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Exploiting the CALL Lab: 5 Classroom Ideas

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Exploiting the CALL Lab: 5 Ideas for the Classroom

by: CHRISTINE CANNING, UAE University

Email: beanerncc@hotmail.com or ccanning@emirates.net.ae

Computer Assisted Language Labs offer teachers and students new ranges of possibilities for interaction with the computer. Below are some simple and practical ideas for the classroom practitioner:

1. Instead of students working at individual computers, why not use a collaberative learning technique? One of my favorite activities in a CALL Lab revolves around peer editing. Ask students to write an essay using Word 6.0 or a similar program. Next, ask students to save their work on a back up disc or to print an original copy. Require students to switch seats when they finish. Ask the students to change the color of the print text. Once this is done ask students to peer edit the essay on the screen. After ten minutes or so, ask students to go to a new computer and repeat the process. Finally, invite students back to their original screens. Ask students to look at the corrections, to agree or disagree with the peer edits, and to make any changes before submitting the paper. A follow up exercise, is devoting the first or last ten minutes of a CALL lab to an electronic diary which the student keeps on a private file or disc.

2. Broadcast a series of questions to all of the students screens. In small groups ask them to answer the questions. Review the answers as a class or with individual students by capturing their screens.

3. Ask students to teach an English Language point by creating a powerpoint presentation, visual basic presentation, or an interactive hypercard presentation. Allow students to hook up their presentations to an LCD in order to teach the class a particular point in the curriculum being learned.

4. Why not exploit the Computer by accessing REAL VIDEO and playing it through Quick time or a similar program. Students can listen and interact with news events. Similarly, teachers can purchase or create their own programs with CD ROMS that allow for interaction and
interactive learning between a video and a computer screen to aid in reading, writing, and/or listening.

5. Use the internet. Allow students to practice writing by going to classifieds in Yahoo, sending Email through free hotmail accounts, writing electronic greeting cards at bluemountain.com, or by researching topics related to what they are studying in your curriculum and then creating an internet portfolio from the experience.

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