BookPDF Available

CALL dimensions: options and issues in computer assisted language learning

Language Learning & Technology
June 2007, Volume 11, Number 2
pp. 27-30
Copyright © 2007, ISSN 1094-3501
CALL Dimensions: Options and Issues in Computer-Assisted
Language Learning
Mike Levy and Glenn Stockwell
ISBN 080585634X
US $ 29.95 (paperback); US $89.95 (hardcover)
310 pp.+xviii
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Mahwah, New Jersey
Review by Chen Xiaobin, South China University of Technology
CALL Dimensions: Options and Issues in Computer-Assisted Language Learning is based on a detailed
analysis of a corpus of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) works and papers. By creating a
thesaurus of CALL descriptors, such as “design” and “evaluation”, which are termed identifiers (p. 255)
in the book, the authors, Mike Levy and Glenn Stockwell, are able to describe each corpus article and
identify its areas of study. The frequencies of the identifiers’ usage were then counted and the seven most
frequently used identifiers (design, evaluation, computer-mediated communication (CMC), theory,
research, practice, and technology) are used in the book as chapter titles, also called dimensions of CALL.
This approach enables the authors to develop a presentation of the most-researched areas in CALL, based
on published papers in the field. However, the field of CALL can never be perceived as a discipline
consisting of separate constituent parts because of the multiple aspects that need to be taken into
consideration when practicing or researching it. Therefore, discussing these identifiers, or dimensions,
individually may be misleading for the formation of a complete picture of the field. For example, it is
unrealistic to talk about CALL design (Chapter 2) without mentioning evaluation, CMC, second language
acquisition (SLA) theory, or technology, because these are the factors that determine design choices and
process. To cope with this problem, the last section of the book (Chapter 9, Integration, and Chapter 10,
Emergent and Established CALL) is devoted to helping readers form a holistic and integrated
understanding of the field.
Organizationally, CALL Dimensions can be divided into three sections. Chapters 2 to 7 constitute the
major part of the book and are the main focus of discussion. While discussing these dimensions, the
authors use a clear description, discussion, conclusion structure for each chapter—the description section
introduces the central concerns for each area, is followed by a discussion section that discusses issues
related to their constraints and limitations, and concludes with a chapter summary. This makes the content
of the book accessible to students or researchers who are new to CALL. Furthermore, the book draws its
materials from a corpus of research articles and book chapters. This approach not only provides the book
with a solid empirical foundation, but also with references that readers can consult when further
Chen Xiaobin
Review of CALL Dimensions
Language Learning & Technology
clarification or information is needed. As a whole, CALL Dimensions is designed and written to help the
"language teacher, software designer, or researcher who wishes to use technology in second- or foreign-
language education to absorb and relate what has been achieved so far, and how to make sense of it" (p.
Chapter 1 introduces major areas of interest and growth in CALL. The authors stress that when seeking to
implement CALL, researchers and practitioners should weigh not only the technological choices available
to us and SLA theories that govern our conceptualization of CALL into consideration, but also evaluate
the "critical factors derived from the nature of the learners and the learning context" (p. 6), such as the
learners’ background, needs, goals, technological and institutional settings.
Chapter 2 talks about CALL design. Designing CALL materials or tasks is usually the first obstacle that
language teachers face when thinking about using CALL to enhance their students’ learning of a foreign
language. However, as concluded in Kohn (2001), combating such an obstacle can be rewarding, despite
the fact that the task of designing CALL materials is becoming more complex and more demanding with
the development of new technologies and language learning theories. As a result, Chapter 2, Design, is
given priority over other CALL dimensions; moreover, the topic gets the most hits in the corpus keyword
search. Various CALL designs with respect to tasks, online courses and syllabi, language-learning areas
and skills, tutors, and tools are described in detail, and their respective strengths and limitations are
evaluated. General guidelines that may lead to enhanced CALL designs, such as knowing the strengths
and limitations of existing CALL materials and knowing one’s prospective audience, are summarized at
the end of the chapter for designers to follow.
Students', teachers', or any other third-party's feedback to a CALL product are valuable sources of
information for its design and improvement process. This information comes from various kinds of
evaluations, which are introduced and discussed in detail in Chapter 3. The authors conclude that
understanding CALL evaluation requires knowing not only what to evaluate (i.e., the object of
evaluations and descriptions—such as a multimedia program on CD for teaching pronunciation, a Web
site for learning English, a Web-based cross-cultural curricular initiative and an online teaching tool), but
also how to evaluate them (i.e., the criteria and principles for evaluation instruments and frameworks that
guide the evaluation process).
CMC, one of the hotspots of CALL studies, has been defined as “communication that takes place between
human beings via the instrumentality of computer” (Herring, 1996, p. 1). Its application in language
learning and teaching is the main concern of Chapter 4, which describes the various modes of CMC,
categorized as synchronous (chat, MOOs, conferencing) and asynchronous (E-mail/Short Message
Service, Mailing Lists/Bulletin Board System). The discussion of their individual strengths and
limitations concludes that CMC implementation decision making needs to be founded on knowledge of
constraints and characteristics of the CMC tool itself, together with a pedagogical understanding of how
the communication technology might be most effectively used for language learning.
CALL designers, language teachers, and researchers tend to seek theoretical foundations for the decisions
they make with respect to CALL materials' design and practice. Chapter 5, Theory, is devoted to the
discussion of the theories that are most frequently used to inform, or justify, CALL activities, such as
Long’s interaction account of language learning (Long, 1996), Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory
(Vygotsky, 1978), and Leont’ev’s activity theory (Leont’ev, 1978). Examples of their application and the
challenges CALL practitioners face are also provided in this chapter. For example, the interaction account
of SLA, which focuses on learning interactions that involve two or more people, or a person and the
computer, has been particularly well used as a theoretical base in CMC-based CALL, such as e-mail and
chat. However, a recent development of the interactionist tradition focuses its interests on form, because
meaningful input and opportunities for interaction do not on their own appear to be sufficient for the
ultimate development of target-like language proficiency levels (Doughty & Williams, 1998). This
Chen Xiaobin
Review of CALL Dimensions
Language Learning & Technology
provides a challenge for the design of CMC activities whose major concern is how to facilitate language
learning with a focus on meaning.
Conducting research in CALL can be helpful for language teachers in refining pedagogical approaches,
which in turn will shape language-learning tasks and promote learning outcomes. Chapter 6, Research,
concentrates on six clearly identifiable research strands in CALL (general research, chat, intercultural
language learning, reading and hypermedia, help design, and listening and vocabulary), whose approaches
include survey research, comparative research, and experimental research. The chapter concludes with
issues that CALL researchers need to be aware of when carrying out research, such as student attitudes
and perceptions toward the learning environment, technology and tasks in different settings, and different
theoretical models that may be used to analyze the same interaction data.
Chapter 7, Practice, deals with practical applications of CALL, specifically the types of CALL that can
be used in the teaching of different language skills—listening, reading, writing, and speaking—as well as
language areas, such as grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. For example, when talking about
utilizing CALL in teaching listening comprehension, the authors discuss how Jones’ (2003) learners are
offered a great deal of control over how they listen to the materials (syntactically divided chunks of the
passage, or the pronunciation of any one of the keywords that provide clues), and what annotations (visual
or textual) they access. This is a feature only provided by computer technology and is impossible with
traditional means. An essential factor in using technology to teach any language skill is that the
technology should provide something that is not available through more traditional means. The discussion
section provides readers with factors responsible for the complexity of CALL practice, such as language-
learning objectives, technological options and their pedagogical implications, students’ abilities, goals,
and perceptions related to different types of CALL. As a result, Levy (2006) concludes that in order to
make informed choices while practicing CALL, it is necessary for practitioners to "locate the optimal
balance of approaches, resources and tools to meet the needs of particular learners in a particular learning
context" (p. 1).
A large part of CALL is driven by the development of new technologies. Chapter 8, Technology, provides
an overview of some state-of-the-art technologies that are being used in language learning and teaching,
including authoring software, learning management systems (LMSs), audio-and video-conferencing,
artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent systems, speech recognition and pronunciation training
technologies, as well as mobile technologies. These synopses are followed by a discussion of how these
new technological developments are shaping the ways we think about, select, and use technology in
language learning. However, although there are many technological choices available for CALL
practitioners, their implementation in the classroom should not be technology driven—our decision needs
to satisfy the pedagogical needs of the activity at hand, rather than the current trends of technology.
The authors conclude their book with a discussion of how to bring these dimensions together to provide a
holistic picture of the field. Chapter 9, Integration, explains how to integrate CALL vertically into the
education of technology outside the language class (e.g., in other courses within the institution, or at
home), and horizontally into the wider technological infrastructure of the school or university (e.g., the
preferred hardware and software, and the support and resources available). Chapter 10, Emergent and
Established CALL, distinguishes two types of CALL that are related to technological development:
established CALL, which utilizes accepted main-stream technologies, such as email and chat, and
emergent CALL, which depends on emerging new technologies, such as Automated Speech Recognition
and ICALL (Intelligent CALL). This distinction views CALL from a developmental perspective,
confirming the vigorous evolving nature of the discipline.
The greatest contribution of CALL Dimensions comes from its approach to CALL. The identification of
the most researched areas in CALL helps to establish it as an independent field of inquiry—a solid
discipline that has its own subjects for research—namely, the seven dimensions. Thus, Levy and
Chen Xiaobin
Review of CALL Dimensions
Language Learning & Technology
Stockwell answer the more basic question of what CALL is rather than what CALL can do (a more
comprehensive answer to the latter question can be found in Ducate & Arnold, 2006). This approach
creates limitations as well as advantages: although the selected dimensions are recognized as the essence
of CALL, its topics are far from exhausted. This runs the risk of neglecting other, also important, aspects
of CALL. For example, teachers and researchers have been using computers to assist in genre and
discourse analysis of authentic or student-generated language production, and the results of such analyses
can then be transformed into teaching pedagogies that guide students’ writing process. Topics of this kind
are neglected in the book, but they might also be considered as important parts of CALL.
In general, Levy and Stockwell have achieved the goal of providing language teachers, software
designers, and researchers involved in CALL with an overview of "how to absorb and relate what has
been achieved so far [in CALL], and how to make sense of it" (p. xi). The valuable references to related
studies in each dimension provided in the book can also serve as good starting points for those who would
like to carry out further research on CALL on any of the dimensions discussed.
Chen Xiaobin is an M.A. student in Applied Linguistics at the South China University of Technology. His
research interests are second language acquisition and computer-assisted language learning.
Doughty, C. J., & Williams, J. (1998). Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ducate, L., & Arnold, N. (Eds.). (2006). Calling on CALL: From theory and research to new directions in
foreign language teaching. San Marcos, TX: CALICO.
Herring, S. (Ed.). (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural
perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Jones, L. C. (2003). Supporting listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition with multimedia
annotations: The students’ voice. CALICO Journal, 21(1), 41-65.
Kohn, K. (2001). Developing multimedia CALL: The Telos language partner approach. Computer
Assisted Language Learning, 14(3-4), 251-267.
Leont’ev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness and personality. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Levy, M. (2006). Effective use of CALL technologies: Finding the right balance. In R. Donaldson & M.
Haggstrom (Eds.), Changing language education through CALL (pp. 1-18). Lisse, The Netherlands:
Swets & Zeitlinger.
Long, M. H. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In W. C.
Ritchie & T. K. Bhatia (Eds.), Handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 413-468). San Diego:
Academic Press.
Vygotsky. L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
... This could help motivate them to learn technology and develop their professions. As suggested by Levy and Stockwell (2006), together with learning objectives, technological options, and pedagogical implications, teachers' goals and perceptions of different types of CALL may also contribute to the success of technology integration in language teaching. ...
... In the past couple of decades, great efforts have been made in the area of CALL material evaluation, enabling teachers, students and developers to evaluate electronic materials and technology-enhanced activities in a variety of ways (Li, 2017, p. 173). Levy and Stockwell (2006) differentiate between three different forms of evaluation: (1) checklists or surveys (e.g., Son, 2005), (2) methodological frameworks (e.g., Hubbard, 1988) and (3) SLA research-based approaches (e.g., Chapelle, 2001). Checklists and surveys typically contain a series of questions or categories, whereas methodological frameworks are more descriptive and instead provide "the tool through which an evaluator can create his or her own questions or develop some other evaluation scheme" (Hubbard, 1988, p. 52). ...
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Although it is increasingly common for foreign language teachers to rely on external, online tools and resources, coursebooks are still fundamental elements of classroom-based FLT in many parts of the world. The study presented in the article therefore sets out to explore English Language Teaching (ELT) and German Language Teaching (GLT) coursebook packages available for use in Hungarian secondary education in terms of their print and digital components, shedding light on the ways in which publishers are trying to keep pace with freestanding digital materials. It thereby aims to highlight current global trends in relation to digitization in foreign language coursebook publishing.
... While CALL has borrowed from other theoretical fields like Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and psycholinguistic theories (Chapelle, 2009) it remains a largely practical pursuit (Levy, 1997;Levy & Stockwell, 2013). Theory based research into CALL and ELT does take place, for example using TPACK (Koehler et al., 2012;Mishra & Koehler, 2009;Mishra & Koehler, 2006) Parr et al., 2013;Tai, 2013;Tseng et al., 2019), while in the UAE the SAMR model (Puentedura, 2010(Puentedura, , 2012 and TPACK have been used to investigate the iPad initiative (Cavanaugh et al., 2013b;Cavanaugh et al., 2013a;Hargis et al., 2014;Miles, 2019). ...
... Later, socio-political and technological changes were also taken into consideration which led to adopting a more critical perspective on the use of digital technologies in language learning and teaching (Pegrum et al., 2018). There are several challenges to the effective integration of technology in language teaching, principally reported through pedagogical reasoning in various educational contexts (Levy and Stockwell, 2006). For example, "emergent" and "established" are two types of CALL practitioners which have surfaced in which the emergent practitioners use digital technologies according to their settings but the established practitioners adapt instead of adopting them. ...
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This paper explores the condition of digital literacy competencies in the English language subject specialists of Pakistan and aims to create awareness for the inculcation of digital competence in the English language teaching profession through taking and implementing better decisions in the country's educational policies. In the present era of digitalization, the digital competencies of English teachers are essentially required in language teaching practices. Therefore, this paper analyses the data collected through a survey questionnaire meant to assess the digital competence of subject specialists in Pakistan. The data presents how they use digital technology and what are their attitudes and requirements toward its use. The data also presents the possessed skills their satisfaction level, the areas where they need improvement, and the institutional support they have for the use and training in the digital technologies.
... Regrettably, research by EF (Education First) (EF-Education-First, 2020) shows a large disproportion in English proficiency across countries and continents. People from regions of 'very low' language proficiency, such as the Middle East, are unable to navigate through English-based websites or communicate with people from an English-speaking country.Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) helps to improve the English language proficiency of people in different regions(Levy et al., 2013). CALL relies on computerized self-service tools that are used by students to practice a language, usually a foreign language, also known as a non-native (L2) language. ...
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Despite significant advances in recent years, the existing Computer-Assisted Pronunciation Training (CAPT) methods detect pronunciation errors with a relatively low accuracy (precision of 60% at 40%-80% recall). This Ph.D. work proposes novel deep learning methods for detecting pronunciation errors in non-native (L2) English speech, outperforming the state-of-the-art method in AUC metric (Area under the Curve) by 41%, i.e., from 0.528 to 0.749. One of the problems with existing CAPT methods is the low availability of annotated mispronounced speech needed for reliable training of pronunciation error detection models. Therefore, the detection of pronunciation errors is reformulated to the task of generating synthetic mispronounced speech. Intuitively, if we could mimic mispronounced speech and produce any amount of training data, detecting pronunciation errors would be more effective. Furthermore, to eliminate the need to align canonical and recognized phonemes, a novel end-to-end multi-task technique to directly detect pronunciation errors was proposed. The pronunciation error detection models have been used at Amazon to automatically detect pronunciation errors in synthetic speech to accelerate the research into new speech synthesis methods. It was demonstrated that the proposed deep learning methods are applicable in the tasks of detecting and reconstructing dysarthric speech.
... Plentiful learning resources have been created that suit all types of learners through the online learning environment, as well as interactive learning environments for both students and instructors. This online-learning system gives learners autonomy and allows students and instructors to react to each other at any time and anywhere (Cavus, 2007;Levy & Stockwell, 2006). Therefore, the present COVID-19 crisis has forced schools and universities across the globe to resort to online teaching. ...
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The use of technology in everyday teaching practice is commonly seen nowadays. Throughout the span of using computer in Language Teaching, commonly known as computer-assisted language learning (CALL). Open CALL, which is justified happens nowadays, is determined by the roles of CALL as a simulation, games and computer-mediated communication (CMC). The goal of CALL or various technological product and devices in language learning should be fully integrated where it looks like an 'invisible' implementation as the technology embedded in every teaching and learning, which means normalization. Therefore, this article explores particularly for blogs as a form of CMC, whether is it feasible to be normalized in everyday teaching practice or not. This article contributes to the rationality that it seems reasonable to conclude blogging is feasible to be normalized in everyday language teaching as long as the issues mentioned by could be resolved. Some steps should be considered which are alterations regarding technology form, approach, and practice among teachers and learners. Its implication is that teaching concept of writing will change to follow asynchronous and synchronous forms of blogs.
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Teaching English for Specific Purposes presupposes two goals: enabling students to function successfully in the future professional surrounding, and preparing them for their possible further academic career. In that sense, an ESP course comprises English for Occupational/Vocational and English for Academic Purposes. For both directions, the authors of this text, both ESP lecturers and syllabus designers, conclude from their own teaching experience that teaching formats of academic presentations is a necessity if students are to perform well both in the professional and academic setting. Furthermore, the authors claim that those formats are crucial in all ESP profiles. Importantly, the authors claim that before starting teaching formats of academic presentations, it is crucial to offer a session of academic receptive skills in order to enhance the students' comprehension ability and to enrich the academic input and exposure. This paper starts with theoretical elaborations on the rationale of teaching materials and a proposed teaching methodology for written and spoken formats of academic presentations as well as the role of receptive skills in the academic environment. The proof offered is the fact that the authors conduct such lecturing at two distinctly different faculties, namely, The practical illustration of these is a web-based program designed in the very manner of the segment of the syllabus design proposed here.
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The paper looks at the multimedia dimension of CALL from the point of view of using an authoring tool developed for the production and customisation of (online and offline) multimedia language learning materials. The interaction between learners and teachers in Internet-based pedagogic communication environments is not dealt with. The main emphasis is on the production and customisation of multimedia language learning materials and on the kind of software support needed for their successful embedding in an overall learning and teaching context. The paper also considers the kind of software support needed for the successful embedding of such materials in an overall learning and teaching context. Some of the principles and requirements underlying the development of Multimedia CALL are discussed, but the main focus is on the description of the multimedia learning and authoring software Telos Language Partner . This is a multimedia PC-software designed to incorporate the principles and requirements of multimedia language learning and tutoring discussed in the paper. The software was developed and evaluated with support from the European projects ‘Eloquent' (Lingua) and ‘Telos' (Telematics Applications Programme, ET 3005). It supports relevant and authentic language learning activities; intuitive editing functions facilitate the low-cost production, customisation and flexible pedagogical embedding of multimedia language learning contents.
CALLING ON CALL: FROM THEORY AND RESEARCH TO NEW DIRECTIONS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING.Lara Ducate and Nike Arnold (Eds.). San Marcos, TX: Calico, 2006. Pp. 351. $24.95 paper. So far, language educators and researchers have proposed quite a few theoretical conceptualizations of the potential of technology in language education and have conducted empirical studies exploring the affordance and constraints of technology in language education. The large number and variety of publications on this topic is informative but might also be overwhelming to language teachers, and many teachers are at a loss as to how exactly to incorporate technologies into their daily practice despite being intrigued by all of these claims and findings on the promise of technology. This volume, edited by Ducate and Arnold, provides timely support to language teachers. This practice-oriented volume not only gives language teachers broad perspectives on the status quo of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) but also provides specific guidelines on how to incorporate technologies in specific language teaching areas.
This collection of essays addresses issues in second language instruction related to focus on linguistic form, as distinguished from communicative or experiential language instruction. Papers include: "Issues and Terminology" (Catherine Doughty, Jessica Williams); "Focus on Form: Theory, Research, and Practice" (Michael H. Long, Peter Robinson); "Beyond Focus on Form: Cognitive Perspectives on Learning and Practicing Second Language Grammar" (Robert M. DeKeyser); "Focus on Form through Conscious Reflection" (Merrill Swain); "Getting the Learners' Attention: A Typographical Input Enhancement Study" (Joanna White); "Communicative Focus on Form" (Catherine Doughty, Elizabeth Varela); "What Kind of Focus and On Which Forms?" (Jessica Williams, Jacqueline Evans); "The Role of Focus-on-Form Tasks in Promoting Child L2 Acquisition" (Birgit Harley); "The Importance of Timing on Focus on Form" (Patsy M. Lightbown); and "Pedagogical Choices in Focus on Form" (Catherine Doughty, Jessica Williams). Contains 430 references. (MSE)
THE HANDBOOK OF SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION. Catherine J. Doughty and Michael H. Long (Eds.). Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. Pp. 888. $157.95 cloth, $44.95 paper. This volume is one of the most recent and comprehensive collections of papers on the current state-of-the-art in SLA research. Arguing that “[a]s a widespread, highly complex, uniquely human, cognitive process, language learning of all kinds merits careful study for what it can reveal about the nature of human mind and intelligence” (p. 5), editors Doughty and Long have collected papers from 27 researchers—many of whom are the leading experts in their subfields—and organized them into seven sections.
This study extends Mayer's (1997, 2001) generative theory of multimedia learning and investigates under what conditions multimedia annotations can support listening comprehension in a second language. This paper highlights students' views on the effectiveness of multimedia annotations (visual and verbal) in assisting them in their comprehension and acquisition of vocabulary from aural texts. English-speaking college students listened to a 2 min 20 sec historical account in French presented by a computer program. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four listening treatments: the aural text (a) with no annotations, (b) with only verbal annotations, (c) with only visual annotations, and (d) with both visual and verbal annotations. For purposes of this paper, 20 students were purposively selected to participate in inter-views. Overall, students remembered word translations and recalled the passage best when they had selected both verbal and visual annotations while listening. Students' voices reflected these results and revealed that they should have options for viewing material in both a visual mode and a verbal mode in a multimedia listening compre-hension environment. This study provides qualitative evidence for a generative theory of multimedia learning that suggests that the availability and the choice of visual and verbal annotations in listening comprehension activities enhances students' abilities to comprehend the material presented and to acquire vocabulary.