|I teach Educational Technology to future teachers, and publishing my books as OER materials will make learning more affordable to them. |
A previous version of this text was published as “CALL Essentials: Principles and practice in CALL classrooms” by Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. 700 South Washington Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 USA.
Since the first version of this book came out in 2005, the field of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) has grown and changed. This update is the result of some of those changes. Our intent is to place pedagogical goals before technologies, as the literature advises but is not always followed in classrooms. In revising this book, as in the original, we assume that good teachers teach well because they bear in mind certain principles about how they can best help learners to learn language. Placing these principles at the center of attention makes it much easier for teachers to concentrate on the question of what constitutes effective computer-enhanced pedagogy and why.
This book takes as its organizing principles both the system of conditions that are known to support effective language learning and the goals that a variety of standards in the field have set out for us and our students.
In this book we discuss what we have found to be essential to effective CALL. Therefore, we have not included software or hardware how-tos and tried not to
duplicate what can be found in other texts on CALL. The emphasis on Web- and Internet-based resources reflects these tools’ growing influence around the world. The title of each chapter reflects the focus of the chapter, while the content emphasizes the language and content to be learned. The content of each chapter includes a scenario that helps readers envision learning principles at work. After each scenario we briefly cite both seminal and current research in fields such as language acquisition, educational technology, and CALL to build a foundation for the chapter activities. The research is explained and explored in a manner appropriate to a practitioner audience. We then present tips and techniques for teachers to consider in developing CALL activities. We do not speak to one specific teaching method or technique because there is as yet no one best way; those following philosophies as different as behaviorism and constructivism can use these basic ideas about what’s essential for effective CALL. Chapters provide examples for English language contexts (ESL/EFL K–adult) and content areas, but many of the ideas and principles can be applied easily to teaching other languages and content. We hope particularly that content-area (mainstream) teachers will be able to use the principles and activities with all of their students. In addition, activities and ideas overlap throughout the book, demonstrating that it is not just the technology or the language that is important, but a whole learning environment system that teachers can create with their students.
The introductory chapter defines CALL and presents the principles and guidelines on which to build CALL practice. The first part of the book (chapters 2–3) presents ways that using computers can enhance skill learning and practice, and the second part (chapters 4–6) takes a more holistic view of CALL as it presents complementary activities for problem solving, collaboration, communication, and production. Chapters 7–10 examine other issues in CALL such as content-based teaching, teacher development, assessment, and limitations. The examples presented throughout the book span language modes, content areas, and student language levels, and they are built on the belief that language works through real activities.