|Scooped by Blake Turnbull|
LING421 Insight: Semester Overview
Throughout LING421 of semester 1 2013, we have covered a range of topics related to Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and the ways in which we can implement these in the second language classroom. These topics include: the Net Generation, CALL and language pedagogy, technologies for SLA, the evaluation of courseware and websites, listening comprehension, technologies for L2 reading, L2 writing through social tools, interpersonal communication in intracultural CALL, teaching culture through CALL, digital literacy frameworks, and digital games and social networking.
I have tried to look at each of these topics from two different perspectives throughout the semester: 1.) as a language student myself, and 2.) as a hopeful language teacher in the future. For me, looking at each weekly topic from different view points has proved rather interesting, and I have often found myself thinking that what might be a good tool to employ as a teacher, I would not personally like to learn from as a student. As a result, I quickly realised that something theoretically beneficial for students to learn from may in fact not accepted by the students themselves, and teachers need to be aware of this as they design their language curriculums.
One of the topics that I did find enjoyable from both a student and teacher’s perspective is that of “building listening comprehension through the use of podcasts”. This was the topic that I presented on in class, and thus the one that I perhaps researched most in depth. I am also a huge fan of using social networking tools for language development (from both a teacher and learner perspective). I have been using Facebook myself since I first began learning Japanese in 2010 and believe that my language has benefited positively as a result of interacting with native speakers through posts, comments, chatting, and cultural media (photos/videos). Likewise, I believe that the use of interactive technology such as Skype is a very beneficial tool to be used in the classroom for meaningful interaction and communication with native speakers of the target language, and I hope to employ this in my future language classroom.
From both a student and teacher’s perspective, one of the main concepts that I have taken away from this course is all about “interaction”. Whether that is interaction with other students, native speakers, or even technology based materials/sites, having students actually use the language and interact with a stimuli is vitally important to the development of their basic language skills. As a result, I hope to employ many of the interactive tools we have covered throughout this semester in my future language classroom. For example, podcasts, Skype, websites, blogs/wikis, social networking, and interactive classroom activities to further engage students in the language learning process. Overall, I think it is safe to say that LING421 has really changed my opinion on language learning, and showed me that learning a L2 is not all about memorising grammar from a textbook, but rather that "language in use" is a far more important concept to emphasize. Consequently, I intend to place a large amount of emphasis on language that is physically used by the students in an interactive way (through a range of technological tools) in both my own learning process as well as in my own future language classroom in order to help my students further develop not only each of the four language skills, but their language and cultural knowledge alike.