Editor: Ana Gimeno
Projects: The IN6ENIO online CALL authoring shell
Recommended website: Viaje al pasado: los aztecas
Book review: La tecnología en el aprendizaje de inglés como L2: una propuesta de clasificación de programas de aprendizaje
Course announcement: Online Education & Training
The forthcoming issue of ReCALL (Vol. 17, Part 2) will be distributed to EUROCALL members in November/December 2005. Please send articles, software reviews, details of relevant events or other items of interest for future issues to June Thompson, Editor ReCALL firstname.lastname@example.org.
All articles are considered by an intenational panel of referees. Notes for contributors can be found at:
The IN6ENIO online CALL authoring shell
New challenges in developing an online CALL authoring shell, content manager and courseware: the IN6ENIO model
On-line language learning courseware is still today in its initial stages. A great amount has yet to be researched and developed in terms of second language acquisition with the support of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in order for teachers to gain confidence and thus integrate the internet into their teaching practice. Although Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) has slowly crept into current trends in language teaching, teachers still have to explore a great deal in their everyday practice to find the best tools, whether on CD-ROM or on the web, to suit their learners' needs, integrate these tools coherently into their language curriculum, and modify their teaching methodology accordingly.
Despite their robustness, CD-ROMs seem to have been set aside by many language teachers, giving way to on-line learning materials in spite of the many drawbacks that may be encountered during the process, i.e. band width, transfer rates, expense, but to mention a few. These issues have not, however, prevented language teachers from exploring the depths of creating web-delivered materials to supplement their teaching, although it is a fact that these isolated initiatives have not been channelled in order to be made available to the language teaching community at large. It is true, on the other hand, that there are currently an increasing number of initiatives around the world to maximise the effort and cost that goes into developing pedagogically sound on-line language learning materials by creating authoring packages to facilitate and guide the creation of materials. Most of these authoring tools, however, have to be installed onto personal computers for individuals to use independently without the possibility of creating a pool of multimedia exercises and resources that can be shared by a larger community.
This thought triggered Proyecto IN6ENIO, i.e. the will to design a completely on-line tool, based on the template approach to authoring, that would allow language teachers to design their own materials, create a database with these materials and make it available to other users, and automatically convert these materials into learner-ready materials.
2. Proyecto IN6ENIO
Proyecto IN6ENIO is an R+D project, entirely funded by the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, which has been designed and developed by the CAMILLE Research Group led by the author. The project has two basic practical aims. On the one hand, to create a language independent, on-line multimedia CALL authoring shell, and on the other, an on-line learning environment offering courseware designed and created with the IN6ENIO authoring tool.
2.1. Description of the IN6ENIO authoring shell
IN6ENIO authoring shell front page.
The IN6ENIO integrated on-line authoring and learning environment is divided into 10 sections, in addition to the "in6enio" button, which takes us to the entry page to select the language of the user interface -currently three languages can be used, i.e. English, Spanish and Catalan-, as well as the "exit" button to quit the system.
The first two authoring sections enable us to manage "authors" and "students". Authors are language specialists or content providers with permission to create new or modify existing learning materials. Permission to edit is granted by the System Administrator and is given in order to either create new courseware starting from scratch or to add to or modify existing materials. The materials embedded in the system comprise the IN6ENIO database and are hosted on a central server. When given permission, teachers/content providers may access the database and feed their own newly created courseware with materials taken from the archive. The materials can be accessed as isolated multimedia components (video, audio or image files) or as readymade exercises or reference materials.
Students are registered learners of the courses created with the IN6ENIO authoring shell, embedded within the on-line learning environment. Access is not restricted to a particular course but to the entire learning environment. Currently two courses are available: an intermediate level course for learners of Valencian -Valencià Interactiu Grau Mitjà- and an intermediate English course called Intermediate Online English. Registered users access the system by means of a user name and password.
The next two items, "languages" and "levels" enable us to register a new language and then assign the language level or levels that our materials will be created for, i.e. English - Intermediate, Advanced, etc.
The following three sections, "courses", "units" and "exercises", allow us to insert a new course, give it a name, a description, assign its language level and edit its contents directory; further to that we can create units, which resemble nodes, to which we attach exercises that can be assembled into pedagogically meaningful sequences. "Exercises" allows us to access the 14 existing exercise templates. These templates are very briefly described below with sample screens illustrating how the learner visualises the templates within the on-line learning environment. All illustrations are taken from Intermediate Online English.
2.2. Exercise templates
The following templates have been designed on the presumption that we must ensure variety, coherence and consistency when engaged in the process of creating multimedia activities and on the principle that the templates should be as open and flexible as possible in order to encourage authors to design creative tasks rather than restricting and confining their pedagogical input (Gimeno, 2002).
Observation exercises. This template allows us to insert any text type, audio file and/or image. These exercises have been devised to introduce the lesson contents by means of an introductory text, oral explanation and/or illustration. They are the simplest of the templates and offer a preview of what the learner will actually see on screen. Further exercises or links to other websites can naturally be associated to this screen.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 1 > Warming up > What do you know about HDTV?
Video exercises. This template allows us to insert video sequences in any of the most common formats (AVI, ) at three different transfer rates in order to cater for different modem specifications (56, 256 and 512 kbps). Additionally, the video script can be included. The default mode does not automatically unveil the script, but instead, has to be called up. This template is particularly suitable when designing listening comprehension or branching dialogue exercises based on a video clip or on a sequence of synchronised still pictures.
Multiple choice exercises (single selection pull-down menu). This template combines text, audio and image. It can take a variety of forms such as listening to an introductory audio sequence or reading a question and then clicking on the appropriate option. This exercise only allows one correct answer. It is particularly suitable for listening or reading comprehension activities such as True/False questions.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 1 > Warming up > What do you know about HDTV?
Multiple choice (single selection menu) exercises. This multiple choice template allows us to include a video or a sound file and an image. This variety only permits one correct answer. When the correct answer is selected the exercise is dimmed in order to invite the learner to continue with the following screen. Hints associated to each of the options can also be displayed if required. These appear in the form of "tool-tips". As well as the exercise text input, additional explanatory notes can be added. These are displayed underneath the options. The options can be randomised so that they appear in a different order each time the exercise is accessed.
Multiple choice exercises (multiple selection). This multiple choice template allows for several correct answers, as well as the possibility of including a video or an audio clip as initial input. It also permits the inclusion of images, both as support material or as selection items (options). It can have up to 25 options to choose from and each of these can have a hint associated to it. The options can be randomised so that they appear in a different order each time the exercise is accessed. An "evaluate" button tells the learner whether the selection made is correct or incorrect.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 1 > Business matters > Indications for telephoning.
Gap filling exercises. This template also allows the inclusion of an image or an audio file as additional input. Each gap can have up to a maximum of three correct answers, as well as a hint to aid the learner in its completion. We can also attach a help facility to each gap -which appears as a "tool-tip"-, in addition to gap-specific positive and negative feedback. The learner can choose to see the correct answer partially, after having filled each blank space, or completely, after having completed the entire exercise.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 1 > Grammar > Speaking about the future.
Reordering exercises. This template allows us to create exercises where either images or text can be reordered vertically on the screen. The text to be reordered can be an individual word or an edited fragment (e.g. parts of a letter). It includes the option of adding a sound file as input to aid in completing the exercise. It also includes a "show correct answer" option that displays the elements in their correct order. These exercises can naturally be linked to other templates.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 3 > Business matters > Business letters.
Clickable image (hot spots, single selection). This template allows us to create observation (passive) exercises which are specially suited to vocabulary practice. The learner-template displays an image (a photo, picture or illustration) and a number of "hot spots" can be selected which will activate a response by the computer when clicked on. This response can be audio, text or both. Up to 10 "hot spots" can be designated.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 6 > Vocabulary > Working around the house.
Clickable images (multiple selection). This template allows us to create exploration (active) exercises resembling the previous one but differing in that the audio or visual input triggers a response from the learner and appropriate feedback is provided immediately afterwards. In this model the learner is requested to make a choice out of a number of visual options. Both this and the above template allow us to include notes or additional activities below the pictures.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 3 > Vocabulary > Computers and peripheral devices.
Open input. This template allows us to create rewriting or information transfer exercises. There is an initial textual input which has to be in some way modified by the learner by writing in a blank box. As in any open input activity, feedback is provided only as a model to follow, i.e. corrective feedback is not available. This template is useful, for example, to design translation activities from one language to another. Images can be added as visual aids.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 6 > Grammar > Direct and indirect speech.
Dictation. This template allows us to create more traditional dictation exercises. The template includes instructions, the audio file, visual support, the script and a blank box where the learner is requested to write. Feedback is only provided by being able to compare the learner's written production with the script.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 8 > Technical focus > Technical jargon.
Association exercises. In this template association can be made by matching text, image or sound to text. An introductory video clip or audio file can be optionally included, as well as visual support. The options can be randomised, allowing up to 25 options per exercise. The options appear in a pull-down menu next to the exercise input, which can take the form of a definition, an abbreviation, etc. An "evaluate" button provides the learner with the correct answers.
Intermediate Online English > Unit 1 > Listening > Interview 4/4 > Acronyms related to the television.
Word search puzzles. Two templates to create word games have been developed. The first one enables us to create word search puzzles. We can optionally provide the learner with a hint by displaying a list of words that have to be found. The words are selected by clicking in the first and last letters. Immediate feedback is provided and a "show answer" option displays a picture of the completed puzzle.
Hanged-man exercises. This word game template allows us to create hanged-man exercises, which can work at letter, word or sentence level. The number of attempts are limited to 6, which are the number of elements comprising the hanged-man.
3. General template features
Feedback has also been factored into all the templates, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, immediate or delayed, etc., in order to facilitate a pedagogically sound framework for the courseware design and to allow content providers to design user-specific feedback (Bangs, 2003). This is achieved because the system allows us to include branching feedback options according to learner performance in completing an exercise.
Time limits can be given to all exercises although the default mode is without a time limit. The number of attempts allowed can also be restricted. These options are useful when designing entry or progress tests.
The images, audio or video files embedded in any of the exercises can be called up directly from within the authoring shell to enable authors to be aware at all times of all the multimedia components that integrate a sole activity. Images, furthermore, are automatically resized to fit the their location within the learner-template, thus avoiding materials writers from having to edit images unnecessarily. It is, however, useful if the language specialist is familiar with one of the many picture editors available such as Adobe Photoshop or Jasc Paint Shop Pro.
One of the features we can specify within any of the templates where the learner is requested to write is whether we wish student input to be case sensitive or not.
All the exercise templates include an item which indicates the programming unit the exercise is found in so that the content provider can swap from author mode to student mode by using the alt+tab combination and locate exercises more easily. This is possible because every time the materials are updated by clicking on the appropriate ticks in the author mode, the information is automatically updated on the central IN6ENIO server.
Although voice recording has not been programmed into the system, it is nevertheless possible to design exercises where the learner is requested to record his or her own utterances by accessing the Windows Media Player, which can be called up and minimised when not in use. Evaluation of oral production will of course be subject to learner comparison with a pre-recorded model. Future developments include incorporating voice recognition software to the system.
Links to other web pages/resources can be included in any of the exercise or reference materials templates. This is particularly suitable when designing exercises where the learner is requested to access another existing web page, for instance to read or listen to a passage, or even watch a video sequence, and then complete our own exercise. This obviously avoids problems with copyright clearance issues.
In order to create a user-friendly environment and avoid unnecessary frustrations on behalf of inexperienced CALL materials writers, the IN6ENIO authoring shell requires no additional software to be installed except for RealPlayer, which is the application through which all the audio and video files are reproduced. When authoring, writers encounter each and every one of the template components within a single screen thus avoiding them from having to become familiar with a complex menu system.
4. Reference materials
The following two items, "books" and "pages" enable us to create reference materials such as grammar notes, use of language, cultural information and so forth, which can be associated individually to exercises, in order to respond to particular questions which may arise during the study process, or accessed individually as self-contained sources and comprise their own navigation system by means of hypertext links. Any number of media objects can be embedded in these pages to enhance the materials and facilitate learner retention.
IN6ENIO reference materials editor.
As we can see, new reference materials can be easily added by indicating the language, giving it a number reference and a description. The new book will be inserted by clicking on the tick and immediately entered into the list of already existing reference sources. This screen also enables us to edit the contents directory and preview any of the "books" by clicking on the appropriate buttons.
The actual pages within any of the books can be created, modified, edited or deleted by going to the "pages" option in the main window menu. The page contents (text and image) have to be inserted using html coding, therefore content providers must also be familiar with an html editor such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, which allows us to edit the text according to our preferences. The source code simply has to be cut and pasted into the blank box provided. This screen also automatically previews the contents of the page so that authors can immediately verify them. These newly created pages can be linked to existing exercises or as an introductory section to all the exercises within a learning unit, as we have done in our Intermediate Online English course.
The last but one item on the menu, under the heading "dictionaries" allows us to create monolingual or bilingual glossaries and dictionaries. Words or expressions are inserted by selecting a language, writing the new entry, adding a definition/translation and clicking on the tick. The entry immediately appears in the word list where it can be edited or deleted.
5. Student assessment
Progress reports can be called up at any point during the learning process since the icon which links to the assessment facility is permanently located on the bottom menu bar of the courseware. The data is automatically transferred to the IN6ENIO server while the materials are in use. Students can therefore monitor their progress during the course of their work. The results are presented in percentages, registering date and time, the number of completed exercises per unit, the number of correct and incorrect answers, etc., as can be seen below.
IN6ENIO student assessment facility.
Since the learner's progress reports are saved onto the server, when using the courseware as a supplement to regular teaching classes, teachers may access this information upon request.
The IN6ENIO multimedia CALL authoring shell and on-line learning environment are unique in the sense that all the components are managed via the web. The system is completely machine independent, allowing teachers/materials writers to work from any computer at hand. It is an extremely versatile and flexible open system that can be constantly updated and improved. Our aim is to disseminate IN6ENIO as shareware, which means that the entire platform will be available at no cost whatsoever to the users under the condition that any improvement will be shared with us.
Bangs, P. (2003) "Engaging the learner - how to author for best feedback", in Felix, U. (Ed.) Language Learning Online: Towards Best Practice. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers.
Gimeno Sanz, A. (2002) Call Software Design and Implementation: the template approach. Valencia: SP-UPV.
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain
Viaje al pasado: los aztecas
El perfecto simple y el imperfecto en la narración y la descripción
1. Objectives and target audience
According to error analysis research*, the use of the past tenses is the major hurdle to be overcome by intermediate level learners of Spanish. This research shows that errors are due 1) to oversimplification in the explanation of the use of the past tenses and 2) to the fact that utterances are not placed in context. The objective of the Viaje al pasado: los aztecas software is to offer teaching material for the practice of narration and description in the past aimed at overcoming these two problems. Intermediate level students, regardless of their mother tongue, adolescents and adults, enrolled in courses or self-directed, are the target audience.
2. Linguistic and cultural contents
This software presents the use of past tenses in a complete discursive context, i.e., in texts and not in isolated sentences. In fact, in the framework of the sentence, the learner does not manage to catch the difference between main information and complementary information, a difference that governs the choice of tense.
With a view to focussing the learner's attention on the content of the texts and not just on the form, so as to make the use of the language meaningful, a rich cultural content -the world of the Aztecs- is ever present: in the examples of grammatical explanations, in the themes of the exercises and in the story line of the adventures. Thus, while learning the language, the user learns about the culture. Since the cultural content is Mexican, the software's Spanish is that of Mexico (speakers' accent and vocabulary), but the usage of the verb forms under study is the one common to all Spanish-speaking countries.
3. Multimedia design
First of all, this software is not linear: everything is immediately accessible. Navigation is entirely free and so it does not favor any specific type of learning (through rules or exercises). Furthermore, it is distinguished by a strong element of play. A good proportion of the exercises (guessing exercises and two adventures) look like games. However, it should be stressed that this playful character serves to highlight the grammatical content, as we will see below. And finally, this software is very interactive, both through participation in the content and error correction.
3.1 Interactivity in the content
In some exercises and in the adventures, the user advances by choosing between options regarding the content. This interactivity, typical of electronic games and " choose your own adventure " books, is at the service of the grammatical content. Here is an example:
The La princesa Coyolicatzin exercise
In this exercise, we are told the (true) story of a princess sent by her father, the Aztec emperor, to seduce and spy on the king of the Zapotecs. To make the story progress, the learner is asked to first identify the verbs in imperfecto (the circumstances of the story) and then complete a sentence with a verb in perfecto simple, by chosing the option which, according to him, corresponds to what happened (the event).
Here are parts 3 and 4 of the exercise (from a total of 11):
Al llegar la princesa al palacio de Cosijoeza, éste estaba en los jardines, bañándose en su alberca [piscina]. Al ver al rey que se bañaba, Coyolicatzin
__________ en el agua.
__________ en el palacio.
Feedback is given first on the choice of the verbs in imperfecto (estaba, se bañaba) and then on the correctness of the conjugated verb form (entró). If the option chosen by the user is the second line (which does not correspond to what actually happened in the story), once the verb is conjugated right, the feedback is: " The verb is conjugated right... but the princess went into the water" and the exercise continues with the next part:
El rey estaba sorprendido. Al momento, ella
__________ a recitar un poema religioso.
__________ a frotar la espalda del rey con un jabón perfumado.
Thus, the user participates in the story's content by trying to imagine what happened. However, the suspense is not there primarily for playful purposes. Its main purpose is to bring out the two planes of a narrative: there is a context (secondary information presented in imperfecto), but what interests us is what happened (main information presented in perfecto simple).
3.2 Interactivity in the processing of answers
This software contains a module for error correction which sends feedback according to the precise answer given by the user.
Here is an example:
aceptó => Bien.
acceptó => Error. Es el verbo aceptar (no acceptar).
acepto => Error de acentuación.
aceptió => No es un verbo en -ER o en -IR.
acepté => No es la persona correcta.
accepté => Dos errores: no es la persona correcta y es el verbo aceptar (no acceptar).
aceptaba => Error. Es una acción completada.
acceptaba => Dos errores: es una acción completada y es el verbo aceptar (no acceptar).
aceptía => Quieres decir "aceptaba". Error. Es una acción completada.
[...] => Prueba otra vez.
[4th error] => Prueba otra vez. Escribe la respuesta correcta: "aceptó".
Total : 11 responses foreseen for this verb.
The last correction prevents the student from getting stuck on a
This software contains over 5000 corrections.
4. Sections of the software
4.1 Observación y aprendizaje
Five multimedia animations explain the use of the perfecto simple and imperfecto in narration and description in the past, as well as the contrast between perfecto simple and perfecto compuesto.
There are 45 exercises, arranged in four sections: Narración de eventos; Descripción de personas, cosas y escenas; Descripción de costumbres, y Narración: eventos y circunstancias. In each section, exercises are grouped according to theme (myths, legends, daily life, characters...). By running the cursor over the titles, the learner discovers the type of task to complete (classify verbs, conjugate, put sentences into sequence, correct a text, differenciate between story line and circumstances, etc.). In the conjugation exercises, infinitives are not placed directly next to the blank to be filled; they are grouped in alphabetical order under each paragraph, so as to prevent the learner from doing the exercise mechanically without understanding the text.
These are two long exercises of the choose-your-own-adventure type, specially created for the practice of narration in the first person. Thanks to the time travel machine, the learner goes to the capital of the Aztec Empire, on a mission. He will make choices, live through various events and later recount his experience. The play interactivity here is at the service of the meaningful use of the first person.
4.4 Conjugación, Gramática, Cultura
These three sections of the software are printable files containing grammatical and cutural information.
4.5 Progresión del estudiante
This is the report on the tasks completed by the user and it is printable.
5. Fact sheet
Viaje al pasado: los aztecas, El perfecto simple y el imperfecto en la narración y la descripción
Authors : Matilde Asencio and Annie Desnoyers
Produced by cégep du Vieux-Montréal with the technical and financial support of Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique (CCDMD) of the Quebec Ministry of Education.
Minimum configuration :
- 256 MB RAM : (Mac OS or Windows)
- Explorer 6, or Safari 1,2 and more
- Macromedia Shockwave Player
*Brisson, Richard, L'apprentissage de la grammaire
espagnole par des élèves francophones, Montréal,
Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, 1998.
Fernández, Sonsoles, Interlengua y análisis de errores en el aprendizaje del español como lengua extranjera, Colección Investigación didáctica, Madrid, Edelsa, 1997.
Vázquez, Graciela E., Análisis de errores y aprendizaje de español lengua extranjera, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 1991.
Matilde Asencio and Annie Desnoyers
La tecnología en el aprendizaje de inglés como L2: una propuesta de clasificación de programas de aprendizaje
Cristina Pérez Guillot, 2004, Valencia: Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, 434 pages, ISBN: 84-688-4649-X
One may easily wonder why most doctoral dissertations seem to be boring and relatively distant even to the most interested readers. One of the reasons is definitely the language and jargon used in dissertations. The other is the scientific approach used in most of them in which difficult and unnatural and explanations are usually praised. The result is that if researchers intend their work to be known, they have to publish extracts from their work in the form of articles or even a more accessible book. This published dissertation breaks all these realities through an intense, informative but also entertaining style. Pérez Guillot's research fills an gap in the classification of educational software programs for ELT. Up to now; it was difficult to recommend a good book that provided a clear and simple taxonomy of such programs. This dissertation promises to be helpful both for practitioners and researchers.
The book contains 7 chapters including the bibliography and an appendix. After a short introduction, chapters 2 and three address general issues in teaching methodology and computer assisted language learning (CALL). Thus, the first part outlines the basics of language learning theory that will later give rise to a reasoned construct for the taxonomy. Chapter two is also subdivided into two parts. After stating the differences between cognitivism and constructivism, the first part offers a critical description of the most widely spread teaching methodologies from the Grammar-Translation method to the Communicative Approach. Surely, the reader will miss some approaches such as Content Based, Task Based, or Cooperative Language Learning but the author's intention is merely to address methods that have both strongly influenced language learning and taken a role in CALL program design. More innovative is the second part of chapter two in which Pérez Guillot studies how the historical and psychological development of certain factors such as age, motivation or language strategies affect daily teaching practice and therefore multimedia design. Chapter 3 is even more attractive as it covers aspects of CALL research and technology design very broadly. In this section, it is necessary to emphasize the importance that the writer poses on cross curricular topics and operative fields indicating the difficulty of integrating studies as language education, hardware use and software design for CALL.
After a short description and explanation of how databases operate, the fourth section explains the language teacher's role in CALL. I personally found this chapter to be one of the most discrete and full of information in the field I have come across. Thorough, detailed, simple, research-based, Pérez Gillot describes the construct for the taxonomy classification. The reader will want to see pages 191 through 197 where the writer presents what up until now seemed to be a difficult translation of English into Spanish acronyms and her proposal of distinctive features in educational CALL materials (241-256). This section should probably be considered for further research and most attractive for researchers in the field. The section on the teacher's role is probably the weakest in the chapter as Pérez mostly deals with the role of teacher as a facilitator but misses to stress the importance of human presence as a selector and feedback provider.
The last part of chapter 4 provides the reader with full and practical information of several databases and widely known educational programs. The writing in this chapter is both researcher and reader friendly and will surely be helpful to experience designers and CALL practitioners who may seek new materials to enrich or support their classroom teaching. Although some readers may miss some comparative diagrams for the different programs which are aimed at similar students and language skills development, the descriptions and interface presentation and analysis are extremely helpful to the prospective readers.
To complete this volume, there is a comprehensive and cross-referenced bibliography containing 340 item as well as an index showing a file of each program which indexes their technical features and researcher's evaluation. Considering this was a PhD. Dissertation, I missed a word glossary but, considering the work done before, this may be just a simple spot in an excellent piece of work.
For those who use CALL software in their classes or who are responsible for its design, this book will be greatly welcomed as it brings fresh air and new ideas to a field where they were needed. Additionally, the book is almost jargon free and, thus, accessible to anybody interested in finding the right software for their class or individual needs. The different discussions fostered throughout the book are also challenging and one wonders why there are no more books of this kind in many college libraries. In my opinion, Pérez Guillot's qualitative research and contribution to the field tackles the difficult and controversial issues that go hand-in-hand with innovative language teaching.
The dissertation also describes a tool, developed by the author in MS Access, to enable language teachers to classify and evaluate multimedia programs for learners of English. The tool classifies software according to the four language skills and takes into account, not only exercise typology, but reference materials, support languages, supplementary materials, as well as technical features, etc. The tool will apparently be available in English and Spanish on the web in order for CALL practitioners to introduce their evaluations. Once the information has been fed into the database, teachers will be able to search the most appropriate courseware for their learners needs taking into account target language level, methodology employed and so forth.
Jesús García Laborda
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain
Online Education and Training
For people interested in learning more about teaching online
At the University of London Institute of Education, we have always believed that the best starting-point is to become an online student yourself and experience what it's like being in a virtual classroom. If you have never done this, you will certainly be surprised at the powerful sense of community that builds among the course participants. And by taking part, you'll certainly develop some strong feelings about things that you would or would not want to replicate with your own students.
The Institute is now making its expertise in this field available especially for language teachers. For over a decade now, they have run a general internet course in Online Education and Training. The course has developed considerably over the years and from April 2005 it will be available in a special version for language teachers.
People anywhere with access to the internet can do the course either totally online over a period of ten weeks or more intensively if they are able to come to London for five on-site days as well as working online during the period.
You will discuss issues relating to online pedagogy with people from all over. Some of the work will relate to teaching online in general while other parts will focus on issues relating specifically to online language teaching and learning. As part of the course you will also be able to choose an option from such topics as computer-based assessment, moderating and online discourse and the use of real-time internet facilities.
During the course you will also experience a range of different aspects of online learning - video lectures, group discussions, web searches, individual reflection, real-time chat and so on. The Course Co-ordinator is Anita Pincas, who combines expertise as an ESOL teacher trainer and materials writer with considerable experience in online teacher training, having run an internet master's in TESOL as well as this Online Education & Training course.
Everyone writes a brief weekly statement of reactions to the learning experience and this becomes an invaluable record for when designing your own online courses. Your are asked to write an end-of-course assignment that focusses on an aspect of online education that is of particular personal relevance for you. If you complete the course successfully, you will gain 30 credits which can be put towards further post-graduate study if you wish.
If you want to find out more about the course, then check out this web site:
University of London Institute of Education, UK
For information on events, please refer to http://www.eurocall-languages.org/resources/calendar.html, which is regularly updated.
Última actualización: 23 de junio de 2005