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Online Assessment and Final Reflexions

Chapelle-Douglas (2006) talks about the importance of technology in language assessment and its future. It is explained that developing assessment is important because this will help students develop strategies for self-assessment. However, teachers need to be aware on how to evaluate an assessment to ensure proper validity and reliability. Teachers can develop their own assessments to reflect the materials that were taught in class. In my opinion, schools need to invest not only in technology, but also in training so that teachers can receive proper training to take advantage of the available technology. There are many factors to consider not only about the development of assessments but of the use of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in general. In this context, how do you think the cost of technology affects computer-assessment development? How do you think the cost of technology affects CALL in general? Do the school systems offer adequate training to teachers to fully take advantage of available technology for teaching and assessment? Finally, can you give your insight about CALL and its importance?

Lorenzo Manzano


Apr. 15th, 2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
Final Reflexions
Computer has been considered as an important learning tool in the modern second language learning. Computer assisted language learning (CALL) has provided amazing opportunities for improving second language learning such as it can motivate students’ interesting or improve learners’ varied linguistic skills.
Integrating computer technology in English learning is especially important for ESL learners since it can help them overcome their problems in English learning. CALL is good at improving learners’ different linguistics including listening, reading, speaking and writing. Since many ESL learners consider listening and speaking as their most urgent skills they want to improve, they can use computer to facilitate their listening and speaking skills.

One problem with CALL is the limitations of the technology, both in its ability and availability. First of all, there is the problem with cost and the simple availability of technological resources such as the Internet (either non-existent as can be the case in many developing countries or lack of bandwidth, as can be the case just about anywhere). However, the limitations that current computer technology has can be problematic as well. While computer technology has improved greatly in the last three decades, demands placed on CALL have grown even more so. One major goal is to have computers with which students can have true, human-like interaction, esp. for speaking practice; however, the technology is far from that point. Not to mention that if the computer cannot evaluate a learner’s speech exactly, it is almost no use at all.

Also, teacher readiness has a great impact on the entire CALL experience. Teachers, who are unprepared, both technically and mentally, may leave students with an adverse impression of CALL. Successful integration of software programs hence requires that the language teachers have: 1) a certain level of competency in the use of computers; 2) an understanding of the dynamics of a CALL classroom; and 3) a commitment to the continuous use of CALL in the language classroom.
Competency in the use of computers refers to a basic knowledge of how to operate a computer and of what the computer can do, familiarity with some computer terminology, and some experience of dealing with commonly encountered problems. To have the confidence in taking a class into the multimedia language laboratory, one needs to feel in control of the tools one uses as well as the subject matter. Language teachers who plan to use CALL in the classroom should already be using the computer as a tool in their everyday working lives for word processing, e-mail, surfing the internet for information, etc.. If a language department decides to use software programs, teachers, who are not familiar and at ease with the use of computers, need to be trained before they step into the multimedia language laboratory with their students.
In many ESL contexts, the school requires teachers to be able to monitor students in the multimedia language laboratory. Thus, having sufficient knowledge and confidence in managing a CALL class is definitely an asset.

Apr. 16th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Final Reflexions
Hi. I agree that teacher readiness is an important aspect of CALL. For that reason I think frequent updates and training should be supplied to educators to bring them up to date in the use of technology. It would make no sense to make technology available if teachers can't or are not prepared to take full advantage of it. Right?


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