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The Significance of CALL in Language Learning.

Course: Computer-Assisted Language Learning.


Professor: Tasneem Naimi.
Student Name: Rawdah Jamal Al-Majali.
E-mail: Rawdah.Jadid.5@gmail.com.
Date: December 22, 2016.

Computer-Assisted Language Learning has been effectively used in the field of


education throughout the years; whether in delivering lessons and conveying
information inside and outside language classes or courses at different educational
institutions, in personal learning, improving all language skills or in having access to
uncountable authentic sources from all over the world.If you are wondering what it
exactly means, (Beatty, 2003, p.7) suggests that "a definition of CALL that
accommodates its changing nature is any process in which a learner uses a computer
and, as a result, improves his or her language". For a student who has taken some
technology-related courses, CALL is simply the teaching and learning of a second or a
foreign language through the use of the varieties of tools that the computer and its
networks offer.
Throughout the essay, some main points related to two areas when it comes to the
importance and significance of CALL will be viewed; the first one is the role of tech
tools in the improvement of a learner's language skills, I will also shed the lights on
some of the finest language learning websites. The second area to be viewed
.involves some advantages and disadvantages of CALL
Tech tools and linguistic skills.
As we all know, language is a whole, integral system which is made up of different
components and in order to master the target language, one must work hard
whenever possible on the basic linguistic skills (Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking,

Grammar and Vocabulary). In this regard, since a huge variety of tech tools,
especially the ones that provide authentic language are available nowadays; all
learners can benefit from them especially those who want to learn new languages
that are not that popular in their cultures. In this regard, in an online article called
"The benefits of new technology in language learning'', the writer (Motteram, 2013)
explained that those skills are interrelated in a way that the progress and
development of each skill depend on the progress of the other and that failure in
developing one skill will negatively affect the whole process. He also suggested that
tech tools such as word processors and other text producers are good means to
improve writing and make it more accurate since these tools provide editing and
correction options. Besides once the text is ready it can be shared with others to give
their comments and feedback on.

We conclude that tech tools provide simultaneous learning of these skills so the
learner can acquire them faster than when learning them the traditional ways;
because these tools usually enable learners to practice more than one skill at a time.
YouTube, as a simple example, can be used to improve listening by listening to the
content of the video, reading by reading the content or comments and writing by
communicating with native speakers in the comments section.
In addition to the well-known YouTube, there are plenty of useful websites that are
worth mentioning too. Busuu.com offers the opportunity to practice and improve
almost all skills of twelve languages. Based on my visit to the website, you can find
free flashcards, writing exercises and corrections from native speakers, but
you have to pay for the premium version. Why not since (Vesselinov & Grego,

2016, p.19) concluded that ''a busuu user would need on average 22.5 hours to
complete the requirements for one college semester of Spanish", which applies also
to the study of other languages. Other websites that I also found interesting include:
(Doulingo.com, Babbel.com which is, according to the website itself (GmbH, 2016)
"the only product to offer courses tailored to your native language, building on
grammar and vocabulary you already know" and last but not least; italki.com which
gives the chance to connect with teachers of more than one hundred languages.
.Advantages and Disadvantages of The Use of CALL

Starting with the most important advantages of the use of CALL in different
educational contexts. In addition to its great contribution to the mastery of skills of
all languages as it has been discussed in the previous section of the essay, CALL is a
way of learning that is absolutely full of entertainment and fun which definitely leads
to better learning of the target language, especially for kids and young learners. This
is also achieved through the variety of tools technology provides, such as videos and
audios, which enhance the learning process; (Williams, 2014) mentioned in his article
"Is technology a silver bullet for language teaching and learning?" that the provided
options of pausing, repeating or replaying at different speeds that can be applied on
videos and audios are helpful in this regard. One last advantage to mention is that, in
my opinion, it supported flipped classrooms (which are classes facilitated mainly by
students where the teacher is mainly an observer) which probably wouldn't have
existed or developed without those learning tech tools provided by technology.

Moving to some of the disadvantages of CALL. Firstly and the most important of all,
people cannot fully rely on technology due to the fact that it is human made, so I
believe we should take into consideration that all those tech tools might vanish or
might be hard to access one day. Secondly, in an online article "The promise and
challenge of technology in language learning", (Icef, 2015) mentioned that
schools usually tend to have high expectations about what technology is capable of
doing, so they put the blame on it when it fails to match their very high standards or
expectations. In addition, the same article mentioned other obstacles like "students
forgetting to bring devices, losing passwords, requiring tech support, etc.".
Other disadvantages include problems that limit the use or application of CALL such
as financial conditions in different countries or institutions, the lack of technical
experience or knowledge and distraction that might be caused in some cases or by
some tools.

In conclusion, CALL is a language teaching/learning strategy that mainly depends on


computer and what it offers. It offers plenty of interesting websites that help
improving basic skills of any language either for free or for affordable prices in a way
that achieves quick, successful development. CALL can be very beneficial but it also
has many disadvantages on the other hand.

Finally, my personal reflection on CALL has been very positive. It has great
capabilities and positive effects I never expected nor imagined a device could offer
to the language learning process. In addition to being introduced to all those fun,
useful websites and applications, I was also given a powerful motive to teach and

pass the knowledge I gained about CALL to my future pupils; because it is worth it.
What do you think dear reader?

.References
*, N. (2015, April 22). The promise and challenge of technology in language learning.
Retrieved December 22, 2016, from Africa,
http://monitor.icef.com/2015/04/the-promise-and-challenge-of-technology-in-langu
age-learning/
Beatty, K., & Keobke, K. (2003). Teaching and researching computer-assisted
language learning. Harlow: Longman.

GmbH, L. N. (2016). About us - Babbel.Com. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from


http://about.babbel.com/en/about-us/

Motteram, G. (2013, September 18). About the voices magazine. Retrieved


December 18, 2016, from
https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/the-benefits-new-technology-langu
age-learning

Niesner, B., & Hilti, A. (2016, May ). Learn languages: Spanish, french, German and
start for free. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from Busuu, https://www.busuu.com/

Vesselinov, R., & Grego, J. (2016, May). The busuu Efficacy Study. Retrieved from
http://comparelanguageapps.com/documentation/The_busuu_Study2016.pdf

Williams, M. (2014, May 12). Is technology a silver bullet for language teaching and
learning? The Guardian. Retrieved from
https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/may/12/techno
logy-language-teaching-learning-pedagogy