Jurnalul meu

This is my blog.

joi, martie 29, 2007

Risposta alla quarta composizione

Dopo aver letto le composizioni dei vostri compagni di classe, sceglietene una e commentatela. Mandate la vostra risposta come commento a questo mio messaggio. Menzionate chiaramente il nome della persona che ha scritto la composizione che avete scelto di commentare.


La quarta composizione ha come scopo di aiutarvi a fissare/chiarire le conoscenze acquistate durante le nostre discussioni in classe. (40 + 10 = 50 punti)
La quarta composizione contiene 2 PARTI:
1. il vostro commento di un testo studiato in classe insieme, a vostra scelta (da Boccaccio in poi);
2. una risposta al commento di uno dei vostri compagni di classe (almeno 1 paragrafo).
Il vostro commento deve includere:
- perche' avete scelto questo testo in particolare (1 paragrafo);
- una sintesi degli aspetti discussi in classe: contesto storico-culturale, temi, concetti importanti ecc.;
- la vostra reazione/opinione sul testo (1 paragrafo finale).
La vostra risposta deve includere:
-la vostra reazione al commento del vostro compagno/della vostra compagna: se siete/no d'accordo con quello che e' stato detto, se avete osservazioni da aggiungere al suo commento ecc.
Per la vostra composizione, POTETE USARE ESCLUSIVAMENTE:
- i vostri appunti;
- Dictionary of Italian Literature;
- un buon dizionario bilingue e/o monolingue
Scadenza per il vostro commento: lunedi', il 2 aprile.
Scadenza per la vostra risposta: mercoledi', il 4 aprile.
Avrete la possibilita' di riscrivere la composizione + la risposta, solo se la prima versione riceve un voto piu' basso di B+. Per la seconda versione non potrete ricevere piu' di A-.

joi, martie 22, 2007

Osservazioni sulla seconda presentazione orale

Mandate, per favore, le vostre osservazioni come commento a questo mio messaggio. Non dimenticatevi di menzionare chiaramente qual e' la presentazione su cui avete scelto di fare i vostri commenti.

luni, ianuarie 15, 2007

Osservazioni sulla prima presentazione

Mandate le vostre osservazioni come commento al mio messaggio.
Non dimenticatevi di menzionare chiaramente qual e' la presentazione su cui avete scelto di fare i vostri commenti.

Risposta alla prima composizione

Dopo aver letto le composizioni dei vostri compagni di classe, sceglietene una e commentatela.
Mandate la vostra risposta come commento a questo mio messaggio.
Menzionate il nome della persona che ha scritto la composizione che avete scelto di commentare.

vineri, ianuarie 12, 2007


La prima composizione ha come scopo di aiutarvi a fissare/chiarire le conoscenze acquistate durante le nostre discussioni in classe.
La prima composizione contiene 2 PARTI:
1. il vostro commento di un testo studiato in classe insieme, a vostra scelta (NON PUO' ESSERE IL TESTO SU CUI AVETE FATTO LA PRIMA PRESENTAZIONE);
2. 1 risposta al commento di uno dei vostri compagni di classe (almeno 1 paragrafo).
Il vostro commento deve includere:
- perche' avete scelto questo testo in particolare (1 paragrafo)
- una sintesi degli aspetti discussi in classe: contesto storico-culturale, temi, concetti importanti ecc.
- la vostra reazione/opinione sul testo (1 paragrafo finale)
La vostra risposta deve includere:
-la vostra reazione al commento del vostro compagno/della vostra compagna: se siete/no d'accordo con quello che e' stato detto, se avete osservazioni da aggiungere al suo commento ecc.
Per la vostra composizione, POTETE USARE ESCLUSIVAMENTE:
- i vostri appunti
- Dictionary of Italian Literature
- un buon dizionario bilingue e/o monolingue

Scadenza per il vostro commento: il 29 gennaio alle 17.00
Scadenza per la vostra risposta: il 4 febbraio alle 17.00

luni, noiembrie 06, 2006


In the chapter intitled Theory and Research: Autonomy in Language Learning, Deborah Healey starts out by outlining a general definition of "autonomy", following-according to her sayings (p. 391)- the term "self-direction" used by Dickinson (1987). She then discusses more in detail some important factors which affect the degree of autonomy: issues regarding the learner, which include: "1. degree of self-motivation, 2. preference for an independent style, 3. knowledge of how one learns best, 4. knowledge of what one needs to learn" (pp. 394-395), and issues regarding the content, which include three conditions: "1. The path to the goal is relatively unambiguous. 2. What is to be learned can be explained clearly. 3. Appropriate resources exist for self-directed language learning." (p. 396). Healey then gears her discussion towards building autonomy in CALL environments and starts out from the five preconditions for motivation suggested by Good and Brophy (1987): "1. an appropriate level of challenge or difficulty 2. learning objectives that are meaningful to the learner 3. variation in the teaching methods used 4. intrinsic and extrinsic feedback about success 5. no barriers to learning" (p. 397-398).
I agree that the level of students' autonomy depends on so many factors like: the proficiency and age of students, their goal in learning the language or addressing different learning styles, and I think that even in cases where it seems like students should mainly depend on their teacher for any of such reasons, there still can be solutions for encouraging their autonomy through, more control over the pace, for instance, or giving more attention to their learning styles. I have to admit I had not thought of self-assessment as a way to built students' autonomy, which proves that the issue of autonomy is more complex than one might think at first. I liked this chapter also because it includes a nice review of other important topics we touched upon in our course, like differenciation or building students' motivation.

duminică, noiembrie 05, 2006

Website evaluation #4

I have chosen to evaluate the website Oggi e domani (http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/modlang/carasi/site/pageone.html). Although it doesn't seem to be recently updated, I have used this website for ideas in designing class activities or I sometimes took students to the computer lab and had them practice using this website. This is a very easy to use free of charge website, divided into 20 lessons with a clear although rich layout and content, which addresses beginners and intermediate levels and I think it could be an accessible and attractive website for anyone who wants to learn Italian.
Each lesson has two or three pages which contain dialogues or texts that will ellicit the new vocabulary or grammar topic introduced. Students have also the possibility to listen to the dialogue and/or record their own voice in order to compare with the original, for pronunciation practice. The website provides clear and colorful charts for grammar and vocabulary, as well as plenty of practice through interactive exercises in which, in many cases, students can get instant feedback. The vocabulary is introduced in context, but also supported by nice images. There are external pages that would usually support, through authentic material, the vocabulary or the culture topic introduced. As I said, there is evidence that this site is not currently updated or appropriatedly maintained: many links are broken, especially those of the external links, the forum is not active, or is not very clear how it works, at least. I think this is such a pitty, because I realy think this is/could be such a neat website: it has good graphics with plenty of images and sound files for pronunciation practice, the grammar charts are complete and very well structured and clear, it has numerous interactive exercises or others where students have space to provide their answer, without receiving though automatic feedback (this is usually the case where students need to provide personal answers and/or write short compositions).

duminică, octombrie 29, 2006

Website Evaluation

I found particularly interesting the website Encyclopedia of Educational Technology (http://coe.sdsu.edu/eet/Articles/wikis/index.htm) which is a project of the Department of Educational Technology at San Diego State University. This is a collection of short articles on a variety of topics dealing with instructional design, education and training. Here are some of the main categories under which the articles are grouped: cognition and learning, analysis, design, eLearning, learning strategies etc.
The EET addresses students and other individuals interested in these topics. Its authors are graduate students, professors and volunteer contributors. This website also contains an extensive bibliography containing numerous external links. Being hosted by an university, it doesn't contain any advertisement, and although it's not clear when it was last updated, it has a clear design and organization which facilitate its use.

Search Engines

My googling for search engines led me to choosing the following three:
SearchMash (http://www.searchmash.com/), a search engine operated by Google Inc.,
Dogpile (http://www.dogpile.com/) which, according to their policy, combines the sponsored, clearly identified, with non-sponsored web search results, depending on the typed search keys, and
Snap (http://www.snap.com/?source=google&campaign=snap&user_keyword) which wants to offer an alternative to the leading search engines, by introducing a few useful features like: results preview, anticipating one's intent, direct interactivity with the search results, and faster speed.
Although some search results were similar when typing "wikis education" in all three search engine, I think the best results were provided when using SearchMash. All first 5 results contained both search keys: "wikis" and "education" and all the websites found contained relevant information according to the search topic/words: Educause, a magazine that deals with the latest developments and trends in information technology and its' application in higher education, an Enciclopedia of Educational Technology which is a very informative site of the Educational Technology Department at San Diego State University, a website with resources about blogs, wikis, podcasting and their use in the classroom, an entry to the wikipedia, and a webpage with interesting resources in German, English and French about wikis, even though this site has last been updated in October 17, 2004.

sâmbătă, octombrie 21, 2006

Learning styles

In the chapter Classroom Practice: Enhancing and Extending Learning Styles Through Computers, Karen Yeok-Hwa Ngeow discusses three principles regarding learning styles, and after that, presents some suggestions on how to apply, when planning and designing activities, these principles that are meant to facilitate learning as well as teaching. According to Ngeow, these three principles are:
"Principle 1: Learners who are more conscious of their learning styles make better use of learning opportunities. [...]
Principle 2: Learners learn better when they are provided with learning opportunities that enhance and extend their learning preferences. [...]
Principle 3: Learners work better with new learning styles when they are given guided opportunities to practice them." (pp. 302-303)
Most of the chapter, though, focuses on suggestions and practical activities on how to apply these principles. The author argues that, in order to enhance students' learning, not only the teacher, but also the students themselves should become aware of their own learning styles. These are differenciated and discussed in the article according to the "multiple intelligences " theory of Gardner, cited by Ngeow (p. 306). Therefore a great emphasize is given to presenting how software can be integrated and used for different learning styles.
I found interesting how in most of the proposed activities, not only students are they allowed to accomplish tasks according to their favorite learning style, but they also need, as part of the activity, to reflect and give feedback on which task/activity they found most comfortable with and suited for their prefered learning style. This article is one of my favorites, not only because it's clear, but also because it offers a lot of practical ideas, not just plain theory and research, on how to help students identify their learning style and activities which address each of them. I also agree with my colleagues in saying that, even though the softwares suggested might be outdated, the rationale behind their use and the MI theory still remain valid. The only two issues I see in applying them are strictly pragmatic in nature: how easy/difficult would be to purchase and/or implement these softwares in schools with low financial possibilities and how can teachers fit such time consuming, although very instructive, activities in syllabi filled with new material to cover each lesson and in which the assesment methods are mainly grammar based. Unfortunately, such cases exist and teachers need to make sure students are, first of all, prepared for quizes and exams.

duminică, octombrie 15, 2006

Professional Development Resources

EUROCALL (http://www.eurocall-languages.org/)
I chose to review the European Association for Computer Assisted Language learning website, because I'm European :) and, with the knowledge accumulated in our CALL class, I can go back now at topics I didn't know anything about when living in Europe and make myself an opinion about the development and use (in the European context) of technology in language learning.
EUROCALL is a relatively young association (it was founded in 1993), which addresses and includes language teaching professionals not only from all over Europe, but also Canada, Australia, States etc. This organization has as one of its main goals to encourage research, development and practice relating to the use of technology for language learning.
The site of this organization is quite easy to browse and contains useful information about its goals, books and software reviews, a section dedicated to special interest groups (Natural Language Processing and Corpus CALL) and a pretty extensive resources section which includes an events' calendar, bibliography and courses offered in Europe and The United States, everything organized in different areas related to CALL. I also found useful the organization's journal, ReCALL Journal, and the fact that some issues, even if they are older ones, are available online, free of charge even for non members.
I think this is a good website to refer to frequently (I might even consider joining the organization in the future), because it contains CALL projects and events in the States while keeping me updated about what is happening in Europe for this matter and this will be useful if /when I'll decide to move back to Europe and work as a language teacher there.

duminică, octombrie 08, 2006

Software/Website Evaluation#3

RaiClick (http://www.raiclicktv.it) addresses to all those interested in media, and in particular in the Italian political and cultural life. This is a section of the Rai (the Italian National broadcasting) Website and contains archives as well as the latest edition(s) of the news broadcasted on the three available channels(TG1, TG2 and TG3), as well as all kinds of Tv series (commedies, thriller, historical etc), talkshows and music shows, sports, cartoons and instructional shows for kids, culture and travelling shows.
The website doesn't include external documents (maybe this is one aspect that could be improved in this website), but I think it's interesting to the target audience because it's easy to browse through (the information being presented in distinct categories), it has a clear layout and it also contains a guide to the programs and gives the possibility to subscribe to a newsletter. The video and audio files are of good quality and easy to access (mainly requering Windows Media Player).
Being a content based, this website doesn't provide practice or assessment to Italian learners. Some programs though are provided with written scripts, if these can be considered a form of feedback. This website could be used with intermediate and advanced level students especially, as it provides a good source of authentic texts- of course it requires from the teacher a lot of work in carefully choosing the material and setting the tasks. I already used it when introducing some cultural aspects related to various topics as music or national holidays, as well as for listening comprehension exercises.

Authentic tasks

In their article Text and task authenticity in the EFL classroom, William Guariento and John Morley address the issue of material and task authenticity. The former- including written and spoken text- is important because it helps students apply in real life situations the knowledge they acquired in the classroom, while not only maintaining, but also increasing their motivation for language learning (Guariento and Morley: 347). The latter- task authenticity- is classified into four categories, according to different factors that are taken as referents for determining the authenticity: authentic tasks leading to a real communicative situation, authentic tasks that prepare the learners for real life target tasks (i.e. renting an appartment), authentic tasks in terms of the degree of student-student and student-teacher interaction it leads to and last but not least, authentic tasks based on the level of engagement it produces in learners.
As for the use of authentic texts, rather than editing the text in order to make it more accessible and predictable for beginning learners - as the authors of this article suggest- I tend to agree more with other research trends that opt instead for the editing of tasks, making them appropriate for the learners' level, while leaving the text intact, therefore authentic, also because a broader context would help the learner in creating meaning while dealing with authentic language. Of course, I understand that especially in the case of lower level learners, the editing of tasks required by obvious necessities might conclude into less authentic tasks- as the authors of the article discuss. But I think it's very important to expose students to authentic texts starting from the very first level(s).
Regarding the authentic tasks, I think Steve has brought up interesting questions: were do we draw the line between authentic and unauthentic tasks and who should decide when a task is authentic for the students, the teachers or the students themselves? In my opinion, if we think of authentic tasks as activities leading to communicative situations that replicate real life, there are cases when students are not familiar with some culture aspects related even to very general topics like shopping or buying tickets (in Italy, for example, you need to validate your ticket when you get on the bus or the train, otherwise even if you have the ticket with you and show it to the train conductor, it's not considered valid). So, in cases like these, I think that the teacher's help is not only needed, but also necessary. As for who decides if a task is authentic or not, in my opinion, there shouldn't be absolute answers like only the teacher or only the students (we saw the same case when we talked about the right mix in interaction). I think a good teacher tries to know her/his students well enough in order to be able to say what's meaningful to her/his students (according to their L2 level and interests) and knows when to intervene in order to add that specific detail or cultural information etc., in order to make the tasks authentic. I also agree with Guariento and Morley when they say that it's up to the teacher to decide the "right mix" of the four categories of authentic tasks- discussed in the article-, or which one is more appropriate in a given circumstance.

duminică, octombrie 01, 2006

Software/Website Evaluation#2

The section dedicated to Italian (http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/) on the BBC Languages site has a reach content regarding instructional material for learning Italian, by anyone interested in this language. It has a very clear layout and it is relatively easy to browse. The website contains quizes so that one can test her/his level of Italian in general, after which those interested are offered the possibility to browse for courses suited to their level. There also quizes and games for testing more specificaly the level of knowledge in listening comprehension (strategies and tips are provided for improving) or some cultural topics.
The three online courses offered on this site address the beginner's level. For more advanced Italian learners, the BBC Languages site offers an audio guide to Italian slang, organized by different topic categories like: food, family, drinking etc., Italian for business and links to outside resources containing scripts of traveling TV programs. The beginner courses are generally organized based on a language functions syllabus, contain grammar explanations in English, bilingual vocabulary lists, dialogues with audio files, so that students can listen to at their own pace and practice pronunciation, as well as activities for practicing grammar and vocabulary.
But I liked best one course in particular, "Italian steps", because I found it the most complete and interactive. "Italian steps" is organized in topics and contains real life situations presented through short videos shot in Italy and which offer the basis for pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar lessons and exercises that offer instant feed back to students. There are also activities meant to improve the speaking and writing skills, as well as a cultural reading in English at the end of each lesson. The student has also the possibility to check fast her/his overall level of Italian language through an activity that involves listening comprehension and translation, as well as to keep track of her/his progress by noting in a blog coments on particular language issues she/he met throughout the lessons, so that she/he can easily go back and review.
The BBC Language website gives also learners of Italian (or other foreign languages) the opportunity to share in a forum ideas about foreign languages related topics or their experiences with foreign languages.
The strengh of this site, as well as of the Italian courses offered here, is the authenticity of the internal and external material and resources which are focused on everyday life culture, travelling and mass media. Some might find it limitative though, as it lacks other authentic materials like literary texts, for example, but I guess this is normal, being a language website hosted by BBC. Regarding the language courses, I wish they offered more practice to students and maybe the possibility to record their own pronunciation in audio files, so that they can compare it with the original recordings and keep track of their progress.

luni, septembrie 25, 2006


Terry Anderson in the article Getting the Mix Right Again: An updated and theoretical rationale for interaction wants "to provide a theoretical rationale and guide for instructional designers and teachers interested in developing distance education systems that are both effective and efficient in meeting diverse student learning needs" (1). The author starts out his debate from the premise that interaction has an essential importance in the education and learning process, including the forms delivered at distance. After briefly reviewing some functions of the interaction given by previous critique, Anderson, based on personal observations and the literature debate, defines an equivalency theorem as follows: "Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student-teacher; student-student; student-content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience [...]" (p. 4). After that, Anderson discusses individually the characteristics of three most common types of interaction (student-student, student-teacher, student-content) to which he adds other three types of interaction: teacher-teacher, teacher-content, content-content. The author then applies this equivalency theorem to different environments (classroom delivery, "traditional distance education delivered via mail or electronic correspondence", audio and video conferencing, web-based courses), assessing the level and the kind of interaction that takes place in each case. Anderson concludes by formulating an "interaction-based model of e-learning" which involves shifting the equivalency theorem towards a substitution one: "Getting the mix right involves a series of tradeoffs, and knowing how one type of interaction can effectively substitute for another, provides an essential decision making skill in the distance educators' knowledge base" (p. 11).
Personally, I agree with Anderson's equivalency theorem, although I would ideally tend to see it not as one interaction successfully replacing the other(s), but more in terms of equal amount of time dedicated to each of the three main interactions: student-teacher, student-student and student-content, in order to achieve a high level of education and learning. But I also understand that an equal amount of time for each interaction is not always necessary (it depends on the goals, the type of courses, the skills that are to be developed etc) or possible, especially in a CALL environment. Also, in his equivalency theorem, Anderson defines - at least in my reading - a high or low level of interactivity in terms of quantity. I think it would be interesting to see how this picture would change in case we shift the importance on quality. What happens if a student has mainly interaction with content, therefore student-content interaction is quantitatively high, but not also qualitatively, for whatever reason?

duminică, septembrie 17, 2006

Software/Website Evaluation#1

Even if I feel like there is still much to do in the field of Italian teaching/learning in terms of educational technology use (the post in Dan's blog on the state of web technology in Italy came as a nice surprise for me), a lot is beeing done lately, not only in Italy, but also in the States when it comes to CAILL (Computer Assisted Italian Language Learning :)
I was googling the other day looking for Teaching Italian as a second language (thank you, Steve, for giving me the idea in your review of putting the right words in the google browsing tab) and I found this website for German (www.webgerman.com ) which has also a section dedicated to resourses for teaching other foreign languages, Italian included (and it really refers to a wide range of languages, I was even able to find tongue-twisters in Romanian :)). The general layout of the site gives the impression of a school project and unfortunately many links are broken, while some pages are still in construction. However, I think that it contains interesting resourses (various activities and games, literature, dictionaries, translation programs, online courses etc) and links to other sites (MLA, QUIA, BBC etc). My colleagues in the class who teach Spanish and English might find there an interesting resourse/link or two. And the site looks pretty updated, at least the Italian page was last updated on Sep. 01, 2006.
But this is not the website I was planning to talk about, but CyberItalian found at http://www.cyberitalian.com which is linked to the previous site. This second website presents itself as an online Italian course for anyone wishing to learn or to improve their Italian language and knowledge in Italian culture. It turns out that the founder of this website has a Laurea (B.A. equivalent, but not exactly, as the American and Italian university systems differ) in Foreign Languages and Literatures with considerable experience in teaching, while the webmaster is an electronics and systems engineer, both are of Italian origins and graduated from universities in Italy.
The first page has a neat, clear layout (like the entire site, or at least the parts I navigated through, because you need to be a member and/or to be taking the course, therefore to pay, in order to have access to the entire available material). Although it contains a lot of information, I think this is very well organized and easy to get to or to find later and nothing about it gives the impression of too much or of amateurish work.
The links are displayed on the left side of the page and send you to other pages containing information on different aspects like: how to become a member, courses and course material available, meeting rooms where members and visitors can meet and exchange information about the course/ideas/opinions etc, how to get in contact with a real professor and ask for help, frequently asked questions, advertising for Italian movies, literature books or Italian textbooks and software.
Thank to the free trial, I was able to experience a sample of the content/material of the courses offered which address different categories of learners: beginners, intermediate, advanced, but also Italian for business, Italian for travellers (tours are available also) etc. The course material contains grammar charts and explanations (some of them in English, some of them are bilingual, in Italian and English), drills (exercises and exams at the end of the lesson) that provide immediate feedback, images, audio files for listening and practicing pronunciation, interactive exercises, cultural activities, glossary for each lesson. In all these activities, the student will be guided by and will interact with the funny character of Pinocchio. All over the place, the students are encouraged to practice and repeat the same exercise several times, until they feel comfortable with the grammar rules they just learnt or register their voice and compare it with the original audio files, in order to learn pronunciation. According to the free trial material that I was able to browse, all three course levels are structured in the same way: they start with a dialogue where students can read and listen to pronunciation at the same time ( a list with vocabulary and its translation in English is provided on the right side of the page), Pinocchio's directions on goals and approaches for each level, a cultural section which usually consists in a listening comprehension activity, a grammar section which contains bilingual explanations (although the more advanced the level, the less English used), charts and exercises where students have the possibility to check their answers, cultural activities that usually implies that students need to use other resources, generally the internet (in some cases, other related links are already provided). Each lesson ends with an exam (the usual format is multiple choices)
This website offers also (which I don't think I have seen in many online courses) private courses providing personalized instruction, seminars in Italian for Business, Italian literature, Italian for travelling and conversation courses. All these are divided in three levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced and use the Skype Voice/Video Chat service. There is even a calendar with times and dates where students can directly contact a qualified professor on line if they need extra help. Other ways for contacting a professor or the other online students are the email and the forums, which are great ways for building a learners' community in order to give students support and motivation. For the above reasons, plus the authentic information it provides, I think that another strength of this webside are the entertainment and the links sections. The former contains: a chat room open for members and visitors, games for practicing some already studied language structures, sending ecards in Italian, bilingual reading (integrated in the site) in various fields such as: literature, cinema, cooking, art etc and news which offers links to the main Italian TV and newspaper sites plus the CyberItalian newsletter. The latter, offers some very interesting and useful links to external sources related to Italian culture and language, very well organized in different categories such as: culture, education, magazines, politics, news etc, just to give a few examples.
Overall, I found this website very informative and attractive for the variety of activities and resourses it provides, as well as professional/pedagogical in the methods used and in the way technology is used. I can't think of any suggestions for improvement, it was a very nice surprise to find this website and I'm planning to use it for its resources.

duminică, septembrie 10, 2006

Week#2 Readings

The essay intitled Computer-Enhanced Language Learning Environments: An Overview by Egbert, J., Chao, C. & Hanson-Smith, E. (1999) constitutes the first chapter of J. Egbert & E. Hanson-Smith (Eds.) CALL Environments: Research, Practice and Critical Issues (pp. 1-13). Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. The authors sustain the importance of teachers connecting and critically applying the research to practice in order to create an optimal CALL environment.
Egbert, Chao, and Hanson-Smith (1999) start their discussion from the premise that, although the application of technology changes practice, however an hypothetical theory of CALL would not be very different from an integrated theory of language acquisition, as they both are founded on similar principles of language development. Therefore, the first part of the chapter is dedicated to an overview of what most of the researchers and teachers seem to agree on as the essential component of language acquisition, which is the learning environment, and focuses in detail on the eight necessary conditions for reaching an optimal language learning environment: interaction and negotiation of meaning, interaction with an authentic audience, getting involved in authentic tasks, exposure to and production of varied and creative language, getting enough time and feedback, a mindful learning process, working in an atmosphere with an ideal stress/anxiety level and learner's autonomy (4).
The second part of the essay connects the above eight conditions to the CALL environment, offering an outline of important trends and issues in current CALL research that teachers need to be aware of. The authors' declared goal is to provide "general guidelines for developing inquiries in the area of CALL", so that teachers are able to "uncover ways to meet the eight conditions for learning" in their own setting (7).
I find very useful the authors' intent in giving teachers "tips" on how to make educated choices when relating to the research that has been done in CALL and help them not only identify the relevant issues it presents, but also to apply and use them in practice. I also agree with the essay's authors that one of the main aspects CALL research still has to deal with and shed light on is that "computers (or the introduction of any new factor) can radically change the environment (9), therefore a comparison between a CALL and a non-CALL environment is unadequate in terms of teaching methods and it would only work against an effective use of computers in the language learning process.