CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) is a great possibility to make language classes livelier and more engaging but it requires the language teachers to become computer literates. At the 1993 CALICO Annual Symposium, which took place on the campus of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, the Provost welcomed the participants with the words: “Computers shall never replace teachers, but teachers using computers shall replace those that don’t”
Below you can find some of the many institutions that offer teachers help in becoming computer literate:
ECDL-F Ltd. (European Computer Driving Foundation) is the organization that develops and provides a range of different certification programmes for all those interested in computers.
One of the most basic and important certification programmes is the ECDL/ICDL. This course covers the main aspects of IT and concentrates on the development of core IT skills and on gaining the confidence to apply these skills in different software environments.
ECDL-F is the organization that is ready to meet everyone’s needs. If you are a beginner, choose a course at the Foundation level (Equalskills or e-Citizen). If you want to improve your skills, look at the list of more sophisticated and/or specialized courses (ECDL Advanced, ECDL for Computer Aided Design (ECDL CAD), ECDL Certified Training Professionals (ECDL CTP)). If you have, or know someone who has, special needs, visit ECDL http:www.ecdl.com/main/index.phpfor information about ECDL for People with Disabilities (ECDL PD).
Another possibility recommended for acquiring or improving ICT skills, as well as for getting some useful guidance on using Information and Communication Technology in the language classroom, is to visit http://www.languages-ict.org.uk website. Here you will find information and advice on how to integrate desktop publishing, digital audio, digital still camera, digital video, email communication, multimedia, power point, excel and other aspects of IT in your language lessons.
www.ict4lt.org/en/index.htm provides 4 modules aimed at different needs of language teachers who are planning to use, or who already use ICT with their language learners.
The first module, which focusses on basic knowledge and skills, introduces users to the new technologies, their advantages for language learning and teaching, computer hardware and software which the language teacher has to be familiar with, text tools and how to use them, Internet and CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning).
Module 2 (intermediate level) provides information on CALL methodology (how to use multimedia, www resources online and offline) and gives and introduction to concordance programmes in modern foreign language classrooms.
For advanced language teachers there is Module 3, covering such aspects as CALL software design, creation of www sites, human language technology, and giving possibility to develop specific management skills needed for managing a multimedia language centre.
Module 4 – Computer Aided Assessment (CAA) – is both a challenge and a great possibility to make the teacher’s life easier and more interesting.
If you are interested in in-service training possibilities for teachers and trainers in European languages as a second/foreign language, www.solki.iyu.fi/tallent is right for you. The module, which has been developed by experts from eleven European universities, supplies basic knowledge and guidance on ICT and language learning as well as advice on how to integrate ICT into the language teaching process.
http://www.well.ac.uk is known as a great place for those language teachers who are keen to learn more about the World Wide Web and to implement its advantages into the language learning and teaching process.
It is also recommended that you visit the LANCELOT project website: http://www.lancelotschool.com LANCELOT School GmbH– LANguage learning by CERtified Live Online Teachers - a virtual training centre for language teachers and part of the EU-funded project which bears its name.
Types of call related materials / activities
Adventure games are computer managed role plays where users are presented with situations that they have to deal with. Users choose what to do and input the result as text, speech (speech recognition software), or by clicking on options. Based on the input, the program branches out to resulting situations / gives feed-back.
Adventure games can be very entertaining when constructed for language learners, but unfortunately only very few have been designed for the less taught languages. An entertaining Portuguese example, Uma Aventura na União Europeia, by Mrs Teresa Pacheco, a teacher in the ESES - Escola Superior de Educação de Santarém can be found here: http://nonio.eses.pt/asp/europa/index.htm
If you want to create your own adventure games we suggest you try the Quandary software which is shareware: http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/
Blogs (weB LOGS)
The term blog is derived from weblog and refers to a website that is regularly updated with new posts arranged in reverse chronological order so that the newest post is always at the top of the blog. People who make use of blogs are called bloggers, and writing for blogs is referred to as blogging.
Blogs have a number of typical features that make online publishing extremely effective and versatile.
Blogs are hosted by weblog providers such as www.wordpress.comwww.blogger.com , www.blog.de, http://int.blog.com etc. for free. You create a blog in just a few steps by following the provider’s instructions and you decide whether there will be single or multiple authoring.
Each blog can contain various categories which can be opened by a simple mouse click.
Each post has a title and a time stamp so that the reader gets an idea of what it is about and when exactly it was posted. It is also automatically archived. Retrieval is possible through the search feature or by browsing the calendar, which is another common feature of blogs.
Publishing is easy as blogs provide templates which do not require any technical skills from the blogger. By clicking on the word ‘comment’ below the post, the reader can type their opinion on a post into another template.
Blogs are not only about text files, they may contain virtually all kinds of data such as hyperlinks, graphics, presentations, spreadsheets and – which makes them especially interesting for language teachers – audio and video files.
If the RSS feature is available, readers can subscribe to a blog, and will therefore be automatically notified whenever a change has been made.
If the blog disposes of a Permalink feature, then the permanent URL leading to a specific entry, which is no longer on the front page but in the archive, can be saved as a favourite.
All these features illustrate the usefulness of blogs in a language teaching environment as a medium that develops reading, writing and communication skills.
As a language teacher you might want to start a class blog which enables you to
provide online reading texts for your students
provide additional materials like audio or video clips, images, charts etc.
organise Internet resources for the class by providing useful links
give instructions, assign tasks
make the students practice writing (for an audience)