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)

3 comments:

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