Mediating the Digital Divide in CALL Classrooms: Promoting Effective Language Tasks in Limited Technology Contexts
ReCALL Volume 16, Number 2, ISSN 0958-3440
This paper focuses on the divide at the classroom level in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) that is centered on how those who have technology use it in the pursuit of effective language teaching and learning. This divide is the result in part of the current emphasis on emerging technologies in the CALL literature and in CALL language teacher development that seems to indicate that good CALL activities and lessons can only be carried out with the use of advanced and cutting-edge technologies. The aim of this paper is twofold: (a) to argue that optimal language learning activities can be supported by the use of "limited" technologies, and (b) to present a framework for developing language learning tasks in limited technology contexts. We do not suggest ways to bridge the digital divide that exists between technology haves and have-nots. Instead, we focus on ways to provide effective language learning experiences in CALL classrooms regardless of the technologies available. In doing so, we propose ways to work around the divide created by the overemphasis on new technologies. We suggest that rather than lamenting the fact that our tools are not the latest and greatest, we must pay attention to using the tools at hand to students' best advantage while we look for ways to obtain additional resources. We must also consider and collaborate with educators who have accepted the position that the use of limited technology cannot be effective in supporting student learning or who do not know how to use their technology to present students with effective opportunities. By addressing these issues in the literature and other forums, the digital divide in CALL classrooms between good technology use and poor technology use can be bridged to the benefit of all.
Egbert, J. & Yang, Y.F. (2004). Mediating the Digital Divide in CALL Classrooms: Promoting Effective Language Tasks in Limited Technology Contexts. ReCALL, 16(2), 280-291.