Review of Computer-assisted language learningposted February 25th, 2013
Reviewed by Ferit Kılıçkaya, Kocaeli University
Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is included in many language-related programs around the world and has received much attention over the past thirty years. Technology changes dramatically, and so do students, teachers, and institutions. Thus, diversity has become a crucial aspect of any learning and teaching context. This book includes ten chapters that discuss several issues regarding diversity in CALL at various levels from both descriptive and practical points of view.
The book opens with an introduction that focuses on several key issues in the field of CALL, including the theme of diversity, theory in CALL research and practice, and CALL and learner autonomy. Ch. 2, ‘Diversity in learner training’, examines students’ use of and experience with CALL materials and the ways that they use these materials in order to provide suitable training, encouraging them to be more effective users of CALL in various contexts. Ch. 3, ‘Diversity in learner training’, touches upon training for CALL and how diversity affects both the training process and the individuals and groups being trained. This chapter also looks at a three-part training model, involving technical, strategic, and pedagogical training. Ch. 4, ‘Diversity in learner support’, investigates individual support, an important element of CALL training, and how it contributes to learner development and autonomy.
In Ch. 5, ‘Diversity in environments’, different types of contexts in which CALL is applied are discussed from both technical and pedagogical perspectives, focusing on several modes of delivery, such as face-to-face, blended, and distance-learning environments. Ch. 6, ‘Diversity in content’, discusses and analyzes how open educational resources and open-source software tools can be utilized to provide a more effective way of English language teaching. The technologies discussed in this chapter range from Web 2.0 technologies to open-source software such as Moodle. In Ch. 7, ‘Diversity in modalities’, the issue of modality and the way that different modes can be utilized in learning are analyzed and discussed in consideration of current technology that allows for a variety of modes of communication. Ch. 8, ‘Diversity in technologies’, analyzes technology available today, ranging from multi-server technologies to mobile technologies, providing examples of the benefit of these technologies. Ch. 9, ‘Diversity in research and practice’, provides an overview of research and practice in CALL and discusses the role of technology in both. Furthermore, this chapter examines research published between 2001 and 2010, revealing the evolution of the field of CALL. Ch. 10, ‘Conclusion’, proposes three levels of diversity in CALL (i.e. individual, institutional, and societal) and discusses diversity at each level, focusing on the features and differences.
The chapters in this book reveal that it is a well-structured research- and practice-oriented book for researchers and practitioners interested in diverse approaches to CALL at individual, institutional, and societal levels. Readers will especially benefit from the discussion of diversity in various contexts, the potential advantages and limitations, and an overview of the current research.