Contemporary Computer-Assisted Language Learning (Contemporary Studies in Linguistics)

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While promising incremental change might not grab a passing readers interest as much as the promise of a digital education revolution, such a vision remains more realistic and ultimately more well-attuned to the history of learning with technology. On the other hand, the amount of language that can be presented in this polished format is limited, simply because language is infinitely bigger and more complex than what can be summarized in a book or any other language learning aid. Within second language teacher education programs, namely pre-service course work, we can find "online courses along with face-to-face courses", computer technology incorporated into a more general second language education course, "technology workshops","a series of courses offered throughout the teacher education programs, and even courses specifically designed for a CALL certificate and a CALL graduate degree" [93] The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has identified four levels of courses with only components, namely "web-supplemented, web-dependent, mixed mod and fully online". In the context of research, online interactions with others closely parallel interactions in F2F classrooms. Among his recent publications are Handbook of Research on Web 2. Nevertheless, the debate on normalization simmers on. CALL dimensions: Options and issues in computer-assisted language learning.

Annual Review of Linguistics. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience.

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Language Policy. Computer Assisted Language Learning. Journal of Literacy Research. Journal of Phonetics. European Journal of Communication. Language Learning and Technology. Communication Monographs. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Paul Baker. Hayo Reinders. Vivian J. Marina Lambrou. Christopher Hart. Antonio Fabregas. Helen Ringrow.

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Contemporary Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is a comprehensive, one-volume work written by Series: Contemporary Studies in Linguistics. Contemporary Computer-Assisted Language Learning ( Contemporary Studies in Linguistics) (): Michael Thomas, Hayo Reinders.

Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Contemporary Computer-Assisted Language Learning. Description Contemporary Computer-Assisted Language Learning CALL is a comprehensive, one-volume work written by leading international figures in the field focusing on a wide range of theoretical and methodological issues. It explains key terms and concepts, synthesizes the research literature and explores the implications of new and emerging technologies. The preceding categories reflect a rough continuum from greater to lesser dependence on the original sources and conceptualisation.

Although it might seem that constructed theory is a desirable goal for the field in the long term, it is not clear whether that is indeed the case. To conclude this section, it is important to note that the discussion here has focused on understanding how theory is incorporated into CALL rather than how well. We have explained that theories may be absent, borrowed singly, assembled in an ensemble, instantiated, adapted, synthesised and even created.

However, regardless of the process involved, a theory or model may be misappropriated or misapplied in a study due to a lack of care or understanding on the part of the author. In addition, a theory or model may simply be invoked to lend credibility to a study. Although a step beyond atheoretical CALL in principle, the presence and impact of the theory is largely invisible beyond that invocation.

What is apparent is that in a research project, an invoked theory is neither the object of study nor the lens through which study data is collected, analysed and interpreted. The more gratuitous sense of invocation resonates with the concept of theory buffet introduced by Levy and Stockwell When we design research studies and develop technology projects, or when we evaluate the work of others in those domains, we need to consider very carefully the relative merits of the theories, models and frameworks we employ.

The theoretical dimension cannot simply be a gap to be filled in a proposal or paper. It should be integrated and articulated in a way that leads to greater coherence and clearer understanding than would result if it were absent. In discussing theory within this field, it is important to consider that theory as used in research is not necessarily the same as theory supporting practice. Along these lines, Levy and Stockwell draw distinctions in the role of theory for design, teaching and research in CALL.

This section and the one that follows draw on some of those insights.

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Despite the wide range of theoretical sources from various disciplines described in the previous section, theories from second language acquisition can be said to have had a more central role than others. She discusses four general orientations, each of which collapses a number of related theories and models under its label: cognitive linguistic e. She speculates on the implications of thirteen specific theoretical approaches for CALL.

Although a number of theories, frameworks and models, including those mentioned by Chapelle , have been used to motivate CALL projects and to provide a basis for research and evaluation, three in particular stand out: the interaction account, sociocultural theory, and constructivism. Each is discussed in more detail in the following sections. The interaction account IA emphasises the role of interaction in second language development Long It incorporates certain central processes such as the negotiation of meaning , in which the learner and interlocutor s engage in an ongoing process of interactional adjustments Pica The IA focuses upon learning interactions that by necessity involve two or more people, or a person and the computer Chapelle In particular, the IA has been extensively referenced as a theoretical base in CMC-based CALL often simply borrowed rather than instantiated in the sense described earlier , especially in projects that involve email and chat as a basis for learner interaction and exchange Darhower Any setting where synchronous or asynchronous communication occurs can draw on the IA for guidance, including text-chat and voice-chat, either used independently or embedded in other programs e.

Vygotsky claimed that learning resulted from social interaction rather than through isolated individual effort, and that engagement with others was a critical factor in the process Vygotsky : In his view, learning was at first social intermental , and only later individual intramental. The preeminent tool for mediation is language. But language is not the only tool for mediation. From a sociocultural perspective, it is via these different forms of mediation that cognitive change or learning occurs see also Darhower In the context of the present discussion, two points should be emphasised. First, with regard to material tools, technologies mediate communication and thereby cognitive change differently.

From the landline phone through email, text messaging and Skype, the technology itself shapes the interaction in particular ways. Each technology has its own affordances that govern differentially the ways in which interactions occur see Hutchby ; Smith The technology does not determine the interaction, but its attributes do help shape them. When sociocultural theory is applied in CALL, it often reflects the process of theory instantiation described earlier precisely because the mediational role of the technology is an integral part of the study.

Second, with regard to social interaction, new technological means allow new and different forms of social interaction to occur, both online and in the classroom. Now, of course, social worlds extend into the virtual worlds of gaming among numerous other complex modes of online social interaction e. Lee ; Peterson In a seminal article on constructivist theory, Phillips describes constructivism as a large-scale movement and system of beliefs: he also highlights its diversity and its many interpretations. Yet beyond that basic statement, interpretations tend to differ and follow rather divergent paths.

These understandings and widely differing interpretations of constructivism have carried over into the CALL area Felix In essence, the cognitive constructivist describes the mind in terms of the individual; the social constructivist describes the mind as a distributed entity that extends beyond the bounds of the body into the social environment. Healey and Klinghammer also emphasised the centrality of the learner in the learning process and the importance of the teacher in creating motivating authentic activities that involve investigation, discussion, collaboration and negotiation.

Each author in that special issue draws rather differently on the constructivist idea, often listing overlapping sets of principles that underpin the individual constructivist CALL learning environments they are creating. Theory guides and shapes research in many ways, but perhaps one of its most important roles concerns its influence on the ways in which the researcher sees the problem. Through theory, the researcher is guided not only towards particular ways of formulating the research problem initially, but also towards ways of investigating it, through the choice of terminology and constructs, research method and procedure, data collection procedures and mechanisms of analysis and interpretation: each are both directly and indirectly suggested by theory.

This role of theory in research is described eloquently by Neuman: Theory frames how we look at and think about a topic. It gives us concepts, provides basic assumptions, directs us to the important questions, and suggests ways for us to make sense of data. Theory enables us to connect a single study to the immense base of knowledge to which other researchers contribute.

To use an analogy, theory helps a researcher see the forest instead of just a single tree. In other words, the theory drives and shapes the whole research conceptualisation and process.

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It also sets the boundaries and largely governs points of focus, the concepts or constructs to be included and excluded, and of those included, those foregrounded and those that remain in the background. A suitable example in CALL drawn from Levy and Stockwell compares and contrasts two studies in an online chat environment.

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The two contrasting theoretical approaches illustrate well the choices that confront contemporary researchers when no single language learning theory is preeminent and when more than one theoretical account lends itself to the job of description and explanation. Levy and Stockwell discuss essential differences between these two theoretical positions and their implications. Intersubjectivity refers to the shared perspective experienced by participants: it is an interactional feature that needs to be maintained if effective communicative action is to continue.

The quality and degree of participation are essential in generating cognitive change see earlier discussion. Thus, Darhower is interested in the maintenance or otherwise of intersubjectivity and the ways learners participated and managed their interactions — for instance whether they chose to stay on-task or go off-task, and if they went off-task, what topics they chose to discuss. Sometimes conflicts occurred — also of interest to Darhower — when one learner wanted to stay on-task while the other did not. With his theoretical position, this movement between on-task and off-task work is fundamental to the way social cohesiveness is built up and maintained.

Theory in computer-assisted language learning research and practice

Thus, off-task work is firmly in the frame and remains very much a feature of this study: essentially, it is treated equally with on-task work. The authors show no interest in the possibility of off-task discussion: it is not a salient feature of their theoretical framework, and the tacit assumption is made that students remain on-task throughout the activity whether true or not, we do not know. The construct of intersubjectivity is also not a concern.

These terms derive directly from the particular theoretical orientation that drives the research study. In both studies, the theoretical point of departure sets the field of view and the mechanisms of interpretation. The theory defines the key constructs, the data to be collected and the way in which the argument that learning has occurred will be made. Both use theory to support their rationale and justify their research, and both draw on theory to identify desired features in the chat room interaction.

Darhower is looking for evidence of the intersubjectivity and social cohesiveness hypothesised in sociocultural theory to be important for language development and learning and the development of sociolinguistic competence. The two theoretical bases led the researchers in different directions. When theory is used for teaching and CALL, it is often used as a guide rather than as a prescription.

Instead of drawing upon one theory exclusively, language teachers are more likely to draw on a number of theories simultaneously. Thus, there is a distinct difference between the way in which theory is used in teaching, and similarly in design and development, compared to the single theoretical framework of many research studies. Following the typology presented previously, this means that CALL theory in practice is more likely to be an ensemble or a synthesis. This approach to the nature, use and application of theory for teaching and CALL is examined by Doughty and Long in their very useful discussion of task-based language teaching TBLT.

They continue: And whereas theories generally strive for parsimony, among other qualities — to identify what is necessary and sufficient to explain something — a theory of language teaching seeks to capture all those components, plus whatever else can be done to make language teaching efficient.

Language education is a social service, after all, and providers and consumers alike are concerned with such bread-and-butter issues as rate of learning, not with what may or may not eventually be achieved through a minimalist approach motivated exclusively by theory of SLA. A good example of a more broadly defined set of guidelines that are drawn from a number of theories rather than a single one is that presented by Egbert et al.

Within our model, this could be considered a theory synthesis , though the sources are more varied and the connections less explicit than in Plass and Jones This theoretical diversity stands in contrast to the seven hypotheses that derive directly from the interaction account, described by Chapelle : 23—25 , for example 1 the linguistic characteristics of target language input need to be made salient, 4 learners need to notice errors in their own output and 6 learners need to engage in target language interaction whose structure can be modified for negotiation of meaning.

Neither is necessarily better than the other, but they do speak to practice in rather different ways, one being broader and more encompassing, the other more finely targeted and focused. Both have a role to play. Perhaps most interestingly, although both claim to be guidelines for CALL, neither has any direct reference to technology in their core generalisations. They are borrowed from theory and research in SLA and transported into the CALL setting without incorporating any explicit role for technology.

Nevertheless, these two contrasting positions are helpful in understanding how theory can relate to practice. The position held by Egbert et al. Perhaps multiple theoretical perspectives are an acknowledgement that no single theory is preeminent in describing the processes of language learning; or it may indicate that no single theory is sufficiently powerful to provide a broad and principled set of guidelines for the many decisions that need to be made in creating online teaching and learning environments.

As noted previously, CALL projects are regularly influenced by multiple theoretical perspectives, what we have called theory ensembles. For example, Levy and Stockwell : noted the multiple theoretical sources for the Lyceum distance language learning environment, an audiovisual conferencing system developed by the Open University in the UK and used extensively for language learning purposes.

They included the interactionist account, sociocultural theory, constructivism, situated learning and multimodality. Some of these theories and their proponents clash with one another in the research-centred SLA arena, yet in the pragmatic development of Lyceum , the different theoretical perspectives spoke to distinct elements and processes within the learning environment that was being created.

Such learning environments are multifaceted and complex, so it should perhaps not be surprising to learn that multiple theoretical influences, even those that might on the surface appear incompatible, are referenced to inspire them. To begin to understand how this trend of multiple theories is being realised, it is instructive to examine some recent examples closely.

Each study references multiple theories and each theory is called upon for different reasons.