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E.P. Sosnina INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES IN COMPUTER-ASSISTED LANGUAGE LEARNING



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E.P. Sosnina INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES IN COMPUTER-ASSISTED LANGUAGE LEARNING



Abstract: The paper discusses the use of interactive activities in computer-assisted language learning (CALL), especially the use of World Wide Web as the main resourse for second language learning, and as the effective tool for the extension of the present possibilities of CALL. The main attention is payed on human-computer interaction. The roles of a teacher, a student and a computer are explored. The existed problems are considered.

Till now the question about human-computer interaction in CALL remains the "neglected" area of applied linguistics, and the reason for it is quiet vivid: the absence of the practical specialists in this field. The developer of CALL-systems and technologies should have at least the skills in 3 different and complex fields (Computer Science, Applied Linguistics and Psychology). And this is the basic problem in CALL being the source of other related problems (organizational, technical, psychological and etc.).

The current teaching paradigm is "communicative language teaching"[1], so the pressent CALL-systems are considered from two points of view - as tools or tutors providing communication and supporting communicative goals in language teaching and learning. It should be useful to define the roles of the teacher and a student in such complex environment according to their activity in this media.

The set of activities in CALL was rather limited a decade ago, but now we see the new effective forms of extension of computer classroom due to the WWW. Students and teachers are able to: "bring worldwide electronic resources-lesson plans, articles, books, maps, diagrams, photographs, film clips, sound bites, and even multimedia software- to the classroom instantaneously; create and compile their own educational content electronically, and share it with other students, teachers, and classes anywhere in the world" [2]. The activities presented and used in CALL now are very wide. We should mention only net-activities here, e.g. Internet search and use of authentic texts, Internet chats, electronic tests of different kind, Fofeign language-by e-mail, grammar safari (hunt), interactive mazes, hypertext reading and etc.

So, the main problem here we see in effective research, organization and adaptation of such work, and it should be mostly the task of the teacher. Our Laboratiry is developing the adaptable scenario for the implementation of the activities organized and accessible through the homepage of the tutor. The tutor should use the existed possibilities and potential of computer technology (multimedia, Internet, local networks), and nowdays this potential is very high. The student must be involved into the active research, collaboration and learning process, even being "limited" by the frames of computer software, hardware and ligware, and by the certain scenario given by the teacher. The active role of the student in CALL can increase his stimulus for research and learning the foreign languge.

The Computational Linguistics Lab of Ulyanovsk State Technical University works on the problem of human-computer interation in CALL and effective application of the existed methods and means for language studying in computer media using the modern technological developments in this field. This paper considers some of the mentioned problems and the structural organization of the tutor's homepage providing the exit to CALL-activities.



References

1. M.-M.Kenning and M.J.Kenning. Computers and Language Learning: Current Theory and Practice. Ellis Horwood, 1991.

2. Stephen Heimans. Internet and ESL. CALL Journal, 1999.


E.P. Sosnina, T.M. Onodalo ELECTRONIC FOREIGN LANGUAGE TESTING AND TRAINING COURSE FOR THE ENTRANCE TEST

The paper considers methods and means for the automation of Foreign Language Testing in the work of the Testing Centre for the school-leavers, and the development of the special electronic course for interactive training for the Entrance exam (Test) to the university. We compare it with the well-known electronic TOEFL course, at the same time noting the important differences. The paper also stresses the importance of such work and proves the expected effects.

The Entrance Test in foreign languages has the certain structure developed by the Testing Centre for the school-leavers organized by the Ministry of General and Professional Education of Russia. This structure is changing annually, but the conducted research let us to define the general structural units (sections) provided in the entrance tests. They are:


  1. reading comprehension;

  2. grammar, vocabulary usage

  3. semantic close of a text

The reading section consists of the reading tasks and the list of semantic questions. The volume of reading is approximately 7,500 characters. Usually there are 2 original or slightly adapted texts (2,500 characters each), and a number of small original texts (general size is 2,500 characters). The following tasks have the «question-answer» structure, where you should choose the answer to the semantic question from the proposed alternatives.

The second section (grammar and vocabulary) is constructed due to the same «choice from the alternatives» principle. In the 3d section you should close the gaps in the small text according to the semantic context and your language experience.

Note that each answer to the question must be fixed in the special table form being the important part of the Entrance Test.

We propose to construct the electronic version of the Entrance Test which could be used as the base for the computer-assisted training course for the school-leavers. The structure and the size characteristics of the Test are kept without changing and used in the electronic format.

The Test has the HTML-presentation being the interconnected chain of HTML-files. The sections of the Test include the original texts and a set of the tasks based on the «choice» and «close» principles. The content of the Test model is formed by a tutor, and could be easily organized and adapted to the learners proficiency when it is used as the training model of the electronic course. The interactive character of testing helps the user to get the check of his answers directly after the end of each section, or the test itself. If the result is fair, the student could be transferred to the lower level, and the training testing is composed accordingly until he gets the sufficient results.

The course could be used not only in the «direct» education, but it could be also included into the distance-learning programs for remote education. The Computational Linguistics Lab and the Testing Centre of Ulyanovsk State Technical University are working at the problem of implementation the Test and its usage in computer-assisted training.




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