March 2015
On Call



Another year has come and gone, and here we are again gearing up for another exciting TESOL convention, this year in Toronto. I am excited to tell you all about this year’s academic and InterSection panels that we will be hosting.

This year for our academic panel, we have invited IS members to discuss gaming and language learning. The session, “Games in the Classroom: From Principle to Practice,” will look at gaming and language learning from the perspectives of a theorist, teacher trainer, teacher, and builder. The panelists will explore the research on games for language learning, discuss their use in the language classroom, and talk.

CALL-IS is also hosting in an InterSection panel with the Second Language Writing IS. The panel, “Automated Writing Evaluation: When Is It Right for Your Students?”, will address the challenges and opportunities facing instructors when integrating automated writing evaluation into the second language classroom.

Our members have also been invited to participate in a panel with the International Teaching Assistants IS called “Online Teaching and ITAs: What ITA Trainers Need to Know." The panel will explore how technology can be used to develop ITAs’ pronunciation and academic English skills and delve into what an online ITA course might look like.

All of the CALL-IS lead panels, along with several other sessions including our Hot Topics panels, Mobile Apps for Education, and our annual CALL-IS Open Meeting will be webcast live, so even if you are unable to make it to Toronto you can still follow along live wherever you are.

Stay up to date with all of our events and follow along by visiting our redesigned site. There you can learn more about all of the events we are hosting not only at the 2015 TESOL convention but all year long.

Whether you join us in person or online, we hope you enjoy what we’ve put together for this year’s convention.

Stephanie Korslund

Stephanie Korslund is director of the Language Studies Resource Center in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She is currently working on finishing her PhD in instructional technology with an emphasis on CALL at Ohio University and hopes to graduate in May of 2015. She and her husband welcomed a new little one to their family in January 2015.


Hello Colleagues,

The annual TESOL International Convention in Toronto is now just around the corner, and for the first time in my nine-convention history, I won’t need to cross a border (which is ironic, given the theme of this year’s convention: “Crossing Borders, Building Bridges”). And, as always, I’m really looking forward to seeing colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and newcomers at the Technology Showcase and Electronic Village (EV) Fairs venue.

With a pleasant combination of innovation and welcoming spirit, the TESOL CALL-IS offers opportunities for year-round volunteer involvement and professional development. Positive, developmental, highly knowledgeable, collegial, humorous, imaginative, giving, technologically adventurous, and most important, fun to be with—these all describe people I’ve had the good fortune to meet and work/play with in the EV.

Whether year round or at the convention, the CALL-IS has offered learning opportunities to me about everything from stand-alone programs to cloud computing, from cellphone to desktop, from local classroom to global community, from independent learning to real-time connection… you get the idea(s).

For educators and students alike, these are exciting times. Abundant opportunities exist for incorporating electronics into your classroom, or for reaching out to an audience that can be worldwide. Come, meet, and discuss with colleagues who are recognizing and developing the potential of electronics to benefit their students’ learning and make futures brighter.

See you in the EV!

Jack Watson

2015 TESOL CALL-IS Incoming Chair-Elect

Jack Watson is the e-learning coordinator at the University of New Brunswick English Language Programme in Fredericton, NB, Canada. With more than 30 years of experience in ESL, his professional interests include online and blended learning, language learning through community contact, and teaching beginners. Extracurricular interests include blues guitar, amateur website building, photography, and playing with Siamese cats.


Greetings! I’m pleased to share with you the latest edition of On CALL. This issue, the preconvention special, is packed with information about Electronic Village (EV) events at the Toronto TESOL convention as well as some articles that explore pedagogy and teaching using CALL. Of course, we’ve got links. Who doesn’t like hot links? Mr. Justin Shewell, a former chair, has put the program in a PDF version that is searchable. It looks fantastic. This link is so important that I have included it in two places. Here is the link. The other link is in the sidebar.

I would like to especially thank the following people: the newsletter editing team of Justin Nicholes, a PhD student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Camille Bondi in Kuwait; Grazzia Maria Mendoza, MEd, Zamorano University Honduras; and Ravneet Parmar, an ESL teacher who is now studying criminology.

In this issue,. Stephanie Korslund previews some of the special events that will be happening at the convention in Toronto. Mr. Jack Watson, the incoming chair-elect, highlights some of the great things about our IS. In addition, Ms. Teresa Almeida d’Eça discusses the many uses of the Google suite of apps. Also, Ms. Sarah Lee Takahashi explores the application of an approachable online journaling platform, Penzu. Dr. Julie A. Delello shows how augmented reality, such as QR codes, could be used to enhance student learning, and Mr. Robert Wachman explains how he was enriched by taking TESOL’s Principles and Practices of Online Teaching Certificate Program.

In a recurring column by our resident Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) analyst, Mr. Roger Gee explores new uses of COCA for collocations (i.e., near synonyms). In addition, Ms. Kareen Sharawy explains the metamorphosis of a teacher as the classroom itself changes technologically. Finally, Ms. Suzan Stamper, longtime newsletter editor, in her 10th-anniversary “Making Connections” column, introduces some of the faces (new and old) in CALL-IS.

Even if you can’t make it to the convention, there are a wide variety of ways to stay active professionally. If you haven’t already, please make sure you see the sidebars in this issue for links to the EV Program, recordings from the conference, and our one-stop-shopping repository of materials related to CALL-IS and our Facebook and Twitter links. While there, please take time to take the poll.


Originally 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 11 years, where he published the TNTESOL Newsletter.



I've never been a person to stick to a brand. I've always enjoyed the freedom of choosing a tool or app when it does what I expect it to in a user- and learner-friendly way. That’s how I started exploring Google, a world in itself.

Most of the apps I use are common ones: Chrome, Gmail, Search, Drive, YouTube, Google+, and Hangouts. Each represents something different to me, but all have one very relevant feature in common. They simplify my daily tasks, above all at the communicative and collaborative levels.

Google Chrome: A Window to the World

Google Chrome is an extremely powerful and versatile tool. And very reliable, fast, and user-friendly. It allows you to have multiple tabs open in the same window and keep your tabs better organized by using the "pin" tabs feature when things start to get out of hand. Pinned tabs reduce the tab size and send each one to the left end of your browser window. And they will always be there when you open or restart your browser. How do you do it? Simple. Right-click the tab you want to pin and select "Pin tab." To unpin the tab, right-click and select "Unpin tab."

Gmail: A Communications Center

Gmail keeps me in touch with anyone and everyone. Whenever and wherever I want.

GMail can be used for one-on-one or one-to-many communication. Creating groups is a time-saving feature. Creating folders (“labels” in GMail lingo) helps keep messages organized. You can also create filters to have messages skip the inbox and go directly to the corresponding folder/label. There are several other features that you can explore.

GMail is useful for professional development to submit queries and doubts to peers, and to give and get timely help. At the academic level, it can be used to send out announcements and reminders, for students to submit homework and projects, and for the teacher to give timely help.

Google Maps: A Location Tool

In a professional development online or face-to-face workshop, it's interesting to create a Google Map (GMap) for participants to insert their placemark to show where in the world they are or are from. This shows attendees what can be done in real time with students and trainees. Here's the map with the places of origin of the attendees in my Google Portugal Summit presentation. Your students can do something similar whenever they do a joint project with another class in their country or abroad.

When my students and I were awarded the international EU Schoolnet "e-Learning Award 2007," I created a GMap with placemarks for all peers who sent us greetings. Why? It was a very special moment for my students and me.

I also used GMaps for a school activity with my sixth-grade students (2nd year EFLers). At the end of the 2-year cycle with me, I planned their first-ever audio chat, in English, with teachers who had interacted with them for 2 years through the Comments feature in our curricular and extracurricular blogs. Students came up with the questions they would ask the teachers if they could "hypothetically" (I told them) talk to the teachers. When the time came, the surprise was complete. They reacted with great enthusiasm and several volunteered spontaneously to ask a couple of questions each. There were 12 questions in all. I recorded the interview. Their final task was to write a summary of what the teacher had said and write it in a placemark window inside a GMap that I had created in advance (to save class time). The results can be seen in this map.

Google Drive: A Collaboration Center

Google Drive allows you to create different types of documents: text documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations, forms, drawings, and maps. And you can add apps (add-ons) to these documents.

Drive allows 50 people to collaborate simultaneously, locally or globally, and to leave text and audio comments. For audio, you need Kaizena, an extremely powerful add-on for language learning, because students can get and give feedback both in text and audio.

While students work in a document, they can search, research, and quote from an online source and have it automatically cited. EasyBib is the add-on for this. When working in a joint project, they can collaboratively brainstorm ideas, plan, create, and produce their end product using different media: text, images, audio, video, and so on. Finally, they can share it with colleagues and the world—an authentic audience! If they want to go a step further, they can present it via a Google Hangout.

Drive also allows you to share documents. You can give privileges for others to edit, comment, or view documents. By default, files are organized into "My drive" (files that you create) and "Shared with me" (recently renamed “Incoming”: files that others create and share with you). But Drive also allows you to organize files in folders, and to work across devices and offline.

Last but not least, when giving a presentation about Drive, it's possible to "demo" everything in real time, from the creation to the sharing process.

Google Forms: Get Results and Feedback

With Google Forms, you can create pop quizzes, polls, surveys, and questionnaires with different types of questions: multiple choice, true/false, short answer, open ended. In the case of the first two types, you can get instant feedback. The answers are submitted with charts that include the total number of respondents and percentage for each answer.

Google Search: A Q&A Tool

This tool has three types of possibilities: text, audio, and image. Text is the most common one, and, I believe, the one that gave way to the "Google it" expression. You can search a word, expression, or question; get a definition of a word or expression; and search for conversions, sums, the weather...

If you click the microphone icon in the search field, you can use your voice to search.

You can also search for images related to a certain word, expression, or topic, or search using an image, called reverse image search. And you can search by URL to get similar images.

Google+: A Social and Professional Network

You can create your Profile and post to it with images, links, and videos. You can make your posts public or send them to specific Circles (groups of people); create Circles of friends and peers, and join personal or professional Communities; mention people by using "+name" (without the quotes) and they will be notified; click "+1," the equivalent to "Like" on Facebook; and share posts. Here's my Google+ profile.

Google+ is being used more and more by groups as their main communications center for professional development workshops.

YouTube: For Videos

YouTube is a huge repository of videos of all types, categories, and topics that cater to all tastes, interests, and needs. If you want something more specific to education and the classroom, there is TeacherTube, SchoolTube, and YouTube for Education, all with appropriate and safe content for the classroom.

If you want your own creations and resources in one place, you can create a YouTube Channel and organize your own Playlists. You're welcome to visit my YouTube Channel.

When watching videos in class, two tips are very useful. One is to use a decluttering program that allows you to show videos without distractions such as ads, comments, or lists of other videos. It's called ViewPure. Just enter the video URL in their site and click the "Purify" button. Bingo!

The second tip applies to longer videos that you want to start only at a certain point. Instead of cropping the video, you can just create a timestamp at the end of the URL that includes "#t=00m00s" (without the quotes). Here's an example of mine.

Google Hangout: A Virtual Meeting Place

Google Hangout is a social and professional get-together tool. It can be accessed through GMail, Google+, and mobile apps for smartphones. It allows for a video call with a maximum of 10 people, and you can run a simultaneous text chat, share your desktop, and even invite people to join the hangout while it's running, if there are vacancies.

Hangouts on Air are live sessions that are broadcast to the world, thus, public by default. However, you can make them "unlisted" so that only people with the link can find, join, and watch them. They're saved to the YouTube account of the person who starts the hangout.

Here’s a very helpful step-by-step tutorial about both types of hangouts. A tip I just learned has to do with the bandwidth setting slider. At the top center of your hangout window, to the right of the webcam icon, there's an icon with horizontal lines. Hover over it to adjust your bandwidth if you're having connection problems. You may also have to disconnect video and use only audio. Other attendees may need to do the same to help the person with a low-bandwidth connection.

As is true of most tools, Hangouts are fun to explore with a group of friends or peers to analyze all their potential. They should be used in class to make learning as authentic as possible. However, as with any other tool, the teacher should only use it when he or she feels comfortable with it. If need be, accept the help of students. It doesn't take away authority from you. On the contrary, it empowers students in a way that helps strengthen the teacher-student relationship.

Google apps allow us to accomplish a lot. How we use them is up to each of us. Imagination is the limit! Whether at the personal, classroom, or professional level, Google is bound to have a solution for you!

*Note: This article is based on this presentation by the author.

Teresa Almeida d’Eça is a retired EFL teacher, certified teacher trainer in edtech, award-winning teacher, and author. She’s been an edtech fan and advocate since 1996, having involved her students in blended learning. Her latest self-published work is Pronunciation Made Easy for Portuguese-Speaking Learners of English.


Since 2004, I have used online journals for students in my writing classes. My objectives are to provide students with a mobile, interactive, online platform. Additionally, I hoped journaling would provide an outlet for individual expression (other than TOEFL writing practice and formal, academic writing), a way to develop students’ writing fluency, and an opportunity for students to read, engage, and comment on peers' journals, developing their writing voice and an immediate audience (e.g., classmates).

Online journaling can help developing ELL writers to develop their writing fluency and to enrich the overall writing experience. However, often technical snags interfere with this process, particularly as students begin to navigate new technical terms and applications in a second language. Over several years’ experience using platforms such as Blogger, Wordpress, and discussion boards on BlackBoard, I found that students with emerging language skills struggled with more complex controls and interfaces. These technical barriers worked against students who were less experienced with the digital realm.

Additionally, I was concerned about the security and privacy of my students. These online journals were not intended to be blogs, per se. Blogs are inherently public forums, and many of my students were not ready or willing to share their journals with a larger online readership. Therefore, we needed easy control of privacy and sharing permissions. Again, the privacy and sharing settings of more sophisticated blogging sites (e.g., Wordpress) seemed daunting for many students.

These stumbling blocks sent me on a mission to find a more user-friendly online journal, which led me to the discovery of Penzu is a free private online journal designed to be used by individuals who would like to keep an online journal that is not shared publicly. Since 2011, I have used this journaling platform successfully with multiple levels of EFL writing students. In this article, I will explain more about my experience using this platform, its ease of use and sharing capabilities, as well as some of the benefits and drawbacks in using an online journal for both students and instructors.

Ease of Use

The user interface of Penzu was immediately appealing. Because the default setting of the website is private, students had no reason to worry about the privacy of their journals. Signing up for a free journal proved to be a painless process that could be done in a matter of minutes in the classroom. I usually do this in class, walking students through each step on a projector or screen as they work individually. In fewer than 30 minutes, students should be ready to go with their individual blog, user name, and password.

Controls are simple, graphic, and easy to identify. At the top of each journal page, an icon bar appears, giving a user various options: add a new journal, save, print, add a photo, change the font or size, email, and comment. This graphic interface is intuitive for students as no additional technical vocabulary or expertise is required for basic operations.

Additionally, in contrast to more sophisticated blogging platforms such as Wordpress, Penzu integrates the controls and appearance. In other words, no separation exists between the “dashboard” controls and the journal as it appears to the end user or reader. This seamless integration represents another advantage of Penzu as a platform for ELLs.


Typically, I group students in dyads or triads to allow them to comment on each other’s journals, and they are required to send me their entries as well. Because Penzu is inherently a private journal, each user must share his or her journal entries with the teacher or other readers via email. This can be achieved easily and directly by using the “mail” icon on the screen. However, users need to enter the email address of each user with whom they share a journal entry. One way to save time during this process is to create a master email list for each class so that students can select the addresses of students with whom they share journals.

Grading and commenting on students’ journals from the teacher’s perspective is very simple. Every time a journal is shared with you, it goes into a separate “shared” folder on your journal, where you can see the user name, title of the journal, and date and time it was sent. This can be useful if timeliness is important. A link to these journals can also be sent via email, but this could clog your inbox, so I opted to retrieve entries directly from my shared folder on the website. However, one advantage of the email function is that you can reply or comment directly to individual journals via email without logging onto Penzu.

Comments on individual journals are visible to all with whom that entry is shared. This can be useful if you are evaluating the quality of students’ comments. It also allows students to view the teacher’s comments as a model for their own responses.


Limitations arise when customizing the appearance of the Penzu journal. Unlike blogging platforms such as Blogger, this site does not offer a variety of colors, backgrounds, and layouts for users to choose from. However, as discussed previously, the simplicity enhances its ease of use.

The appearance of the default page looks like a leather-bound journal with clean, simple-lined paper for each journal page. While font and color choices are limited for free Penzu accounts, users can add photos and hyperlinks to their journals. Students can also choose from a limited range of profile avatars as free users, but they are not allowed to upload their own.

Penzu, Penzu Pro, and Penzu Classroom

Penzu now offers a Classroom edition of the website in addition to the free and paid edition. This edition offers more seamless sharing, commenting, and grading functions for a nominal yearly fee. However, because I have only used the free version, I can only present these as potential alternatives to a free account.


Based on students’ feedback and my own overall satisfaction with this website, I can recommend Penzu for teachers who would like an approachable, user-friendly way to integrate online journals into their writing classes. From my perspective as a teacher, I could see a marked improvement in the development, clarity, and fluency of students’ writing. In the less formalized structure of the online journal, many students seemed to find a more distinct voice in their writing, which transferred to their more formalized essay and TOEFL practice writing assignments.

In terms of feedback from students, in response to an informal class survey of 14 high-intermediate level students, all respondents reported enjoying the online journal format more than their handwritten notebook journals. In terms of developing a voice, nearly 90% of respondents reported that their writing fluency increased, and roughly 70% felt that they were more prepared to use English to participate on social networking services (e.g., Facebook, Twitter). About 70% reported that it helped them prepare for the writing section of the TOEFL iBT test, and many students felt that their keyboarding skills in particular increased. In terms of privacy, only about 40% of respondents found that the privacy settings on Penzu were hard to control, and 67% reported that they would be unwilling to share their journals with others outside of the closed classroom network.

Finally, most students enjoyed the additional level of interaction with each other beyond their face-to-face time in the classroom, reporting that they learned more about their classmates and felt a stronger group connection through sharing and commenting on Penzu. Overall, I found that using an online journal such as Penzu is a valuable extension to an academic writing course, supplementing formal essay assignments and test-based writing prompts by providing a much-needed platform for individual exploration, self-expression, and communication through writing.

Sarah Lee Takahashi is an instructor and member of the Curriculum Development Committee at Asia University's Center for English Language Education in Tokyo, Japan. She has been teaching ESL and EFL in a variety of contexts for the past 14 years. Her current research interests are in CALL and second language writing as well as intercultural communication. In her free time, she studies Japanese, yoga, Zen meditation, and other esoteric pursuits.


How can new technologies such as augmented reality (AR) be used to increase English language proficiency for students of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds?

For an ELL, an image may communicate more meaning than print and may be used to reinforce the spoken or written word. AR platforms have the potential to support ELLs by superimposing virtual images, graphics, and sound onto real-world settings while bringing a new level of innovative and creative processes to the classroom. Through technological interaction and visualization, students are immersed in the learning experience. The following set of AR applications show promise for teaching across language barriers outside the traditional classroom approach.

QR Codes

Some of the simplest evolving AR tools are “quick-response” (QR) codes. A QR code is a technology in which a two-dimensional barcode is read by a two-dimensional digital image sensor. QR images are commonly black-and-white patterns arranged in a square which store alpha-numeric information. There are numerous QR code readers and application devices available for free educational use. One such example is QR Voice,which allows the user to create a QR code that, when scanned, will play a short audio message in multiple languages. Although the application is free of charge, the user is limited to 100 characters. A similar platform to QR Voice is Vocaroo, which allows the user to upload or record sound bites with unlimited characters, generate a QR code, and then display the images electronically or in print.

QR codes can be decoded by a QR code reader and a device with a camera. Daqri or Digimarc Discover technologies are two such QR readers. Daqri is a content publishing platform that allows users to create QR codes that display images, movies, and other pieces of content as soon as they are viewed through a smartphone camera. Additionally, Daqri has created one of the first “real world” interactive learning experiences, combining 4-D wooden blocks with AR to help users learn the periodic table.

The Digimarc Discover application uses the latest digital watermarking technology combined with QR barcode detection to allow users to experience rich print and audio experiences. Rather than just using black-and-white barcodes, digital watermarks are unseen patterns embedded into media. “Digital watermarks make it possible for computers, networks and mobile devices to instantly ‘recognize’ content and link it to relevant web-based experiences so that consumers can interact with any media they come across in their daily lives” (Digimarc, 2013, para. 2).

Teachers can use QR codes in combination with QR readers to support language acquisition and vocabulary development. For example, by combining the QR Voice application with a QR image reader such as Digimarc, ELLs can hear the English pronunciation of an image such as a telephone (see Figure 1). Additionally, QR codes may be created and displayed electronically or in print.

Image of Telephone QR Code With Voice

Figure 1. QR Voice Code for Telephone

Electronic “Pop-up” Books

Meyer and Rose (1998) pointed out that well-designed, digitally supported reading environments scaffold students’ literacy learning to address an individual reader’s needs, preferences, and skill levels. One teaching tool to assist ELLs in learning a new language is the use of AR 3-D pop-up books.

Several of the most popular AR sites for 3-D pop-up books and pages include ColAR Mix, Popar Toys, BooksAlive, and Zooburst. The Human Interface Technology Lab in New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ), created ColAR Mix, an AR platform that combined analog and digital media to turn coloring pages into 3-D animation. Preliminary findings with ColAR have shown that through the use of 2-D print images and 3-D AR applications, students have shown improved reading comprehension skills and recall of information (University of Canterbury, 2012).

Popar Toys used AR technology to create an immersive reading experience that allows the user to see 3-D objects and animations. According to Popar Toys (2013), the 3-D reading experience lets cards, puzzles, and print books “come to life,” changing the way children interact and experience stories, adventures, and learning (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Bugs Book Screenshot on Ipad ©2013. Used with permission.

BooksARalive combined 3-D AR with print-based illustrated stories, multilingual narratives, and musical soundtracks (see Figure 3). The premise of 3-D AR books is based on the idea that reading is a skill that children are going to need every single day of their lives. The company suggests that the use of AR technology will change the attitude of children toward books.

Figure 3. BooksARalive ©2013. Used with permission.

ZooBurst is a digital storytelling platform that allows students to create 3-D books. The platform can be personalized using a library of thousands of images, multiple Adobe flash animations, and voice narrations (see Figure 4). Students experience the platform through a desktop, laptop, or mobile computer and free ZooBurst AR mobile application. Students can interact with one another and share books with other students across the globe using a simple hyperlink creating a constructivist-based environment. As an educational tool, ZooBurst provides teachers and students with new ways to tell stories, deliver presentations, write reports, and express complex ideas.

Figure 4. Zooburst ©2013. Used with permission.

Vocabulary Translation Applications

Vocabulary knowledge is vital to a student’s success in literacy development and reading comprehension. AR applications such as Word Lens, LettersAlive, and AR Flashcards have shown potential in improving vocabulary for ELLs.

The free AR application Word Lens is an optical character recognition tool that uses the camera on any mobile device to instantly translate language without the need for an Internet connection. For classroom students learning English, an iPhone can be pointed at words written in Spanish and instantly translate the words into English while retaining background images. The application is available with five different language packages. In addition, Spanish-English and English-Spanish dictionaries can be added for a minimal cost of US$4.99.

Letters Alive (LA), created by Logical Choice Technologies, is a supplemental reading program that integrates AR into daily life. Primarily for the beginning-level ELL population, LA connects oral language components (reading, writing, listening, speaking) and the Common Core State Standards to augmented animated images. Students can interact with 26 multimedia AR animals representing each letter of the alphabet.

To encourage children to learn the basic alphabet, Mitchlehan Media designed the free application AR Flashcards 2.0 for use on an iOS device. The platform features 26 rendered animals and six dinosaurs that pop up on printed flashcards. Students can tap the screen to hear the letter and the animal name.

Creation Application

Created by the software company Autonomy in 2011, Aurasma is the world’s first visual browser to merge the real world with rich interactive content such as videos and animations called "Auras." Aurasma is a free application that is available for iOS (7.0+) and high-powered android devices (4.0+) devices that allow the user to create 3-D overlays that will trigger based on an image. Educators may wish to download and use the Aurasma Studio version, allowing students, parents, and the community to access an aura on multiple devices.

Figure 5. Aurasma What’s Your Aura ©2013. Used with permission.

Across the nation, the Aurasma application is being implemented in classrooms to enrich lessons through the use of teacher- and student-made auras. For example, educator Hannah Walden (2012) recommended using Aurasma to write object names in the language of your choice. “Students practice fluency by using the iPad to scan the room for layered objects. When a layered object is detected, a picture with the correct name pops up on the iPad” (para. 5).

Through the implementation of technology-enhanced experiences such as Aurasma, students become active participants in authentic learning.


Students, provided with a virtual AR experience, have shown an increase in engagement, subject-matter knowledge, and collaborative learning (Delello, 2014). Through AR, literacy can be fused through the use of images, media, and innovative technologies in order to promote language and literacy for all learners. But integrating new and innovative technologies into classrooms will only succeed when educators spend time learning how to use such tools and applications. While the potential of using AR is vast, more research is needed in the application of such platforms for educational use. Using AR applications in the classroom such as those proposed in this paper may encourage interactive learning and the opportunity for ELLs to improve skills in all four modalities of language: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.


Delello, J. A. (2014). Insights from pre-service teachers using science-based augmented reality. Journal of Computers in Education, 1(4), 295-311. Doi 10.1007/s40692-014-0021-y

Digimarc. (2013). The vision: Discover media the Digimarc way. Retrieved from

Meyer, D., & Rose, D. H. (1998). Learning to reading in the computer age. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.

Popar Toys (2013). Interactive books. Retrieved from

University of Cantebury. (2012). New technology brings children's drawings alive. Retrieved from

Walden, H. (2012). Techielit: Aurasma-augmented reality. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Dr. Julie Delello is an assistant professor in the College of Education and Psychology at The University of Texas at Tyler. Dr. Delello has more than 20 years of experience in K–16 education as a practicing teacher and administrator. She received her PhD in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in science and technology from Texas A&M University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their five children, as well as traveling and reading.


Main Text

Like many CALL enthusiasts, I’ve used software and the web in language teaching for years. I’ve also used course management systems like Blackboard as supplements. But I’ve never actually taught online. In January 2013, as I prepared to move to the Philippines, I decided I wanted to learn how.

I had heard about TESOL’s certificate program, Principles and Practices of Online Teaching, and decided to give it a try. At first, I enrolled only in the foundation course, the required first course for anyone wanting to pursue the certificate. After a few days of interacting with the instructor and classmates and reading and discussing content, I was hooked and opted to go for the certificate. This meant taking an additional five courses over a maximum period of 2 years: two specific language skill courses (of six offered), two “general online teaching” courses (of four), and the Certificate Completion Course at the end.

In my last 3 years of classroom ESL teaching, I had specialized in teaching listening and pronunciation. Hence, the content courses I selected were Teaching Listening Online and Teaching Speaking and Real-Time Communication Online. The general courses I chose were Designing Interactive Activities for the Web, and Creating and Using Multimedia for Online Instruction. I also decided to take the E-Commerce course so that I could learn the essentials of offering products and/or services online for a fee. A description of the whole program with links to all course descriptions, requirements, and application procedures may be found here.

Program Overview

Courses in the program are organized into modules. Each module contains clear instructions, information, activities with due dates, and numerous links to informational and interactive websites. In general, coursework consists of a lot of reading, listening to audio, and some video viewing, followed by reflection, discussion, and response using a similar variety of media—writing, audio recording, and video recording, as well as occasional live text, audio, or video chat. Studying and learning to use countless online tools and resources as well as how to build attractive, functional web pages to deliver instruction are also major components. Each course culminates in the creation of a project, created individually or occasionally in collaboration with one or more classmates. I found all of these activities to be highly enriching and enjoyable.

Highlights of My Experience, Course by Course

The Certificate Foundation Course was a good beginning, a survey of the lay of the land of online teaching and learning and an opportunity to become familiar with the Desire2Learn course management system as well as the structure of courses in the program. For the final project, we were encouraged to “work toward an item of immediate use to you and your students” (Emily Reynolds, Presenter). I created tutorial web pages to help my students learn to use ANVILL, a site I used as a supplement in my listening and pronunciation courses.

In Designing Interactive Activities for the Web, my second course, we had a lot of fun exploring a great variety of interactive tools. My final project for this course was the creation of a small interactive Wikispaces website. In keeping with my strong interest in teaching listening and pronunciation, it is titled Robert’s Interactive Listening and Pronunciation Center. You can take a look and try my activities by clicking on the site title.

My Interactive Activities Project

In my third course, Teaching Listening Online, we created our own digital audio recordings and podcasts and explored many listening skill development websites. In Module 2, three of us collaborated to produce a report in which we described, evaluated, and ranked 10 listening websites. This and two other reports described below are available for download here. Our three favorite sites were English Listening, Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab, and elllo. My final project for this course consisted of two web pages, one with print resources and links for teaching listening and the other a lesson plan for teaching syllable stress.

In Teaching Speaking and Real-Time Communication Online, my fourth course, we tried a variety of online applications for real-time text, audio, and video communication, including Skype, Yahoo Messenger, and Google Hangouts. For voice recording-based activities, we tried VoiceThread, Vocaroo, and Voxopop. And for web conferencing, we tried tools including AnyMeeting, AdobeConnect, FuzeMeeting, and GoToMeeting. My two classmates from the listening course and I collaborated again to produce two comparative guides—one on voice recording tools and one on web conferencing tools—both available here. Another classmate produced a great list of suggested language development uses of real-time communication tools, which she has generously agreed to share as well.

I next took E-Commerce for Teachers and Administrators, an extra course for me, beyond the number needed to earn the certificate. In this course, five of us studied the components required and suggested steps for setting up an e-commerce business, possible information flows, laws and regulations, how to make sites attractive and easy to use, and how to optimize a site so it will be found by search engines. We also studied the selection and purchase of domain names and surveyed companies that provide webhosting, payment gateways, and shopping cart services. Several of us actually purchased domain names for possible future businesses. The final task of this course was to make a list of “next steps I will take to prepare my website and e-commerce business,” very useful down the road, as it will be some time before I have a chance to pursue this avenue.

Used with permission.

My final elective course toward the certificate was Creating and Using Multimedia for Online Instruction. One highlight was learning how to use a new free online digital audio recording tool, AudioBoom (called AudioBoo during the course). You can listen to my recording here, create an account, and add a comment if you like. I also improved my audio editing ability in Audacity and my photo editing in GraphicConverter, putting my head on an image of Superman for fun. For my final project I used a free demo download of Camtasia to make my first screencast using this much more flexible and powerful tool than the free ones I had previously tried. It demonstrates how to set up, launch, and end a private Google Hangout On Air. Though it’s far from perfect, you are welcome to take a look with this YouTube link.

The final course in the program is the Certificate Completion Course: a review of online learning and teaching, strategies for promoting student participation and collaboration, curriculum conversion, assessment, and other topics. Two of special interest to me were instructional design (ID) and blended learning. In ID, we discussed the need to maintain sound pedagogy as the highest priority. As George Siemens says, “ID is the process whereby learning, not technology, is kept at the center of elearning development” (Siemens, 2002). After reading Dziuban, Hartman, and Moskal (2004) on blended learning, I wrote in a response assignment:

Online and blended instruction have the potential to transform instruction and learning, to make instruction more student-centered, make students more actively engaged and responsible for their own learning, make them more interactive—through increased requirements for communication with the instructor, with other students, with the content, and with outside resources. Careful planning and instructional design can increase student motivation and reward by engaging them in interesting content, reflection, discussion and creative projects.

This describes well my experience of TESOL’s Principles and Practices of Online Teaching Certificate Program. The single factor that stands out in my experience of this program is increased enjoyment and learning that came through frequent discussion and collaboration with peers.

Evaluative Conclusion

Courses were replete with engaging topics of high interest taught by knowledgeable, experienced, enthusiastic, and highly supportive faculty. Study was composed of a blend of theory and application with emphasis on the latter. Not only did we study and discuss “best practices” in web page design and course structure, in most courses, we experienced them. In addition to valuable information, familiarity with a wide variety of digital tools and online resources, increased skill in design of online teaching and learning activities, a bonus outcome I never would have imagined is having a lasting network of colleagues I can bounce ideas off and consult for suggestions as I make my way in this still mostly unfamiliar territory of online and blended learning.

I asked my classmates in the Certificate Completion Course for their “quick take on elements of the program most valuable to [them].” You can read their responses here.

For more information about the certificate program, contact the TESOL Education Programs Department,


Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., & Moskal, P. (2004). Blended learning. Educause Center for Applied Research, Research Bulletin, 2004(7). Retrieved from

Siemens, G. (2002, September 30). Instructional design in elearning. elearnspace: everything elearning. Retrieved from

[Note: Not currently accessible. A video interview with George Siemens may be found at]

Robert Wachman has been a CALL enthusiast for more than 25 years. He was a member of the development team for the popular software Live Action English Interactive, served on the CALL-IS steering committee in the early 1990s, and helped launch CATESOL’s Technology Enhanced Language Learning Interest Group. Robert received his MAT in ESOL from the School for International Training in Vermont and taught ESL for 30 years in community colleges and adult schools in California, retiring as a professor of ESL at Yuba College in 2010. In the 1980s, he worked for 3 years as a supervisor and trainer of ESL teachers in the Philippines and currently teaches a graduate course in ESL teacher education there.


Near synonyms, such as small/little and strong/powerful, are words that have similar meanings, but different uses or distributions. Because they have different uses, near synonyms often cannot be interchanged. At times it’s difficult to explain to students the differences between near synonyms, but the Corpus of Contemporary American English (Davies, 2008-) may be used to learn about the ways in which near synonyms vary and to provide material for teaching.

The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) is a freely-available corpus, though registration is required. It contains 450 million words of American English in use from 1990–2012, and it is balanced in two ways. First, it is balanced by genre; the corpus contains five equal-sized sections of spoken, fiction, magazine, newspaper, and academic texts. It is also balanced in the sense that COCA includes 20 million words for each year from 1990–2013 (Davies, 2008-). These features of balance are important when using the corpus for instructional purposes.

The interface for COCA allows for quite sophisticated searches, but basic searching is rather straightforward. To get started with COCA, a Brief Tour is available under Help. The tour guides the user through various options on the search interface. As seen in Figure 1, help for each section of the interface is available by clicking on the question mark on the right side of the interface. Also, there are several introductions to COCA available on YouTube.

Figure 1. COCA basic search interface

One of the ways in which near synonyms differ is that their collocates, or the words with which they commonly occur, differ. With COCA, it’s easy to find the collocates of each near synonym and to compare the collocates of two words. Referring again to Figure 1, there are four options under display. “List” is the first option, and it can be used to find collocates of a single word.

In Figure 2, the List is chosen, the word little is entered as a word to search for, and “collocates” has been selected. These settings will result in a list of words that occur frequently with little in a window, or span, of four words to the left and four words to the right. These words are collocates of little, and the reader will recall that near synonyms often have different collocates. The five most frequent collocates for little are given in Table 1.

Figure 2. COCA interface to search for collocates of little

Table 1. Collocates of little

Note that the frequency of each collocate is also given. Bit occurs with little 31,859 times in COCA. There is a rapid fall off in frequency for the other collocates; girl occurs only 8,957 with little, and nervous only 869 times.

Figure 3. COCA interface to compare collocates of little and small

A useful feature of COCA is the ability to see how frequent a collocate is with each of two near synonyms, compared to the overall frequency of the two words. Figure 3 shows the interface setting for this contrast. This time the “Compare” option was chosen, and in the second search string field, “small” was entered. The relative frequency of collocates for little and small is given in Table 2. When examining Table 2, it is important to note that none of the top 10 collocates for little appear as one of the most frequent collocates for small, and vice versa. That is, while in COCA funny appears 355 times as a collocate of little, it never appears as a collocate of small. Likewise, saucepan appears as a collocate of small 632 times, but never as a collocate of little.

Table 2. Relative frequency of collocates for little and small

These lists provide a starting point for teaching the collocates of near synonyms. It is easy to make a matching exercise with the word lists. However, clicking on the W1 number for each collocate provides a list of sentences with collocates. So, for funny, clicking on “355” results in 355 sentences that could be used to create exercises. Some sentences would be too difficult or otherwise inappropriate for use with students, but here are five examples I selected from among the first 20 sentences:

  • It's just kind of a funny little thing
  • He's got a very, very funny little book
  • He developed a funny little half smile.
  • Funny little monkeys, aren't they?
  • I found this funny little chair, marked "Snug-seat," at a tag sale.

Choosing sample sentences for several collocates of both “little” and “small” would provide authentic material that could be turned into a variety of sentence-level exercises.

Here is a second example using the near synonyms strong/powerful. The 10 most relatively frequent collocates for strong and powerful are given in Table 3. The first thing to note is that, again, none of the most frequent collocates are shared between the two words, though some collocates of one word do appear infrequently with the other. That is, showing, which appears 217 times with strong, appears once with powerful, and weapon, which appears as a collocate of powerful, occurs once with strong.

Table 3. Collocates of strong and powerful

Another important feature to note is that several of the collocates of powerful belong to the semantic sets of machines and weapons, while those of strong do not. That is, the collocates of each near synonym tend to have different semantic associations. Using COCA to investigate the semantic associations of the collocations of near synonyms will be the topic of a future newsletter article.


Davies, M. (2008-). The corpus of contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Retrieved from

Gee, Roger (2015-). Created by accessing from by the author. ( February 15th, 2015)

Roger W. Gee is a professor in the School of Education at Holy Family University, where he is the director of the Masters in TESOL and Literacy Program. He is interested in the use of language corpora in teacher education.


Can you believe "Making Connections" is starting its 10th year? As many have said over the years in this column, one of our best IS resources is our members! Let's celebrate in this issue by getting acquainted with three more members:

  • Abraham Reshad
  • Maria Tomeho-Palermino
  • Susan Gaer

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?

I hope you enjoy this space to compare experiences, share advice, nurture inspiration, and make connections within our community.

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

Suzan is senior lecturer and English language team leader at Yew Chung Community College in Hong Kong. She has been a CALL-IS member since 1995.

Abraham Reshad

Affiliation: Ohio Program of Intensive English at Ohio University

Years in the CALL-IS: 3

Abraham Reshad serves as a lecturer and database/CALL coordinator in the Ohio Program of Intensive English at Ohio University. For 3 years, he has utilized mobile media to augment classroom instruction in terms of reading and vocabulary. Now, he focuses on augmented reality mobile applications and Ohio University's Holodeck.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: iOS: Despite the growing competition, it is still the industrial standard on mobile OSs. I particularly like the Airplay feature, which expands the utility of it in both the home and classroom.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
A: Google's suite of apps: Free, stable, and perfect for collaborative work.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
A: The news blog Lifehacker. It's not a teaching website, but it provides the latest news in technology and gives very practical advice on tweaking technology for one's purposes. Reflecting on use of technology in the classroom, I have noticed that much of it wasn't designed for education, but yet still provides an excellent environment for learning.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: New Reader. This was a robust reading program designed by John McVicker, the CALL coordinator at the OHIO Program of Intensive English. It was definitely ahead of its time as it provided chunking activities for speed-reading in addition to various gap filling activities.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am currently collaborating with my colleagues at Ohio University's Language Resource Center on expanding the functionality of the "Holodeck." It allows an extended display to be broadcast across three surrounding walls, thus immersing individuals in a visual experience that extends to the edges of their peripheral vision. Relevant audio, including background noises, can also accompany displays to contribute to a more convincing experience. This room provides teachers and students a chance to practice language in relevant, simulated, and immersive contexts.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: I would like to see more work in locative-based mobile media. There have been projects that have shown what is possible in platforms like ARIS, but much more still needs to be done.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: Join TESOL's CALL-IS: We have an excellent community of practitioners ready to help you get your foot in the door of this field.

Maria Tomeho-Palermino

Affiliation: Center for English Language and Orientation Programs

Years in the CALL-IS: 4

Maria has been teaching at the Center for English Language and Orientation Programs at Boston University for more than 25 years. She is involved in teaching and coordinating a variety of ESP courses and teacher training. She is also actively involved in assisting in the Electronic Village and has recently become part of the webcast team for CALL presentations at TESOL.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: I use both Windows and Mac OS; however, I favor Mac OS since I find it much more stable.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
A: I love PBworks, which not only helps me organize courses, but also serves to provide an infinite number of avenues for personalized learning and collaborative activities. I would like to applaud Christine Bauer-Ramazani and Sandy Wagner with whom I could explore wiki spaces in the online courses I took with them.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
A: Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has new and improved ideas for the classroom, including techniques for using apps and collaborative tools.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: A wiki for a cross-level, cross-concentration collaborative project for my English for International Business class and the English for Academic Purposes class of a colleague was one of my favorite sites created with her. Link: Collaborative Team Project. Moreover, collaborating in the Preconvention Institute in Dallas 2013, "Creating Collaborative Learning Spaces," spearheaded by Sandy Wagner, was one of the most invigorating experiences in collaborating online with CALL professionals I've had. I was fortunate to work with Sandy, Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Jack Watson, and Skip Gole.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working with colleagues to determine tools and sites to be used for other cross-level collaborative projects. In addition, I'm constantly reviewing and tweaking Blackboard courses for a summer legal English course for Pre-Masters of Law (LLM) students and for the Legal English Certificate Program with the law school, launched September 2014.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: More proven apps for pronunciation and speech modulation would be very helpful.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: First, determine when and how to use CALL to reach certain language outcomes, and then focus initially on a couple of sites and apps that may help you and your students achieve those goals.

Susan Gaer

Affiliation: Santa Ana College

Years in the CALL-IS: 20 or so

Susan is a professor of ESL at Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education and an active member of CALL since the 1990s. She was the chair of the CALL-IS in 2005, serving from 2004 to 2006.

Q: What is your favorite platform?
A: Mac.

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/webpage?
A: There are so many. I love Socrative, Poll Everywhere, and creative tools, including mobile apps.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?
A: My colleagues.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?
A: Having my literacy students write powerful stories about their arrival in the USA in the late 1980s. They were refugees from tribal Lao communities and didn't have any literacy skills in their first language. Their stories were incredibly powerful. Those stories are still available to read on my website.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am researching mobile applications for the immigrant adult classroom.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?
A: Augmented reality using such apps as Aurasma.

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?
A: Network, network, network: Use your friends to help you learn, and don't underestimate the power of social networking.



The CALL IS e-newsletter, on CALL, is soliciting articles on any of the various aspects of teaching and tutoring pronunciation, oral skills, and listening that apply to, focus on, or assess ESL/EFL pedagogy, second language acquisition, accent addition/reduction, and other related research. We also solicit book reviews for both classroom and methodology texts. Teaching tips, tutoring tips, and classroom strategies are also acceptable submissions.


Articles should

  1. Have a title (written in ALL CAPS)
  2. Have the author’s name, email, affiliation, city, country (in that order)
  3. Have an author photo (jpeg format); a head and shoulder shot (optional but encouraged!), clear, 120 px height max, 160 p total, preferably including the person's name who took the shot.
  4. Have a 50-word teaser for the newsletter homepage.
  5. Have between 800 and 1,500 words (including tables).
  6. Have no more than five citations.
  7. Have a 2- to 3-sentence author biography.
  8. Follow the style guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (APA style).
  9. Be in MS Word (.docx) or rich text (.rtf) format
  10. All figures, graphs, and other images should be sent in separate jpg files. If the author includes a photo, it must be:
      • a head and shoulder shot
      • a jpg
      • width = 120px height = 160px
      • clear, clean, professional, appropriate to the article

    Book reviews of between 300 and 500 words should provide the reviewer's analysis of books that are relevant to the practice and theory of CALL.

    The CALL- IS Newsletter is published twice a year—in February/March and July/August. The deadline for the February/ March edition is newsletter is 20 January 2015, and the deadline for the July/ August edition is 30 June 2015. Please send your contributions, proposals and suggestions to Larry Udry.


    Statement of Purpose

    TESOL’s Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (CALL-IS) 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.

    CALL-IS 2014–15 Community Leaders


    Chair clockwise from the left: Current Chair, Aaron Schwartz ; Chair-Elect, Stephanie Buechele Korslund; and Past Chairs, Roger Drury and Chris Sauer


    Steering Committee Members

    Historian: Steve Sharp
    E-lists: Suzan Stamper