A. What is computer-assisted language learning (CALL)
Computer-Assisted language learning (CALL) is a form of computer-based learning which carries two important features : individualized learning and bidirectional learning. It is not a method. CALL-materials are materials for learning. The focus of call is learning, and not teaching. CALL materials are used in teaching a to facilitate the language learning process. It is a form of student – centered learning materials, which promote self-paced accelerated learning. CALL is not a software application, but either courseware that is designed specifically for language learning for a specific group of learners.
CALL originates from CAI and was invented in 1960s. computer-Assisted instruction was first viewed as an aid for teachers. The philosophy of CALL put a strong emphasis on student-centered lesson that allow the learners to learn on their own using structured and / or unstructured interactive lessons. These lessons carry 2 important features : bidirectional (interactive) learning and individualized learning. It is a tool that helps teachers to facilitate language learning process. CALL can be used to reinforce what has been learned in the classroom. It can also be used as remedial to help learners with limited language proficiency.
The designed of CALL lessons generally takes into consideration principles of language pedagogy, which may be derived from learning theories (behaviorist, cognitive, and constructivist) and second language learning such as Krashen’s Monitor Theory.Others may see CALL as an approach to teaching and learning foreign languages whereby the computer-based resources such as the internet are used to present, reinforce and assess material to be learned. CALL can be made independent of the internet. It can stand alone for example in a CDROM format. Depending on its
designed and objectives, it may include a substantial interactive element especially when CALL is integrated in web-based format. It is in the area of industrialization of teaching that is resigning now. The traditional on interpersonal communication between teacher and student is gone. However, the industrialized teaching is able to offer teachers with the opportunity of sourcing from computer internet rather than being faced with the problem of materials. It may include the search for the investigation of applications in language teaching and learning.
CALL Is used to :
– Experimental learning
– Enhance student achievement
– Authentic materials for study
– Greater interaction
– Individualization from a single source of information
– Global understanding
A. Strengths of computer-Assisted Language Learning
1. Versatility and capacity to augment human capacities
The use of the computer as a tool was its original function and this roles continues to be a mayor field and outside it. The most common instrumental uses of the computer are the word processor, the database, and the spreadsheet. In language teaching, tools have included email, conferencing programs, monolingual, bilingual and multi lingual dictionaries.
The fundamental qualities of a tool largely determine the strengths of the computer in this role, the tool is designed to assist the human, so that the tasks may be accomplished more efficiently and more effectively with aid of the tool than without it. The human is in quite neutral in terms of how it is used.
Interactivity is a crucial strengths of the new technology the computer is in interactive first of all, by virtue of the fact that the user can gain control over learning and therefore become an active participant in the learning process interactivity of the computer makes it especially suited for implementing learned-centered teaching methods.
Multimedia should be considered truly revolutionary for language pedagogy the new technology the new technology really shines in its presentation of form and meaning. The sound and graphic capabilities of the computer not only have improved presentations, they have also made possible what conventional textbook can not . digitized audio has made possible the modeling of pronunciation. The teaching of character’s stroke order and direction has taken a giant step forward from the cumbersome representation on paper to the animated demonstrations formerly achievable only with a human instruction. Still or animated graphics for illustrating meanings and speech production may both educate and entertain.
Random and rapid access allow the instant retrieval of vocabulary and grammar explanation. It also contributes to easy learner control and recycling of materials.
The consistency and patience of the computer is not only crucial for learning by association and repeated exposure. Paradoxically, without the possible ill – effects of are over – bearing human teacher, the patient and interactive computer can provide a very user-friendly and learner-centered learning environment.
In addition to the above-mentioned general characteristics, digital speech technology in particular has enabled the graphic display of the relevant acoustic properties of speech such as amplitude, pitch level and frequency composition.
B. Weaknesses of computer-assisted Language Learning
1. Neutrality and offers the users no quittance of context
Computer can equally be used for the wrong purpose, or in the wrong way, as for the right one, in comparison with the tutor, the tools is non-directive whilst the tutor is directive, the latter offering some form of guidance of determining structure within which interaction can take place. They does not have methodology attached to it as does the tutor, and so as with any tool, the students need to learn how to use effectively.
2. The Program
Some educators and syllabus must be very critical of software program that they consider using in their teaching context. A program may look very good the first few times it is viewed, but dynamic, visual qualities are not sufficient to assure that it will be effective in teaching the target materials. Users may quickly tire of the spinning characters, lights and whistles. The content and methodology of the program has to be the principal rationals in choosing a CALL program.
C. Advantages of CALL
Generally speaking, the use of technology inside or outside the classroom tends to make the classroom more interesting. However, certain design issues affect just how interesting the particular tool creates motivation. One way a program or activity can promote motivation in students by personalizing information, for example by integrating the student’s name of familiar context as part of the program or task. Others include having animate objects on the screen, providing practice activities that incorporate challenges and curiosity and providing a context (real world-or fantasy) that is not directly language-oriented.
For example, a study comparing students who used “corner stone” (a language arts development program) showed a significant increase in learning (Compared to students not using the program) between two classes arts. This because corner stone incorporate personalized information and challenging and imaginative exercises in a fantasy context. Also, using a variety of multimedia components in one program of course has been shown to increase student interest and motivation.
One quantifiable benefit to increase motivation is that students tend to spend more time on tasks when on the computer. More time is frequently citied as a factor in achievement.
2. Adapting learning to the student
Computer can give a new role of teaching materials without computers, students can not really influence the linear progression of the class content but computers can adapt to the student. Adapting to the students usually means that the students controls the pace of the learning but also means that students can make choices in what and how to learn, skipping unnecessary items or doing remedial work on difficult on difficult concepts. Such control makes students feel more competent in their learning students tends to prefer exercise where they have control over content, such as branching series, adventure, puzzles, or logic problems. With these, the computer has the role of providing attractive context for the use of language rather than directly providing the language the student needs.
“Authenticity” in language learning means the opportunity to interact in one or more of the four skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) by using of producing texts meant for an audience in the target language, not the classroom. With real communication. Also, students learn more about culture such an environment in networked computer environments, students have a conscious feeling of being members of a real community.
In situations where all are learners of a foreign language, there is also a felling of quality, in these situations students feel less stressed and more confident in a language learning situation, in part because surface errors do not matter so much . this works best with synchronous chats as there is immediate feedback but email exchanges have been shown to provide most of the same benefits in motivation and students affect.
4. Critical Thinking skills
Use of computer technology in class room is generally reported to improve self-concept and mastery of basic skills, more student-centered learning and engagement in the learning process, more active processing resulting in higher-order thinking skills and better recalls, gain confidence in directing their own learning. This is true for both language and non language classroom.s
5. Offers freedom for users.
CALL offers freedom for users to choose any topic information available within the package. The table of contents denotes all topics available which can be selected by simply clicking on the box labeled for a particular topic. For example in this CALL tutorial package, the material encompasses the English sentences which are collaborated in several more specific topic denoted in the table of contents.
6. Computer and its attached language learning programs could provide second language learners. Were independence from classroom and allowing learner;s the option to work on their learning. Material at anytime of the day, once implemented, it can be expected that the cost for computer technology is considerably lower than for face to face classroom teaching, and when used in conjunction with traditional second language classroom study, students can study more independently, heaving the teacher more time to concern trade effort on those sport of second language teaching that are still word or impossible by the computer, such as pronunciation, work on spoken dialogue, training, essay, writing and pronunciation (Roger, 1996).
7. Can provided instruction, feed back and testing in grammar, vocabulary, writing, pronunciation and other dimensions of language and culture learning. In this case, the teacher will only be a facilitator. He or she has been mush helped by a computer. The teacher can easily control the activities of learning being done by his students. The programs that are installed and connected to the server, a computer can also provide reading access to written audio and visual materials relate to the language and culture being studied by the students. A study conducted by Amstrong (2003) shows that learning achievement can be increased up to 50 percent when a teaching learning process utilizes CALL.
8. Because of CALL’S flexibility of time, it can allow the student to determine what particular topics and how long they want to leaven. Hence, students who miss the class because some reasons, for instance illness, still have an opportunity to learn the particular topic taught in the CALL program (Hartoyo, 2006 : 31). It can stimulate and individual interactive learning program, so both ”fast and slow” learners can take the benefits from it.
9. CALL can give a new role the teaching materials. Out of the content of CALL, teaching materials are really passive. Although the students said or did could influence in any deep sense the linear progression of the contents in CALL, materials adapt themselves to the requirement of the individual student’s; that is they become interactive (Peter, 1993 : 5)
D. Disadvantages of CALL
1. Although there are many advantages of computer, the application of current computer technology still has its limitations and disadvantages. Gips. Dimmatia and Gips (2004) indicated that the first disadvantages of computer and its attached language learning program is that they will increase educational coats and harm the equity of education. When computers become a basic requirement for students to purchase low budget schools and income students usually cannot afford a computer . it will cause unfair educational conditions for those poor schools and students. On the other hand, expensive hardware and software also becomes the big obligations for schools and parents.
2. It is necessary that both teachers and learners should basic technology knowledge before they apply computer technology to assist second language teaching and learning. No students can utilize computer If she or he lacks training in the uses of computer technology. Unfortunately, most teachers today do not have sufficient technological training to guide their students exploring computer and its assisted language learning programs. Therefore, the benefits of computer technology for those students who are not familiar with computer are in existent (Roblyer, 2003).
3. The software of computer assisted language learning programs is still imperfect. Current computer technology mainly deals with reading, listening and writing skill. Event though some speaking programs have been developed recently, their functions are stills limited. Warschsauer (2004) pointed out that a program shoul iedeally be able to understand a user’s “spoken” input evaluate it just for correctness but also or “ appropriateness” it should be able to diagnose a student’s problem with pronunciation, syntax or usage and the intelligently decide among a range of options.
4. Computer can not handle unepected situations. Seconds language learner’s learning situations are various and ever changing. Due to the limitations of computer’s artificial intelligence, computer technology is unable to deal with learners unexpectec learning problems and response do. The reasons for the computer’s in ability to interact effectively can be traced back to fundamental difference in the way humans and computers utilized information (Dent, 2001) Blin (1994) also expressed that computer technology with that degree of intelligience do not exist, and are not expected to exist for quite a long time in a word, today’s computer technology and its attached language learning programs are not yet intelligence enough to be truly interactive. People still need to put effort in developing and improving computer technology in order to assist second language learner.
5. The computer is considered to be much less handy, it is much different from traditional book that are small enough to be carried around and studied wherever and whenever students wish, on a train, on a bus, at home, in the middle of the night, or in a dentist’s waiting room (Anzel et al, 1992).
6. At current time most of students do not process their own computer at home, therefore, they just used computers available in their schools in which the opening hours are very restricted.
7. Working long hours with computers also can make students’ eyes strain and tiring. It may, sometimes, account for the eye irritation and pain.
8. CALL sometimes decreases the interaction among students or what we call social aspect of schooling.
9. CALL is costly enough for the programmers or teachers. A lot of funds have to be provided to buy some equipment, design programs, and its and for its maintenance . the school with limited budget will find some obstacles in funding the CALL program. To create a program of CALL must have a least forty computers for one class capacity of course. Lots of money needed for building computer laboratory, a lot of money is also needed to train teachers, especially English teachers, since there are only a few of English teachers who can operate computers as well as its new software.
10. Although there are many advantages of computer, the application of current computer technology, still has its limitations and disadvantages. Gip, Dr. Mattia, Gips(2004). Indicated that the first disadvantages of computer and its attached language learning programs. Is that they will increase educational cost and harm the equity of education. When computer become a basic requirement for student to purchase, low budget schools and low-income student usually cannot afford a computer. It wil cause unfair educational conditions for those poor schools and student. On the other hand, expensive hardware and software also becomes the big obligations for schools and parents.
11. It is necessary that both teachers and learners should have basic technology knowledge before they apply computer technology to assists second language teaching and learning no students can utilize computer technology to assist second language teaching and learning. No students can utilize computer if he or she lacks training in the use of computer technology. Unfortunately, most teacher today do not have sufficient technology training to guide their students exploring computer and its assisted language learning programs. Therefore the benefits of computer technology for those students who are not familiar with computer are in existent. (Roblyer, 2003).
12. The software of computer assisted language learning programs is still imperfect. Current computer technology mainly deals with reading, listening, and writing, skills. Even though some speaking program have been developed recently, their functions are still limited.
By : IKA KARTIKA
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