On CALL News, Volume 22:1 (February 2005)

by User Not Found | 10/28/2011
In This Issue...

Leadership Updates

From the Chair

By Susanne McLaughlin, e-mail: smclaugh@roosevelt.edu

I am honored to be chair of the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (CALL IS). I'd like to welcome all our new members and thank all of you who continue to support the CALL IS with your time, effort, and considerable expertise. If you are new to the CALL IS, you may not realize that this is one of the most active interest sections in TESOL. Each year, CALL IS members contribute to TESOL by sharing their experience and knowledge in a number of ways, especially in planning and operating the Electronic Village (EV) at the annual convention and EV Online before the convention. We are an active, involved IS that is not just for experienced CALL practitioners. I joined this IS years ago because I wanted to learn more about CALL. I had taken on the CALL Coordinator duties at my institution, and I realized quickly that I needed help. I found what I needed here. By participating in the CALL IS, I have learned so much and met many amazing people who willingly shared their ideas and expertise with me. I hope all of our new members will also become active members. There are many opportunities for people to participate in the CALL IS, and we need you all to accomplish everything we get done each year.

We had a very successful convention in Long Beach. Thank you to everyone who attended, presented, organized, and volunteered. There were 70 regularly scheduled 2005 CALL concurrent sessions, discussion sessions, and posters. In addition, there were over 70 presentations and workshops in the 15 EV Special Events, and the EV Online team conducted eight 6-week EV Online Sessions. All our events were well attended, and the EV was a busy place to network all day, every day during the convention.

At this year's business and planning meetings, we decided to reach out to TESOL members who might not know all the CALL IS has to offer. We have decided to have a booth in the Publisher's Area in San Antonio. We haven't done this for a number of years, but everyone agreed that we want to take every opportunity to make the IS more visible at the convention. This means that we will need more volunteers than ever at TESOL 2005. If you have any ideas for activities or materials that we can offer at our information booth in San Antonio, please contact me so we can begin planning. We have also decided to include some orientation sessions for newcomers to CALL during the open hours in the EV, so look for upcoming information about those events.

As you are thinking about the coming year, please consider volunteering to help staff the EV or our information booth in San Antonio in 2005. Watch for the Call for Proposals for the EV Special Events and send in a proposal to present your work in the EV at next year's convention. You can contact me at smclaugh@roosevelt.edu  if you would like to volunteer for any of the many CALL IS activities.

Susanne McLaughlin is an assistant professor of linguistics and director of the English Language Program of Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL, USA.


Preparing the Next Generation of CALL Practitioners

By Claire Bradin Siskin, e-mail: cbsiskin+@pitt.edu

We often point to the need for more education about CALL, and we sometimes attribute lack of success in CALL to shortcomings in teacher education. After the 2004 CALL IS Academic Session, it should be clear that a number of initiatives and approaches to dealing with this issue are under way. “Preparing the Next Generation of CALL Practitioners” was organized and moderated by Susanne McLaughlin of Roosevelt University. Participants were Christine Bauer-Ramazani (St. Michael’s College), Carol Chapelle (Iowa State University), Philip Hubbard (Stanford University), Renée Jourdenais (Monterey Institute of International Studies), and Claire Bradin Siskin (University of Pittsburgh). Each presenter discussed a different aspect of this topic.

Bauer-Ramazani described her online course, Computer-Assisted Language Learning, which is a graduate course in the master’s degree TESL program at Saint Michael’s College. She provided a rationale for delivering such a course online and outlined the process of developing goals for the course and implementing them. Some of the outcomes of the course included a more learner-centered and a higher quality experience than did the face-to-face course. She also alluded to some of the challenges involved in online learning: the difficulty in scheduling synchronous chats, technical problems, the expectation that the instructor will be available around the clock, and lack of personal contact.

Chapelle’s presentation was entitled “What teachers need to know about connecting CALL and Second Language Acquisition (SLA).” She described the Master of Arts (MA) program in TESL/applied linguistics at Iowa State University. The Computer Methods in Applied Linguistics course is a prerequisite for all students in this program, and in fact a technology thread is present for most of the courses. She explained in detail how CALL is studied from the perspective of SLA and how these two areas are connected in the coursework. She also announced the doctoral program in applied linguistics and technology which will begin in fall 2005.

Hubbard described his CALL mini-course for teachers in training, which was developed because many teacher-training programs cannot dedicate a complete course exclusively to CALL. As a solution for Stanford, he developed a one-credit supplemental mini-course. This course, which is designed to provide both theoretical and practical experiences, entails eight 90-minute sessions during the term and seven weekly topic-based modules. In addition to the face-to-face meetings, many of the materials can be accessed online. The modules include an introduction to CALL; CALL software evaluation, development, and implementation; computer-mediated communication; Web-based CALL; CALL and language skills; CALL research; and CALL learner training.

Jourdenais reported on the option of obtaining a certificate in CALL within an MA program. The Monterey Institute of International Studies offers both a CALL certificate and an online CALL certificate. These programs include basic core courses in addition to a variety of specialized electives. Pedagogy is the foremost concern, and there is an emphasis on project-based learning. A basic premise of the courses is that teachers enter them with different levels of proficiency with technology, so they are able to work at their own level. Teachers have the opportunity to reach their own conclusions about what CALL has to offer.

Siskin discussed various models of in-service training, which she defined as “teaching teachers after they have been hired.” She offered a general description of types of training as well as some observations on best practices. She observed that, in addition to teaching teachers about computers per se, in-service training should involve CALL literacy, that is, knowing about CALL materials and how to use them, and CALL pedagogy, that is, knowing how to integrate CALL into language learning activities.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion about the general issues and problems associated with training CALL practitioners.

Note: The accompanying PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and websites that complement this session can be found athttp://www.edvista.com/claire/pres/tesolcallacad2004/index.html.

2004 CALLIS Academic Session speakers.
Photo, from left to right: Carol Chapelle, Renée Jourdenais, Philip Hubbard, Claire Bradin Siskin, Christine Bauer-Ramazani, and Susanne McLaughlin.

Claire Bradin Siskin is director of the Robert Henderson Language Media Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is responsible for all aspects of the Center and provides media and services for all language departments at the University.

Discussion Group Reports Using Technology to Support Skill-Based Activities

Christine Bauer-Ramazani
Saint Michael’s College
Colchester, VT, USA

Mary-Ellen Butler-Pascoe
Alliant International University
San Diego, CA, USA

With 25 participants in attendance, Christine Bauer-Ramazani and Mary-Ellen Butler-Pascoe led a discussion on using technology to support skill-based activities. The discussion leaders had prepared a 14-page booklet on websites and software, categorized by type of material: K–12, Content-Based ESL Learning and Teaching Resources, Reading, Vocabulary, Writing, Grammar, Listening, Speaking, Pronunciation, Adult Education/Basic Skills and VESL Software, Quizzes, WebQuests, and Games. In addition, the booklet included links to sites for software resources, including catalogs and companies.

The discussions focused on the general uses as well as pros and cons of software and Web-based materials in the classroom and then addressed questions raised by the participants about particular new and old pieces of software, WebQuests, and other web-based materials and courses in ESL/EFL.

The booklet can be accessed on the Web at http://academics.smcvt.edu/cbauer-ramazani/TESOL/2004/DiscGr_Tech_for_skill_based_activ.htm.

What Software Are You Using With Your Students?

Mary Lou Sproul
Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute
Spokane, WA, USA

The six attendees at this discussion talked about the software that they use or have used with their ESL/EFL students. In general, it was agreed that software should be easy for students to use independently and offer a variety of activities at many levels.

One program mentioned was Focus on Grammar, which goes with a text series but can also stand alone. Although opinions differed, advantages include its different and interesting format, its range of levels, and its listening and reading comprehension components. A weak feature is its writing section, though it does have good topics.

Ultimate Word Attack was another program mentioned. Most students seem to like it and find it a good way to learn vocabulary. The program has vocabulary words and specific ones can be authored in. It also has a management system.

The Longman Picture Dictionary was also discussed. One participant remarked that whereas the CD-ROM that goes with it is helpful for higher level students, it is too difficult for the lower level ones.

Other programs discussed were American Speech Sounds (OK but needs a lot of explanation); Azar’s Interactive (comments ranged from the CD-ROM being too ambiguous to being easy to use and helpful); and Side by Side beginning book CD-ROM (positive student feedback). Clarity products such as Tense Busters were also mentioned, but no personal experience was offered.

Using Video Editing Software in Elementary and Secondary Settings

Steven Sharp
Prince George’s County Public Schools
Adelphi, MD, USA

A small group of people showed up for what was a lively discussion of student video projects created with video editing software. The discussion centered on what kinds of projects people felt were interesting. Most of these fall into one of several categories: creating a screenplay, writing a news report, making a commercial, making a demonstration to solve a problem, or making a music video. There are also variations of each. For instance, low-level elementary students can approach a project as a reading project or an acting project.

The benefits of using movies as a way of improving reading and writing skills were discussed. For example, movie projects require a process approach. This process forces them to think through many issues and write many things down, as anything that will be spoken in a video project should be written beforehand. In addition, students practice their oral skills to make sure that their speech is proficient and natural. Many of the benefits come from the excitement of acting in front of the camera, which adds a strong affective component and allows students to become more involved in the project.

Fortunately, within the past few years video projects have become much easier to do—mainly because of many easy video editing packages such as iMovie. Teachers and even students can edit projects without much training and in less time than it used to take. This makes student video projects a natural for almost any educational level.

PowerPoint & Public Speaking: Creative Ideas for a CALL/ESL Classroom

Tarana Patel
University of California
Riverside, CA, USA

Karen Quigley
University of Canterbury
Christchurch, New Zealand

In this discussion session participants discussed creative ideas for using PowerPoint in ESL/EFL classrooms. Pivotal to this discussion was a collaborative peer-teaching PowerPoint/public speaking project done by the discussion leaders, Tarana Patel and Karen Quigley. In this guided activity, PowerPoint students taught Public Speaking students techniques to improve their presentations, and Public Speaking students shared techniques for successful speeches with PowerPoint students.

Other ideas discussed included combining technical and public speaking elements to use PowerPoint successfully in language classrooms. This can be done through project-based curricula in which students create several PowerPoint presentations with partners in different topic areas and present them within the classroom or to a real audience. One example is an informational speech, which involves students preparing a 10-minute speech to inform the audience of their home countries. Another example is a company project, in which students create their own product and company and make a marketing presentation to a real audience to attract investors for their venture.

Many teachers shared their experiences about the benefits of using PowerPoint for teaching and the importance of the public speaking element in creating successful presentations. A majority of teachers had used the program as a teaching aid to replace transparencies and create interactive presentations. Others were considering using the program for student work. Many commented on the ability of PowerPoint to activate creativity and confidence in students. In addition, the role of PowerPoint as a means of communicative teaching was discussed, with one participant noting that the program “brings out the ‘speaker’ in each student and helps them build their confidence in speaking in the second language.”

Overall, the discussion was a valuable experience-sharing session, allowing participants to walk away with a variety of new ideas.

A Starting Place With Technology

John Avery
Green River Community College
Auburn, WA, USA

Susanne McLaughlin
Roosevelt University
Chicago, IL, USA

Tom Robb
Kyoto Sangyo University
Kamigamo-Motoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Japan

This discussion, which was for newcomers to CALL, began with an outline of some of the basic and valid uses of CALL: word processing, information retrieval (examples include bus schedules, registration information, and student research), communication (e-mail, chat, discussion web, blogs), and skill practice with instructional programs. Attendees were also directed to a few resources, including Claire Bradin’s Faculty Needs Assessment Questionnaire at http://edvista.com/claire/needs.html and other resources at a web page for this session athttp://www.instruction.greenriver.edu/avery/Faculty/pres/TESOL04/Discussion.htm.

The group also discussed the opportunities for students to have e-mail partners. E-mail keypals can be useful for this. Information about using them can be found at http://www.kyoto-su.ac.jp/~trobb/keypals.html. Another resource is Tom Robb’s student list project, where students can join discussions on a variety of topics. It is located at http://sl-lists.net/.

Integrating Technology Into the ESL Language Classroom

R. S. Davis
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Over the past few decades, the use of technology has permeated all facets of education, and many teachers—and software and hardware developers—are quick to laud the positive impact on language teaching and learning. However, a number of obstacles must be addressed before we can ever achieve the utopian classroom setting that we envision. In this discussion session at TESOL 2004, the presenter and participants discussed a variety of issues facing teachers, lab administrators, and students.

First of all, teachers must realize that technology is not a method but a platform on which content can be disseminated, facilitated, and taught. Too often, we view computers in a teacher-dominated role rather than as supporting cast members. In other words, just setting up a computer lab with a few software programs will do little to get us beyond the traditional drill-and-practice exercise language-learning models of the past; what we need is to take a more constructivist approach to CALL in which students use technology to create content, ideas, and research rather than just being the recipients of it. We must make sure that technology does not overshadow the presentation of our content.

With this in mind, a second point relates to the actual budget and setup of a lab. What we often see is a lab budget allocating 90% for hardware and software, 9% for lab support, and 1% for incidentals. The problem with such a strategy is that it leaves nothing for in-service teaching training, time off to learn how the lab functions, attendance at conferences related to technology, and even monetary incentives for teachers who use the lab in innovative ways. Such budgets can foster the technology-is-a-method mentality because teachers have no time or incentive to see how technology and language-teaching pedagogy can be blended successfully.

This idea leads to the final point: technology always has and will be light years ahead of its effective application in the classroom. People will continue to praise the benefits of technology (and there are many), but investing in technology and also in teacher training will narrow the gap and help users realize its true potential.

How Do We Train Better CALL Practitioners?

Greg Kessler
Ohio University
Athens, OH, USA

The discussion session “How Do We Train Better CALL Practitioners?” was attended by 20 people. The focus of this discussion was to address concerns in the area of CALL teacher training. This area has received a growing level of attention recently and the interest of the participants reflected this mood. In fact, a handful of the participants were presenting related sessions during the conference. Many of those in attendance have been involved in CALL for some time so they had a number of interesting perspectives regarding the current state of CALL teacher preparation. The discussion addressed the variety of training that ESL teachers might receive: formal, in-service, preservice, long-term, and short-term. We also discussed the various tactics that we had used to develop our knowledge and use of CALL practices. A general consensus was reached regarding most issues. Among these were the concern that CALL training is generally insufficient; that CALL training needs to be pedagogically focused; that CALL training needs to prepare people in a holistic manner; and that CALL training needs to be focused on decision making, not solely skill developing. Participants had a number of other suggestions to contribute, including a variety of specific objectives. Interested individuals can participate in an ongoing discussion by visiting http://nicenet.org and joining with the class key G9764ZC8Z.

Community News and Information

Call for Submissions

On CALL welcomes your contributions of articles, reviews, opinions, announcements, and reports of conference presentations. We also would like to hear your suggestions, ideas, and questions. Send one or more of the above to Dawn Bikowski at bikowski@ohio.edu.


Volunteer Opportunities TESOL 2005: CALL Electronic Village

This year’s TESOL Convention will be held March 30–April 2, 2005 in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

You are invited to volunteer 1 1/2- or 3-hour blocks of your convention time at the Electronic Village (EV).

We need greeters at the front desk as well as consultants who can assist participants with the computers and software. In either case, you’ll have a great opportunity to meet and work with others who share your interest in computers and language teaching and learning. To find out what is happening in the EV during convention, check the CALL EV event schedule at http://www.uoregon.edu/~call/ev2005/index.html

You can volunteer for 1 1/2-hour OR 3-hour blocks during the following times:

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

To join us, send an e-mail specifying how (Greeter or Consultant) and whenyou would like to volunteer to Laurie Moody (dqm4884@nyu.edu).

Then we will send you an invitation to the EV Volunteer Orientation Session on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in the EV (not required, but informative). Details to follow.

About This Member Community About the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section Interest Section

The Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (CALL IS) exists to work toward a definition of issues and standards in CALL, to facilitate communication and exchange, to contribute to the computer orientation of other members of TESOL, and to foster research into the role of CALL in language learning.

CALLIS 2004-2005 Community Leaders

Chair: Susanne E. McLaughlin, e-mail smclaugh@roosevelt.edu
Chair-Elect: Susan L. Gaer, e-mail sgaer@yahoo.com
Editor: Dawn M. Bikowski, e-mail bikowski@ohio.edu
Coeditor: Suzan E. Stamper, e-mail smoody@cuhk.edu.hk
Steering Committee Member: Randall S. Davis, e-mail randall@esl-lab.com
Steering Committee Member: Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou, e-mail yiansoph@cytanet.com.cy
Steering Committee Member: Malika C. Lyon, e-mail malika@ku.edu
Steering Committee Member: John P. Madden, e-mail jmadden@mail.utexas.edu
Steering Committee Member: Christopher S. Sauer, e-mail csauer@dwci.edu
Steering Committee Member: Steven K. Sharp, e-mail ssharp@pgcps.org
Steering Committee Member: Suzan E. Stamper, e-mail smoody@cuhk.edu.hk
Steering Committee Member: Yu-Feng Diana Yang, e-mail yuyang@wsu.edu

Web sites: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~call/ and http://www.tesol.org/callis/

Discussion E-List: Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected to subscribe to CALLIS-L, the discussion list for CALLIS members, or visithttp://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=callis-l if already a subscriber.