Editorial Preface to Special IssueDocument Transcript
i Guest editorial Preface Special Issue on Web 2.0 and the Normalisation of Call Gary Motteram, University of Manchester, UK Graham Stanley, British Council, SpainThis special issue of IJCALLT offers a number to each other. Feedback occurred both physi-of teacher views of how CALL is currently be- cally and virtually and equal time was givening used in English Language Teaching (ELT), to the participants in both spaces. The virtualexamining in particular the impact of a greater part of the event was held in Second Life, aadoption by practitioners of emerging Web 2.0 Multi-User Virtual Environment. This was atechnologies. These articles were stimulated by cutting edge event and successfully bridged thethe Pre-Conference Event (PCE) held by the gap between the physical and virtual worldsLearning Technologies Special Interest Group allowing a much broader audience to access(LT SIG--http://ltsig.org.uk/) on the occasion of the debate.the 44th Annual Conference in Harrogate, UK,by the International Association of Teachers ofEnglish as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) in THE CHANGING NATURE OFApril 2010. This PCE was novel in a number ELT AND CALLof ways: it was preceded by a series of onlinediscussions and presentations of a variety of The Harrogate PCE was concerned with gather-topics exploring how Web 2.0 tools can be ing together practitioners and other interestedutilised in ELT. These online events made use stakeholders to involve them in a discussion ofof a range of different tools and were centred the changing nature of CALL and ELT, asking inon a Ning; a customisable social networking particular whether the emergence and adoptiontool, which at the time was free to all users. by teachers of Web 2.0 technologies had ledThis constituted what we termed a Virtual Pre- to a greater "normalisation" of CALL, whichConference Event. On the day of the physical Stephen Bax defined in 2003 as being a timePCE in Harrogate 30 people gathered in a when a cultural tool drops into the backgroundroom, but were joined by a group of virtual and we do not notice it anymore. See Bax’sparticipants who were included into the on- (2011) current article and also Constantinidesgoing face-to-face seminar. We then ran an for further clarification of this issue. However,Unconference, a form of conference event in the question remains as to whether CALL haswhich ideas emerge from discussion. We had achieved this in general language learning,opted to seed this discussion with three short is it a core part of people’s practice and haveinputs, which posed a number of questions; recent developments in technology enabledgroups discussed the topics and then fed back this process?
ii This reassessment was felt necessary HOW FAR DOES WEB 2.0because of the recent social changes that have SIGNIFY A MOVE TOWARDSseen the Internet move from the sidelines totake a central role in some people’s lives. What ‘NORMALISATION’?has also changed in the last eight years since For the purposes of this publication, ‘Web 2.0’Bax’s (2003) initial paper is that the Internet is used to describe the emergent technologiesfor many people seems to have stopped being on the Internet. It has been noted that the term“a peripheral interest in the language teach- is difficult to pin down. The name certainlying community as a whole” as Levy stated suggests a development or progress of thein 1997 (p. 3) and has become “a high-stakes Web, but the question whether there has re-environment that pervades work, education, ally been an innovative change in the Web hasinterpersonal communication, and, not least, in- been called into doubt by Alexander (2006).timate relationship building and maintenance” To some, rather than a clear-cut change, we(Thorne & Black, 2008, p. 149). are now in a state of “perpetual beta where the very notion of emerging technologies becomes normalised" (Pegrum, 2009, p. 24).WHERE ARE WE NOW? The way that teachers use Web 2.0 tech- nologies is also of interest. Pegrum (2009)Warschauer (1996) identified three phases of mentions that "it’s often argued that the newerCALL. The first was Behaviouristic CALL web 2.0 technology is an ideal vehicle for...(1950s-1970s), which he said was followed social constructivist approaches” to languageby Communicative CALL (1970s, 1980s). The learning (2009), and this is also highlightedlast phase, Integrative CALL was marked by in the recent ‘Handbook of Research on Webthe emergence of multimedia and the Internet. 2.0 and Second Language Learning’ (Thomas,In Bax’s (2003) reassessment of CALL, how- 2009), which Misham (2010, p. 103) callsever, three different approaches are described. “probably the most comprehensive publishedRestricted CALL, Open CALL and Integrated collection to date in this area.”CALL. According to Bax (2003), we were us- What comes out of recent research is thating the second approach, but the aim should technology is not yet ‘normalised’ in languagebe to move towards the third approach in order education (Thomas, 2009), but there are signsto reach a state of ‘normalisation’, with tech- of a more fully integrated approach to CALLnology fully integrated into teachers’ normal emerging because of Web 2.0. Dudeney (2007)everyday practice. Although greater activity has noted that “Web 2.0 perceives the transitionand interest by a greater number of language of the World wide Web from a disparate collec-teachers (not just CALL specialists) is now tion of websites to a fully-fledged computingapparent, the Harrogate PCE was to examine platform....resulting in a vast collection ofhow far teachers felt we were close to Bax’s websites and services which are more social‘normalisation’ because of the adoption of in nature, inviting people to share what theyWeb 2.0 technology. What is interesting to find, what they do and what they learn in anote here is the increasing number of presen- wide variety of contexts.”tations at the IATEFL Conference in which Many commentators and researchers aretechnology features in some form or other and excited about these changes. Pegrum (2009,this has been a growing trend. Gone are the p. 25) believes that “the affordances of webdays when the Learning Technologies Special 2.0...are bringing to fruition the revolutionary,Interest Group was the focus of all activity con- liberalising promise of the internet.” Althoughnected with technology and language learning. more research is needed before we will be able
iiito see if this is true, there exists an “urgent sional learning network). A question stillneed to examine the role digitally mediated, remains as to how best teachers can begincollaborative tools play, not only as learning to do this.tools, but as authentic means of communica- • Pedagogy must always come before tech- nology. Before a teacher uses a technology,tion and relationship building” in education she must evaluate its usefulness to the(Skykes, Oskoz, & Thorne, 2010, p. 528). learning. • Not all of Web 2.0 technology will become normalised. Some tools will becomeTHE IATEFL PCE redundant before they are considered for adoption by most teachers.At the IATEFL Harrogate PCE, the following A number of the PCE/VPCE participantsquestions were posed: Where are we now in were then approached at the event to followthe field of learning technologies and language up on some of these ideas and present caselearning? Have we reached a time when learn- studies for this special edition of this journal.ing technologies are a ‘normalised’ part ofour practice, or is there still some way to go?Three key people were asked to present theirviews of where we are now in order to seed the THE ARTICLESdiscussion: Stephen Bax, Scott Thornburyand Mark Pegrum. Stephen and Scott were The opening article is a timely reflection andin Harrogate, Mark was online in Second Life. update of the ideas first explored by Bax in After each presentation, nominated group 2003. Here Bax delves into greater detail intoleaders worked with conference participants to a broader supportive theory set for ‘normalisa-support the discussion of whatever questions tion’ and corrects the belief that ‘normalisation’were raised and these groups then reported is always a ‘good thing’. He argues that weback to the audience. This procedure was should avoid an explanation of normalisationfollowed in Second Life too, with the virtual that is dependent on single events, or singlegroup listening in to what was going on in Har- actors, but consider one that is embedded inrogate and taking turns to report back, which a broader sociocultural landscape. He furtherwas viewed via large screens in the room. The suggests that although using early Vygotsky tooriginal forty participants in Harrogate were look at the normalisation of CALL is not valid,joined by another seventy-five in Second Life, it is valid to consider a neo-Vygotskian per-with some people coming and going during the spective which sees older children and adultsday, the general themes that emerged from using technology to scaffold their learning ofthe discussions were: languages. He later proposes a set of strategies that can be used to judge whether a technology• The idea of literacy is changing. Teachers has validity in an environment and if indeed a need to take this concept of ‘multiliteracy’ technology should be adopted at all. This whole (including visual literacy, remix literacy, discussion acts as a very useful backdrop for among others) into account. the remaining articles in this special edition,• The connected classroom offers teachers which do take a broad view of technological more choice than ever before, but many implementation and do consider the wider teachers feel overwhelmed by this. Teach- sociocultural domain in their analysis of what ers need more training in how to use these they are doing. new tools before CALL can ever become Davies (2008) has noted that “Concrete ‘normalised’. evidence on the effectiveness of CALL is• Teachers can empower themselves and better learn how to use Web 2.0 tools by difficult to obtain, with plenty of anecdotal building their own PLN (personal/profes- evidence about the positive effects of CALL
ivby teachers reporting on their students being motivate young English language learners to‘enthusiastic’, ‘engaged’, ‘motivated’ and even practise English outside of their usual class‘excited’ in classes in which CALL is used, but time and become actively involved in theirare sceptical about measuring its effectiveness” own learning process.(p. 1.1). It is hoped that the other articles go Shelly Terrell, a teacher of young learn-some way towards providing more concrete ers, outlines her efforts of taking her learnersevidence of the move towards the conceptu- a step towards being what Drexler (2010)alisation of normalisation that was felt by the calls ‘networked students’, adapted from thePCE participants to be happening in ELT and concept of ‘networked teacher’ (Couros, 2008),which is discussed in the article by Bax (2003). promoted by persuading children to start to take In addition to Bax this collection contains ownership of their learning and encouragedfour studies of the technological use in real by ensuring the learners are actively involvedclassrooms around the world. There is evi- together in ‘networked’ learning online throughdence here that the call by Pegrum (2009, p. blogs, wikis, etc.24) for teachers to “experiment broadly andconfidently with new tools” and at the sametime, “reflecting on why and how we are using MOBILE ASSISTEDthem” is happening. The collection in addition LANGUAGE LEARNINGcovers areas of ELT not often reported: Colpaert (2004, p. 262) observed that through-• Young Learners and Web 2.0 out the history of CALL, periods of professional• Mobile Assisted Language Learning development have been followed by periods• CALL and Teacher Training of amateur development, and he wondered• Intercultural communication for social whether “the mobile hype will burst out as scientists. soon as tools become available allowing teachers and researchers to develop their own mobile applications and tools.” This hype thatYOUNG LEARNERS AND Colpaert refered to, of the rise of Mobile As-WEB 2.0 sisted Language Learning (MALL), is now fast becoming a reality as these tools end up in theTraditionally, learning environments have been hands of teachers and learners. Many believeassociated with a physical location (classroom, it will lead to language learning becominglibrary, school, etc), but now a learning environ- more informal and personal (Chinnery, 2006;ment for children can be more easily created Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2008), with somefor use at home, using carefully selected web learners studying or practising manageabletools and parental support by the teacher and, chunks of information in any place on theiras Drexler (2010) states, “Such resources... own time. Through mobile phones, we nowempower networked students to transcend the also have the potential to provide a rich learn-traditional concept of classroom” and this can ing environment for our learners’ (Stockwell,lead to greater learner autonomy at an early 2010), and here, a research study by Simonage as well as greater awareness of and feel- Bibby examines student preferences, compar-ing of participation in their children’s learning ing the use of cell phones to that of the Virtualfor parents. This is the premise of the article Learning Environment (VLE) to deliver home-by Terrell, a practitioner actively involved in work. VLEs such as Moodle have become thepromoting out-of-class online activities using a vehicle of choice as far as learning content iswiki. Based on a study of her own class, Terrell concerned, but Bibby asks whether studentsasks if the use of Web 2.0 tools (specifically a would prefer using their cell phones ratherwiki) can be used to support parents and help than accessing a VLE on a PC. A timely study,
vnow that MALL has reached a stage where it INTERCULTURALis only just starting to move away from being COMMUNICATION,theoretical and into the real world. SOCIAL SCIENTISTS AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMESCALL AND TEACHER In the final article, Rachel Lindner picks upTRAINING one of the other core themes that was raised at the PCE, that of multiliteracies. You couldAs we have noted, CALL technology is chang- easily argue that she and her colleague haveing rapidly and the language classroom is be- accepted that the tools they are using havecoming an increasingly technology-enhanced normalised and the imperative is to allowenvironment, which places “more weight on learners to engage with the curriculum in thesethe significance of L2 teachers in order to suc- novel ways across cultures. In addition, in ourcessfully implement computer technology in increasingly digital world our learners need tothe L2 classroom” (Hong, 2010). Levy (1997) take a much more critical stance towards thewrote that for educators “the rapid and con- materials they access from the web and thetinuing introduction of new technology into specific academic skills that they develop as aeducation has outpaced the ability of teachers part of the telecollaborative exchange discussedand developers to evaluate it properly.” Since in this article shows how this might be use-then, it could be argued that the pace has only fully achieved. These multiliteracies are seenincreased and it is more difficult for teachers. as having real world relevance with learnersThe next study by Marisa Constantinides better able to show an increased skill set toexamines teacher trainer attitudes towards potential employers. Working with a colleagueadopting technology and their readiness to in Slovenia and using a wiki as the core Webuse it on teacher training courses, the growing 2.0 technology, Rachel set about exploring theimportance of which Hubbard and Levy (2006) following research question: “What are myhave stressed is dependent on teachers having ESAP students" perceptions of skills learning“the necessary pedagogical knowledge and in computer-mediated intercultural collabora-technical competence.” A recent report by EA- tion?” with her own group of students. HerCEA (2009) noted that "the application of new findings are revealed in the article.technologies in learning implies fundamentalchanges for the role of the teacher." and thatthese "are often not addressed in professionaltraining programmes or in continuing profes- CONCLUSIONsional development", despite the need which The IATEFL Learning Technologies Specialhas been identified by Kassen and Higgins Interest Group has been running events in(1997) among others, for teachers to develop various forms for over 25 years and as a resultthe critical skills to evaluate technology and its has kept at the forefront of developments inuse. Constantinides here presents the results of Computer Assisted Language Learning botha survey taken by tutors on the popular CELTA in terms of topics and delivery. The PCE thatpre-service English language teachers course, ran in 2010 and the outcomes represented inwhich finds respondents on the whole unwilling this journal show that although we now haveor unprepared to integrate technology into input a different perspective on what might besessions, and reflects on the possible reasons perceived as "normalisation", and the debatefor this shortcoming.
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