THE EUROCALL REVIEW

 

Issue number 6, December 2004

Editor: Ana Gimeno

ISSN: 1695-2618


Table of Contents

ReCALL Journal
Reports on EUROCALL Special Interest Groups: I. Language Processing. II. CORPUSCALL
Article: Features of the Ideal CD-ROM or Website for Developing Listening Skills
Recommended websites: Top Ten Web Sites for the Legal English Teacher
Book review: English Language Learning and Technology
Events Calendar


ReCALL Journal

The forthcoming issue of ReCALL (Vol. 17, Part 1) will be distributed to EUROCALL members in May/June 2005. Please send articles, software reviews, details of relevant events or other items of interest for future issues to June Thompson, Editor ReCALL d.j.thompson@hull.ac.uk.

All articles are considered by an intenational panel of referees. Notes for contributors can be found at:

http://www.eurocall-languages.org/recall/contribnotes.html


Reports on EUROCALL Special Interest Groups

I. LANGUAGE PROCESSING SIG

The summer of 2004 has seen a lot of activity in the area of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and CALL: a conference organised by an INSTIL team incorporated NLP for the first time, a number of major conferences (e.g. COLING, LREC) had dedicated workshops on the use of NLP in language learning.
The special interest group organised its 4th pre-conference workshop for Eurocall 2004 in Vienna. Under one of the main conference's sub-themes, the workshop combined papers on context-sensitive help -Trude Heift, Vancouver (Canada)-; ICALL in primary schools -Katrina Keogh and Monica Ward, Dublin (Ireland)-, the use of web-oriented technologies, such as Flash, in a possible conjunction with NLP software -Thomas Koller, Dublin (Ireland)-; the relation of linguistics and (I)CALL -Cornelia Tschichold, Neuchâtel/Swansea (Switzerland/Wales)-; and a chronological overview of projects in NLP and CALL -Mathias Schulze, Waterloo (Canada).

For further in formation, please vistit the Language Processing SIG website at http://siglp.eurocall-languages.org/

Mathias Schulze
University of Waterloo, Canada

II. CORPUSCALL SIG

Increasing interest in the use of corpora in language learning and teaching

In response to the continued and indeed increasing interest in corpora in language learning and teaching, EUROCALL 2004 offered again a well-attended pre-conference workshop on the topic, organised by Ylva Berglund (Oxford Text Archive), Marie-Madeleine Kenning (University of East Anglia) and Hans Paulussen (University of Leuven). The workshop aimed to take stock of current practice and included presentations on creating corpora for CALL, designing corpus-based activities, and using parallel corpora in CALL.

The EUROCALL 2004 conference saw a strong corpus strand with 18 presentations, which can be divided into two broad categories: A number of papers focused on applications of corpora in the language-learning environment. This included using the British component of the ICE corpus as well as purpose-generated native-speaker and Lingua-Franca-English corpora, special-subject corpora, comparable and parallel corpora, and using the web as a corpus. A range of other papers, more technical in nature, concentrated on the integration of corpora and corpus tools into platforms which will improve the language-learning environment in a variety of ways, including areas such as using corpora for feedback, integrating corpora in web-based environments and others. Further presentations analysed learners' and teachers' reactions to corpus consultation and to integrating corpora in language learning. Many papers came to the conclusion that the use of additional resources and guidance of learners and teachers in the (autonomous) use of corpora and corpus-based methods have an important role to play.

A summary of the presentations in the corpus strand was published by Ylva Berglund and Angela Chambers (2004): Trends in corpora and language learning: Eurocall 2004. In: Tel & Cal Zeitschrift für neue Lernkulturen 04/04, 81-82 (available at http://www.e-lisa.at/magazine/tellcall/04_04.asp).

Also during the conference, the second meeting of the CORPUSCALL SIG was held to formally set up the SIG, following the approval of its application by the Executive Committee at its meeting in Vienna in March 2004. Ylva Berglund was nominated and elected as chairperson of the SIG and Sabine Braun was nominated and elected as secretary. A website for the SIG is available at http://www.corpuscall.org.uk/.

The CORPUSCALL SIG is keen to see a large number of papers on the broad topic of corpora in language learning for the forthcoming EUROCALL 2005 conference in Cracow. Moreover, the SIG proposes to organise a pre-conference workshop at the conference. The workshop will include an introductory part for newcomers to the topic and an 'expert' part, which will take the form of a 'show & tell session' and which will be a forum for discussion of specific questions and sharing ideas. (Please see http://www.eurocall-languages.org.pl/ for information on the Cracow conference).

Sabine Braun, University of Tübingen
Ylva Berglund, Oxford Text Archive
Angela Chambers, University of Limerick

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Features of the Ideal CD-ROM or Website for Developing Listening Skills

The euphoria about the vast potential of computer- and internet-based learning has recently given way to more cautious assessments and more realistic expectations. Learners, teachers and researchers alike have expressed their concerns about shortcomings in the pedagogical design of the majority of existing software products, which cause frustration instead of motivation among learners. This situation is particularly deplorable with regard to listening skills, because the development of aural comprehension is generally seen as an individualized process that can be supported more efficiently in self-access environments than in "traditional" classrooms. In a EUROCALL show and tell session, held at the conference in Vienna in September 2004, we attempted to answer the question of what an ideal CD-ROM for the development of listening skills should look like.

Members of the international group of experts "ELIAS" (Evaluation of Computer Software and Internet Materials for Language Learning) have developed sound pedagogical criteria for the evaluation of CD-ROMs. First of all, "ELIAS" members consider it necessary to establish to what degree a CD-ROM/website actually implements the methodological approaches it purports to follow and to what extent it fulfils the generally accepted principles of language learning that existed long before we knew the word "multimedia". Listening comprehension, for example, is viewed as being based on simultaneous top-down and bottom-up processes. In addition, learning scenarios and tasks for the development of listening skills are entirely different from listening tests. CD-ROMs that fail to take such considerations into account do not facilitate the development of listening comprehension.

The main focus of an evaluation of electronic materials for language learning, however, must be on the ways in which a particular product uses the specific opportunities afforded by electronic delivery that either do not exist in conventional products or that would be too costly and time-consuming to implement.

Thus, good multimedia material for the development of listening skills can go far beyond the limits which the use of a cassette recorder -or a video player- and a piece of paper imposes. Media-specific criteria that must be met by innovative and efficient products include:

  • Adaptability
  • Interactivity
  • Motivating design and content
  • Use of hyper-structuring versus linear structuring
  • Closed exercises versus open-ended tasks
  • Multimedia usage to assist intercultural and other content-related learning processes
  • Provision of assistance at the points where the learner is most likely to need it
  • Stimulation of cooperative learning activities
  • Communication with other learners and/or with the "real" world
  • Illustration of learner history and progress
  • Provision of additional information according to the learner's needs or interests

Applying these criteria, several CD-ROMs and one website have been tested and reviewed by members of the "ELIAS" group. Complete evaluations of the three products will be made available on their website at http://www.elias-nc.org/ by the end of 2004.

Multilingua Movie Talk Series (Columbo - Murder by the Book, STAR TREK - The next Generation, other titles in the Movie Talk series), United Soft Media Verlag GmbH, 2001
The Movie Talk CD-ROMs were developed for lower advanced learners who would like to improve their command of everyday conversational American English by listening to scenes from original movies. They have a high motivation potential among the target group, young adult learners, and have a functional and user-friendly layout that makes it easy to work with the programs. Useful information about how to benefit most from the CD-ROM is included in the guided tour, and when they use the programs, learners can resort to different means of support so that comprehension is facilitated even for intermediate learners at all points. Moreover, the learner is in full control and can decide what he or she would like to concentrate on, for example general understanding (listening for fun), detailed understanding, vocabulary extension or pronunciation practice.

Randal's Cyber Listening Lab: http://www.esl-lab.com/ (Web Site Author: Randall S. Davis, Download date: August 11, 2004)
This web site exploits one feature of the medium particularly well: it offers a choice to the learners concerning the level of difficulty and among a wide range of topics, along with almost complete ease of navigation. The sets of tasks that accompany the audios and videos take the learning process into account and do not just offer text and script, as many other listening sites do. Above all, learners are encouraged to develop appropriate listening strategies, especially top-down procedures with pre- and post-listening exercises. Cooperative learning as well as an active use of the language is stimulated in open-ended tasks, where the content of the listening material is used as a basis for follow-up speaking activities.

EASE: Listening to Lectures, The University of Warwick, 2001/2003 (http://www.ease.ac.uk/)
"Listening to Lectures", the first CD-ROM in the EASE (Essential Academic Skills in English) series, clearly defines its target audience and the learning objectives, it states exactly what the learners are supposed to learn in each unit and includes good advice on how to learn efficiently. As a result, the learners have a realistic chance of developing appropriate strategies by reflecting on the learning process. It concentrates on lecture-specific language such as structuring devices, the language of definitions and classification as well as the development of note-taking techniques. The language functions and the terminology to be learnt are reviewed and recycled in different contexts.

Although all three sample products are far from perfect -for further details, see the complete reviews on the "ELIAS" group's website- each of them contains features that the ideal multimedia material for developing listening skills should incorporate. Provided that the learners' interests and objectives overlap sufficiently with the stated aims of these products, they can be used efficiently and successfully. This has been demonstrated in evaluations by learners who worked in self-access environments at the University of Potsdam. Consequently, the CD-ROMs and the website can be recommended both to independent learners whose targets have been established and to teachers who wish to supplement their course materials. Considering that schools and universities are being equipped with more and more multimedia computers and that school administrators throughout Europe are increasing their efforts to train language teachers to use them, we look forward to the day when more products that meet the pedagogic standards will be made available.

Bibliography

Steffen Skowronek
University of Potsdam, Germany

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Recommended websites

Top Ten Web Sites for the Legal English Teacher

1. Introduction

When we approach the task of teaching EFL it becomes quite easy to find very useful Internet resources, as there is plenty of specific material on this subject on the web. The problem, however, with Legal English (LE) resources is knowing where to start selecting the most suitable sites, as language-focused web sites for non-native speakers (NNSs) of LE do not abound, if they exist at all.* Thinking of the difficulty of finding useful sites for teaching LE to NNSs, I decided to spend some time on searching the web, looking for good web resources that teachers could use when teaching English for Law.

I would like to clearly state however that there is an enormous range of legal material available on the web, but I have tried to restrict myself to a number of sites I consider specially suitable for my own specific purposes as a NNSs' LE teacher. The selection of web pages described below is intended to help LE teachers find a place to start their own choice of materials on the web to support language teaching and learning.

2. Criteria for evaluating web pages

First of all I selected web pages based on the following five criteria: "accuracy" (author, institution, contact address/e-mail...), "authority" (author credentials, domain...), "objectivity" (accurate information, limited advertising...), "currency" (updated page, up-to-date links...) and "coverage" (without payment, browser technology, software requirements...) of the web documents (Kapoun 1988: 522-523). On a second screening, web pages that were too technical or too professionally oriented were disregarded. And, on a third and final screening, I chose the web pages whose content and language level could be suitable for my NNSs LE students.

In choosing the web pages that I am going to describe, I have tried to provide practice in the four language skills (i.e. writing, reading, listening and speaking), always working with a wide range of authentic materials. We should also keep in mind the important fact that LE classes are usually mixed-ability ones, and student language levels may range from "lower-intermediate" to "advanced".

3. Top web pages for legal English teaching and learning

3.1. Toronto Child Abuse Centre
http://www.tcac.on.ca/ [accessed 28 July 2004]

Toronto Child Abuse Centre
Provides contact address
Free from advertising
Objective in presenting information
No dead links
Free of charge

This web page offers the student the opportunity to look at six interactive books (perhaps a bit childish in appearance) where the main character (a dog called "Cory") answers questions about court. Students have the possibility of clicking on different words to see their meaning and they also have access to an interesting legal English dictionary. Additionally, you can enter the interactive courtroom and have the images speaking to you whenever you click on them. There are also games ("card-flip puzzle" and an interesting "court Quiz"), witness tips, information on the justice process and other info. This web site offers a French version too, suitable for French LE students who, at some point, may wish to check their understanding of the material they have been going through.

3.2. Law for kids
http://www.lawforkids.org/ [accessed 28 July 2004]

Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education
Provides contact address
Free from advertising
Objective in presenting information
No dead links
Free of charge

This site has been designed for young people, with a very attractive outline. It includes fascinating cartoons (strip and animated) and learners can follow the characters on their legal adventures. Students have the possibility of searching and asking questions on different legal issues and they can also meet Jay and follow him on a tour through the inside of a Juvenile Detention Facility. They can also listen to first-hand stories from people who have studied law and then post comments. They have access to Law documents and laws, and also to Law-related links and many different games to learn about the law in an entertaining way ("jigsaw", "tic tac toe", "tiler", "checkers", "8-ball", "quiz"...). This web site provides a Spanish version.

3.3. Iowa Judicial student resources Hub
http://www.judicial.state.ia.us/students/ [accessed 30 July 2004]

Iowa Court Information System
Provides contact address
Free from advertising
Objective in presenting information
No dead links
Free of charge
Option for text only

This site has been specially designed for young people, with a highly attractive outline too. It is originally aimed at children, junior high and high school. Here, among other things, students can read an interview with Chief Justice Louis Lavorato (the highest-ranking state court judge- Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) and they can also access an overview of the American court systems and of the Iowa Courts with court links and resources.

Student activities are very well thought out. Puzzles, crosswords and games for children (such as "colouring pages"), and also for not so young ones (such as the exercise "crack the code", a "court system crossword puzzle", a "judicial crossword puzzle", a "word-search", a "sentence scramble" and a "quiz on the courts").

A legal glossary is also included on this web page.

3.4. Los Angeles Superior Court -virtual courtroom
http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/Court2000/Court.htm/ [accessed 30 July 2004]

Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
Provides contact address
Free from advertising
Objective in presenting information
No dead links
No special software required
Free of charge

This web page is aimed at every citizen who wishes to have a look at an amazing virtual courtroom (Los Angeles Superior Court virtual courtroom). Students can enter the virtual courtroom on a self-guided tour and look for information on the people inside by clicking on them. They can ask questions to the judge and see questions that have already been asked by others. They can also have access to general information on the legal system.

This web site offers you a Spanish version too.

3.5. DOJ kids and Youth
http://www.usdoj.gov/kidspage/ [accessed 31 July 2004]

The United States Department of Justice
Provides contact address
Free from advertising
Objective in presenting information
No dead links
Free of charge
Option for text only

This site is primarily aimed at children and young people, but it also contains interesting information for teachers and parents. The web page interface is highly attractive to students, as it is very colourful, and has a very modern design. It contains activities clearly designed only for children (such as "sliding the puzzle", "matching games", "special agent undercover"...), but there are also some other activities (such as the "most wanted words") that a first year NNS LE student would find difficult to complete.

This site shows fascinating activities for older students (such as the opportunity offered by the FBI to view its "10 most wanted", the possibility of following FBI cases, of taking challenges, of learning about the FBI, of following a day in the life of a special agent...) in which they have access not only to audio recordings, but also to video.

They can also find texts on different topics such as "health and safety" (substance abuse prevention) and "social studies" (criminology and current events/issues, technology and science, US government and US history).

Finally, this site also includes a very useful glossary of legal terms for students.

3.6. Legal Information - Nolo
http://www.nolo.com/lawcenter/index.cfm [accessed 5 August 2004]

Commercial site
Provides contact address
Objective in presenting information
Regularly updated
No dead links
No special software required
Free of charge

Nolo offers lay people a wide selection of free information on everyday legal topics. The student just has to pick a topic from the list and see everything Nolo has got on that topic. Other interesting features available are:

  • "Nolo's Legal Encyclopaedia", where the student can choose among hundreds of articles -in plain-English- on many different legal topics.
  • "Ask Auntie Nolo", where the student can check out the archive (arranged by topic) of hundreds of answers to questions sent in by people.
  • "Nolo's Law Dictionary", where the student can look up a legal term and find a definition written in everyday English.
  • "Statutes and Cases", where the student can read a state or federal law, or check out a Supreme Court case.

3.7. Law Talk: Outreach: IU Law
http://www.law.indiana.edu/outreach/lawtalk/ [accessed 11 August 2004]

Indiana University
Provides contact address
Free from advertising
Objective in presenting information
Some dead links
Free of charge

LawTalk is a service provided by Indiana University aimed at everyone who is interested in any aspect of Law or Legal Studies. Each segment deals with some aspect of Law or Legal Studies and is authored by a faculty member from either the IU School of Law in Bloomington or the IU School of Law in Indianapolis. The LawTalk titles are arranged by subject, and they cover Amendments to the US Constitution, Business Law and Personal Finance, Civil Law, Criminal Law and miscellaneous. Students can listen to different aspects of Law or Legal Studies by clicking on the various titles.

All files are in RealAudio format, with the option of listening to them in the standard .au format (.au files being approximately .5 MB in size unless otherwise noted).

3.8. Jurist live!
http://jurist.law.cam.ac.uk/live.htm [accessed 11 August 2004]

Professor B. J. Hibbits, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Jurist is co-edited by Steve Hedley, Cambridge University Faculty of Law
Provides contact address
Free from advertising
Objective in presenting information
Some dead links
Free of charge

Some UK Law schools, such as this one, associations, and Law teachers have become broadcasters, offering audio feed of lectures and presentations ("Introduction to English Law", "Introduction to Criminal Law", "Impact of the European Community Law in the UK"...), interviews ("Lord Justice Brooke", "Lord Woolf"...) and other events over the Internet. Similarly to the previous web site, students can listen to lectures, presentations and interviews by clicking on them. Each segment length varies between fifteen and thirty minutes.

3.9. BBC NEWS. Programmes. Law in Action
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/programmes/law_in_action/default.stm [accessed 5 August 2004]

BBC
Provides contact address
Free from advertising
Objective in presenting information
No dead links
Regularly updated
Free of charge
Low Graphics version
Printable version

"Law in Action" is the longest running legal magazine radio programme on the BBC intended for a lay audience who are interested in topical legal issues in the UK and overseas. On this web page students can listen to the latest radio programme. Summaries of archive programmes are also available. Additionally, they can read the news on the screen, as well as having the printable version.

It is also worth noting that on the BBC news home page (http://news.bbc.co.uk/) students can watch video and listen to the BBC news.

3.10. Legal Dictionaries
3.10.1. Your dictionary.com

http://www.yourdictionary.com/%20diction5.html#law/ [accessed 11 August 2004]

Commercial site
Provides contact address
Objective in presenting information
Some dead links
No special software required
Free of charge

This page includes around twenty-five online Law dictionaries and glossaries of specialist words in English.

3.10.2. Law Dictionaries
http://www.lawdictionaries.com/ [accessed 11 August 2004]

Commercial site
Provides contact address
Objective in presenting information
Some dead links
No special software required
Free of charge

This page includes around thirty online Law dictionaries and glossaries of specialist words in English, classified according to several law branches: General Law, Commercial Law, Crime and Human Rights, Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Law and others.

It also has a free on-line translation tool that can be used, not only for words, but also for sentences, though it is very basic.

3.10.3. Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
http://www.m-w.com/ [accessed 6 August 2004]

Commercial site
Provides contact address
Objective in presenting information
No dead links
No special software required
Free of charge

Merriam-Webster provides a free online dictionary, thesaurus and audio pronunciation of words. Though not specific to Law, students can type most legal English words and hear their pronunciation.

4. Final considerations

Obviously there is an enormous range of legal material to be found on the web. However, my main purpose with this selection of websites was to lend LE teachers a helping hand to start their own search for legal material suitable for their students' needs and also for themselves.

I have mentioned some sites, but obviously not all. I would like to mention two legal portals I think could be of interest for the LE teacher. I would recommend Delia Venables' site (http://www.venables.co.uk/) and also Lawlinks (http://library.kent.ac.uk/library/lawlinks/), both recommended by Lawrence (Lawrence 2000), and with very interesting legal links. By visiting http://www.suite101.com/links.cfm/8313/, a number of very interesting sites compiled by Karen Koyanagi Ringuette can be found (some of which have been described here) relating to the American legal system.

As things on the Internet change so rapidly, I would not be surprised if by the time this article is brought to light, some of the web addresses have changed or some of the documents have disappeared or moved to a different site. I have tried to look for updated web pages although in some cases some of the links may not be. Games or quizzes may have been there for a long period of time, but in most cases I have not considered this to be a reason for exclusion.

Some people may consider the fact that I have chosen not only British, but also American websites, a bit misleading for students, as both legal systems and legal terminology differ somewhat. I am convinced, however, that we, teachers, should make the most of it by having our LE students work on the linguistic differences and similarities that exist between both legal systems.

5. Conclusion

The problems with teaching legal English to non-native speakers are, first, their sometimes low command of English, second, the differences between the student's own legal system and the British legal system and, thirdly, the scarce resources for teachers on this specific subject.

I have made a selection of different web sites where NNSs LE students can practise the four language skills in an interactive way working with authentic materials.

My main aim in compiling this selection of websites is to help fellow LE teachers by offering them a starting point for their own search of web resources which best suit their own and their students' needs.

References

* I am most grateful to Eric Glendinning (Director of the Institute of Applied Language Studies, University of Edinburgh) for his invaluable help with this article. I would also like to thank the Dirección Xeral de Investigación e Desenvolvemento (Conselleria de Innovación, Industria y Comercio, Xunta de Galicia) for the financial aid which allowed me to spend a one-month research period at the University of Edinburgh.

Mª Victoria Fernández Carballo-Calero
Universidad de Vigo, Spain

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Book review

Note: This review will be available in print in ReCALL Vol. 17 (1), May 2005.

English Language Learning and Technology

Carol A. Chapelle. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2003
ISBN 1 58811 448 1. Price: €33.00

A first reaction to this book is that it is exactly what ELT teachers engaged in using technology in their teaching have been waiting for. It addresses head-on questions that have niggled ever since the new medium entered the ELT classroom. How, and in what ways, does technology interplay with what we know of second language acquisition? How can we evaluate whether, and in what ways, technology promotes language acquisition? And how can applied linguistics inform developments in technology-based learning while itself accommodating to the new technologies? The overwhelming insurgence of technology into language pedagogy within a few short decades has been such as to seemingly obscure these and other vital questions, and they have remained, some may say, astonishingly, unaddressed in any comprehensive fashion. Chapelle notes (p.128) that it was not until 2000 that a comprehensive set of papers collectively addressed the subject of SLA research and technology (in a special issue of Language Learning & Technology). This was followed by her own 2001 publication Computer applications in second language acquisition: Foundations for teaching, testing and research, which grounded the use of technology in second language learning in a strong theoretical base. Chapelle's latest work has a greater practical focus, due perhaps to the fact that it originated as a series of lectures.

The author sets out from the bold premise that the time has passed for the need for a case to be made for technology. Technology by now plays such a normal part of our day to day functioning that we may as well demand that a case be made for the use of sound and visual recordings. By extension, she eschews the need for comparison of CALL with language learning in the conventional classroom: 'I do not see any indication that the steadfast march of technology through our society is likely to hesitate […] on the basis of research results indicating that learners do better with classroom instruction alone. In the face of such results […] I believe the solution would be seen as a need to improve CALL rather than restore classrooms.' (p.74). Furthermore, this 'steadfast march of technology' means that there is a new 'strategic' dimension to communicative competence, involving the electronic literacy skills required in computer-mediated communication. It is no surprise that Chapelle, as an applied linguist, maintains a strongly applied linguistic perspective in the book, reiterating concerns for the ways in which technology is changing the practices of applied linguists and for including technology in the research agenda. Nevertheless, Chapelle makes clear from the start that theory-focused research and practice-focused research are both necessary and interdependent ('a synergy between theory and practice' p.178), if theoretical insights are to be developed to inform CALL.

An indication of the significance of this book for the field is that the titles of its chapters read like a taxonomy of the questions being asked by practitioners: the potential of technology for language learning (Chapter two); evaluating language learning and investigating learners' use of technology (Chapters three and four); and advancing applied linguistics (the intersection of applied linguistics and technology in the areas of L2 tasks and assessment) (Chapters five and six).

The first chapter sets the stage for the others, discussing the changes technology is effecting on language teaching and on language learning. In a society in which technology is already so deeply embedded as to be invisible, Chapelle stresses the need for applied linguists to expose the use of technology in, and its effect on, language learning and on language acquisition research. For this intersection between language learning and technology, she warns, is shifting underlying applied linguistic concepts such as communicative language ability, grammatical analysis and language register. She attempts a balanced view of a technology-infused future by taking three perspectives: that of the technologist, envisioning a future in which language pedagogy involves ever more interaction with technology; that of the social pragmatist, balancing the day-to-day realities of using technology for learning; and that of the critical analyst, questioning the inevitability, neutrality and benefits of technology. As well, Chapter one manages to give a broad range of perspectives on technology and ELT, from the learners - their motivations in using technology for language learning and the 'technology-shaped register' of English they encounter, to the teachers and the implications of the technology for their teaching (especially the issue of technology-mediated tasks, a recurring issue in the book, see Chapters two, three, four and five). Chapter one closes by homing in on applied linguistics, asserting that 'technology-based language teaching and research is not a departure from applied linguistics. It is a continuation - the 21st century version of what applied linguists do' (p.31).

The second chapter promises to broach the first of the fundamental questions being asked: Which models of technology-based instruction can enhance learning? Drawing on classroom research studies as well as applied linguistic theory, Chapelle gathers evidence for the 'value and usability' of CALL (p.67) with reference to such L2 acquisition factors as enhanced input, repetition, input modification, production and interaction (all with their own interpretations via the interface/s technology offers). This last, vastly over-used term, 'interaction', is usefully explored before re-focusing the concept of interaction in the CALL context. In this chapter and the next, research from the field is integrated with applied linguistic theory to provide the reader-practitioner with some of the core research-based principles for the use of technology in language instruction: authenticity, autonomy and, of course, the task model.

Chapter three sets out the research agenda for CALL and gives some examples of empirical research. It sets up - and then, intriguingly, knocks down - the seemingly obvious need to evaluate the language learning achieved via technology. It is here that two of the book's bugbears are raised. Chapelle challenges, firstly, the assumption that the conventional classroom and CALL both aim to achieve the same results, and, secondly, the need for a case to be made for technology at all. She suggests that, in a society where technologisation is a fait accompli, these preoccupations distract from the more essential concerns such as strengthening 'the empirical basis for software developers and applied linguists working in teacher education, pedagogy, and technology' (p.76). Accordingly, she goes on to describe a number of research studies that focus on the software, the learners and/or task pedagogy. The studies include the use of interactive listening, parallel concordancers and communications tasks using voice and text chat; samples of research that contribute to a knowledge base on how to promote language acquisition through CALL. A schema which clearly demonstrates this, is Table 3.7 (p.94), which cross-references some of the described CALL tasks to applied linguistic theory.

Chapter four, Investigating learners' use of technology, offers more on learning methodologies and research methods, focusing in particular on the unique capacity of CALL to document process data. The chapter starts by defining process data as 'data that constitute the observable record of learners' work on CALL tasks', often called 'tracking data' or 'computer logs' (p.98). It then gives some examples of the types of process data that can be accessed, ranging from recorded human-to-human interactions around a business simulation program, to tracking a learner's progress through a computer-based listening comprehension task. Starting from the observation that the technical capacity to provide such data contrasts with the complexity of the theoretical basis for analysing it, the chapter goes on to offer an outline of three analytic perspectives, description, interpretation and evaluation. The descriptive research methodologies discussed include interaction analysis, which analyses the particular moves a learner makes while working with the technology, as well as discourse analysis and conversation analysis, both of which reveal the unique new registers and interactional routines that technology is creating. Interpretation as a research perspective is a logical extension of description; what is of interest is not just the 'raw' process data, the data has to be interpreted in order to yield meaningful conclusions concerning the learner's language competence and/or handling of the task. The final research perspective based on process data, evaluation, would appear to be the broadest one, in that 'evaluation should reveal the degree to which data provide evidence that the goals of CALL activities have been met' (p.119). Chapelle is at pains to point out that this should not be equated with evidence of 'mastery after instruction', since 'CALL is typically only one source of language practice for learners in a larger programme of instruction' (ibid.). For this reason, evaluation of CALL process data requires that learning goals be stated in terms of desired learning processes rather than outcomes (p.120). Such process-oriented tasks described here include evidence of negotiation of meaning in a jigsaw task, and evidence of the learner 'noticing gaps' in his/her interlanguage in an interactive reading task.

In Chapters five and six, Chapelle turns squarely to face the perceived undercurrent of discontent with technology: 'I would like to turn the tide on the annoying technology that distracts applied linguists, and consider the attraction of technology as a tool for doing applied linguistics' (p.127). The author maintains that 'novel perspectives on theoretical issues and new tools for researching those issues' can best be provided by 'conducting practice through technology' (p.150). Accordingly, in Chapter five, this is done via practical illustration, by focusing on L2 learning tasks and analysing evidence of the learning outcomes and processes they can provide. Especially useful is the exploration and analysis of the concept of task for the technology context (see, for example, Table 5.4, pp.138-9). Criteria for deciding task features which serve as 'an expanded set of conceptual tools for task construction' (p.146) are also discussed, with these features aiding assessment of such factors as the degree of authenticity of the tasks relative to those that learners have to perform outside the pedagogical context.

Chapter six continues working from the perspective of the previous one, that is, that applied linguistic theory has much to gain from technology-mediated L2 learning, focusing specifically on computer-assisted language assessment (also known as computer-assisted language testing, CALT). Chapelle uses as her starting point some of the conclusions of a state-of-the-art review of language testing: 'the new task formats and modes of presentation that multi-media, computer-based test administration makes possible raise all the familiar validity issues, and may require us to re-define the very concepts we believe we are assessing' (Bachman 2000: 9, cited on pp.152-3). As before, some of these complex issues are helpfully schematised (Tables 6.1, 6.4 and 6.6). The author's most important conclusion in this chapter is that in the area of CALT research the 'tunnel of efficiency' (p.151) must be avoided: 'the first step […] is to set aside efficiency as the primary criterion […] in order to seek solutions to the substantive issues of construct definition and validation' (p.172).

Chapter seven, the concluding chapter, acts as a useful reference for, and précis of, the book, as it reviews the previous chapters, clearly restating the concerns voiced in them. Firstly comes a reiteration of the point of departure of the book, applied linguistics: 'the primary message throughout the book has been that technology is changing practices of applied linguists in ways that prompt the need to conceptualise them and study them explicitly' (p.173). Chapelle next calls attention to the principle implicit in the case studies and discussions in Chapters two, three and four, viz, that we need to use theory, hypothesis and methods from SLA research to give analytic and evaluative perspectives which enable us 'to move beyond simplistic notions that technology should be evaluated solely through comparisons with outcomes attained through classroom instruction' (p.176). The other refrains of the book are also vigorously rationalised, firstly, Chapelle's refusal to backpedal towards a justification of CALL, what she calls 'reductionist attempts to make a case for technology in a society in which technology has already been sold many times over' (p.180): 'If the audience for CALL research is seen as our own profession of applied linguistics rather than someone who needs to be convinced of the value of technology (relative to classroom instruction) for language learning, more fruitful paths for research can be developed' (p.177). And research in this new and burgeoning area more than any other, requires synergy between theory and practice, as practitioners struggle to match traditional applied linguistics theory with learning activities that use state-of-the-art technologies.

This is a scholarly yet accessible book that will appear to many as an oasis of sound, substantive theory in the impenetrable tangle of information in this area. By placing technology-based language learning squarely within the scope of applied linguistics, Chapelle is both acknowledging the centrality of technology in our society and throwing much-needed theoretical weight behind the new media. The book asks and responds to the questions that need addressing at this stage in our technological evolution, and it constitutes a rich and reliable source of reference for practitioners and researchers alike.

References:

Freda Mishan
University of Limerick

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