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Strategies for increasing teacher use of CALL/Internet materials

Background:  There seems to be a less than rigorous research approach emerging in research studies carried out by more recent participants in CALL/internet materials use, usually in the area of language learning and teaching using internet tools.

Many do not seem to be familiar with the pedagogical and inter-disciplinary antecedents of CALL/internet design and use for language learning and teaching purposes, such as media, communication, social, philosophical, and cultural studies.

Increasingly, teachers are employing CALL/ internet activities as an integral part of their teaching programmes, which creates complexities for quantitative researchers trying to isolate or attribute outcomes to specific features of the software, the teaching or the learning. It is therefore becoming extremely important that we begin to consider and develop fresh and probably tangential approaches to our research designs in the field.

Research question What strategies are most effective for increasing the uptake of, and commitment to the use of CALL/internet materials among foreign/second language teachers?

Corollaries to this question include:

1) what models of CALL/ internet materialsí integration into curricula are most appropriate to various levels of educational activity and education environments;

2) what workshop/professional development/in-service models are best received and/or most effective in raising teachersí awareness and acceptance of

3) which specific features of CALL/ internet tasks best develop or are most appropriately used to develop what linguistic, communication, cognitive and social features among second/foreign language learners

Suggested methodology/comments:  More, more specific, and more widely integrated analysis of teachersí needs and evaluation of teachersí responses to participation in workshops and professional development activities in CALL is need to better pool our collective experiences and understandings of what is needed and how best to fulfill these needs. (1 & 2 above)

3) above can be investigated by continued efforts at the nexus of SLA and CALL, though a much broader methodological base is needed than the most common interactionist approaches.

We must subject the instructional design, intended objectives and learner outcomes of the CALL/web materials we produce to closer analysis and scrutiny better to determine the closeness of fit between the materials and learning environments we use for our experiments and the claims we make for the outcomes. 

More thinking and effort is required collectively to consider what ethnographic investigative data collection and analysis methods could be devised or modified to provide us with conclusions or trends that are more informative for language teachers and CALL/web specialists.

Specifically, we need to investigate more actively the coming-together of different disciplines and methodologies such as sociocultural, ecological, cognitive, psycholinguistic, media and cultural studies etc.

Contact: Dr. Debra Hoven   d.hoven@mailbox.uq.edu.au

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