Volume 27 Number 1
On Call

Leadership Updates

LETTER FROM THE CHAIR

My first TESOL was the 1983 convention in Toronto, Canada. I have vivid memories of traveling in a van with other Ball State University graduate students, sleeping five to a room in a cheap hotel, attending packed standing-room-only sessions, and feeling overwhelmed by all I experienced at the convention. A few months later, I was in China with my first full-time teaching job.

My second TESOL was in 1995 in Long Beach, California. At the time, I was a graduate student again at The University of Kansas where I worked in the Applied English Center with its brand-new Learning English Online (LEO) computer lab under Carolyn Heacock (the CALLIS 1997 chair) and Mark Algren (our 2010 TESOL president). With encouragement from Mark and Carolyn, I submitted a Hardware Fair proposal for an activity using LEO software and was accepted. I went to the open business meeting with them. I volunteered in the Electronic Village where we spent long hours, mainly loading software. In the evening, CALLIS volunteers went out to eat as a group. I recall being in awe of so many of these people because I recognized their names from e-lists, presentations, and articles. I knew of their contributions to CALL. I was welcomed by the group and felt at “home” in CALL.

From 1995, my CALL involvement grew. In 1997, I was asked if I wanted to serve on the Steering Committee. I did. My first year, I was not elected. My second year on the ballot (1998), I was. I have served as an at-large Steering Committee member, as one of the Internet Fair organizers, as the Electronic Village Special Events Coordinator, and as a newsletter coeditor. I have also had the honor and pleasure of being chair in 2003 and again in 2011.

As I reflect upon an amazing 15 years with the CALLIS, I know it all started with a few small steps: a Fair proposal and a willingness to volunteer.

Now, at this stage of my career, I can’t count the number of times when my CALLIS colleagues have been resources when I needed letters of reference, copresenters, feedback on projects, sounding boards, troubleshooting, and advice. I have also been able to help many of them in the same way. The professional contacts and friendships made over the years have been invaluable. That is, of course, in addition, to all that I have learned, and continue to learn, from these colleagues and CALL friends when I attend the annual TESOL convention and other CALL conferences around the world.

My message to all of our members, but especially newbies, is . . . Choose just one activity to get started. Submit a proposal. Volunteer. Come to the CALLIS open meeting or a planning meeting. Post on the e-list. Take part in elections. The CALLIS has all kinds of positions open for those who can be physically present at the conventions and for those who cannot. We have positions for those just learning about CALL and for those who are quite experienced. We have positions that require yearly time commitments and those that require just a few hours. In 2010-2011, the CALLIS had approximately 30 volunteers who read proposals, 66 volunteers who helped with organizing Electronic Village events and behind-the-scenes activities, and 12 volunteers who served as leaders. Even with all those volunteers, we still have openings for more. Whatever your level of interest, the CALL interest section has a place for you.

If your experiences are anything like mine, then you will look back in a few years and see that you have gained far more than you gave.

For our many volunteers this year, I want to conclude with a hearty and heartfelt “Thank you!” for all you do.

See you in New Orleans!

Suzan Stamper, stampers@iupui.edu

 

LETTER FROM THE PAST CHAIR

Dear CALLIS Newsletter Readers and Interest Section Members,

As immediate past chair of the CALLIS and events coordinator of the Electronic Village (EV) at the 2011 TESOL Convention in New Orleans, I would like to invite you to review and participate in the excellent line-up of programming we will be offering in the Electronic Village, all free of charge and included in your TESOL registration. Sessions will be held in both the Electronic Village and the adjacent Technology Showcase room. The EV room will host the always-popular EV Fairs, expanded to nine slots including an afternoon session, thanks to the large number of proposals submitted. In addition, you will be able to sign up for five Mini-Workshops, drop in for advice on CALL-related questions during our Ask Us sessions, see presentations at the Hardware and Mobile Technology Fair, and attend favorite sessions of past EV Fairs during theEV Fair Classics. We are again offering a special session, CALL for Newcomers, this year separated into two events—an introduction to CALL, followed by hands-on application in the EV. The Webmasters’ Workshop rounds out our programming in the EV.

The Technology Showcase room will host several of the main sessions offered by the TESOL interest sections, including the Academic Session of the CALLIS as well as InterSection sessions of the CALLISwith Elementary Education, Higher Education, and Materials Writers. These sessions will be webcast from the TESOL convention, so please watch for further announcements. In recognition of the increasing popularity of mobile technology we have established a new showcase event, Mobile Apps for Education, in addition to the Developers’ Showcase. Also new this year will be two sessions with presentations on the TESOL Resource Center.

Please join us for the CALLIS Open Business Meeting in the Technology Showcase on Thursday, March 16, at our new time, 6:15-7:15 p.m., or participate in it via webcast. We will be electing new Steering Committee members for the CALLIS and invite newcomers to get involved in the CALLIS as EV planning team members. Please check out the At a Glance: Electronic Village & Technology Showcase Events and Schedule, 2011 at http://call-is.org/EV-Tech2011_descriptions.pdf.

Christine, cbauer-ramazani@smcvt.edu

LETTER FROM THE CHAIR-ELECT

As chair-elect for the CALLIS, I am very excited about the upcoming convention in New Orleans. The chair-elect position involves planning the Academic Session and InterSections, and we have some very interesting sessions lined up. All events take place in the Technology Showcase.

For our Academic Session this year we are excited to have the very relevant topic of “Teacher Training for Web 2.0 and Beyond” on Friday, March 18, from 1:00 to 3:45 p.m. This session will feature many practical pieces of advice and insight not only for those involved with teacher-training but for teachers at all levels of experience as well. The presenters include Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Greg Kessler, Philip Hubbard, and Paige Ware. They will discuss teacher-training as it relates not only to Web 2.0 technologies but also to the technologies that are developing and those that teachers may be facing in the future.

For our primary InterSection, the CALLIS will partner with the Higher Education IS from 10:00 to 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 19. The session, “Building Effective Intercultural Communication in Online Courses,” will include Dawn Bikowski, Debbie East, Geoff Lawrence, and Sandy Wagner. This panel will discuss ways to develop practical and pedagogically sound online courses and activities that help students develop their intercultural communication skills, including challenges of online communications, strategies for overcoming them, and training teachers for this environment. Very relevant for today’s teaching! We also have two more InterSections this year: with the Materials Writers IS, “Challenges and Opportunities in Designing New Multimedia ELT Materials” with Randall Davis, Jennifer Lebedev, Maggie Sokolik, and Sarah Worthington on Saturday, March 19, from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m., and with the Elementary Education IS, “Technology in ESOL Classrooms and Preparing Teachers for Successful Integration,” on Friday, March 18, from 10:00 to 11:45 a.m, with Christel Broady, Karen Kuhel, Ellen Dougherty, Margaret McKenzie, Stacey Abbott, Sandra Rogers, and Ben Fabie. They will offer practical advice on making integration work.

We hope to see you at these popular events! They all take place in the Technology Showcase and promise to provide very useful information.

Dawn, bikowski@ohio.edu

Articles

TESOL TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS UPDATE

In early 2009, TESOL released Technology Standards Framework, a document consisting of separate sets of standards for English language learners and teachers. In spring 2011, TESOL is planning to publish a subsequent full volume: Technology Standards: Description, Implementation, Integration. Although technology standards already existed for general education (e.g., those from the International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE] and UNESCO), the TESOL Standards Committee determined that the unique characteristics of language teaching and learning merited formal standards specifically for our field.

The standards are meant to serve a number of purposes:

  • Prompt ESOL teachers to learn appropriate and effective uses of digital technology for teaching and lead their students to do the same for learning;
  • Articulate a clear set of targets for the development of technology competence;
  • Provide direction and motivation for integrating technology education into language teacher education;
  • Guide administrators and policymakers in curriculum, hiring, and in-service training decisions; and
  • Help minimize the digital divide within and between countries by defining fundamental technology skills for language learners.

At present the standards are only advisory, but there is potential for incorporating them into formal certification processes in the future.

Under the direction of TESOL’s Standards Committee, the Standards Framework was developed by the Technology Standards Project Team: Deborah Healey (chair), Volker Hegelheimer, Phil Hubbard, Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou, Greg Kessler, and Paige Ware. The team met several times in person and virtually from 2006 to 2008 to develop the standards collaboratively, submitting drafts of the standards that were initially open for public comment and later underwent critical review by an anonymous group of international experts in language learning and technology before receiving final approval by the TESOL Board of Directors in October 2008. During the development period the standards were also presented at both U.S. and international conferences, and feedback from participants across these diverse settings was addressed in the final version.

The new companion volume was created by the Technology Standards Project Team, with Elizabeth Hanson-Smith replacing Volker Hegelheimer. That volume focuses on implementation of the standards. It includes an expanded section on research, recommendations for teacher educators and administrators, recommendations for accommodating online teaching, a comparison with the ISTE NETS (National Education Technology Standards) and UNESCO standards, and a checklist for self- and program assessment. The volume also has a glossary, extended list of references, and an index. The core of both volumes consists of the following components: goals, standards, performance indicators, and vignettes.

GOALS

The overarching goals are broad statements describing the primary topic areas under which the actual standards are embedded. There are three goals in the learner standards:

Goal 1. Language learners demonstrate foundational skills and knowledge in technology for a multilingual world.

Goal 2. Language learners use technology in socially and culturally appropriate, legal, and ethical ways.

Goal 3. Language learners effectively use and critically evaluate technology-based tools as aids in the development of their language-learning competence as part of formal instruction and for further learning.

There are four goals in the Teacher Standards:
Goal 1. Language teachers acquire and maintain foundational skills and knowledge in technology for professional purposes.

Goal 2. Language teachers integrate pedagogical knowledge and skills with technology to enhance language teaching and learning.

Goal 3. Language teachers apply technology in record-keeping, feedback, and assessment.

Goal 4. Language teachers use technology to improve communication, collaboration, and efficiency.

STANDARDS

Each goal is realized by two to five standards. For example, Teacher Goal 2, Standard 4 states: “Language teachers use relevant research findings to inform the planning of language learning activities and tasks that involve technology.” There are 11 standards distributed across the three learner goals, and 14 standards divided among the four teacher goals.

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Each standard is accompanied by a set of performance indicators, specifying more precisely what learners and teachers should be able to do to meet the expectations embodied in a particular standard. Performance indicators for learners are at a single basic level, but the teacher standards include performance indicators at both basic and expert levels, the latter representing deeper knowledge and a broader set of skills relative to the particular standard. For instance, among the performance indicators for the preceding example (Teacher Goal 2, Standard 4) are “Language teachers identify the context and limitations of research about technology use and do not apply findings inappropriately” (Basic Level) and “Language teachers produce and disseminate research related to technology use” (Expert Level).

VIGNETTES

The vignettes provide illustrative scenarios demonstrating how a particular standard may be realized in a practical situation. Within a given scenario, vignettes may distinguish between settings that have different levels of technology available: low, mid, or high resource and access. This is seen to be important in allowing the standards to be adaptable to the wide variety of learning environments worldwide. The Framework document includes at least one vignette per goal. The expanded volume has at least one vignette per standard, covering a range of learner ages, levels, physical settings, and objectives.

The Technology Standards Framework (2009), TESOL’s first e-book, is available in pdf format through TESOL publications. Besides the goals, standards, performance indicators, and vignettes, the Framework document includes introductory material justifying the need for the standards and stating their purpose, a section on the theoretical and research bases for the standards, a glossary, and appendices.

The new TESOL volume, Technology Standards: Description, Implementation, Integration, is scheduled for release in early 2011. Check the Publications tab at www.tesol.org for further details.

The Technology Standards team is still interested in collecting vignettes from CALL practitioners, especially those involved in adult workplace education, IEPs, and EFL for young learners. These will be placed on a support Web site in the near future. Contact Deborah Healey at dhealey@uoregon.edu if interested in contributing a vignette. A list of the goals and standards (without performance indicators or vignettes) is available at www.tesol.org/techstandards.


Phil Hubbard, phubbard@stanford.edu, and Deborah Healey, dhealey@uoregon.edu

FRIENDSHIPS UNFORESEEN

Coincidences and context led to an international communication project called Nagoya Next Door (NND). Developed for English as a foreign language (EFL) classes at a Japanese university, the NND project aimed to incorporate culture and international communications in an imaginative way using the Internet. This report is a synopsis of the NND project and activities implemented for a Japanese university EFL class.

The development of an EFL class at a Japanese university began with the goal to adapt an Internet communication strategy. All one need do is ponder the popularity of cell phones, Facebook, blogs, and the virtual explosion of information available worldwide. And yet in the world of instant communications, the Internet can be a paradoxically anonymous interaction. Cyber-identities and virtual worlds are contrived realities, not the end point desired for this class. Coincidences turned this challenge into an opportunity. I had experience with friendship-doll exchanges from the Japanese Friendship Doll Program at Mukogawa Gakuin inspired by the 1927 Doll Plan exchange between the United States and Japan, and the Flat Stanley Project in which my daughter had participated. I knew the power of a friendly doll face and the personal nature of the communication. A project synergy developed from the concept of friendship dolls, a Nagoya City promotion, and the application of Internet communications in EFL learning (Belcher, 2006; Hawisher et al., 2006; Savignon & Sysoyev, 2002; Takaoka, 2004; Yashima, 2002).

A DOLL―REALLY?

There were many Internet options but was there a doll that fit this EFL context? Coincidentally, the city of Nagoya was about to launch a major promotion in 2010: the 400th anniversary of Nagoya City. This campaign promoted the city domestically and around the world and featured a charming mascot doll called Hachimaru. The potential was apparent:

  • Doll whose universal appeal was charming
  • Oversee replies/progress on the Internet
  • Learning where EFL was fun and personal
  • Leverage partnerships for participation

With a clear vision for the project, we received financial support and endorsements from my Japanese university, the city of Nagoya, and the Nagoya International Airport called Centrair. In addition, there was a waiting list for those who wanted to participate.

NND PROJECT

The basic project design was to use the Nagoya mascot doll, Hachimaru, as a friendship courier, designating each doll with a unique flower surname to track their travels. Each Hachimaru doll was sent with welcome letters from EFL students and the mayor of Nagoya, information about Nagoya; Internet links, directions, and a key-chain charm. Recipients were asked to send a picture of Hachimaru in their city and some information about their city to our Internet site. After 4 weeks, the recipients were instructed to send Hachimaru to a new friend and keep the souvenir key-chain charm but add a new key-chain charm iconic to their city. The next recipients then repeat the process. The purpose was to connect recipients and create a friendship network through which people became friends― just as if they were next door. “Hachi” of Hachimaru means “eight” and fittingly, 88 percent of initial recipients responded, with 75 percent of secondary recipients and 60 percent of tertiary recipients also responding. Each Hachimaru doll had a securely fastened name tag with the Internet sites for replies and access as follows:

Thirty-two Hachimaru dolls were sent initially to 10 countries on four continents in white, custom-made, sturdy plastic boxes. Recipients willing to participate in the endeavor and relevant to our context were selected from the following sources:

EFL ACTIVITIES

The NND project provided a range of activities for EFL classes including writing, international travel, Internet communications, and oral discussions as follows:

  • Students wrote welcome letters in English and Japanese that accompanied the Hachimaru doll. The letters featured favorite Nagoya sightseeing spots and regional foods.
  • In an international exchange to China, a delegation of university students met with Chinese students and performed a skit in English and Chinese that explained the NND project at the Japanese Pavilion during the Shanghai World Expo in Shanghai, China.
  • Internet interactions included e-mail pals/exchanges with American middle school and elementary students. EFL writing class incorporated the process of drafting and rewriting. But in the third year, EFL communications class students wrote directly to pen pals and on the blog.
  • Oral discussions enabled and challenged students to contextualize the content from Web site photos, and each presentation included a question for their peers promoting further discussions. Students engaged and were transformed into teachers.

JUST LIKE NEXT DOOR

The NND project was an EFL opportunity created for the Internet that embraced friendship and the personal nature of communication. The charming face of Hachimaru was amazingly disarming. And surprisingly, whether young or old, at a World Expo in China or chillin’ with students on the steps in Liverpool England, Hachimaru had an amazing ability to open people’s hearts. Hachimaru in hand, strangers became friends―just like they lived next door. Not such a coincidence.

REFERENCES

Belcher, D. (2006). English for specific purposes: Teaching to perceived needs and imagined futures in worlds of work, study, and everyday life. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 133-156.

Hawisher, G., Selfe, C., Guo, Y., & Liu, L. (2006). Globalization and agency: Designing and redesigning the literacies of cyberspace. College English, 68(6), 619-636.

Savignon, S., & Sysoyev, P. (2002). Sociocultural strategies for a dialogue of cultures. The Modern Language Journal, 86(4), 508-524.

Takaoka, M. (2004). Doll ambassadors: An alternate history of U.S.-Japan relations. Tokyo: Nikkbei Publishing.

Yashima, T. (2002). Willingness to communicate in a second language: The Japanese EFL context. The Modern Language Journal, 86(1), 54-66.


Patrice Pendell, patricependell@yahoo.com, resides and teaches in Japan and received her BS and BEd from Eastern Washington University and MA and TESOL Certification from Gonzaga University. Her research interests include international communications, Japanese storytelling (kamishibai), and leadership with women models.

WEBINARS

The webinar platform for online conferencing was largely developed for business meetings. But gathering participants in a room, talking to them, using PowerPoint and a white board, playing audio and video, all the while responding to live questions―that sounds a lot like a classroom.

Between spring 2009 and summer 2010, we gave a series of webinars in the Middle East. We were based in Jordan—one of us in the capital, Amman, the other on the Red Sea town of Aqaba. Along with Jordanians, we had participants from Syria, the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Iraq. Travel to and from these regions can be complicated, and webinars provided a great venue for reaching these teachers. Reaching them simultaneously was an added boon; it meant we were making a regionwide community of practice.

We used Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Meeting, which does not require participants to register ahead of time or download software.

Our topics for the 90-minute webinars included “The Future of English for Teachers and Learners,” “Critical and Creative Thinking,” “Online Resources,” “Tools for Activating Materials and Tasks in the Language Classroom,” “Managing Large Classes,” and “Language and Music.” Attendance averaged about 20 persons, but the webinar was a new idea in a region where new ideas take root slowly, and the number of participants increased over time. The teachers also were very active on the class Ning, which provided a community of practice and enquiry for post- and pre-session discussions.

Now, in early 2011, it’s clear that teachers are finding the webinar platform more accessible.

In November 2010, we began a webinar course, this time through the Office of English Language Programs in Washington, appealing to English teachers worldwide. The response floored us. One thousand teachers from 50 countries attempted to register. For the live webinars, we have been receiving 250 to 550 participants. This has put demands on the technology because we have been pushing the participant limits for our license of Adobe Pro Meeting. We have had to find alternative ways to interact with the participants as well. One can imagine that with 450 participants the chat box explodes with comments. We have incorporated more polls and more visuals in the slides. The advantages of the webinar format are obvious. Instead of sending trainers around the world, we can reach huge numbers of teachers by webcasting from the United States or any location. We can invite specialists. We can design tasks—provided the numbers of participants are not too huge—to involve teachers.

The webinar is here to stay—until something better comes along, anyway.

THE LAYOUT

Here are some nuts and bolts on how a webinar actually works.

In an Adobe Acrobat Pro Meeting, there is a dedicated meeting room, or in our case the classroom. Any data placed in here is visible or audible to participants. The key tools for participant involvement are chat boxes and polls. Polls show instant results to any surveys the hosts post. Meanwhile, participants can type questions and comments into a chat box. The host can use a whiteboard as well, and actually type in text or draw.

Several kind of media can be shared as well: videos (.flv files), audio (.mp3 or .wav), and PowerPoint or Keynote slideware, Word docs, and photos. Presenters can talk live to their audience via microphone. Participants are also able to talk live if the microphone is “handed over”—that is, if participants are given permission by the webinar moderators.

ADJUSTING TEACHING STRATEGY

Although we are using the same tools one would use in a modern classroom, the approach to a web class requires different management strategies.

In a brick-and-mortar classroom―especially in language teaching where the learners may have different levels of English command―it's important for the presenter to provide gaps or spaces in his or her speech so that the listener will have the time to absorb. Though we don’t want to fill airspace with babble in a web class, the presenter must think a little more like a radio host and not allow for too much dead air. Otherwise, participants will scurry to see what technical problem they have, and they will lose focus. The web presenter should speak more slowly than usual, however, aware that part of words and sentences may be clipped and unintelligible, and that a slower pace allows participants to mentally fill in these unintended gaps, just as we naturally do when someone cuts out for a moment on a cell phone.

The presenter’s voice is usually working in tandem with PowerPoint. Conventions say that a PowerPoint slide should contain no more than a few phrases, but webinar slides, we have found, should be denser. In this way, if participants lose audio, they can still keep up through visual cues.

We have also divided presentation roles and tasks. On occasion, we have presented a webinar together, sharing the microphone, presenting material, and covering for the other by responding to questions on the chat. Most of the time, however, we have found it more fluent to have one person present and the other work as a host. The host introduces the session, leads the chat, and supports the presenter with technical matters.

Our webinar sessions almost always include a few separate audios or videos. These tend to play very well in Adobe Acrobat Meeting, usually sounding better than the presenter’s microphoned voice, and provide welcome variety. It’s so simple to find relevant audio (from interviews, newscasts, songs, poems, Voice of America podcasts, etc.) and video (from YouTube or TeacherTube). Webucators might as well take advantage.

Despite the need to talk more than usual and involve more media, we've tried to make webinars interactive and to foster interaction, a sense of community, and collaboration. We have engaged participants throughout with polls and surveys and asked them to type in answers to gap-fills and riddles and critical thinking puzzles, brainstorm on the whiteboard, and even participate in live guessing games. Participants are also invited to carry on our discussions onto other forums, such as the Ning site we developed for teachers in the region. We also encourage the teachers to join in other communities of practice.

Perhaps one can see that in general, greater time and care needs to be taken in leading an effective webinar. Materials must be uploaded well ahead of time, transitions must be carefully planned, and fail-safes must be at hand. Experienced teachers in a classroom can overcome problems by improvising; this is nearly impossible when conducting a web class. Contingency plans are essential, as is technical support.

ALTERNATIVES

Adobe Acrobat Connect is expensive, not geared toward individual teachers. One free alternative worth looking into is WiziQ where teachers can create a similar virtual classroom. Another option is the very user-friendly and reliable www.nicenet.org for a basic content management system or Ning.org, which provides more social networking features.


Rick Rosenberg, rickrelo@gmail.com, is currently the materials branch chief of the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (Englishprograms.state.gov). Rick was recently the regional English language officer based in Jordan. Rick has helped establish a number of distance education courses in the region and participates often as a moderator of online courses offered for Iraqi teachers.

Kevin McCaughey, poosheesty@yahoo.com, is a senior English language fellow based in Aqaba; Cape Town, South Africa; and Jordan. Kevin writes and records his own audio materials, which are offered at the Web site for teachers worldwide, English Teachers Everywhere.

ESL WRITING ONLINE WORKSHOP FUNDED BY FIPSE

The ESL Writing Online Workshop (ESL-WOW) Project at Excelsior College in Albany, New York, has been granted $581,609 by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S. Department of Education. In this 3-year project, an online remedial ESL writing program will be created for community college and adult learners.

In partnership with Mesa College in San Diego, California, a pilot study with ESL students from both Mesa and Excelsior will be conducted. Christie Allred will direct the Mesa College component of the project. The ESL students at Mesa College will use ESL-WOW in a blended learning environment; this means that the students will have both face-to-face and online instruction. The students at Excelsior will participate exclusively online. Four modules will be developed: “Getting Ready to Write,” “Developing Your Ideas,” “Revising Your Work,” and “Editing and Polishing.” An additional special module on plagiarism will take into account the intercultural aspects of intellectual property issues. During the pilot study, live tutors with experience in teaching ESL composition will be available to assist the students. A Faculty Writing Exchange will act as resource center and virtual meeting place for the tutors.

The plan is to incorporate materials, which students may use independently in self-directed mode, as well as social networking tools, which may be used collaboratively with peers. At the end of the 3-year pilot project, ESL-WOW will be fully operational and available to the public free of charge. As the project develops, information will be posted at www.eslwow.org. For more information, please contact Claire Bradin Siskin, ESL workshop director, at info@eslwow.org.


Claire Bradin Siskin, csiskin@excelsior.edu, directs the ESL Workshop Project at Excelsior College in Albany, New York. A long-time member of TESOL, she is a past chair of TESOL’s Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Interest Section. She is also a past chair of TESOL’s Professional Development Committee.

Column

MAKING CONNECTIONS

This issue of the “Making Connections” column introduces three members:

  • Larry Udry
  • Justin Shewell
  • Aaron Schwartz

For each newsletter, I will invite members to answer a set of simple questions:

  • What is your favorite platform?
  • What is the one indispensable tool/Web page?
  • What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
  • What was your favorite CALL creation?
  • What are you working on now?
  • What area would you like to see developed/researched?
  • In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

Since this column began in 2005, I’ve found a variety of perspectives, experiences, and insights. My hope is that every reader—from new member to founding member—will enjoy this opportunity to compare experiences, to share advice, to nurture inspiration, and to make connections within our community.

Please e-mail me at stampers@iupui.edu if you have suggestions or contributions to “Making Connections.”


Larry Udry

Larry is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio; worked at University of Texas at Martin for 11 years; was a TennTESOL (that’s Tennessee) member for 11 years; was the TNTESOL newsletter editor/Web domestic for 6 years; has been involved in CALL through the Electronic Village since 2004; and is a newbie as newsletter coeditor with Suzan Stamper.

E-mail: ludry@dwci.edu

Affiliation: Divine Word College, Iowa

Years in the CALLIS: 4

Q: Favorite platform?

A: Originally a Mac person, I use PCs in my current job. I hate to say that I now prefer PCs though I still keep an iMac at home for emergencies.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/Web page?

A: Just one. Wikipedia has helped my adjunct class where we mull over heady issues like ethics and Plato’s immortality of the soul. We can’t find much on Google. I also like Google translator. Now I like to play Foldit where I can solve puzzles for science―something I heard about on the radio.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?

A: Not really too surprising: other teachers, especially at conferences. I always enjoy talking shop at conferences.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?

A: Pretty basic, but just blogging. I am also using Office Publisher now for a student-writing-generated photojournalism class and have been playing with Moodle.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am working on two book ideas and developing a content-based environmental class.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?

A: I’d really like to see a way that Moodle could be used to upload papers after they have been corrected instead of the current method that I use―just sending them to the students via e-mail.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: Just jump on the moving train and help out in any way you can. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know as much as the others. The CALLIS is a great group of people. Everyone is a rich resource and always willing to help.

Aaron Schwartz

Aaron Schwartz is originally from Toledo, Ohio, and attended Ohio University from 1996 to 2000 where he earned his BA in creative writing. Afterward, he spent 2 years teaching English in Kanazawa, Japan, before returning to the United States to pursue his master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, where he also had the opportunity to participate in Ohio State University’s Summer Intensive English Program in Wuhan, China. He has been active in TESOL and the CALLIS since finishing graduate school. He currently works as a visiting lecturer and CALL/technology coordinator for the Ohio Program of Intensive English at Ohio University and serves on the CALLIS Steering Committee. He will be one of the Electronic Village managers at this year’s TESOL convention in New Orleans.

Email: aschwar@gmail.com

Affiliation: Ohio University

Years in the CALLIS: 6

Q: Favorite platform?

A: I’m pretty much comfortable on all platforms (I use Windows at home and Mac at work). Lately I’ve been intrigued by Ubuntu and its variants, especially how well they run on older PCs.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/Web page?

A: It depends on what kind of class I’m teaching. Moodle has been great for developing a sense of community in my classes and sharing materials. In speaking classes, I love to use TED.com, Flip cameras, and iTunes U. I use Google spreadsheets for vocabulary. Elmo Document Cameras are great for grammar and writing courses.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?

A: Believe it or not, social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter) have been great ways to find resources and ideas.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?

A: I did a Google Earth project with my speaking class last year. Each student did research on an English-speaking city in the world. They used Google Earth on a projected screen to give guided tours of Chicago, New York, Vancouver, San Francisco, etc.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I just finished setting up MacBooks, Elmos, and projectors in four new classrooms for our program. Now, I’m getting ready to train new teachers on Moodle and anticipating the Electronic Village at TESOL in New Orleans and hoping to put something together about open-source software.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?

A: Smartphones and open-source software are wide-open frontiers right now.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

A: Don’t just use technology for technology’s sake. Think about how technology can help you and your students meet your goals and objectives.

Q: What is your funniest CALL-related incident?

A: When I introduced Flip cameras to my students to have them create commercials for a new cola product, some of my students laughed at them and called them toys, and instead pulled out their own HD camcorders to do the assignment. They ended up creating a hilarious iMovie-edited video with a rap soundtrack in which they were so distracted by the delicious taste of the cola, they didn’t notice their fancy sports cars being stolen from them.

Justin Shewell

Justin is a PhD student in educational technology at Arizona State University. He has served as a Steering Committee member since 2009 and is the new chair-elect for 2011.

E-mail: jshewell@asu.edu

Affiliation: Arizona State University

Years in the CALLIS: 7 years. 2003 was probably my first year really involved in the CALLIS through the Electronic Village.

Q: Favorite platform?

A: I really don’t have a favorite platform. I am comfortable on most platforms. I was a ““PC man”“ until I bought my first MacBook Pro in January 2010. I love some things about Apple and other things about Windows computers.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/Web page?

A: Definitely the CALLIS Moodle. All joking aside, I probably go to Google.com at least once a day (because there is SOOO much I don’t know)

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?

A: Lately, my children. I see what they are doing in school and get new ideas all the time. I see how things they are doing can be reworked for use in language teaching. I also get ideas from my educational technology classes in unexpected ways.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?

A: I run a Web site for teachers called eslactivities.com. It is a passion of mine and my favorite CALL creation.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am working on updating eslactivities.com, making it easier to use and upgrading its features. I am also focusing a lot on my PhD studies.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?

A: I am very interested in online language teaching, and think there is a lot that can be done in the area of teaching English (and other languages) at a distance.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

A: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Even if your CALL lesson plan flops the first time, you will be a better teacher for having tried it, and you will eventually succeed in CALL. (I know it’s more than a sentence, but there you are.)

Q: What is your funniest CALL-related incident?

A: That would probably be the time I had planned a CALL lesson in my class and was all set to ““wow”“ my students with my knowledge of the Internet and great resources for learning English. The power went out right as class started. We spent the next 2 hours playing word games that used absolutely no technology at all (but were fun nonetheless).


Suzan, stampers@iupui.edu, is a senior lecturer in the English for Academic Purposes Program at Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. She has been a CALLIS member since 1995.

KEEPING UP WITH THE COMMUNITY

CALL FOR ARTICLES

On CALL welcomes your contributions of articles, reviews, opinions, announcements, and reports of conference presentations. We also would like to hear your suggestions, ideas, and questions. Send one or more of the above to Larry Udry at or Suzan Stamper.

ABOUT THIS MEMBER COMMUNITY

Statement of Purpose

TESOL’s Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (CALLIS) exists to define issues and standards in the field of computer-mediated language instruction, promote research and development in the area of computer-based language learning, and disseminate information about CALL to ESL/EFL educators worldwide.

CALLIS 2010-2011 Community Leaders

Chair: Suzan Stamper, stampers@iupui.edu

Chair-Elect: Dawn Bikowski, bikowski@ohio.edu

Past Chair: Christine Bauer-Ramazani, cbauer-ramazani@smcvt.edu

Newsletter Editor: Larry Udry, ludry@dwci.edu

Newsletter Coeditor: Suzan Stamper stampers@iupui.edu

Webmaster(s)-CALLIS Moodle: Stephanie Buechele, sb704206@ohio.edu; Tom Robb, callis@tomrobb.com; and Steve Sharp, ssharp66@gmail.com

Steering Committee Members

2008-13: Tom Robb, callis@tomrobb.com
2008-13: Roger Drury, roger.drury@esl.gatech.edu
2008-13: Aaron Schwartz, schwara1@ohio.edu
2009-12: Rita Zeinstejer, rita@zeinstejer.com
2009-12: Dafne Gonzalez, dygonza@yahoo.com
2009-12: Justin Shewell, jshewell@asu.edu
2008-11: Troy Cox, troy_cox@byu.edu
2008-11: Chris Sauer, chris.s.sauer@gmail.com
2008-11: Deborah Healey, dhealey@uoregon.edu

Historian: Steve Sharp, ssharp66@gmail.com

E-lists: Susanne McLaughlin, Suzan Stamper

Nominating Committee: Christine Bauer-Ramazani (Troy Cox, Chris Sauer, Deborah Healey)

Web sites: www.call-is.org/moodle

www.tesol.org