Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is one of the fastest developing areas of English language teaching. Teachers have access to immense resources which can motivate their learners and which provide materials appropriate to their needs and interests. Computers can also be used in the classroom itself, bringing the classroom into the world and the world into the classroom through e-mail, chat rooms and Internet sites.
9; To learn about the benefits of CALL and to be able to assess the pedagogical value of the wealth of materials available, teachers often find it advisable to participate in a CALL course.
9; On such a course, teachers discover what software is available and how to evaluate its usefulness for the needs of their students. Without criteria for assessment, teachers can be misled by technologically sophisticated software which, when examined ctitically, proves to have very little educational content. The Internet is also a source of material that needs to be carefully assessed, but which can provide the teacher with every kind of imaginable classroom activity on every imaginable subject.
9; With the right guidance, teachers can learn how to set up a class website where materials produced by their students can be published on the web and also how to link class websites to sites from schools all over the world, so that students are motivated both to read and write.
9; Computer Assisted Language Learning does not stop at materials for the classroom. Through the Internet, teachers can be in contact with their colleagues, discussing problems and solutions, as well as taking part in on-line programmes designed for professional development. Computers and the Internet are rapibly becoming an essential part of daily life. In the future, they will certainly be an essential part of daily classroom life too. It is important that teachers be trained, ready for the pitfalls and merits of CALL.
By Nigel Downey