Using CALL in Language Learning

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CALL – Computer Assisted Language Learning or CALI – Computer-Aided Language Instruction, CALL or CALI is the technology integration used in the language learning process. CALL was originated in the United Kingdom, focused on learning rather than instruction. CALL was introduced in the 1960s by university mainframe computers, there are very expensive and mainframe computer machines are in the size of a room. PLATO (Programmed Logic/Learning for Automated Teaching Operations) started to use computers and applications for English learning and teaching but most of the PLATO’s works were done in the Russian language. Athena Language Learning 1983 project is based on exploring the role of computer in education, this is a joint project of MIT and IBM. In the 1990s many CALL programs were developed and published. Today there are many CALL programs available for both free and low cost on the internet.

Today technology and digital media impacting the method of traditional teaching and learning process. In the book, Contemporary Computer Assisted Language Learning “It can now be argued that computer-assisted language learning has come of age and that we are now entering a fully integrated and naturalized phase of CALL.” (Reinders, & Thomas, 2012). CALL helps students to use technology to improve their learning activity both inside and outside the classrooms it makes the classes and subjects more interesting. Students will do their activities only if it helps them to improve professional or learning skills, if the program explains to the students about the use of the subject and then teach them useful information students will eagerly learning using the CALL program. Teachers can easily motivate students to learn using CALL by using their names or personal information in the learning process. By providing practical or practical activities like giving challenges or curious assessments will motivate students to learn.

Students will love to learn visually by including animated objects or videos on the screen. CALL helps student’s in visual learning, most of the students are good at learning visually like seeing images or presentations. Computers help students and teachers to get visual learning materials, they can easily search on the web for images or videos they want. For the lower education students, they can study visually for basic knowledge like seeing the colour, animals, or fruits, it helps them to understand and visualize the objects or a thing.

CALL helps students in listening practice, it is a very important task in the language learning process. Teachers can play podcasts or music to make the students feel the fluency, pronunciation, and phonetics of the language. Teachers can also record their classes or conversation and play them to students, so they can understand how and where to use the correct words, they can understand how to use the language naturally in real situations. It helps them to speak the language with incorrect pronunciation.

Computer and digital devices updated the learning process and also teaching materials, it helps both teachers and students to boost the teaching and learning process. Computers can easily adapt to students and teachers, students can choose learning methods, they can skip unwanted contents. The computer is a device that anyone can adapt to it with basic knowledge in it, easy access and partial control over the computer make adapting to the learning process.

Tutorial CALL

CALL has been developed toward authentic activities to help learners and guide them to achieve their goals. Engaging students in tasks and virtual tests through web base platforms will make them feel more responsible for their work and make a good decision. Tutorial CALL is from the 1960s to 1990s, it is the language learner’s interaction with the computer and communication. In this tutorial CALL, students depend on a computer as an automatic tutor, this type of CALL program will help students and teachers to associate with grammar, writing, pronunciation, reading, and listening. If a student uses a CD for learning a new language, a course in the CD will help the student to complete his full course description even some device contains two or more language courses. Tutorial CALL is commonly used for practice like multiple choice questions or translation assessments. Technology development from the room of mainframe computer to small laptop also changed tutorial CALL method in language learning. At the beginning of the tutorial CALL program, mechanical practice for grammar and lexical items was provided to language learners. It was programmed to give feedback for the tests and assessments, it just gives correct or wrong or tries again. Tutorial CALL is the commonly do the work done by teaches. In the book, second language teaching and learning with technology by Sylvie Thouesny and Linda Bradly “Tutorial CALL programs, on the other hand, cannot do much more than mimic this idealized traditional language teacher”(Bradly and Thouesny,2012). Today tutorial CALL is functioning as stage one of the e-learning system, some of this program are only helping in administrative progress.         

CALL in Language Learning Environment

CALL can help students both inside and outside the classrooms, students and teachers can communicate and collaborate anytime and anywhere they want. Some teachers don’t accept technology integration into the learning environment because they think technology will eliminate teaching staff but that is not true, integration of CALL or new technologies in the classroom environment will easy and reduce teacher’s workload instead of eliminating them. Using CALL teachers can support students by creating activities and assessments. If there is no technological or digital integration in students learning process teachers and books are their sole source.

Traditional language classrooms may be boring, or students can lose interest in learning languages but using the virtual world in CALL, can attract students to learn new or more languages.   The virtual world is the best CALL platform to be included in the language and other classes, it is the virtual platforms using 2D or 3D environments, research on the development of Virtual CALL is still going on because of its need in entertainment and learning environment. Virtual CALL programs can provide language games, animated videos, graphic models, 2D or 3D videos, and problem-solving videos, these virtual platforms can improve interest and motivation in language learning. The virtual world helps to break the difficulties of different time zone, teacher can record or create 2D and 3D videos using video editing software, then they can send them or upload them to the common platforms where students can use them in other time zone or other countries. 

In distance education, online CALL is the major source for learners. Distance language education students cannot sit in the class, so technologies help them to connect with their teachers. By using CALL technologies distance education language students can learn through the digital platforms by using video conferencing communication students and teachers have to face to face conversations. Messaging applications and platforms help them to ask quick questions or information from teachers.

Sometimes games were used to teach languages, students love to play games and it is easy to teach language using games. According to the study, students will show interest and teachers can make students to respond the game. Using 3D games or virtual reality games teachers can help their students to know the theory into practical knowledge. If the students play a game similar to their study, they can discover new and additional information about the subject.

The teacher’s role in the CALL classroom is very important, technologies are just a tool and development in the classroom. CALL reduces teacher’s workload; they can teach students using technologies to make students more attentive to the class. CALL can also reduce admin tasks like providing attendance, assessments, and other admin tasks to teachers. CALL helps educational instruction to maintain the task and track student’s activities, digital devices are used to mark attendance, attaching marks, exam results are stored in the database and it also helps a teacher to alert student’s progress by messaging their parents. Teachers can use CALL to help language learners by assisting them to do some technical base learning.

Introducing digital feedback system in CALL classrooms will help both students and teachers to connect with others, there is two way of digital feedbacks first one is feedback provided manually by students and teachers and another one is automated and AI-based system which help students in their studies. Digital feedback provided manually will help the teacher to know her mistakes and drawbacks in her class, the teacher can analyze students’ activities and test results then teachers can provide feedback. Automated and AI-based digital feedback will be included in language classes by using CALL technologies to provide feedback like finding and pointing mistakes or errors on the assessments conducted by teachers.

Communication and Media in CALL

Language learning always accepts and collaborates with technological development. At beginning of the implementation of technology, gramophone, and foreign radio channels were used to record and played to learn languages from the native language speakers. In CALL we can implement digital media, social media, media, and communicational platforms. In early 19th century, computers have low capacity and it was used to play audio and poor video only using some storage devices but now the teacher can play any videos or listen to audio in their digital devices. Tools like email, text chat platforms, audio, video, and video conferencing platforms help to build strong CALL communicational platforms. Digital communicational tools help both teachers and students to connect and communicate any time they want. For language learning classes teachers can use communication platforms to connect their students with native speakers.

Telecollaboration is the online communicational tool used in foreign language learning, it was founded to combine language learners geographically from a different region to learn foreign languages and to do collaborative projects and tasks. The Telecollaboration of in-class interaction was foreign language learning interaction for the same class students. In an earlier period, there was not good internet and no other country communications, so in-class interactions were used between local classes using LAN (Local Area networks), today in-class communications also developed using blogs, local network connections, and other local communicational platforms. Class-to-class interaction uses the latest digital and technological platforms, although in the late 1990s communication was based on text asynchronous. Today these classes are conducted using multimedia in foreign language classes. Class-to-world interaction telecollaboration helps foreign language learners to learn any language from any were around the world by the video conferencing software.

Educational portfolios are used in many fields like designing, developing, finance, marketing, arts, and education. Students nowadays use electronic portfolios; it was printed copy at the beginning of digital portfolios. E-portfolios are the platform or combined media of student’s records, works, and growth, it is like the detailed profile of the student. Digital portfolios include the student’s illustrated work, texts, contents, presentations, diagrams. These digital portfolios will help students showcase their works and talents in a digitalized presentation, now it was included in webpages and used for their job purpose.

Intelligent CALL

Intelligent CALL or ICALL which includes algorithms, concepts, techniques, and artificial intelligence (AI). AI is used for tutoring systems, natural language processing, user modelling, and expert system in ICALL. Intelligent CALL in natural language processing (NLP) plays role in generating and understanding natural language. NLP understanding process is written or spoken language, it is run by AI. This ICALL is mostly used in grammar checking tools, translation tools, auto-complete, and semantic input.  An intelligent tutoring system (ITS) helps to reduce teacher’s workload, this tool helps to maintain student records, granting assessments, and maintaining classroom environments. User modelling is the most advanced ICALL system, it uses human-computer interaction. The AI will use and analyze the student’s usage process and organize it according to the student’s interest. Expert system is used to study phonology, graphology, morphology features. ICALL expert system modules help the students and teachers to maintain additional details of student’s grammar knowledge and linguistics structures.

CALL in Task-based Language Learning

Task-based language teaching and learning using CALL help the learners and teachers to work collaboratively, teachers can monitor student’s every activity. Teachers can give authentic tasks in a target language like assessing with the task to include in. The target task is the task teacher gives students a real task done outside the classroom. The pedagogical task is given to the students to perform inside the classroom. Teachers can ask students to present or teach the class using technologies by paring with their classmates Taking ICALL in task is automating the process, AI can automate the task process given to the student, it can find and analyze the key vocabulary and grammatical constructs.

Mobile-Assisted Language Learning

Mobile technology was developed and developing, in the era 70% of teachers and students use a smartphone with an internet facility. By developing CALL as MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning) in language learning and teaching everything is possible to everybody but in most of the educational instruction’s students are not allowed to use mobile phones in the classroom. Students can use their smart mobile phones to connect the native language learners according to their time zone. By using smart mobiles in learning students no need to wait a long time for answers, they can just access voice assistants or search engines to search the content or question they need. CALL needs more room space to install and it is hard to provide but MALL can easily provide and like commuter mobile no need to use large space CD or hard disk. Mobile is a multipurpose device it can be used as a video or audio recorder and it can play in it.

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