although Krashen doesn't give enough importance in his model to comprehensible output and interaction (he explains why in this article) and we may agree with some part of the criticism, I still think that Krashen's key ideas should be taken into account when deciding on the learning environment and the kind of activities for our students.


2007/04/04

2007/04/01

Twitter

Join Twitter and let the world know what you are doing.
You can follow my twitter messages here.
Have a look at twittermaps and twittervision.

2007/03/26

Do we need theory?

“For the CALL practitioner -who might be considered a consumer looking toward theory for guidance- the circumstances are not as straightforward as they once were… The theories have grown not only in number, but also in sophistication and complexity. Some, such as sociocultural theory, involve a considerable number of specialized concepts and levels of analysis. Thus, although using theory as a point of departure is generally to be recommended, there is no doubt that in opting to proceed in this way –in a principled led by theoretical insights- the scale and complexity of the challenge has been increased. What is now needed is not so much a single solution to guide CALL, but rather a careful weighing of the options so that strengths and limitations become evident." Levy & Stockwell (2006:5)

On deciding which is the best methodological approach to CALL there are many variables involved. The multidisciplinary nature of CALL, the ever-changing nature of the technology and the wide variety of applications available cause the need for criteria on how to implement a CALL environment and evaluate the different options. This is not new:

“A glance through the computer-assisted language learning (CALL) literature of the 1990s reveals the profession’s quest for principled means of designing and evaluating CALL. Like researchers in other facets of applied linguistics, CALL researchers look to cross-disciplinary sources for perspectives and research methods.” Chappelle (1997)

One of the problems in the CALL field is the lack of a clear and articulated theoretical base that is commonly shared. New insights and applications coexist with old ideas on technology and how a language is learnt.

“…in terms of pedagogy, the new and improved have not always replaced the old and tired. Instead, many programs being produced today feature little more than visually stimulating variations on the same gap-filling exercises used 40 years ago.” Beatty (2003:11)

Our methodological orientation requires a theoretical base providing pedagogical principles to guide our decisions. A better design and evaluation of CALL activities should be provided by the insights from theoretical developments in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theories, instructional models and theories on learning and knowing and Skill Acquisition Theory (SAT) .

2007/03/16

Review of ZACHARIA, G. & ZAPHIRIS, P. (eds.) (2006), User-Centered Computer Aided Language Learning.


A few posts ago I promised to review Smith & Baber (2005) and Zacharia & Zaphiris (2006) . I have been told by Amazon that the first one is not available (if someone knows where I can get it, please tell me).

Zacharia & Zaphiris (2006) is a good overview of new strategies, methodologies and design approaches for building interfaces for a user-centered CALL environment, helping to understand the possibilities and challenges that can be found in the field according to different case studies. There are 14 articles grouped in 3 sections:

(1) Theory and Analysis

(2) Design

(3) Evaluation and Case Studies

In the preface we are told that the key objective of the book was to look at the topic of CALL in a new direction by focusing on the human-computer interaction elements of learning a language online. "Due to the increasing popularity of the Internet and the use of multimedia, there has been a recent move of CALL systems from CD-ROM to Web-based systems, making it possible to create systems that can facilitate the emergence of online communities of learners."

In the first section, we have 3 articles:


1. Ang, C.S. & Zaphiris, P., “Developing Enjoyable Second Language Learning Software Tools: A Computer Game Paradigm”.

It is suggested that ludology and narratology theories of computer games can be useful in designing language-learning software applications, providing a better framework and "making the experience of learning more immersive and engaging". Two case studies are compared: Slime Forest and Alien Language.

2. Lambropoulos, N., Christopoulu, M. & Vlachos, K., “Culture-Based Language Learning Objects: A CALL Approach for a Ubiquitous World”.

This article presents the theoretical basis of CLLOs' CALL design and its current practices in Greek learning as L2 in the UK. “Culture-based L2 teaching and learning could be implemented through CALL, as learners can be engaged in simulations with computer applications through role taking, working on meanings that have cultural associations and making inferences…. Additionally, CALL applications can offer learners the chance to use synchronous and asynchronous online communication with native as well as other speakers of the target language. Thus, they can retrieve cultural and social information directly from native speakers, discuss topics of common interest and expand their knowledge on cultural codes and tolerable and intolerable patterns of verbal behaviour in the contexts where the target language naturally occurs.”

3. Farmer, R. A., “Situated Task Analysis in Learner-Centred CALL”.

Farmer calls for the development and adoption of situated task analysis frameworks in CALL system design and evaluation leading to the development of more fit-for purpose and personalized CALL systems. Language learning is socially situated and settings vary widely. A learner-centred integrative approach is proposed, modelling the cognitive and sociological aspects of learner-computer interaction. “Situating the users’ actions within the context of social human praxis has the potential to reshape perceptions of Human-Computer Interaction. To this end, research in CALL is witnessing a transitional shift away from cognitivist ‘communicative’ CALL (involving drill-and-practice exercises that focus on accuracy and fluency) towards more sociocultural, ‘integrative’ CALL activities (that address the importance of agency).”

The 5 articles in the second section are:

4. De los Arcos, B. & Arnedillo Sánchez, I., “Ears before Eyes: Expanding Tutors’ Interaction Skills beyond Physical Presence in Audio-Graphic Collaborative Virtual Learning Environments”.

In audio-graphical learning environments interaction certain aspects of non-verbal behaviour are absent. We are introduced to strategies to deal with turn-taking, time lag and other incidences, while observing the difficulty in applying a communicative approach in these settings and the differences between face-to-face and virtual classrooms.

5. Coit, C., “A Student-Centered Online Writing Course”.

A student-centered online writing course, where peer corrections were the sole source of feedback.


6. Lonsdale, D., C. R. Graham & Madsen, R., “Learner-Centered Language Programs: Integrating Disparate Resources for Task-Based Interaction”.

Theoretical foundations and design of the GEDspeak application.


7. Veiga Marriott, R. C. & Lupion Torres, P., “LAPLI - The Language Learning Lab: A Methodological Proposal for a Hybrid Course in a Virtual Environment”.

An interesting virtual learning environment design for advanced students with 12 types of activities working with Internet materials and concept maps.

8. Gstrein, S. & Hug, T., “Integrated Micro Learning During Access Delays: A New Approach to Second-Language Learning”.

On micro learning materials designed for mobile devices.

In the third section 6 more different experiences are described:

9. Cantos Gómez, P. & García Iborra, J. , “EOI Online Inglés: A Fully Implemented and Operative Online English Language Course”

10. Chan, W. M., “Metacognition and Learners’ Interactions with a Web-Based CALL Grammar Exercise”.

11. Melton, J., “The Effect of a Native-Language Interface vs. a Target-Language Interface on Students’ Performance”.

12. Schcolnik, M. & Kol, S., “Reading and Learning from Screen”.

13. Hirata, Y., “Evaluating Students’ Perceptions of ‘Online Counselor’ for Independent Language Learning”.

14. Vrasidas, C., Landone, E., Christodoulou, N. & Zembylas, M., “Language Learning and User-Centered Design: The Development of the Electronic European Language Portfolio”.

2007/03/12

ICT for Language Teachers

ICT for Language Teachers is a new blog started by Graham Davies. It aims to encourage feedback on the ICT4LT site in particular and the use of ICT in language learning and teaching in general. The first posts are about virtual learning environments, podcasting, interactive whiteboards, presentations, reports on the effectiveness of ICT and digital language labs, with lots of interesting information and references.

2007/02/06

Ten suggestions for teachers with limited CALL experience

De Szendeffy (2005: chapter 3) suggests the following 10 tips or guidelines for implementing CALL activities:

1. Focus on activities, not software titles.

Effective lab classes generally revolve around a well thought-out activity that involves content accessed via computers with stimulating student interaction in the target language.

2. Wade in slowly.
Teachers new to CALL are often put off by the perception that they must be technical gurus, that they must know how to do everything in order to do everything. They don't.
Most teachers are familiar with word processing, e-mail or web browsing.

3. Teach.
Lab class should provide human instruction time and contact with each student.

4. Appreciate the richness of the computing environment.
The complexity of this environment frequently leads students to seek help, either from the teacher or, preferably, from a classmate -thus the importance of pairing students or at least seating them according to unlike L1s.

5. Prepare and be patient.
Be familiar with applications you have students use so that you can answer questions knowledgeably. Work through every activity in advance, and anticipate what problems students might encounter. This familiarity is as much the teacher's responsibility as knowing other materials used, such as textbooks.

6. Don’t let technology drive your class.
Don't use technology for technology's sake, because it's there, or let it become an end in itself instead of a means. Recognize the difference between taking advantage of a stimulating language learning environment and letting it dictate what you do... Think of an interactive language activity first, then look to technology to enable it, if possible.

7. Invest time in training and orientation.
Don't assume that students know computers or each program because they're young. They don't... Taking the time to walk students through the use of a new application or activity as a class will save time because it's easier to say something once to the class before an activity.

8. Pace activities.
Allowing students to complete activities at their own pace is part of the beauty of CALL... Have buffer activities ready for students who finish earlier... Transitioning from one activity to another takes time... Students are slow to change gears when they're at the wheel (that is, the mouse), so segue from one activity to another without abruptly interrupting their momentum. New activities must overcome the inertia of the preceding one while addressing the technical overhead of the new one.

9. Be a resource guide.
A lab teacher's skill is largely exhibited in his or her ability to choose appropriate and effective materials and activities and to teach access skills and epistemology, particularly of the enormous Internet resources. As a lab teacher, you are the librarian of the lab in that it is partly your responsibility to introduce students to appropriate lab resources, whether used in class or not, in fact, especially for relevant materials you won't have time to use in class.


10. Orchestrate communicative activities.
A CALL's teacher job is to orchestrate communicative activities that are student centered and student empowering. In a CALL lab, students have an expectation of hands-on work and active participation more than passive listening; they are more predisposed to doing something. Give them instructions for an activity, and let them have at it. Develop open-ended activities where students create as much as possible and are not arbitrarily restricted to a narrow, predefined model.

2007/01/03

CALL history (& 2)

Warschauer (2000), a revised version of Warschauer & Healey (1998) , is considered the most influential interpretative description of CALL history, which is divided into three stages:


Stage I :
Structural CALL (1970s-1980s): Grammar-translation & audiolingual teaching; view of language as a formal structural system; mainframe technology; drill and practice as principal use of computers; accuracy as main objective.

Stage II : Communicative CALL (1980s-1990s): Communicative language teaching; cognitive view of language (mentally constructed system); microcomputers as technology and communicative exercises as principal use; not only accuracy as main objective, but also fluency.

Stage III: Integrative CALL (21st century): Content based, ESP/EAP teaching; socio-cognitive view of language (developed in social interaction); multimedia and internet technologies; authentic discourse as principal use; agency is added to accuracy and fluency as main objective.

I do not want to suggest that these stages have occurred sequentially, with one following the other, from "bad CALL" to "good CALL". At any one time, any of these may be combined for different purposes. However, there has been a general trend or development over the years, with new ideas and uses of computers being introduced in combination with those previous.


Bax (2003) gives a critical examination of Warschauer's stages. He prefers to talk about approaches rather than phases or stages and offers three new categories:

I - Restricted CALL

II - Open CALL

III - Integrated CALL


In general, my three approaches do coincide with general historical periods— Restricted CALL dominated from the 1960s until about 1980; Open CALL has lasted from the 1980s until today, with some Restricted CALL manifestations still observable and still valuable in their place (e.g. in grammar revision and checking). Integrated CALL exists in a few places and a few dimensions only, but is far from common

...

The key point about Integrated CALL - which sharply distinguishes it from Warschauer and Healey's formulation - is that it does not yet exist to any significant degree, but represents instead an aim towards which we should be working (Bax 2003:22)

This concept is relevant to any kind of technological innovation and refers to the stage when the technology becomes invisible, embedded in everyday practice and hence 'normalised'. To take some commonplace examples, a wristwatch, a pen, shoes, writing - these are all technologies which have become normalised to the extent that we hardly even recognise them as technologies. (Bax 2003:24)

In the last years new possibilities of communication and collaboration have appeared thanks to web 2.0 tools, which make it easier to participate and share resources online. Podcasting and video sharing in virtual communities are among these new possibilities of practice and interaction. Sound and video files are easily created and downloaded to portable devices or shared in community portals, wikis or blogs. Nevertheless, the teaching exploitation of these new resources and practice and its integration into the school processes of teaching and learning is something to be developed.

The Future? Predictions made even 15 years ago tended to focus on more intelligent tutorial software and the promise of multimedia. We were looking for opportunities to make learning more efficient and individualized through computers. Then came the web and the spread of CMC, along with social constructivist methodology, making collaboration and communication through computers a stronger focus. I am betting on a future that has room for both. In recent presentations, Claire Bradin Siskin and I have argued for a softening of the tutor-tool distinction (Another Look at Tutorial CALL). I anticipate increased recognition that blended environments building on the complementary strengths of tutorial software; text, audio, and video CMC; authentic language from the web; and the face-to-face interaction of students to teacher and students to students will yield more effective learning than any of these in isolation. Hubbard (2004-2006)