March 2014
On Call

Leadership Updates


Dear CALL-IS members,

I talked with two members of our IS about being on the TESOL Board and about the important relationship between the CALL-IS and the larger organization. First, I interviewed Ms. Claire Bradin Siskin (senior English language fellow, Regional Institute of English, Chandigarh, India), and here is what she had to say:

A couple of members of the Nominating Committee approached me during the 2011 convention and asked me to consider being a candidate. I eventually submitted an Expression of Interest form and was elected in 2012.

Having a CALL-IS member on the board is an important aspect of TESOL. CALL-IS benefits from representation at the Board level since it is there that decisions are made about funding all activities and projects such as the Electronic Village. And TESOL benefits by having direct access to our expertise at the highest level. Of course, Board members pledge to consider the interests of TESOL as a whole in making policy. During the upcoming year, I will take on a new challenge as chair of the Finance Committee.

In the past, CALL-IS members Tom Robb, JoAnn Miller, and Elizabeth Hanson-Smith have given admirable service on the Board. Now, Deborah Healey is joining me on the Board during the last of my 3-year term. I urge all CALL-IS leaders, past and present, to consider running for the Board. A fair amount of work is involved, but we all know that CALL-IS folks are no strangers to hard work!

I then interviewed Deborah Healey (American English Institute; University of Oregon):

I want to bring our CALL-IS expertise to the TESOL Board. As a former CALL-IS chair and Steering Committee member, I had a pretty clear idea of the role of TESOL as a whole in promoting CALL in general. It was also clear that the TESOL Board takes a large role in supporting the CALL-IS, especially in funding the Electronic Village and promoting CALL-IS events at the TESOL Convention. I had also been on early TESOL working groups that examined how TESOL could and should use technology to improve what it did administratively and in terms of service to the membership. Being on the TESOL Board should help me see what TESOL has done in terms of leveraging technology and where else it could go.

I'd also like to see further collaboration with IATEFL and more international events where TESOL works with local country and regional affiliates.

Claire has done a lot of good on the TESOL Board, and she encouraged me to throw my hat in the ring. I know that serving on the Board will be a great learning experience for me. I hope that I can also draw on my experience to serve TESOL and my fellow TESOL members.

Roger Drury teaches in the IEP of Georgia Tech. He has also taught in France and Colombia, the latter as a Fulbright Scholar. He develops ESP courses with a CALL emphasis.


This past year has marked another significant period of growth and leadership for the CALL-IS. After the Texas-sized Electronic Village of 2013, 2014’s EV is looking to be bigger than ever. With a record number of submissions and the new Classroom of the Future initiative that TESOL International Association is taking on, participants can expect technology to be a major theme at this year’s convention in Portland.

As the smartphone and tablet generation have found their way into more and more classrooms, we have seen significant growth in the area of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL), and this will be reflected in the events planned at the convention. While our Mobile Apps for Education showcase is going into its third year, one part of the Technology Fair will also be dedicated solely to mobile technology and a Hot Topics session is planned, with the title “Mobile Warming: Melting the Barriers to Language Learning With Mobile Devices.

In addition to the more general focus on mobile learning, CALL-IS is collaborating with other Interest Sections on the same theme. The EFL-IS has organized a panel of educators who are working in various countries to share their “Experiences Integrating Mobile Learning in Language Classrooms Around the Globe” and the Higher Ed IS is drawing on members of the CALL-IS for its Academic Session titled “Emerging Technologies: Managing a Changing Landscape With Mobile Technologies.” Not to be outdone, CALL-IS has also partnered with the Video and Digital Media IS for a session featuring an international group of panelists titled “Interactive Mobile Tools for the Next Generation.” Participants in all of these sessions will undoubtedly benefit from the panelists’ experiences with mobile technology.

Besides mobile learning, convention participants can expect exposure to other areas of interest to the CALL-IS. Hot Topics sessions are planned to address plagiarism, social networking, and flipped classrooms. Our academic session has a wonderful theme this year, “Teacher Education in CALL” and will feature some well-known experts in the field to share their ideas on empowering faculty with technical know-how.

As mentioned above, this year also sees the birth of TESOL’s Classroom of the Future showcase, which will contain demonstrations both in the main Exhibit Hall and in the Electronic Village. CALL-IS has provided support to TESOL in helping this initiative become a reality. We hope it will become as much a part of the TESOL Convention as the Electronic Village has been since our first EV in 1997.

For those who cannot make it, do not forget that the panels mentioned above will be webcasted, and the popular and practical Electronic Village Online sessions are currently underway. The recording of these sessions will soon be made available (they run from January 13 to February 16). Also, thanks to the work of our IS members, there is now a wealth of resources shared in the TESOL Resource Center, more than any other Interest Section, leading to our recognition as the Most Resourceful Interest Section in TESOL. As a prize for this distinction, refreshments will be provided at our IS Open Meeting on Thursday evening at the convention.

With such an impressive schedule and talented membership, I’m looking forward to attending the convention and spending the next year as the chair of our Interest Section, where I’ll be able to work alongside the many talented people I’ve met over the years. I expect to see lots of old friends and meet new colleagues in Portland. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to learn what others are doing and share your own exciting ideas with your peers. Whether you can attend in person or virtually, please come join us. I hope to see you in Portland.


Aaron Schwartz
Aaron Schwartz has taught in Japan, China, and the United States. He is currently a senior lecturer and technology coordinator for the Ohio Program of Intensive English at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, where he lives with his wife Sarah and three cats. He likes camping, kayaking, and all kinds of gaming.


Greetings! I’m pleased to share with you the latest edition of on CALL.

In this issue, one of our current co-chairs, Mr. Roger Drury of Georgia Tech, interviews two stalwart CALL members, Claire Bradin Siskin and Deborah Healey, about their experiences serving on the TESOL Board. In addition, Mr. Aaron Schwartz of Ohio University, the CALL-IS incoming chair, highlights some of the changes in the CALL-IS as well as some of the changes that are advancing in our field. Of note is the Classroom of the Future, a new initiative by TESOL, envisioning what ESL classes will look like in 20 years. In addition, he gives a nice preview of some convention attractions. In one of the recurring columns, Mr. Roger Gee of Holy Family University shows us how to use a new corpus from Brigham Young University, GloBwE, to explore the perceived increase in the expression more clear over clearer. Mr. Paul Sweeney of EduWorlds in the United Kingdom and Ms. Deborah Healey of the University of Oregon collaborated on an article about the CALL-IS/LT SIG Joint Online Conference this past fall, the first and hopefully not last of its kind. Also in this edition, in her “Making Connections” column, Suzan Stamper of the Centre for Language in Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education introduces three new active members of the CALL-IS: Ms. Dianna Lippincott, Ms. Cate Crosby, and Mr. Jeff Kuhn. In a newer feature, Ms. Mardelle Azimi of CALTech Fullerton reflects on her month-long discussion in TESOL’s IS Community pages on the topic of “Flipping the Classroom.” In addition, also in this issue, Suzanne Reinhardt, also of Divine Word College, explores the ins and outs of the Google Apps for Education Certification Program. Finally, the husband-and-wife team of Ms. Stephanie Fuccio and Mr. Evan Simpson, both of the University of Arizona, Tucson, report on a Twitter Scavenger Hunt and a way to annotate YouTube videos using video notes, respectively.

As the year begins, I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on the countless professional development opportunities available in our TESOL community. Please consider submitting to our spring edition of OnCALL. The deadline is May 2014. Finally, the CALL-IS Steering Committee extends an invitation to the upcoming annual TESOL convention in March 2014; more details can be found in this newsletter. Even if you can’t make it to the convention, there are a wide variety of ways to stay active professionally. See the sidebars in this issue for links to the Community and our one-stop-shopping repository of materials related to CALL-IS. While there, please take time to take the poll.

The newsletter could always use more hands. I have been fortunate to have another set of hands to help. Thanks to Mr. Kole Matheson of Tidewater Community College for his invaluable help in editing this newsletter. I couldn’t have gotten it out if it hadn’t been for his help. If there is something that you would like to see in our newsletter (or if you’d like to join the newsletter team), please feel free to contact me.

I hope all CALL-IS members will be able to use these professional development opportunities, whether in Portland or any place around the globe.


Originally hailing from Cincinnati, Larry was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rich, Morocco from 1986-88 and then graduated with an MA TESOL/ Linguistics from Ohio University in 1992. He has worked with Partners of the Americas in Venezuela, and  he lived in Isahaya, Japan, for a year. Prior to his position at Divine Word College, he worked in UT Martin for eleven years, where he published the TNTESOL Newsletter.



The Corpus of Global Web-Based English (GloWbE), released in April 2013, is freely available here. With 1.9 billion words from nearly 2 million web pages from 20 English-speaking countries, it uses the familiar interface of other Mark Davies corpora such as the Corpus of Contemporary American English. For those not acquainted with the other corpora developed by Mark Davies, the site has brief explanations of the major features and a 5-minute tour that illustrates various types of searches.

The countries represented in GloWbE include inner, outer, and expanding circle Englishes: the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Jamaica. A helpful feature of the corpus is the ability to exclude countries and groups of countries to make comparisons. So it is possible to compare North American English—spoken in the United States and Canada—with British English, to focus on regions such as Southeast Asia, or to look at the English of the different circles.1

To acquaint myself with GloWbE, I used it to investigate the use of more clear, a phrase which I have been hearing—and reading—frequently in the United States. I speculated that perhaps the outer circle countries were influencing the traditional formation of comparative adjectives in U.S. English.

My speculation was not supported. As seen in Table 1, in GloWbE both the absolute frequency and frequency per million words of more clear is greatest in the United States, but the countries with the least frequent occurrences per million words tend to be outer circle countries. Of the 10 countries at the bottom of the frequency list, only Ireland is not an outer circle country.

Table 1 Frequency of More Clear (click to enlarge)

(For a list of country codes click here)

Searching GloWbE for more clear and then clearer gave the results shown in Table 2. As seen, the traditional clearer is still more common in the United States as it is in all of the countries represented in GloWbE. Pakistan had the smallest frequency per million ratio, 3.31, meaning that clearer occurred in GloWbE only a little more than three times as frequently as did more clear. Pakistan was followed by the United States with a frequency ratio of 3.66. However, clearer occurs over 10 times more frequently than more clear in the Philippines, New Zealand, Tanzania, Australia, Nigeria, Ireland, Singapore, and Malaysia. Once again, it does not appear that the outer circle countries are influencing the United States.

Table 2 Comparison of the Frequency of More Clear and Clearer (click to enlarge)

So what was learned from this exercise with GloWbE? The traditional form of the comparative, clearer is still more frequent than more clear in U.S. web pages—over three times more frequent. Another way of saying this is that clearer is still more probable. And it is possible to state that clearer is much more probable in many other countries, with the ratio being over four times greater in Malaysia than in the United States. Furthermore, contrary to my initial speculation, there is no reason to believe that formation of the comparative in U.S. English is being influenced by outer circle countries’ English.

Jenkins (2006) noted several years ago that research into World Englishes “has immense implications for TESOL practice in all three circles and above all in terms of the kind of language we teach” (p. 171). TESOL (2008) has recognized in a position statement that,

as a result of complex economic, cultural, and technological forces, such as the growth of international trade and the Internet, the English language is now used worldwide, with a geographic spread unique among all world languages. . . . As a result, the vast majority of those using English worldwide are themselves nonnative speakers. This has had a profound effect on both the ways English language teaching (ELT) is practiced and the language itself.

GloWbE will be helpful to scholars and teachers interested in the “diverse users and uses of English” in inner, outer, and expanding circle countries (Bolton, Graddol, & Meierkord, 2011, p. 474). For me, GloWbE provided data to disconfirm my speculation that was based on intuition. I can now say with some confidence that although more clear is relatively frequent on U.S. websites, clearer still predominates, and that the use of more clear on U.S. websites does not appear to result from outer circle influences.

Yet I have not explained the reason for the variation in comparative forms apparent among the 20 different English-speaking countries represented in GloWbE. As pointed out some years ago by Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman (1999),

the “rules” . . . for the comparative inflection are not as rigid as those for the plural or past-tense inflections. We regularly hear English speakers use a periphrastic form for emphasis . . . when the “rule” would predict the inflection. There is also some individual variation. (p. 721)

A follow-up to the quantitative analysis above would be a qualitative examination of the GloWbE data to investigate sociolinguistic variation in the use of more clear in web pages.

1 Inner Circle countries are the traditional English-speaking countries; Outer Circle countries are those where English is used as an institutionalized, official language, though it may be an additional language for many; and the Expanding Circle countries are those where English does not have an official status, but is used in commerce and is studied as a foreign language. See Table 1 for a classification.

Bolton, K., Graddol, D., & Meierkord, C. (2011). Towards developmental world Englishes. World Englishes, 30, 459–480.
Celce-Murcia, M., & Larsen-Freeman, D. (1999). The grammar book: An ESL/EFL teacher’s course (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Thomson Heinle.
Jenkins, J. (2006). Current perspectives on teaching world Englishes and English as a lingua franca. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 157–181.
TESOL. (2008). Position statement on English as a global language. Retrieved from

Roger W. Gee is a Professor at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA where he is the Director of the Masters in TESOL and Literacy Program.  His interests are second language literacy, language and literacy assessment, and the use of corpora in teacher education. 


Paul Sweeney

Deborah Healey

When and where did the conference take place?

The joint conference was a 7-hour webinar which took place October 12, 2013. It started at 7 am Pacific/1400 GMT and ended at 2 pm Pacific/2100 GMT. There were brief introductory remarks by conference organizers Paul Sweeney (Learning Technologies Special Interest Group of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) and Deborah Healey (CALL Interest Section of TESOL), then seven 50-minute sessions. The final session was an open Q&A with closing remarks by Paul and Deborah.

Who/what organizations/people were involved?

This started 4 years ago when Michael Carrier of the British Council (and a founding member of the CALL-IS) wanted to enable closer ties between IATEFL in Britain and TESOL in the United States. The British Council has funded one person from the LT SIG to go to the TESOL Convention and one person from the CALL Interest Section to go to the IATEFL Conference each of the past 3 years.

To extend the relationship, representatives from the LT SIG and the CALL-IS decided to hold a full-day series of webinars as an online conference. Paul Sweeney and Deborah Healey served as overall organizers. The title, after some discussion, was set as “Using Technology in Teaching: Principles in Practice.”

Heike Philp was the overall technical director of the webinar, with Ellen Dougherty, Jack Watson, Dawn Bikowski, and Sophia Mavridi as moderators and helpers during the series of sessions.

The CALL-IS organizers:
Deborah Healey, Collaboration Coordinator
Roger Drury, Collaboration Team
Jack Watson, Webcaster
Dawn Bikowski, Collaboration Team
Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Collaboration Team
Justin Shewell, Past Chair

Nicky Hockly and Paul Sweeney, Coordinators
Shaun Wilden, Events Organizer
Heike Philp, Online Events Organizer
Natalya Eydelman, Newsletter Editor
Pete MacKichan, Webmaster
Vicky Saumell, Community Manager
Sophia Mavridi, Treasurer
Graham Stanley and Pete Sharma, Committee Members

Below are the titles and the links to the recordings. Heike Philp deserves great credit for making sure all of the recordings were saved and published.

Saturday 12 October 2013, UTC 14:00–21:00
Using Technology in Teaching: Principles in Practice
The first joint online conference by TESOL CALL-IS and IATEFL LT SIG

Welcome Address
UTC 14:00
Paul Sweeney, LT SIG coordinator, UK
Deborah Healey, CALL-IS coordinator, USA
Moderator: Ellen Dougherty
Recording (4 min):

Opening Plenary
The Case for Technology and Language Learning
Carol Chapelle, CALL-IS
Moderator: Ellen Dougherty
UTC 14:15

The Role of Online Tools in Teacher Development
Shaun Wilden, LT SIG
Moderator: Paul Sweeney
UTC 15:00

Designer Learning
Nicky Hockly, LT SIG
Moderator: Paul Sweeney
UTC 16:00

TESOL Technology Standards: Why, How, and for Whom
Deborah Healey, Phil Hubbard, Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou, Paige Ware, with help from Elizabeth Hanson-Smith
Moderators: Jack Watson and Ellen Dougherty
UTC 17:00
Recording (50 min):

Digital Literacies
Gavin Dudeney, LT SIG
Moderator: Heike Philp
UTC 18:00

The Sky Is not the Limit: Connecting With Elementary Makers in the Cloud
Christel Broady, CALL-IS
Moderator: Jack Watson
UTC 19:00

Joint Closing Session and Open Q&A
UTC 20:00
Moderators: Paul Sweeney and Deborah Healey

Recordings have been published on Facebook: and TESOLCALLIS

What were the highlights of the conference?

There were 252 unique visitors in Adobe Connect during the online conference from all over the world. As the first-ever joint IATEFL-TESOL webinar, one highlight was that it actually took place and had so much global interest. Each presenter brought interesting insights, and the simultaneous chat throughout the webinar added another layer of interaction among participants.

The recordings allow others a chance to take a look at what happened, providing an ongoing benefit to teachers with an interest in effective use of technology in language teaching.

What future collaborations do you see?

Nicky Hockly from the LT SIG will be coming to TESOL in March, and Elizabeth Hanson-Smith from the CALL-IS will be attending IATEFL. She’ll be part of the preconference LT SIG day, talking about TESOL’s Technology Standards and how they fit with CALL in practice.

We are planning another joint online conference/extended webinar in May, perhaps on the topic of gaming and gamification.


I thought I knew about Google and its apps. I thought that getting a Google Apps for Education certification would be easy and look good on my résumé. Read a few pages of material, take a quiz, and voilà—near instant professional development. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The process was entirely more instructive than I expected. But it was also more time-consuming than I thought reasonable.

The basic idea behind Google’s Apps for Education is to learn about and to obtain Google verification that you’ve done the structured training. Google Apps for Education currently has five modules: Apps Admin, Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and Sites. (About 6 months ago it updated the testing, and some of the modules were condensed and some were deleted completely.) The modules are set up with several pages of material and followed by a test. Users can take as long as they would like to read through the material—as long as all of the testing is finished within 90 days—but once a test has been opened there is only 48 hours to finish it. In many ways this is ideal. You can do a brief read-through of the materials then leisurely go through the test-taking process. With so much time to do the test, it’s reasonable to go back and check answers and get a perfect score, if you are so inclined.

And that’s exactly what I did. I started from the beginning with Apps Admin and read through the materials, which is a project in itself. At the beginning of each module there is an estimated time for studying the material that ranges from 1 hour up to 8 depending on the topic. It took me much longer to complete the reading than the estimates. Plodding through the material was tedious and made me want to start reorganizing my closet or start working on my taxes so I could actually start to do something. This is one of the biggest weaknesses of the program: hours upon hours of reading followed up by a simple multiple-choice test. An education-related program should have stronger pedagogical soundness.

However, there was a lot to learn. I was surprised by how detailed these apps are—clearly Google at its best. Within Calendar it’s not only easy to request a room for a meeting/class, it’s possible to schedule a room that has the specific resources that you need. For example, if you need to schedule a room with a projector, simply add a room with that resource, which has already been created earlier, to your appointment time. If you would like, you can create a class page using Sites. Sites allows you to embed personalized calendars, formatting, and specific pages for lessons and chat, if need be. For lessons, an instructor can add presentations, video, and notes, and Google forms can be used for tests and quizzes. Much of the content in the five modules allows for every possible requirement, valuable tool, or whimsical contrivance an instructor could ask for in a free service.

Another benefit of the program is that anyone can have access to the readings. You can learn a lot without having to pay for, and go through, the testing. And if you’re really excited about this being official, you can get certified as a Google Apps for Education Trainer. There is a comprehensive application process, but gosh, who wouldn’t want that on their CV? With this service, it also means that you can have someone come to your school and do the Google Apps for Education training for your employees.

Although there was a lot to learn, there are several drawbacks to this testing program. The main weakness is that there is little customer support. If you have a tech question there is an email, and I found the support person very helpful. However, if you have a question about the test itself there is only a forum visited by other users. Being that this is a paid service, I would expect more. I am currently in limbo between when I started the testing, with the previous modules, and after they updated the tests (for which the site suggested waiting to do the testing). The content is now different. The materials for some of the tests I had paid for now do not even exist. There was another person on the forums with the same obstacle, but really there is no one to ask. Trust me, I tried. I even called Google’s main offices in California, but they state very clearly in the automated response: Google does not have a customer support line.

It’s clear that this program is not Google’s focus and that it’s a work in progress; the typos in the content make this evident. However, if you pass your tests with 80% or more and you complete them within 90 days, you should not have any problems. Besides being highly instructional, the timeline is basically your own and the program will flesh out your professional development. As long as everything goes smoothly and you are willing to take the risk of not having much support, I would recommend this not only as a refresher but as a comprehensive learning tool for Google Apps. Here is the link to the site. Google offers a reasonably priced, easy-to-use, professional development resource that you can start using today. Google Apps for Education training provides a complete training and certification tool that provides you with more information about Google tools than seems reasonable. There are some downsides, though, which means starting and completing the program is a bit of a gamble, but overall you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much there is to learn.

Suzanne Reinhardt currently teaches ESL at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa. Her Master’s degree is in Linguistics, and she is working toward a Master’s in Educational Technology from Michigan State University. Future plans include a PhD. 


This semester I am teaching two classes of first-year writing classes with international students. Similar to their American Freshman counterparts, they are very familiar with social media platforms in their home countries, like Weibo and Renren in China. However, they are, for the most part, unfamiliar with Twitter. Because of this, I knew that there would be a learning curve to using this social media tool for research later in the semester, so I decided to start the Twitter literacy tasks during the first week of class to get them ready. Thus, one of their first homework tasks was to sign up for a Twitter account and to bring comfortable shoes to the next class.

The purpose of this scavenger hunt was threefold:

  1. To familiarize students with tweeting
  2. Have them physically go to useful campus writing resources (tutors, tech support, etc)
  3. To create personalized visual material to use in our rhetorical analysis lesson

Using student-produced materials in class has worked well in the past, so I had a feeling that we could use the scavenger hunt photos a few days after to practice rhetorical analysis. By first creating these visuals (the scavenger hunt photos) and then rhetorically analyzing the circumstances surrounding them in a discussion forum activity, I hoped that the critical thinking component would be more personal and therefore more engaging. Additionally, the TESOL teacher in me has to admit that getting students physically active by incorporating reading and writing in the target language was a large part of the activity as well. This part was achieved by having all of the instructions and tweets available in English only. Lastly, students were directed to text after each photo instead of waiting until they were finished. This was done to stress the instant nature of this genre.

When students arrived in class, I gave them the following:

  1. A physical map of campus
  2. Information about the free university of Arizona app and its accompanying map function
  3. A one-page instruction sheet with the hash tag we were using, the four places to find, and a few scavenger hunt rules.

They were given 30 minutes to complete the task. All four places were relatively close to our classroom. A few days prior, I was able to visit the below four places in a 20-minute test walk:

  1. Tutoring: the writing skills improvement program
  2. Free laptop rental: fine arts library
  3. Tech help: UTIS (University Information Technology Services)
  4. Graduate teacher offices: CCIT)

Students were divided into groups of three or four, with one member assigned as the official tweeter. It was easy to keep track of group tweets when they were coming from the same person. students were instructed to go to the four places on the instruction sheet, take a photo of all group members in front of the building sign, and then tweet their photo with the given hash tag (#uawrtres—you can take a look if you wish).

Because it was the second day of class, students were asked to hold their nametags up in the photos (to which one student made a prison reference—I didn't see that coming!).

Follow-up activity
We were working on rhetorical analysis in this writing class, so we did a follow-up activity in which students rhetorically analyzed the activity and the author's intentions. We did this activity in a D2L Discussion Board. The hope was that analyzing an activity that they had done and were physically a part of (it was their faces in the photos!) would make it more engaging.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this activity. There were tech issues that I did not foresee that frustrated both the students and me. Some of their phones were fighting the twitter app and would not let them tweet the photos, although text-only tweets worked just fine. In addition, some students’ English level made this challenging in a 50-minute class period. If I were to do this again, I would spend more time with twitter setup in class, not just assign it as part of their homework. I think some students were signing up with their l2, and that made it hard to use my English language instructions.

The positive side is that even though the tweeting technical obstacles existed, students found the campus resources in the scavenger hunt. Since then, when I have referred to one of these resources in class they response has not been the usual "where is it?" but instead a look of recognition. Thus, there really should be an in-class Twitter set-up lesson before the scavenger hunt. But, even without that digital literacy training, all three learning outcomes were achieved.

In a technology class I am currently taking, another student mentioned doing a similar activity and taking it one step further by adding a component and an award component as well. This website turns twitter feeds into what looks like an online picture book. This is definitely something I will try next time I do this activity.

We have now started to use twitter for research purposes, and I look forward to writing about those lessons in a future newsletter edition. I welcome feedback or ideas on how to make this or any twitter lesson even more helpful to students.

Stephanie Fuccio spent 8 years teaching EFL overseas before returning to the United States to work on an MA TESOL. In MAY 2014 she will complete her MA and return overseas SHORTLY THEREAFTER. Her TESOL interests include CALL, MALL, L2 writing, and EAP. She welcomes feedback at LinkedIn or Twitter.


Teachers love using videos in the classroom. They are engaging, multisensory, and can provide authentic language. The question, of course, is what do you have students do while they're watching the videos? Well, one tool I've come across recently is is a web application that allows users to take notes of online videos (YouTube, Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity) and then store and share their notes using either Evernote or Google Drive. Why would you want to use this site?

  • Ease of collection: Instead of carrying paper copies, you just have students "share" their work with you (more on that later).
  • Tracking the process: If you are having students write essays on videos, it is a lot harder for them to plagiarize if you are tracking their work from the very beginning.
  • Collaboration: Students can share their notes and ideas with each other nearly instantly.
  • Safe keeping: Students "misplace" their paper notes all the time. Unless students consciously deletes the files from their Google Drive account, their video notes aren't going anywhere.
  • English for academic purposes: If you are teaching TOEFL iBT or IELTS preparation or EAP on a foundation program, this lends itself to that.

So how do you use (click to enlarge all images)

1. Go to the website and press "Connect with Google Drive."

2. Paste the video clip's URL into the box and press "Load video."

3. Give the file a title by clicking on the area above the icons.

Now for the fun part. To watch the video and take notes, press play, click on the white space on the right hand side of the page, and start typing. What you type will be saved automatically and synced to you Drive account!

Here is a sample activity I got from Prof. Ahmet Okal. (Çok teşekkür ederim hocam!)

Students watch a sketch from The Carol Burnett Show in which the entire conversation between a man and a woman in a tea shop consists of one-word answers. Instead of writing what the characters say, students write what they mean. For an example of this activity, please click here. The clip of the show can be found here.

But how do you check to see if students have done the activity? By collecting their work electronically.

1. Click on share.

2. You have three options:

3. But what if you get an error message like the following:

It is at this point that students will normally panic. Resist the urge to join them. Instead, have them go to their Google Drive account.

How to share from Google Drive:

1. Go to your Gmail account and click on the box-looking thing in the upper right corner.

2. Click “Drive.”

3. Have students find the file in their Google Drive account.

4. Check the box.

5. Click on the “person plus” button.

6. Now they have the same options as described before.

Finally, although there have been some issues in my classes (e.g., students forgetting to "share" files on time, not remembering to name them), the overall response has been positive. However, no matter what you do, there will be some bugs when you adopt a new procedure or a new technology. Therefore, be sure to check out the YouTube channel as well as the several other how-to videos on YouTube which can answer pretty much any question you have. For example, say you want to use Tedxesl but you cannot find the video on YouTube. What do you do? Follow the instructions in this video to find out.

A version of this article was previously published on Evan Simpson’s blog Teaching Learning, Learning Teaching.

Evan Simpson has been teaching EFL since 2003 and currently teaches English Composition for International Students at the University of Arizona where he will receive his MA in ESL this May. You can follow him on Twitter at @pevansimpson where he tweets about TEFL, edtech and teaching critical thinking.


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

  • What is your favorite platform?
  • What is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
  • 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, more than 30 members have been invited to share resources, experiences and interests. These "interviews"—like a virtual snapshot—reflect where our IS has been, where it is now, and where it is going. I hope you will enjoy these new additions as we continue to compare experiences, share advice, nurture inspiration, and make connections within our community.

Please e-mail me if you have suggestions or contributions to Making Connections.

Dianna Lippincott

Affiliation: Arizona State University, American English & Culture Program
Years in the CALL-IS: 3

Dianna is the director of the ESL Innovation Lab at Arizona State University, helping teachers implement CALL and test new technologies. Last semester, teachers in her IEP used 159 different technologies and applications in their classrooms! Dianna is a representative in the CALL Interest Section Steering Committee and coordinates the Electronic Village Classics sessions at TESOL's international convention.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: I had always been a Windows user, and I couldn't understand my teen daughter's fascination with Apple. Then our university went to a dual boot system in our classrooms and the Mac side was much faster than the Windows. So I, like the computers, adapted to using both. I now use a Mac for the portability.

Q: What is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
A: Google Drive!

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
A: None of my information sources are truly unexpected—my teenage children, my coworkers, Richard Byrne's blog, and some electronic newsletters to which I subscribe.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: I created an online course for professional development for in-service teachers. We will be piloting the course later this year. The reason that it's my favorite is that it centers around sharing best practices with colleagues around the world.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on a collaborative project between Arizona State University and English Central on a course for international students who want to become pilots. This is a profession where pronunciation and listening skills are paramount!

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: I'm interested in research that shows the efficacy of different technologies.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: Don't be overwhelmed. There are a plethora of ideas and implementations, but you just need to start with one small thing. Then you can slowly add to your portfolio of CALL skills.

Cate Crosby

Affiliation: University of Cincinnati
Years in the CALL-IS: 1 (Cate has been active in SLW-IS since 2006)

Cate is professor of TESOL at the University of Cincinnati. She teaches courses in literacy and second language studies for preservice teachers, in-service teachers, and doctoral students. Her research interests include TESOL teacher education; U.S.-educated writers; multiple literacies, including informational, digital, and global; and the use of technology in the language classroom.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: Firefox OS. My least favorite is my Windows Phone because of the dearth of applications compared to the iPhone and Android.

Q: What is the one indispensable tool/webpage?

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: In the year and a half that I have been teaching fully online, my favorite creation has been my Eyejot, or video email.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on improving the online TESOL courses I teach to (primarily) in-service teachers enrolled in the master's TESOL Program at the University of Cincinnati.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: My goal to improve my online teaching for this year is to participate in Kaltura training and incorporate the use of this in all of my online courses.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: My advice to those new to online teaching—get help from the instructional designers at your university (and buy them lots of coffee as a thank you). Also, attend the training your university offers as well as conferences on online teaching, such as Quality Matters and the Sloan Consortium.

Jeff Kuhn

Affiliation: Ohio University
Years in the CALL-IS: 3

Jeff Kuhn is an instructor in Ohio University's English Language Improvement Program and a PhD student in the Instructional Technology division of the Patton College of Education, with a focus on games for language learning. He worked as a consultant on the U.S. Department of State’s Trace Effects and has presented on the use of games in the classroom at TESOL. He has been a member of the CALL-IS for 3 years and is volunteering this year as a webcast host.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: Web browsers on any OS. I'm a big fan of mash-ups, and the flexibility of HTML allows me to merge maps, video, audio, and games into activities. You wouldn't believe what I can make run in Hot Potatoes!

Q: What is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
A: I'd say Google Earth because of the possibilities it offers for exploration and classroom visuals. A favorite classroom activity is to have students give virtual tours of their hometowns or favorite sites in their countries.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
A: Students, for sure. I figure if they are using a tool or website, then I should find a way to bring it into our classroom.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: Definitely the Holodeck. It is a virtual language learning environment at Ohio University. We built a small soundstage which allows students to go on virtual tours in Google Earth, give speeches in front of large audiences, or practice ordering language in a mock restaurant.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: Currently I am working on a composition class that utilizes the video game Minecraft. We have selected readings in class that we then experience firsthand inside the video game. The theme last semester was "the zombie apocalypse."

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: Gesture-based interaction. A mouse and keyboard are barriers to authentic language practice. Advances in voice and gesture computing are now at a point where we can bring them into the classroom to give students more immersive language practice. Simulation is the next great advance in CALL.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: Go to TESOL conferences (local or international) and talk to everyone—share ideas, get ideas, and collaborate!

Suzan Stamper is an instructor in the Centre for Language in Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. She has been a CALL-IS member since 1995.


After defining “flipping the classroom,” this article discusses the key components of a flipped lesson and shares CALL-IS instructors’ concerns and insights which predominantly focus on the global challenge of student motivation. Here is a sampling of their concerns: Will students complete the lesson outside of class? Will this help students achieve greater educational goals? Will they reach our expectations, or will they just arrive in class with the usual excuses which could be hashtagged “my dog ate my homework”?

What does “flipping the classroom” mean? As defined by Graney (2013), the flip is in homework. The homework in a flipped lesson is what the class work has been: The action of students learning the lesson now takes place outside of class, thus allowing them more time to define, repeat, and review as often or infrequently as they need before coming to class to complete the scaffolded exercises, activities, or role-plays. It means that students will be engaged in higher order thinking of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation by receiving their educational input outside of the classroom. They will read, watch videos, or listen to recorded podcasts. What does this mean to the students? Will a majority of them benefit more than from completing typical homework? Will students be engaged with this type of lesson or get swayed into a 42-minute game of Candy Crush? Will the lesson be as valuable to them outside the classroom? They might instead think, “The teacher doesn’t even want to do it, but makes us do it. This homework doesn’t matter because the teacher doesn’t even teach it to us.” Will they embrace it as a beneficial pedagogical innovation?

The aim is that students’ completion of the assignment outside of class could produce better analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, while student participation and engagement would improve in class. At home, students are expected to take responsibility over their learning of the material so they will be better prepared for what activities will occur in class the next day. They become “masters” of the material before completing classroom exercises. The consensus on a common concern of online CALL-IS commentators was that some proof of completed homework would need to be required. A number of educational videos, from places such as TeacherTube or YouTube, have quizzes integrated into the videos which the teachers could assign for students to complete and bring to class to satisfy the “homework completed” requirement.

Educational input specifically in the form of videos has been closely associated with flipped classrooms. There are two common avenues for educational videos: preexisting videos and self-made videos. If you’d like to use what has already been created, you might find resources such as TeacherTube, YouTube, TED-ED, Educreations, or ShowMe beneficial. If you’d rather make and edit your own educational videos, there are Screencast-o-matic,Jing, or Camstudio; or with some funds invested, you could use Camtasia as well as others (Graney, 2013).

The typical homework, then, in this flipped classroom is actually classwork: It is conducted in the classroom with the teacher there to clarify, assist, and correct answers individually, in pairs, or in small groups. In this way, educational muscle memory comes in to play. If your class is already run like this, you are ahead of the game; if your class reflects the more typical model, this is another method you can consider in trying to gain more instructional time with students. Because the classroom focus is on students’ application of the material they learned outside of the classroom, this frees up more time in class to achieve greater goals. Learners are still the center of the lesson; their needs, of course, are top priority. With more time to complete multiple scaffolding of classroom activities, students can make greater gains in their learning process, which is globally a treasured educational goal. A noteworthy benefit to the flipped classroom is that the instructor has more time in class to work and could make greater progress. To that point, Majumdar (2014) notes administrators and teachers saw progress in that failure rates drop 20%; dropout rates were lowered as well. More than 90% of students are graduating, with the college attendance rate rising by almost 20% by 2012.

Whether the input is in a video, reading, or podcast, common consensus by faculty in the online discussion is that the course objectives need to be crystal clear. Furthermore, students should see a valuable reason for this work as well as for it being learned outside of class. Many instructors supported and lauded a valid suggestion to use a rubric as an objective way to evaluate students for completing this work and for clarifying the criteria. Additionally, the assignment’s connection to a larger project, unit, or goal was viewed as essential to its success. Globally, instructors highlighted student motivation, both extrinsic and intrinsic, as a critical issue which has to be addressed. An instructor might get better results by providing extrinsic motivation (say, a grade) when the criteria for class the next day is met. This could be the impetus to complete what is required if the student is lacking sufficient intrinsic motivation. More discussion will need to be pursued to delineate the best ways to instill intrinsic motivation. This dual-faceted dilemma must be addressed with each individual homework assignment.

A typical challenge for instructors in flipping the classroom, then, is determining who has done the assignment outside of class and is ready to apply the material and complete the exercises in class. Giving quizzes which encompass the key points of the educational input was recommended by some instructors. A quick checking of students’ quiz answers would ascertain those who were prepared to move ahead into exercise completion. With the traditional classroom homework assignment, we have questions answered on paper to prove that students completed the exercises. For the flipped classroom, there can be a similar requirement: some proof that they have completed the video, reading, or podcast. Our classes will still, the discussion blog faculty concurs, be divided into those who are prepared, those who are not prepared, and those who can do even more than the instructor anticipated. At least with non-flipped lessons, we knew the students had the educational input our class activities were based on, yet there can be uncertainty in how well they understood it.

In conclusion, a common albeit critical thread throughout the discussion, which was best stated by Sandy Wagner of the Defense Language Institute, was that when instructors are flipping the classroom there is “the need to remain true to established teaching practices and allow the technology to support the learning process.” Many instructors concurred that this is quintessential.

The phenomenon of flipping the classroom does, in some ways, address 21st century students’ learning process. As we can see, with classroom Internet connectivity, students’ learning process takes on a different form; by the time a relevant question comes up in class and a few students offer their opinion, another student has accessed the Internet for the answer. Case in point: In one of my classes, a reference was made that the tallest skyscraper currently in the world is the one in Dubai, with a total height of 800 meters. Debate ensued for approximately 1 minute about whether 800 meters was accurate. Ali and his iPhone discovered that indeed Dubai’s skyscraper is precisely 830 meters. Discussion over; it all transpired virtually instantaneously. With the speed of learning at this rate, how can 21st century students be patient and tolerant enough during a traditional lesson? How can they feel engaged in classrooms being taught with 20th century teaching methods?

Are we ESL instructors expecting too much to be completed outside of class? Or do we simply recognize that with CALL lessons being flipped outside the classroom, students could become as highly motivated toward learning as we are in the creation of those lessons? If you’d like to learn more about the flipped classroom and th 21st century students’ learning process influenced by CALL, come see my presentation at TESOL 2014, in Portland, Oregon, in the Electronic Village.

Graney, J. (2013, October). Flipping Your EL Classroom: A Primer. TESOL Connections.
Majumdar, A. D. (2014, January). Flipped Classrooms: A Technology-Driven Teaching Method. Retrieved from

Mardelle Azimi is an ESL instructor for the American Language Program, an intensive English program in California State University, Fullerton. She teaches university bound intermediate and advanced ESL students English which is used in science, technology, and engineering majors in the university.



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.


Articles should

  • list a byline: author’s name, affiliation, city, country, and email
  • include a 50-word teaser for the newsletter homepage
  • be no longer than 1,500 words (including tables)
  • contain no more than five citations
  • include a 2- to 3-sentence author biography
  • follow the style guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (APA style)
  • be in MS Word (.doc(x)) or rich text (.rtf) format
  • if possible, include a shoulder and head shot: clear, 120 px height max 160 p total, preferably including the person's name who took the shot
  • include hyperlinks that have meaningful URLs

Figures, graphs, audio files, video files, and images should be used, too, to enhance your articles.

Deadline for Fall 2014 newsletter submissions is May30th . Send your newsletter submissions to Larry Udry