On CALL News, Volume 23:1 (March 2006)

by User Not Found | 10/28/2011
In This Issue...
Leadership Updates From the Chair

Susan Gaer, associate professor of ESL and technology trainer, Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education, Santa Ana, CA, sgaer@yahoo.com


I want to welcome all our new members and thank all of you who continue to support the CALLIS with your time, effort, and considerable expertise. The theme of this issue is leadership and I think every person who is involved with CALL is a leader and a visionary. One of our great leaders and past chairs, Tom Robb, has won the D. Scott Enright TESOL Interest Section Service Award through TESOL. He will be receiving the award at the conference in Tampa,Florida, USA, on March 16 at the plenary session with speaker Barry O’Sullivan at 2:00 p.m., and his name will be placed on a permanent plaque at TESOL headquarters. We hope you will attend the plenary to cheer him on as he receives this award.

Tampa is right around the corner. Because it is a smaller convention center we have fewer presentation slots than we have had in previous years. If you can’t get into a presentation, please consider visiting the Electronic Village (EV). You can find a program of all EV events this year athttp://www.uoregon.edu/~call/ev2006/schedule.html. Or you can pick up a schedule at the EV or in the exhibits area.

We are also planning on having a CALL informational booth in the exhibit area Wednesday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We hope to welcome and recruit TESOL members to join the CALLIS. If you are interested in helping out the CALLIS by volunteering in the booth, contact Mary Ellen Pascoe atmbutler@alliant.edu.

I also want to encourage you to volunteer for the EV at the conference. To volunteer please contact Buthaina Al-Othman at buthaina_3@yahoo.com.

I look forward to meeting many of you in Tampa! You can probably find me in the EV most of the time.J

Articles Daring to Lead

Tom Robb, trobb@cc.kyoto-su.ac.jp


I’ve backed myself into this article, it seems. Editor Dawn B. pointed out that this year’s conference theme is “Daring to Lead” and since I have been lucky enough to receive the D. Scott Enright TESOL Interest Section Service Award I must, ipso facto, be a “leader.”

I’ve never actually thought of myself too much in terms of a leader, which to me conjures up visions of looking over one’s shoulder to see masses of people following. Leadership in a voluntary organization, I think, is much less this than a more mundane willingness to do the work and particularly (to make it appear) that you do it in a fairly timely manner. Fortunately, with my job in Kyoto and no kids to spend quality time with, I have had more discretionary time than have many others, perhaps most others, in the CALLIS. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that spending that time in service to the Interest Section would be the best place to spend it, but, heck, it’s such a great group of people!

One of the main reasons TESOLers enjoy participating in an Interest Section is that they are able, at least for the short duration of the convention, to rub elbows with others who are interested in their own area of specialization. Yes, there are presentations, workshops, and whatever, but to me the best part of the conference is simply the networking that goes on, and you get more opportunities for that when you are active in the IS leadership. The most exciting things that I learn each year from the TESOL convention are usually from casual conversations, particularly ones in which you share a problem and swap ideas on how to solve it—and you get more chances for such conversations when working together with other CALLIS committee leaders.

Though I said earlier that one quality of a leader is to do the work in a fairly timely manner, perhaps an even more important trait is to cajole others to do the same. Thus, it is prudent to keep in mind that not everyone who commits themselves to do a task will successfully complete it. Most will, of course, but out of 20 people with various promises to keep, perhaps two to three will not be able to fulfill them because of work, family, health, or other pressures. Knowing this, deadlines need to be set so that there is still a chance to get the task done in time even when the preliminary deadline is not met. Leaders need to be realistic in this regard, to keep track of progress, and to take alternative action when needed.

Finally, one quality of a leader is to look forward, to think of new ways to channel resources so that more people can benefit from them. One concrete example of this, but one that I cannot claim credit for, is the repurposing of the Electronic Village. Ten years ago, it served a useful function as a place where participants could test-drive software. Slowly, with the advent of demo CD-ROMs and then lightening-fast Internet downloads, software programs became less important, as was evidenced by a clear drop in the number of participants trading in their conference badge for a CD-ROM. At the same time, the Internet was flourishing as a new teaching/learning tool, so the leadership established special events in the EV, such as the Internet Fair and the other events now scheduled virtually every hour through the convention schedule.

Perhaps the above is best summarized by saying that a leader needs to observe the dynamics of the current situation, try to understand what works as well as what is not working and why, and attempt to modify the system to work in a more harmonious manner, to the greater benefit of the membership.

Tom Robb has been teaching at Kyoto Sangyo University, Faculty of Foreign Languages, for 25 years and has been involved with CALL since the late 80s when he started experimenting with e-mail penpals.

Making Movies

Greg Kessler, kessler@ohio.edu

Teachers and students have been using movies for language learning for years. With the rise in availability of camcorders, many also began creating and sharing their own movies. Personalized video can allow lessons to become dynamic and vibrant experiences for both student and teachers. Being involved in the creation of video can empower students and provide them with a framework in which they can further explore realms of language use they might otherwise not notice. Collaborative group video projects can help to establish a constructivist learning environment that is meaningful and engaging. In short, video has much to offer us. But what do we need to know to use video effectively?

Rise of Digital Video

Digital video has made moviemaking even more accessible and varied. High-quality video can be created with rather inexpensive equipment. Many users can share a digital video camera in a single department, thus minimizing investment. A single digital video-capable computer can be used to edit these videos which can then be distributed among students and teachers through a variety of means, including web servers, CDs, and DVDs.

Basic Video Skills

It is helpful to have a bit of visual and production guidance. Though it is extremely easy to point and click a camera, making videos that match the quality of commercial videos is not yet 100% accessible to most of us. Video can certainly be a time-consuming endeavor, but with practice you can get better and better results each time you work with it. However, when just getting started, it is important to know where to turn for advice. Some professionals who spend their lives working only with video are never satisfied with their results, so you have to keep things in perspective. You can take a lot of fairly simple things into consideration when working with video. I have been making instructional videos for years and just recently took a course on video production that taught me many things that I never would have considered previously. Here is a list of some of the highlights:

  • Shoot well. You can’t make up for bad shooting with good editing. This is by far the most important point. If your camera is not steady orfocused, you will never be able to make it steady and focused no matter how much you edit.

o         Use a tripod

o         Focus

o         Set white balance (most cameras allow you to set the degree of what is white by pushing a button named “white balance” and focusing in on something you deem to be white. If you do not do this, you are likely to end up with yellowish tinting.)

  • Prepare for movement

o         If there will be motion, begin the shot with extra space in the direction the subject will be moving.

  • Check your lighting

o         If you film in inadequate (or too much) light, you will have disappointing results.

o         High noon is a good time to avoid too many shadows.

Basically, editing involves putting the pieces together whatever way you choose, but without good quality pieces little can be done to improve things. Here are two very helpful resources for shooting video: 

Once you get a feel for general concepts of video creation and production, you need to learn to use the software. 

Video Editing Software

You can use a number of software packages for capturing and editing your video. Free programs such as Apple’s iMovie and Microsoft’s Movie Maker are quite easy to use. They allow you to capture (or import) video and add titles, transitions, additional audio, and a number of other typical adjustments. Other software, such as Adobe Premiere and Apple’s Final Cut, provides you with a wider breadth of professional opportunities. To get more information about using each of these packages, check out the following links:


Good quality cameras can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. Most consumer digital video cameras are quite a value these days. Such cameras can be connected directly to a compatible computer (typically this involves a computer port commonly known as firewire). The most important aspect of a digital video camera is the lens. For resources related to the selection of digital video cameras, seehttp://gregling.net/dvc/.

Note: This article originally appeared in Greg Kessler’s Technology Column in ESL Magazine, May/June 2005. 

Greg Kessler, PhD, teaches at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, USA. He is the director of the Academic Oral Communication Program. He is also a recent chair of CALLIS.

The Electronic Village 2006 Mini-Workshops

Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou, yiansoph@cytanet.com.cy

If you are lucky to be in Tampa for the 2006 TESOL Convention, do not miss the opportunity to participate in one or more of the workshops offered at the Electronic Village (EV).

The EV Mini-Workshops offer a rare opportunity for convention participants to actually get some hands-on practice with the interesting new things that they learn about from presenters. All too often we hear interesting presentations but once we return home we are drowned in work and do not follow up on the new ideas we’ve been introduced to. On other occasions, the ideas seem to be exciting and easy to implement but on our return home we might find a variety of technical difficulties or knowledge gaps and often have no one to turn to for support.

The EV Mini-Workshops, however, help you try everything out and make sure that you understand how things work and that you can use whatever you’ve learned when you go back. You have the chance to practice under the guidance of experts and solve any problems right there and then.

Workshops are available on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (March 15-17, 2006). They always have the lunchtime slot of 12:30–2:00 p.m. Please do not wait to just drop by when the workshops begin. Our computers are limited and, hence, our participant capacity is, too. If you are interested in a particular workshop, try to visit the EV as soon as you get a chance so that you can sign up and reserve a place for it. On signing up you will also be given a ticket, which entitles you to a place in the workshop you’ve registered for.

We have tried to organize the workshops around thematic areas: Wednesday, “Online Teaching and Learning”; Thursday, “Working with Websites”; and Friday, “Using and Learning Software Applications.”

Following is a list of the workshops that will be offered this year so as to help you decide and book early.

EV Mini-Workshops: Online Teaching and Learning

Wednesday, 12:30–2:00 p.m.

“How to Use Podcasts in the Classroom”

Aiden Yeh, Wen Zao Ursuline College of Languages, Taiwan, aidenyeh@yahoo.com

Abstract: In this workshop, I will introduce podcasting and will demonstrate how it can be easily integrated in the intermediate-advanced EFL/ESL classroom. I will exhibit examples of students’ work published on my Speech class’s podcast site and will describe various ways of using podcasting as a valuable teaching and learning tool.

With podcasts, teachers can disseminate course content; record students’ speeches and self-evaluations; provide comments, feedback, and study support; and store and transfer files. Sharing and publishing students’ audio and video files takes only a few minutes. It is a great online tool for enhancing students’ oral skills and in a way podcasting also motivates students and challenges them to do their best knowing that they now have a bigger and wider audience outside the four corners of the classroom.

Participants will get hands-on experience in creating and publishing their own audio/video podcast. Join this workshop and learn how to use this tool in your classroom and find your students’ voices online.

Note: Participants should bring their own mp3 sound files, videos (wmv), and digital photos (jpeg).

“A Brief Introduction to the Moodle Course Management System”

Thomas Robb, Kyoto Sangyo University, tom@tomrobb.com

Abstract: Moodle is an increasingly popular course management system that is absolutely free to use; all you need is an Internet-connected server on which to run it. This workshop will introduce the major features of the system and allow the participants to get hands-on experience in setting up a course.

Note: Come prepared with some material that you would like to upload in the course management system during the workshop: sound files (mp3), graphics, or Hot Potatoes activities. Practice material will be available for those who come without.


EV Mini-Workshops: Working With Web Sites

Thursday, 12:30–2:00 p.m.

“Using DiscoverySchool.com to Create Quizzes, Puzzles & Worksheets”

Beth Wallace, Georgia Perimeter College, bwallac2@gpc.edu

Abstract: The ability to create supplemental materials quickly and easily is important for teachers. Using DiscoverySchool.com gives you the ability to create materials to supplement your program’s textbooks or other curriculum materials. Teachers spend a lot of time preparing for classes and through this Web site you can create materials that will be available to you every time you teach a class (or subject matter). Also, if you do not have technology available in your program, many of these materials can be used as paper activities. A highlight of DiscoverySchool.com is that it gives the teacher a simple, user-friendly way to create an assessment tool that is self-grading, and the results are sent to you via e-mail!

The first part of this mini-workshop will show participants how to create their own custom classrooms and the activities available. The remainder of the workshop will discuss where and how these activities can be placed online for use by students and others. The presenter will demonstrate a variety of activities she created to supplement a textbook she uses. A link to handouts of sample quizzes and worksheets will be provided.

The workshop is directed to all teachers but examples used will be from adult ed/higher ed classes.

“An Introduction to Creating WebQuests With Templates”  

Christine Bauer-Ramazani, cbauer-ramazani@smcvt.edu, and Paula Emmert, emmert4@yahoo.com, Northern Virginia Community College

Abstract: WebQuests have been a part of project- and inquiry-based learning and teaching in mainstream education for some time and have a multitude of applications in ESL/EFL, both in teacher training and in ESL/EFL classes that are focused on content-based learning. Following Bernie Dodge and Tom Marsh’s building process for WebQuests, the presenters will give workshop hands-on experience with the creation of a WebQuest on a free Web site.

First, the presenters will walk the participants through the process of setting up web pages for their WebQuest, which they can continue to build and customize after the conference. They will then be instructed in the basic structure of a WebQuest, with particular emphasis on the interactive and collaborative aspects of a WebQuest. Different types of scaffolding materials will be discussed and added as time permits.

Participants will link the WebQuest task and exercises to standards required by their state (if United States-based) and will learn about free rubric makers to assess their students’ completion of the WebQuest tasks by using benchmark descriptions.

Note: Participants are expected to be familiar with the concept of a WebQuest.


EV Mini-Workshops: Using and Learning Software Applications

Friday, 12:30–2:00 p.m.

“PowerPoint for Teachers & Students”

Laurie Moody, dqm4884@nyu.edu, and Claire Ribeiro, Passaic County Community

Abstract: This workshop is open to any TESOL member new to creating PowerPoint presentations. Each participant will develop a brief multimedia presentation based on an interview with a partner. This same activity can be easily transferred to ESL classrooms (elementary through university) as a means of introducing students to PowerPoint so that they can create their own effective presentations.

The workshop will begin with a very short discussion of using PowerPoint as a tool for organizing and presenting content, avoiding “death by PowerPoint,” and dealing with students with different levels of computer skills. Participants will leave with disks of their saved presentations, handouts that include illustrated step-by-step directions that teach PowerPoint basics, suggestions for possible PowerPoint projects at various levels of English-language proficiency, and evaluation rubrics for student presentations.

“IWiLL Write—Working With an Interactive English Writing System”

Shiau-jiun Ning, Taipei First Girls’ Senior High School, Taiwan, illianning.tw@yahoo.com.tw

Abstract: IWiLL (Intelligent Web-based Interactive Language Learning) is a collaborative project between Tamkang University and Taipei First Girls’ School and has been going on since 2000.

The IWiLL learning platform is composed of the following:

  • Reading Club
  • Interactive English Writing System
  • Mining Movie for Real English
  • Interactive Networked Multimedia Authoring Tool
  • Collocation Explorer
  • IWiLL Discussion Forums
  • Action Group

This workshop will present the Reading Club and the IWiLL Interactive English Writing System, which made the compilation of the first Taiwan Learner Corpus (TLC) possible. From 2003 to 2005, TLC collected 227,617 words from students’ online essays for instructors’ reference and research purposes. Participants will learn to create their own writing comment bank and evaluate students’ online essays with the IWiLL error count system.

 Don’t forget to book early!

For a complete program of all the events taking place in the EV, see http://www.uoregon.edu/~call/ev2006/schedule.html.

Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou is a teacher-trainer at the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus. She has taught all levels of EFL in a large variety of contexts. Her main interest in CALL is effective use of the Internet and her fondest pet is CMC applications.

Columns Making Connections

Suzan Stamper, stampers@iupui.edu

The “Making Connections” column continues its focus on a valuable CALL resource—our CALLIS members—with three faces often seen in our ElectronicVillage:

  • Sookhee Kim Plotkin
  • Dawn Bikowski
  • Tom Robb

For each newsletter, I am inviting members to answer a set of simple questions:

  • What is your favorite platform?
  • What is the one indispensable tool/web page?
  • What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
  • What was your favorite CALL creation?
  • What are you working on now?
  • What area would you like to see developed/researched?
  • In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

The answers to these questions will reflect a variety of perspectives, experiences, and insights. My hope is that every reader—from new member to founding member—will enjoy this opportunity to compare experiences, to share advice, to nurture inspiration, and to make connections within our community.

Please e-mail me at stampers@iupui.edu if you have suggestions or contributions to “Making Connections.”

Sookhee Kim Plotkin

 Sookhee is in her first term as a member of the CALLIS Steering Committee, is leading the Developers’ Showcase for TESOL 2006, and has volunteered in the Electronic Village for the past 3 years.

E-mail: sookhee.plotkin@pgcps.org

Affiliation: Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland, USA

Years in CALLIS: 5

Q: Favorite platform?

A: Mac. I was disappointed when I found out that the domain name ilioveapple.com was already taken. I had to satisfy myself with “ilikeapple.com.” But I use both PCs and Macs.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/web page?

A: Google. I can find almost everything I look for.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?

A: Computers and Internet. It was my step toward CALL.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?

A: My multimedia project of money unit. It includes my first creation of Flash animations.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am working toward a doctoral degree with a concentration on teacher development and leadership in technology integration.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?

A: A policy that mandates all K-12 schools in the United States to have at least one full-time technology coordinator to support teachers, staff, and students.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

A: First, be comfortable with computers for your own personal use. Try new software, play with it, and think about the ways it might help you do your job easier.

Dawn Bikowski

 Dawn is the director of the ESL Composition Program at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, USA. Her interests include teaching writing as well as using technology in the classroom, especially in writing classes. She is also currently working on her PhD in instructional technology and is the editor of this newsletter.

E-mail: bikowski@ohio.edu

Affiliation: Ohio University

Years in the CALLIS: I think 6


Q: Favorite platform?

A: I’m a Mac kinda gal. I’ve been with Macs since I first started using computers as an undergraduate in the mid/late 1980s. I remember when I bought my first computer (maybe 1992?), a Mac Classic. She was great, even made it through graduate school in the late 90s.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/web page?

A: Google. I look things up several times a day.

Q: What are your most unexpected sources of information about CALL?

A: I find out lots of things just by wandering around on the Web, plus I hear interesting stories on the radio that I follow-up on, and I have lots of informal conversations with coworkers.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?

A: In graduate school I created an online game using Javascript, in which students had to match funny little pieces of information to their language teachers in our program. It involved a point system (3 points for a correct answer on the first try, 2 points on the second try, etc.) and I loved the challenge of trying to make that all work out.

 Q: What are you working on now?

A: As the director of writing courses in our program, I’m writing goals, objectives, and activities to help teachers in my program better utilize technology in their classes. By providing ready-made activities, more training, and easy access, I’m hoping that teachers will be better able to utilize the wonderful resources that we have in our building and on our campus.

As part of my PhD research, I’m also researching virtual learning communities from students’ perspectives to see how they view their interactions and what is important to them, as well as to see if they feel that these interactions have an impact on their learning.


Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?

A: I’d like to see more about learning with or through technology from students’ perspectives. Even though technology is increasingly used worldwide, I still encounter a good number of students who are not comfortable using technology (international as well as American students). I wonder why they experience this apprehension with technology—if it is something about the technology itself, the rapid pace of change with technology, or perhaps how it’s used in the classroom? I don’t know.


Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

A: Dive right in and enjoy the great people and ideas in this great Interest Section!

Tom Robb

 Tom has been teaching at Kyoto Sangyo University, Faculty of Foreign Languages, for 25 years and has been involved with CALL since the late 80s when he started experimenting with e-mail penpals.

E-mail: trobb@cc.kyoto-su.ac.jp

Affiliation: Kyoto Sangyo University

Years in the CALLIS: 12

Q: Favorite platform?

A: Mac, but I’m ambidextrous.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/web page?

A: Google by far.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?

A: How much I learn in casual conversation with colleagues rather than formal sources of information.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?

A: The Passport Online Web site http://www.oup-passportonline.jp/activities.html. (But it works only on Microsoft Internet Explorer now.)

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m working on new ways to use Moodle for language-learning activities.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?

A: Real data on how much students really do (or don’t do) with our CALL material if the software (or our Web site) doesn’t track their actual usage. (To what degree does this apply: “If the teacher can’t know whether I’ve done it or not, then I guess I can safely not do it.”?)

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

A: Don’t be afraid to experiment—you can’t break the computer, but be sure to back up!

Q: What is your funniest CALL-related incident?

A: When I was first doing penpals in class I had a student who ended up being “penfriends” with a boy and a girl who were going steady. When they broke up, they started to send messages to each other through my student! (“The next time you write her, could you tell her I’m sorry and that I’ll do anything to get her back” and stuff like that)

After 8 years at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Suzan has returned to the United States where she is a ESL lecturer at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She has been a CALLIS member since 1995.

Keeping Up With the Community Volunteer Opportunities at TESOL 2006: CALL Electronic Village

Buthaina al-Othman, buthaina_3@yahoo.com

You are invited to volunteer 1 1/2-hour or 3-hour blocks of your convention time at the Electronic Village, which is open from March 15 to March 18, 2006.For each 3-hour shift, to thank you for volunteering, TESOL will give you a free pass to the Exhibit Hall, paid parking for the hours you volunteer, and a lunch allowance.

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/ev2006/schedule.html.

You can volunteer for 1 1/2-hour or 3-hour blocks during the following hours:

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Thursday   8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Friday     8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Saturday   8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

To join us, send an e-mail specifying HOW (Greeter or Consultant) and WHEN you would like to volunteer to Buthaina al-Othman atbuthaina_3@yahoo.com.

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


Appeal for Reviews for Essential Teacher

Christine F. Meloni, meloni@gwu.edu

Would you like to write a review for my “Home and Other Pages” column in TESOL’s Essential Teacher? I would especially welcome reviews of software and Web sites. Detailed guidelines can be found on the TESOL Web site but here they are in a nutshell: a 440-word review in which you describe the software or Web site and then explain how an ESL/EFL teacher could use it. Reviews of books (texts, novels, teacher resource books) and films (documentaries or feature films) are also welcome. The word limit for those is 220. Please send reviews or questions to Christine Meloni at meloni@gwu.edu. Thanks!

About This Member Community

The Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Interest Section 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.