LRC 530
Technology in English Language
Learning/Foreign Language Instruction
José Álvarez Valencia,
Travis Hawkley, Sonja Fordham,
and Merica McNeil
• Review major perspectives of CALL (Computer
Assisted Language Learning) as a way to locate current
computer mediated applications to language teaching and
• Show examples of two online communities for learning
languages and their implications in terms of the language,
learning, the roles of the computer, the teacher and the
Before starting
What differences do you notice in the following websites for
language learning?
CALL: an overview
CALL: Computer-assisted language learning (1950-1960)
Deals with the study of computer applications or computer
technologies in second or foreign language teaching and
learning (Chapelle, 2001; Fotos & Browne, 2004; Egbert,
2005; Levy & Stockwell, 2006)
Levy & Stockwell (2006): Technology Enhanced Language Learning
(TELL), Network-Based Language Teaching (NBLT), Web-Enhanced
Language Learning, Computer Mediated Communication (CMC),
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for language
learning, are listed under the banner of CALL.
Three theoretical approaches to CALL
In terms of a theory of language
The concept of community implies an construstivist view of learning (Vygostky,
The notion of mediation: all human activity is mediated by tools or signs to facilitate
action or structure mental functions (Egbert & Petrie, 2005).
The notion of social learning: Language is acquired through social
interaction (Zone of proximal development) but learners build and assess their
own knowledge development.
Some features in Livemocha and Busuu:
Peer review and feedback of writing compositions
Peer review and feedback of oral exercies
The metaphor of the "Language garden" to show progress.
The offer of Gifts (Busuu) or Points (Livemocha) for extrinsic motivation (Busuu)
The Catalog in Busuu or The Lessons in Livemocha
Learning path: all skills (productive and receptive)
Previous Perspectives on CALL
Early attempts built on the Structuralist
- This meant lots of repetition
- Grammar and Vocabulary
- Viewing a picture, seeing the word, hearing
the word, repeating the word that you heard
- Encino Man (Language Labs)
- Most teachers viewed this as a glorified tape
Most older teachers are hesitant to use language labs, or to
use new technology in classes.
Current CALL uses a more Interactional Perspective based on
the idea that language skills are gained through use of the
language with others that speak the language.
This idea goes with the Socio-Cognitive approach that links
language skills and social interaction.
-Reading Comprehension
-Writing Practice (to be corrected by Natives)
-Chat online
-Talk directly with Natives (given options of people
already online)
-Take a test
-Find Friends
Lessons are based on grammar principles
-Learn (vocab and grammar)
-Speak (Record a phrase that they give you)
-Magnet (Give you phrase and possible words which
you piece into the correct phrase)
-Given opportunity to get help from Native speakers
through Chat
-Able to make 'Friends' for further communication
The Learner
In 1978, Evelyn Hatch published two papers on language
learning and interaction that made an "indelible mark" on the
field of SLA. Hatch called for researchers to change their focus
from examining how the learning of L2 structure led to
communicative use of the L2 and instead to look at how the
learning of the L2 structure "evolved out of" communicative use
(Pica, 1994, p. 494).
SLA research has focused on a specific kind of interaction
known as negotiation.
The interactionist perspective suggests that oral discussions
between native speakers and non-native speakers or between
non-native speaker pairs will prime learners to focus on their
own linguistic deficiences, an inportant step in interlanguage
development (Blake & Zyzik, 2003).
The Learner
SLA is promoted when leaners resolve non-understandings
through negotiation of meaning, defined as "communication in
which participants' attention is focused on resolving a
communication problem as opposed to communication in which
there is a free-flowing exchange of information (Gass, 1997,
p. 107).
The benefits of negotiation of meaning include increasing
comprehension of input, forcing learners to focus attention on
certain features of their speech and providing feedback and
assistance in production of modified output (Smith, 2003).
The Learner
Synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) may
provide the "ideal medium" for language learners to benefit
from negotiation of meaning as it "exhibits features of both oral
and written language" (Smith, 2003, p. 39).
The written nature of online discussions provides a greater
opportunity to focus on the form and content of the message as
learners have more processing time to read and type
messages. The lack of non-verbal cues may facilitate meaning
negotiation, as communication has to rely merely on verbal
correspondence. Additionally, because most SCMC programs
provide logs of the chat sessions, learners can study the logs to
reflect on their interlanguage (Kitade, 2000).
The Learner
The real-time nature and informality of chatting resembles oral
communication reputedly even presenting some advantages
over face-to-face interactions:
• Chatting results in lexically and syntactically more complex
• Chatting allows for more equal participation among learners,
liberating the shy person and making it difficult for those who
are talkative to dominate the conversation.
• Chatting is less threatening than face-to-face interaction,
which often results in an increased willingness to take
language risks and to negotiate meaning.
(Warschauer, 1996)
1. XXI century teachers need to use technology effectively to
prepare students for the information and communication age,
that includes for learning a language.
2. New language learning environments have generated
different views of how language is learned, what language is,
and what roles the teacher and the students should take.
3. New websites for language learning allow studenst to have
agency and learn through socialization.--> motivation.
• Blake, R. & Zyzik, E. (2003). Who's helping whom?:
Learner/heritage-speakers' networked discussions in
Spanish. Applied Linguistics, 24(4), 519-544.
• Chapelle, C. (2001). Computer applications in second langage
acquisition. Cambridge : Cambridge Universty Press.
• Egbert, J. & Petrie, G. (eds.) (2005). CALL Research
Perspectives. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
• Fotos, S. & Browne, C. (2004). The development of CALL and
current options. In S. Fotos & C. Browne (Eds), New perspectives
on CALL for second language classrooms (pp. 3-15). Mahwah,
NJ: Lawrence Earlboum Associates.
• Gass, S. (1997). Input, interaction, and the second language
learner. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
• Kitade, K. (2000). L2 learners' discourse and SLA theories in
CMC: Collaborative interaction in internet chat. Computer
Assisted Language Learning, 13(2), 143-16.
o Levy, M. & Stockwell, G. (2006). CALL dimensions. New
York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
o Pica, T. (1994). Research on negotiation: What does it
reveal about second-language learning conditions,
processes, and outcomes? Language Learning, 44(3),
• Smith, B. (2003). Computer-mediated negotiated interaction:
An expanded model. The Modern Language Journal, 87(1),
• Warschauer, M. (1996). Comparing face-to-face and
electronic discussion in the second language classroom.
CALICO Journal, 13(2), 7-26.