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Computer-Assisted Language Learning: From Vision to Reality?

Issue: Vol 25 No. 3 (2008)

Journal: CALICO Journal

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/cj.v25i3.443-470


Learning a second language is a challenging endeavor, and, for decades now, proponents of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) have declared that help is on the horizon. As documented not only in the CALICO Journal over its 25-year history but also in other scholarly venues, research has demonstrated the value of CALL. Nevertheless, despite the fact that textbook publishers expend significant effort to include computer-based ancillaries with many of their products, many teachers still rely primarily on the textbook alone. This situation is nothing short of astounding, given the advanced hardware and software capabilities of current delivery systems, unimaginable at the outset but now both available and affordable. Is the quest to implement CALL a fool's errand or is success in fact finally just over the horizon? This article provides (a) a brief historical overview of CALL, including a glimpse at both its pedagogical limitations and strengths; (b) a description of current issues that slow the implementation of CALL; and (c) a sketch of research and development efforts that will help teachers, researchers, and developers move CALL to the next level: A carefully crafted combination of teacher and technology with each contributing according to its comparative advantage.

Author: Michael D. Bush

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