Computer-assisted language learning (CALL)
Computer-assisted language learning (CALL)is succinctly defined in a seminal work by Levy (1997: p. 1) as "the search for and study of applications of the computer in language teaching and learning". CALL embraces a wide range of ICT applications and approaches to teaching and learning foreign languages, from the "traditional" drill-and-practice programs that characterised CALL in the 1960s and 1970s to more recent manifestations of CALL, e.g. as used in a virtual learning environment and Web-based distance learning. It also extends to the use of corpora and concordancers, interactive whiteboards, Computer-mediated communication (CMC), language learning in virtual worlds, and Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL).
The term CALI (Computer-assisted language instruction) was in use before CALL, reflecting its origins as a subset of the general term CAI (Computer-assisted instruction). CALI fell out of favour among language teachers, however, as it appeared to imply a teacher-centred approach (instructional), whereas language teachers are more inclined to prefer a student-centred approach, focusing on learning rather than instruction. CALL began to replace CALI in the early 1980s (Davies & Higgins 1982: p. 3) and it is now incorporated into the names of the growing number of professional associations worldwide.
An alternative term, Technology-enhanced language learning (TELL), also emerged around the early 1990s: e.g. the TELL Consortium project, University of Hull.
The current philosophy of CALL puts a strong emphasis on student-centred materials that allow learners to work on their own. Such materials may be structured or unstructured, but they normally embody two important features: interactive learning and individualised learning. CALL is essentially a tool that helps teachers to facilitate the language learning process. It can be used to reinforce what has been already been learned in the classroom or as a remedial tool to help learners who require additional support.
The design of CALL materials generally takes into consideration principles of language pedagogy and methodology, which may be derived from different learning theories (e.g. behaviourist, cognitive, constructivist) and second language learning theories such as Stephen Krashen's monitor hypothesis.
Example of teaching CALL
Unit : Science and Technology topic: Invention M.5