Computer-Aided Language Learning

Computer Aided Language Learning (CALL)

CALL is our main area of research and interest within the field of Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching. Below you will find some descriptions of key concepts in the field, as well as links to other sites which provide useful links.

  • CALL : Computer Aided Language Learning – this is the most commonly used acronym to encompass all elements of language learning that takes place with or around computers. It is the general term and is often thought to incorporate other terms such as CMC, TELL, CASLA and so on. Note that although many people accept CALL as the umbrella term, there are also important distinctions between CALL and the other concepts. See Levy & Hubbard ‘Why call CALL ‘CALL’?‘ in Computer Aided Language Learning
  • CMC : Computer Mediated Communication – This refers to any form of communication which uses computers as the medium. For example, forums, chat rooms, texts and SMS. Emails and VOIP conversations would also fall under this category. As CMC advances, more and more of CMC comes to simulate face-to-face communication. The use of WebCams and VOIP have meant that the gap between CMC and face-t0-face is ever growing smaller and the varieties of CMC are expanding.
  • CASLA: Computer Applications in Second Language Acquisition – Carol Chapelle (2001) from Iowa State university wrote a book defining CASLA and presents a useful framework for analysing and evaluating them. These principles are often used to analyse CALL software and content. Chapelle uses CASLA as an umbrella term to encompass CALL and Computer Assisted Language Testing (CALT) Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) and talks of other related fields such as Educational Technology, Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • TELL: Technology Enhanced Language Learning – This would encompass approaches that utilise the role of computers and any other devices that fall under the definition of ‘Technology,’ for example MP3s, Podcasts, Video, DVD, mobile applications, GPS, Remote Access Field Trips (RAFT), social networking sites, Second Life, Virtual Learning Environments and so on. The difference here being that TELL is likely to still feature within a more traditional classroom setting with the addition of a host of tools such as the above being integrated so as to improve the opportunities for meaningful and authentic communication and language use.
  • ICT: Information Communication Technology – Like IT (Information Technology) but also encompassing telephones, VOIP, and any other technology that allows for human communication and access to information. This is not a specific term for language learning and teaching.
  • Blended Learning – Blended Learning is best defined as an approach that seeks to combine work done in classroom with expansion work that could be done outside of class and faciltated by computers. However, the term is often used more generally to describe learning which incorporates computers and technology into its practice. Often WebQuests (student/task centred learning projects usually web-based) and CMC based lessons are referred to as Blended Learning. In this sense it is similar to TELL.