April 18, 2024

Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)

by Mateusz Wiącek

Language learning has evolved over the years, and one significant advancement is Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). In this approach, technology like computers is used to assist in teaching and learning languages. Let’s delve into what CALL is all about and how it has evolved over time.

Origins and Evolution

CALL traces its roots back to the 1960s when it was mainly confined to universities where computer programs were developed on large mainframe computers. Initially known as Computer Assisted Language Instruction (CALI), CALL gained dominance in the early 1980s. Early CALL programs primarily focused on programmed instruction, but over time, they widened their scope to include multimedia and communication technologies.

How CALL Works

In typical CALL programs, learners interact with computer-generated stimuli, which can include text, images, sound, and video. Learners respond by typing, clicking, touching the screen, or even speaking into a microphone. The computer then provides feedback on the learner’s responses, often including analysis and suggestions for improvement.

Controversies and Approaches

The extent to which computers can analyze learners’ errors has been a subject of debate. Some believe in the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop intelligent CALL programs, while others are skeptical. Additionally, there’s ongoing discussion about the best approach to CALL: teacher-centered, drill-based methods versus learner-centered, explorative methods.

Technological Advancements

Advancements in technology have greatly influenced the development of CALL. From interactive videodiscs in the 1980s to multimedia personal computers (MPCs) in the 1990s and the emergence of the World Wide Web in the early 2000s, CALL has continually adapted to incorporate new technologies.

In recent years, CALL has embraced Web 2.0 applications like podcasts, blogs, wikis, and social networking for language teaching and learning. Other trends include the use of Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs), Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) like Moodle, Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL), and teaching in virtual worlds such as Second Life.

Integration and Impact

The debate over the normalization of CALL revolves around its integration into everyday teaching practices. Despite the ongoing debate, CALL has become an integral part of language teaching and learning activities worldwide. It is used in language media centers, autonomous learning, distance learning, and tandem learning.

Community and Resources

CALL is supported by various professional associations worldwide, such as CALICO, EUROCALL, and IALLT. These associations publish regular journals and provide resources and support for language educators interested in integrating technology into their teaching practices.

In conclusion, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) has revolutionized language teaching and learning by harnessing the power of technology. From its humble beginnings to its integration into modern language education, CALL continues to evolve, providing innovative tools and methods for language learners and educators alike.

Leave a Reply