COMPUTER-ASSISTED LANGUAGE LEARNING AND THE LEARNER
AILA ReN Symposium
Call for Papers
Background and Aims
Recently, attempts have been made to make learning more flexible for the learner. With developments in mobile technologies, learners have freedom that was previously unavailable to them, and researchers have started capitalising upon this, through provision of lessons that learners can access whenever and wherever they wish (e.g., Stockwell, 2007, 2008), or through encouraging them to access audio and/or video resources of their choosing (e.g., Gromik, 2008). Other researchers have chosen to use these mobile technologies as a supplement to class activities (Levy & Kennedy,
2008; Reinders, 2008) and to make increasing links between formal and informal learning, for example by capitalising on the potential of computer games (e.g. Ranalli, 2008).
Social networking sites such as Active Worlds and Second Life have also empowered learners to make decisions about who they wish to converse with, by what mode (i.e., text chat or oral communication), and freely engage in discussion with a real audience who shares similar interests (e.g., Dudeney, 2008). This is a growth area, where researchers examine the way technology facilitates interaction between teachers and learners, between native speakers and learners, and between learners themselves and the unique characteristics of this type of communication. Another related strand of research looks at the identities learners create online and the ways they develop and build on communities of learners for their language development (e.g., Lam, 2004).
These recent developments in the area of social networking and mobile-assisted language learning are of particular interest to researchers interested in understanding in changes in the way learners approach the learning of a second language. In saying this, however, a crucial question that remains is how best to support learning in these environments. We are only starting to develop methodologies for investigating these forms of language learning, where the teacher’s role is less dominant in controlling learners’ actions, but rather one where the learners must be guided to use the existing resources in a way that has the potential to lead to personal development and to language acquisition. Furthermore, in such an environment where a good deal of the learning may occur outside of a classroom situation, methods of ensuring maintenance of learner motivation also become paramount.
Although research is carried out in the above areas in many parts of the world, the research is not connected and studies done in one field may not be informed by research done in another. It is the aim of this Symposium to bring together people working in the different areas related to the role of the language learner in CALL.
Themes of the symposium include:
- Learner motivation
- Computer-mediated communication (with a focus on the role of the learner)
- Learners’ beliefs in CALL
- (Materials development for) individualising instruction
- Social networking and computer games and second language acquisition
- Mobile-assisted language learning
- Supporting out-of-class language learning
- Teacher education for CALL (this follows on from the AILA Symposium in Essen).
Submitting a proposal
We are inviting proposals for contributions to the symposium. Each paper will be given 20 minutes and there will be time for questions and discussion at the end. To submit a proposal, please send a 250 word abstract to
You do not need to submit your paper to AILA, as ReN symposium papers are vetted separately.
You can find more information about the conference here: http://www.aila2011.org/en/default.asp
To find our more about, or to join the Research Network, please visit: www.callandthelearner.info
The deadline for submitting a proposal is May 30.