Communicating and interacting: An exploration of the changing roles of media in CALL/CMC
The sites of learning and teaching using CALL are shifting from CD-based, LAN-based or stand-alone programs to the internet. As this change occurs, pedagogical approaches to using CALL are also shifting to forms which better exploit the communication, collaboration and negotiation aspects of the internet. Numerous teachers and designers have created multimedia applications to help learners understand and make meaning from not just the aural and written language of the target culture, but also some of the visual, social and cultural nuances. Previous studies of the use of visual and multi-media in language learning have shown promising results. However with a major shift to the internet as the site for learning, we need to re-evaluate what constitutes communication and interactivity in this new context, particularly with the introduction of newer technologies such as WebCams as well as more ‘traditional’ media such as video, audio and still images. This paper discusses the characteristics common to CALL and CMC implementations, some of the distinguishing features of each and aspects of the teaching and learning contexts in which we find each being used. Conclusions are drawn that in order to make the most from the use of these new sites of media interaction in language learning, we need to develop flexible and adaptive learning environments which can incorporate more traditional forms of Instructional CALL as well as the newer communication, collaboration and exploration forms.