The Impact and Effectiveness of Call


The impact of CALL in language learning and teaching has been raised at regular intervals ever since computers first appeared in educational institutions.
A distinction needs to be made between the impact and the effectiveness of CALL. Impact may be measured quantitatively and qualitatively in terms of the uptake and use of ICT in teaching foreign languages, issues of availability of hardware and software, budgetary considerations, Internet access, teachers’ and learners' attitudes to the use of CALL, changes in the ways in which languages are learned and taught, and paradigm shifts in teachers’ and learners’ roles. Effectiveness, on the other hand, usually focuses on assessing to what extent ICT is a more effective way of teaching foreign languages compared to using traditional methods - and this is more problematic as so many variables come into play. Worldwide, the picture of the impact of CALL is extremely varied. Most developed nations work comfortably with the new technologies, but developing nations are often beset with problems of costs and broadband connectivity.
A crucial issue is the extent to which the computer is perceived as taking over the teacher's role. Warschauer (1996: p. 6) perceived the computer as playing an "intelligent" role, and claimed that a computer program "should ideally be able to understand a user's spoken input and evaluate it not just for correctness but also or appropriateness. It should be able to diagnose a student's problems with pronunciation, syntax, or usage and then intelligently decide among a range of options (e.g. repeating, paraphrasing, slowing down, correcting, or directing the student to background explanations)." Jones C. (1986), on the other hand, rejected the idea of the computer being "some kind of inferior teacher-substitute" and proposed a methodology that focused more on what teachers could do with computer programs rather than what computer programs could do on their own: "in other words,...