The CALL Lab as a Facilitator for Autonomous Learning

The CALL Lab as a Facilitator for Autonomous Learning

Stephen Alan Shucart (Akita Prefectural University, Honjo Campus, Japan), Tsutomu Mishina (Akita Prefectural University, Honjo Campus, Japan), Mamoru Takahashi (Akita Prefectural University, Honjo Campus, Japan) and Tetsuya Enokizono (Akita Prefectural University, Honjo Campus, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-895-6.ch028
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Unlike most CALL labs that are purchased from a vender and employ either generic or commercial CALL software and technologically untrained teachers, the CALL lab at Akita Prefectural University was specifically designed by trained CALL professionals, who then wrote browser-based software custom- tailored to the textbooks and needs of the technology students who use it. This chapter delineates a project conducted to further improve the multimedia CALL lab as it prepared for a state-of-the-art update in the fall semester of 2006. Since this particular lab is utilized to facilitate the student-centered program, as opposed to the traditional, teacher-centered CALL lab that often functions as no more than a digital blackboard, the results of this project provided important feedback to allow for the instigation of cutting edge Web 2.0 innovations, specifically the open-source VLE called MOODLE.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Course Management System (CMS): Also called a virtual learning environment, or an e-learning system. It is a software system designed to facilitate teachers in the management of educational courses for their students, especially by helping teachers and learners with course administration. Both teachers and learners can monitor the system. Though usually considered as a tool for distance education, they are often used to supplement the face-to-face classroom.

Podcast: A regular, RSS feed of audio material in MP3 format that can be listened to on an iPod or similar device.

Hot Potatoes: The Hot Potatoes suite is java-script-generating software that enables you to create interactive quizzes (multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill) for the World Wide Web.

Blended Learning: The combination of using computers and traditional text-based resources in the classroom environment.

Comprehensible Input: New information which is still understandable: that is the optimum learning environment should provide information at the ‘i + 1’ level, just beyond what the student already knows, but which is still understandable based on the learner’s background knowledge and the context in which it is presented.

Social Constructionism: A sociological theory of knowledge. The focus of social constructionism is to uncover the ways in which individuals and groups participate in the creation of their perceived reality. It involves looking at the ways social phenomena are created, institutionalized, and made into tradition by humans. Socially constructed reality is seen as an ongoing, dynamic process; reality is re-produced by people acting on their interpretations and their knowledge of it.

Autonomy: A the capacity to take charge of one’s own learning, is seen as a natural product of the practice of self-directed learning, or learning in which the learners themselves determine the objectives, progress and evaluation of learning.

Moodle: An acronym for modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment. Moodle is an open source e-learning platform, a software package designed to help teachers and educators create online courses.

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