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Evaluation Of CALL Website English Language Essay

Introduction

The methods, in which teachers make benefit of the computer, including media material or internet, have been more and more introduced in to the language coaching and learning. Such kind of language learning is named Computer-Assisted Dialect Learning (henceforth, CALL). This style in words learning is something of significant improvement in the average person processing capabilities for a Personal computer and consistency improvement of network systems, not forgetting the improvement of computers itself. Furthermore, an objective and quantified collection of data such as learner's corpus has been arranged, and research in this field contributes to this content of CALL material. Additionally, recent improvement in learners' computer literacy can also be considered to have played a significant part in the intro of CALL into school.

It is known as a CALL practitioner must concern him/herself to the problems about equipment and facilities such as the release of the sufficient amount of PCs, the maintenance of the computer room, or development of materials directed for words learning. In other words, these are unavoidable issues for the reason that CALL is never to be executed without computers. Alternatively, with the relative enrichment of equipment or facilities, there is the other kind of issues which must be addressed, particularly the problem of how CALL is included in teaching technique and syllabus in class. Although the intro of CALL may have led to raising learners' desire in class, it's been reported that it generally does not straight lead to improvement of learners' performance (Stenson et al. 1992, Schcolniketal. 1995 cited in Warschauer and Healey 1998). Quite simply, it isn't only essential to expose a CALL material into category: without considering how and exactly how often it can be used according to school, its effect cannot be expected. With regard to this point, Levy and Stockwell (2006: 199) declares that "effective use of CALL in the class requires practitioners to be aware of the constraints that the decision of certain solutions brings, and how to deal with these constraints. " This brings about the theory that, without installing into the genuine situation in which a material is presented, it generally does not produce the desired result no subject how good materials is. Therefore, it can be said that one essential aspect for the successful use of CALL is adoptability of material to the real coaching and learning situations, and, to be able to research it, experts need to judge material based on various aspects.

The aim of this paper is to judge a certain CALL website, Using British for Academic Purpose (henceforth, UEfAP). Initially, three main methods to CALL evaluation are briefly overviewed and the details of the platform applied in this paper is launched in section 2. Consequently, in section 3, UEfAP is assessed based on the framework brought up in the previous section. Finally, concluding remarks receive within the last section.

An Method of Evaluation of CALL Material

As mentioned above, it is known as any particular one of the measures for effective launch of CALL material into class is appropriate evaluation of the thing material in advance. Quite simply, evaluating CALL material matching to whether it suits the purpose of class or whether its level is appropriate for learners can be the first step to incorporate it into category. Although this is also the truth for analysis of a normal textbook found in class, more extensive check is required for evaluating CALL material in that there are usually more considerations such as audio, speech acknowledgement, or learner record keeping, all of which are not contained in textbooks as paper-based multimedia.

2. 1 Analysis Conditions for CALL

Approaches used in evaluating CALL materials can be about labeled into three: checklist, methodological methodology, and SLA-based approach (Hubbard 2006).

Checklist has been suggested in the first level of research on evaluation and has still been widely used. Relating to Hubbard (2006), checklists have been criticized for the reason that, for example, some put much concentrate on technology than teaching methodology and more are not exhaustive; Susser (2001), however, argues that the situation does not lay in the concept itself however in its instantiations. In response up to now, Susser and Robb (2004: 288-290) propose the next successive processes particularly with regard to analysis of web-based material: (a) "the testing process" where the premise for evaluation based on the learning environment and the aim of learning are considered, (b) "finding potential sites" where sites, which can be searched in conditions of several key phrases, are addressed by means of screening criteria founded in (a), and (c) "setting up a checklist" in which the framework is utilized to create a checklist by selecting ideas relevant to the specific situation. In other words, checklists are not applied as they are but are designed for a given situation and accordingly updated. For the good thing about a checklist, it appears to make professors realize various items associated with a software program. Specifically, it is considered to be practical for educators who employ CALL materials in their lessons for the first time but have little understanding of evaluation.

Although a methodological methodology overlaps with a checklist approach in some factors, they are different in the following two items (Hubbard 2006): methodological frameworks are aimed at describing somewhat than judging in their form; they are designed to connect with the aspect which is beyond technology, that is, things to consider for language teaching and learning. In regards to to the first point, it could be considered that methodological frameworks allow teachers to make in-depth evaluation in that they might be required not to give probably binary and ready judgement on existing items but to make a detailed analysis of it through description predicated on the situation. Hubbard (1988 cited in Hubbard 2006) presents the main requirements for CALL analysis, developing three vocabulary teaching methods proposed by Richards and Rodgers (1982, 2001), specifically strategy, design, and methods, into "professor fit, " "learner fit, " and "operational explanation" respectively, and adding "tech preview" to these three conditions. The detail of the conditions is overviewed in the next section.

On the other hands, SLA-based approach is particularly based on SLA theory and it exploits findings from non-CALL research to change them to CALL. Chapelle (2001) concentrates not only on CALL software but also on activities and learners' performance. She proposes the rules for assessing CALL materials emphasising on such elements as a situation-specific discussion, SLA theory, the goal of the duty, judgemental research of software and responsibilities, empirical examination of learners' performance, and most importantly, language learning potential. Based on them, Chapelle (2001: 55) advises the following six standards: (a) dialect learning potential, (b) learner fit, (c) so this means emphasis, (d) authenticity, (e) positive impact, and (f) practicality. Given the area limitation, this paper cannot take these at length, but they are compatible with conditions both in checklist solutions and methodological frameworks in a few respects; criteria (b), for example, seems to be consistent with the concept of "learner fit" in Hubbard's framework.

This paper take up Hubbard's (1992, 1996, 2006) platform to judge CALL material because the methodological frameworks can be considered to become more neutral than SLA-based strategy which includes its basis on the Task-Based Approach as exemplified in, for illustration, (c) meaning forcus or (d) authenticity in the above Chapelle's criteria, while all three solutions stated above have their advantages as Hubbard (2006) mentions. The next section pertains this framework at length.

2. 2 Methodological framework

Hubbard (2006) defines evaluation as the process of selection, execution, and evaluation: selection identifies the phase in which CALL materials is judged its adoptability for confirmed learning situation; implementation, on the other hands, identifies the period of certifying the effective way to implement a given materials in that setting up; finally, diagnosis is the phase where practitioner quotes its effect and judges whether it is continued to make use of or is fine-tuned to future use. Although, as Hubbard (2006) says, there is no difference with the degree worth focusing on among these three phases, this paper can be involved in the first stage of analysis.

According to Hubbard (1992, 1996, 2006), the selection stage in analysis entails four main components: (a) technological review, (b) operational description, (c) professor fit, and (d) learner fit. Each aspect is briefly referred to as follow:

(a) Technical review

The most important concern here's whether confirmed materials will run sufficiently on the equipment used by teachers and learners. More specifically, this evaluation involves various perspectives such as simplicity of assembly and un-installation, rate of program procedure, reliability of operation, platform compatibility, display screen design and management, user interface, exploitation of computer potential, and the others. Furthermore, issues of bandwidth and server access are also the technical matter.

(b) Operational information (method)

Assessment here is always required to be made in regards to to such activity types as instructional (e. g. tutorial or text reconstruction), collaborative (e. g. game or simulation), or facilitative (e. g. exploration). Quite simply, an evaluator must look into what forms of activities the software offer, how well they were created, and what learners do using them.

(c) Instructor fit (Procedure)

In this analysis, an evaluator will try to look into the underlying theoretical platform of material such as a structural, functional, interactional approach to language, also to judge whether it's compatible with ideas of cognitive development, SLA, and class methodology.

(d) Learner fit (Design)

The concern here's how well the material, skills and linguistic degree of materials meet up with the learners' needs, styles and pursuits of designed learners especially with regards to the goals in the course syllabus. At length, material can be examined on the basis of learner variables the following: specific learner distinctions (e. g. get older, intimacy, L1, introverted vs. extroverted learners), learning styles (e. g. acceptance, recall, understanding, and experiential learning), learning strategies (e. g. field-dependent/-independent reasoning, deductive/inductive reasoning, visual-graphic/visual-textual learning), learner control, design flexibility/ modifiability by instructors and/or learners.

Evaluation is made linearly based on these four components, and, in particular, the assessment in learner fit and professor fit feeds into (d) appropriateness judgements and (e) implementation schemes which will relate with the implementation level. In analysis of appropriateness judgements, based on the judgement following teacher fit and learner fit, an evaluator makes a decision to teach learners with confirmed material or not, taking the costs and great things about implementation under consideration as well. On the other hand, in examination of implementation strategies, an evaluator needs to reflect on how materials might be fit into the course: specifically, these includes convenience, preparatory and follow-up activities, content preparation, and a number of tutor control including the teaching approach, classroom management, site monitoring, university student records, and instructor authoring choices. Although implementation is the problem which occurs after collection of material in evaluation, considering the way of execution seems ideal for deciding how to put it to use effectively and may affect whether it can be used in school or not. Therefore, although this paper especially deals with the four main components from (a) to (d), it appears important to keep things to consider of implementation at heart during evaluation.

In the next section, a specific web-based material is examined on the basis on Hubbard's criteria.

Evaluation of UEfAP

To focus on, this section mentions the context to which CALL material would be launched, and subsequently, the site, UEfAP, is assessed with regard to Hubbard's standards subsequently.

3. 1 Teaching Situation

This paper posits a 10-weeks course in pre-sessional EAP (British for academic goal) course where the students result from various countries, have different ethnic backgrounds, speak in several L1, change with their age usually from 22 to 35, and plan to be present at a graduate programme after finishing the course. Inside the introduction of web-based materials, the students are anticipated to improve their academics use of British, which is recently taught in class, mainly by self-study beyond class.

3. 2 Standard Description

UEfAP is a free website which consists of materials and exercises for learning academic English. This website started for individuals who want to use English for educational purposes on 1st May 1999, and last up to date on 28th March 2011. The writer of the web site is Dr. Andy Gillet who works the English dialect and educational consulting company affecting a variety of tasks including material design, course planning, helping EAP professors' development. The site includes all skills needed for Academic British, and there are explanations and a good deal of exercises for every skill. In detail, it is includes 11 sections: "About, " "Accuracy, " "Assessment, " "Background, " "Links, " "Listening, " "Materials, " "Reading, " "Speaking, " "Vocabulary, " and "Writing. " Each section is divided into subsections predicated on the language element or the skill.

3. 3 Techie Preview

It can be assumed that learners can simply use UEfAP on all systems. Firstly, because it is the web-based material, learners need not to install/uninstall any software. Secondly, the "About" section includes the site map and the online video instruction for your programme in which users can know how to use the site. Thirdly, though it has much information, it should not take long to fill pages since the site contains many pages so that information could be subdivided. Furthermore, external links or long texts in exercises are place to be opened in a new screen; so users can see further information while preserving the current page.

Furthermore, navigation seems consistent and quite clear. The display is divided into two parts: the kept part, which is a fixed space having menu buttons, and the right part, where information looks. The left edge of the right space is shaded according to the color of menu button on the remaining part so that users can certainly know their current location. In addition, it can be said that the site is also self-explanatory for the reason that each section has its benefits in which learners can know the target in confirmed section.

The site exploits computer probable such as www connection and sound as well as online video instruction as explained above. It includes a variety of external links; for example, many external resources or vocabulary courses are released in the "Links" section where users can look at other websites in order to have relevant courses or even to do further exercises regarding to their pursuits and needs. Users can also easily get back to the key menu by pressing the logo mark on every page, and send other pages in the same site relating a given topic by following hyperlinks. Additionally, it creates use of sound noted in RealAudio format, Home windows Marketing format and/or MP3 format. For the exercise page in the Tuning in section, users must download one of RealPlayer, Windows Advertising Player, Quicktime Player or Adobe flash Player by hitting a link button on the webpage if their Computers are not equipped with any of them. Sadly, users can pick audio players only in some exercises, so they have to download, for example, Real Player if confirmed exercise provides audio only in the RealAudio format.

3. 3 Operational Description (Technique)

As mentioned above, the website covers all language skills including reading, speaking, being attentive, vocabulary, and writing while the items related to them are specified into Academic English. Linguistic concentration is sensible in that, for example, the Speaking section targets pronunciation, the Writing section targets syntax and spelling, and the Vocabulary section sets its give attention to lexis and morphology.

It mainly offers a variety of instructional activities such as lessons, content material reconstruction and drills, and specifically for the word lists of Academics English in the Vocabulary section, you have the facilitative activity for the reason that learners can look in the on-line dictionary (Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary) to start to see the definition of words. Each activity is presented variously.

Take, the text reconstruction activity for vocabulary building, for example: it is offered by means of multiple-choice exercises, coordinating exercises, or gap-fills. In these exercises, learners get information through text and are required to click the possible answer, to drag a word to the correct position, or even to directly type the right term into blanks. In regards to to gap-fills, the site does not predict learners' reactions by offering information on misspellings or other possible answers, and it generally does not recognize misspelled answers. Alternatively, nearly half of all exercises provide opinions for learners' reactions. In a number of exercises, the wrong part of a reply is highlighted so that learners could retry confirmed exercise based on it. In regards to to the, although learners can repeat a given exercise to improve their mistakes, the full total score can be lower if they do so. That is also the situation with using ideas to solve a question in a few exercises.

As for other styles of exercises, which offer with an extended words (e. g. the exercise in which learners listen to a lecture or a presentation and jot down them in academics written words or exercise where learners are asked to paraphrase or summarize the initial text message), a suggested answer is given because there is no answer for a question. Furthermore, some exercises have imperfect answer keys. For instance, "listening test" part of the Listening section have no answer, or a few of the tests for "reporting" part of the Writing section just say "Show your answers to someone. If you are in another of my classes, e-mail the paraphrase/summary/synthesis if you ask me. "

It is noteworthy that, in the "Materials" section, there are checklists called "EAP Needs" for each skill so that learners can use them to identify what their Academic English vocabulary needs are and their capacity in each area. This enables learners and/or teachers to customize lessons to the syllabus.

As a whole, the web site is complementary to things being shown in class in that it not only offers an array of instructional exercises from the contents in category but also provides information where learners can review information given in category. Furthermore, it can be supplementary to class as well. The specific process of vocabulary learning, for example, might not exactly be educated in class as a result of limited time of the EAP course, so information on the website can be handy for learners to acquire additional information.

3. 4 Professor Fit (Approach)

The writer of the site expresses that EAP is a branch of ESP (British for Specific Goal), citing Robbinson's (1991) conditions for ESP programs; for example, it should be predicated on a needs analysis to be geared to learners' needs and a very high level of proficiency and accuracy is not required so long as learners can succeed in getting good markings for assignments (Gillet 1996). Therefore, it can be assumed that the author has committed to the Content-Based approach to language learning. However, the website itself can be considered to a good example of tutorial CALL and the writer bases this program on the structural and behaviouristic method of language for the reason that the website likely focuses on each linguistic level and needs learners strengthen skills for these levels through a variety of instructional activities such as drills.

Although the website may be suitable for self-access use, it could be integrated to a class room curriculum as a supplementary and complementary to school. One reason for this is the fact that the writer has carefully built the site grouping the material according to skills and sub-skills and offering more than two different types of exercises for each and every skill; hence professors could selectively start using a certain part or a certain exercise based on the indicate which learners need to address or of learners' style. Also, as stated above, the purpose of learning a particular skill or sub-skill is clearly stated in the benefits of every section, so that learners may understand the reasons why particular skills are important because of their learning and how they improve these skills.

3. 5 Learner Fit (Design)

The pre-sessional EAP course consists of students who vary in age, countries, cultural backgrounds, interests, L1, or learning style as stated above. However, all students are usually of similar potential (i. e. vantage or intermediate) for British which is analyzed before participating in the course, and they equally want to improve their skills for the academic use of British before the beginning of their graduate program. Therefore, the syllabus of exercises in the web site addresses the specific needs of learners. They may be grouped regarding to practical purposes for the reason that they are established not on the progressing level of difficulty, but on skills or sub-skills.

Furthermore, the exercises concentrate on different learning styles such as acknowledgement, recall, and understanding. Take, the exercises in the Writing section, for example. The exercise for rewriting the written text which includes many spelling faults enable learners to recognize common spelling errors and the importance of proofreading, and the multiple-choice exercises and the mixed-up sentence exercises for writing a reference point list after being shown how to create it in school help learners improve recall. Moreover, the exercises for identifying this issue of question or for reordering words to generate the paragraph promote learners' comprehension of the types of research questions or the structure of building paragraphs respectively.

Moreover, although almost exercises are intended for specific work, learners are required to work on by a pair or a group in a few exercises in the Speaking section. In these exercises, one learner take a look at a picture A and another learner take a look at a picture B which is slightly not the same as A; then learners must explain own pictures and have questions about other's picture in order to find the differences between them without taking a look at each other's. That is also the situation with an organization work except that three pictures (A, B and C) are ready for it.

Concerning the recording function for learners' replies, the website does not have any option to keep carefully the scores, to track record the number of attempts and wrong answers, and also to keep track of total time allocated to an exercise; so learners have to keep their own scores by themselves to make sure they are available to the teacher. Furthermore, learners cannot save completed exercises after giving up the program.

Lastly, it ought to be pointed out that some exercises seems too extended and demanding even for the stimulated learners. In some exercises for the "General Being attentive" test in the Tuning in section, for case, learners must complete more than 150 spaces with listening to the speech remove, or, in a few exercises for the "Pronunciation" area of the Speaking section, learners are anticipated to transcribe the written text, which include total 245 words, using the IPA symbols. These exercises may tire learners.

Conclusion

UEfAP is a good free learning resource of materials and exercises not limited to self-directed learner also for teachers who plan to create tutorial CALL to their class. Alternatively, it has some shortcomings as follows: some exercises have imperfect answer secrets or responses; some may be exhaustion because of their length; the website does not have any options to save learners' reactions or time spent on an exercise, meaning it does not totally exploit the computer probable to provide opportunities for learner-computer interaction. Therefore, when professors decide to apply the website in their class, they need to selectively apply it. Specifically, in the level of implementation techniques after evaluation, professors need to carefully consider how it could be match the course.

Although CALL has gained attention in various educational environments and there is significant improvement in equipment and facilities, it's been pointed out the difficulty of integrating CALL material in class because the advantages by themselves cannot lead educational effectiveness. In this situation, making careful and in-depth analysis could possibly be the most effective sign of deciding whether it is appropriate for one of the course materials, and how it is integrated into class. Furthermore, noticing various possible problems can be contributory factor to successful release of CALL; that is, evaluation enables a practitioner to appropriately and immediately package with such problems when they take place in genuine use.

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