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Overall CALL effectiveness; relation of CALL type to personality type

Background:  When administrators ask us to defend Language Centers and/or special computer installations  and purchase of special computer/internet applications, they always want to know about the relative effectiveness of CALL in language acquisition.  Our responses are usually fairly unconvincing.  We talk about extra practice outside of class.  We talk about different learners having their needs met because of the variety and flexibility of CALL activities, as well as the patience of the computer as tutor.  We can give anecdotal evidence of some student learning only through CALL.

Research question:  Big question: Is CALL truly effective?  When, where, how, and why? Follow-up questions: if so, are there differences in types of CALL and types of learners which need to be characterized before effective learning can take place? Are there certain Myers-Brigg's personalities which are more responsive to certain types of CALL and for certain types of skill acquisition and practice?

Suggested methodology/comments:  It would be good to use five different classes of Spanish learners at the second-year level.  It would be good to do a Myers-Briggs test for all students in the classes.  It would be good to then characterize the classes and groups of students in them.  After that, an adaptive proficiency test, such as the BYU one, should be given to look at actual student level.  The level and the M-B should be correlated to look for any interesting coherence.  After that, a more specific battery of tests should be given that allow an analysis to be made of student skills in the four core areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Again look at these scores vs. M-B.  Then the different sections of Spanish should be organized so that one section has a major exposure/requirement of CALL and one has none.  The other three sections can offer a mixed exposure to CALL.  The CALL itself, should include at least one major activity in each of the four skill areas and should be correlated with the battery of tests so that it would be possible to look at the effect the CALL activity had on one specific area of the battery of tests.  All aspects and correlations of these students, their testing, etc. should be looked at very carefully for significance.  Finally, student self-assessment and student surveys as well as instructor assessment and surveys have to be done for a more qualitative approach to the student learning using (or not) CALL.

Contact:  Mike Ledgerwood   Mike.Ledgerwood@stonybrook.edu

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