Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Entry 19 IDT14156 Beatty 2010 Ch4 Eight CALL Apps

In reading Beatty's chapter 4, what surprised me most was the sensation of a distant past being described when in reality the book was written only 4 years ago! Needless to say this says a lot about the level technological advancement reached in such a short time. Some of the apps mentioned seem to be immutable and permanent e.g. Word without these adjectives necessarily adding a negative connotation. Games have also been always present and their development has been so constant that it is easy to remember the first consoles and how now the latest models keep changing by the hour. Their potential for language learning is huge while the key I believe is to understand how to harness all that power and be able to find a way to transfer it to real situations as argued by Jane McGonigal in her TED talk 'Gaming can make a better world'. I particularly like Beatty's statement on p61: 'The idea of game rests in the perception of the user, not the description of the developer, the pedagogical model or the label used by the teacher'. The implications are tremendous for educators as there is often a mismatch between our idea of 'fun' and the students' perception mentioned here so this begs the question: how can I conciliate my idea of 'fun' with that of my learners? Introduction of quiz-like games such as those one can create on Quizlet e.g. this Guided Discovery quiz I have used with trainees.
PDAs also seem to be part of the past with tablets now widely available offering countless options and mobile phones offering the same or very similar characteristics of a portable computer. I now have a Samsung GalaxyS5 and often use it in the same way I would use my laptop, especially when working offsite, and this was simply unimaginable even 4 years ago. Literature is now also widely available in digital format and the benefits of hypertext make it more accessible, attractive and understandable to all for the digital age turned it into non linear 'richer' adventures. This year for example my institution bought subscriptions to Oxford Bookworms Digital Library where one single license provides access to 100 books for a year. Now, how feasible and realistic it is that one student will read those 100 books is another matter as the licenses are single user ones. 10 years ago CDROMs were popular extra resources that came along with course books, now text augmentation is the norm and often teachers are seduced by bells and whistles of immediate entertainment offered in the guise of a coursebook. Along these lines, corpora, the availability and user friendliness of online concordancers open a sea of opportunity both in and outside the classroom. MOOs on the other hand, although not new as a concept to me, they are unexplored territory whose definition make me thing of Second Life and Virtual Worlds in general, but for which I have no feelings and as a teacher if I do not believe in it, it will be very difficult to sell it in the classroom.


Beatty, K. 2010. Teaching and Researching Computer-Assisted Language Learning (2nd edition). Pearson Education Limited.

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