A CALL FOR CALL (part 2)
This time I would like to briefly present digital tools and resources for language learning. Taking different learners’ capacities into consideration, it is crucial to understand that various media have a profound effect on how learners assimilate and remember the content.
One should not overlook the fact that technology in language teaching has been around for decades. Incidentally, some technologies, e.g. tape recorders, have been implemented since 1960s and 1970s, and are still in use in classrooms. Computer-based materials for CALL appeared in the early 1980s. As the access to ITC (Information and Communication Technology) has become widespread, CALL has moved beyond the use of software to embrace the Internet and web-based tools. Needless to say, cheaper access to the Net has opened the “information superhighway” to everyone. Indeed, for English language teachers, constantly looking for authentic materials, it is a perfect medium – an infinite resource file of texts, visuals, listening, videos, etc. form around the world.
While classifying digital technologies for learning Laurillard (2002) distinguishes six different media types, according to their different capacities to mediate learning:
- narrative, e.g. Hot Potatoes – support tasks involving representation and can be used for assimilation or reproduction of new images, text, etc.;
- communicative, e.g. video conferencing – support tasks involving communication between individuals and groups,
- interactive, e.g. search engines – support research as well as tasks that return information based on user input;
- productive, e.g. concordancers – support tasks that involve manipulation of data;
- adaptive, e.g. virtual worlds – support tasks that depend on continuous adaptation to user input;
- integrative, e.g. e-portfolios–support the management of learning sessions and activities, allow recording of achievements, and enable learners to review their progress and make action plans.
In this day and age, digital resources are becoming ubiquitous and familiar to both students and teachers. The capacity to manage multiple forms of information is today an essential life skill. The new Digital Age has come. Therefore, the use of cutting edge media has become desirable in education.