EDITOR: Marie-Noëlle Lamy
EDITOR: Katerina Zourou
TITLE: Social Networking for Language Education
SERIES TITLE: New Language Learning and Teaching Environments
PUBLISHER: Palgrave Macmillan
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Ferit Kilickaya, Mehmet Akif Ersoy University

Review’s Editor: Helen Aristar-Dry


Edited by Marie-Noёlle Lamy and Katerina Zourou, the volume aims to explore whether and how social networking promotes language learning. Through various chapters that focus on not only theoretical insights but also empirical data obtained from a variety of methodological approaches, the book touches upon issues such as the relationship between social networking, language learning and teaching, and how socialization in social media contributes to language education. The volume is composed of four parts, entitled ‘The Wider Ecology of Language Learning with SNS’, ‘Pedagogies and Practitioners’, ‘Learning Benefits and Challenges’, and ‘Overview’; it contains 10 chapters in total.

In Part I, ‘The wider ecology of language learning with SNS’, Chapter 1, by Jonathon Reinhardt and Hsin-I Chen, is entitled ‘An ecological analysis of social networking site-mediated identity development’ and investigates the social networking site (SNS) practices in Facebook and RenRen of a Chinese student doing her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics in the USA. Through an ecological approach and a qualitative perspective, how this participant invested in a new identity was analyzed. The results of the study indicated that the participant used Facebook and RenRen to make new friends and as a means to socialize with other students to create her own identity as a Ph.D. student. As for the socialization process, the participant developed and presented her intercultural and multilayered identities (human, friend, girlfriend, student, teacher, and cultural and community participant).

In Chapter 2, entitled ‘Architecture students’ appropriation and avatars- -relationships between avatar identity and L2 verbal participation and interaction’, the authors, Ciara R. Wigham and Thierry Chanier, analyze the verbal interactions in SecondLife and VoiceForum of architecture students learning in L2. This chapter, like the previous one, focuses on identity construction in addition to the contribution of avatar appearance and nonverbal means of communication. The participants included eight female and nine male students aged 21 to 25 years old. The data were collected from group reflective sessions, recorded screen and audio output, and pre- and post-course questionnaires, as well as text-chat logs saved from reflective sessions. The results indicated that the participants attributed great importance to the use of avatars for L2 communication and that avatar appearance changed the way they addressed each other as well as their interaction in L2, suggesting that when the participants do not rely on their first world identity, their verbal interaction increases.

Chapter 3, ‘Online reading groups and network dynamics’ by Chris Lima and Marie- Noёlle Lamy, responds to how online reading groups (ORG) relate to historical reading groups, the role of online media in this relation, the online networking features of the ORG and how these features affect English Language Teaching (ELT) teachers’ professional development. One hundred twenty-six members of the ORG site participated in the study, and the data collection instruments included the documentation stored on the website, online survey, and the short pieces of writing provided by some of the participants on their participation in the ORG. The results revealed that the traditional practices of reading groups, such as sharing ideas and reading materials, were well suited to online media and that some members extended their online activities to offline activities and vice versa. The results also indicated that SNS such as Facebook does not seem to serve ELT teachers for professional development better than traditional websites such as forums.

In Part II, under the theme of ‘‘Pedagogies and Practitioners”, Chapter 4, ‘Bridging design and language interaction and reuse in Livemocha’s culture section’, is engaged with Web 2.0 language learning communities, particularly Livemocha, focusing on the section in which users can see other members’ cultural photos and/or share their own photos, in order to explore places around the world. The authors, Katerina Zourou and Mathieu Loiseau, examine whether different designs of Livemocha’s culture section affect language interaction and try to specify technological and pedagogical designs that will lead to an active social networking site. To this end, 105 culture threads in the culture section were randomly selected, and only the data that were open to public were subject to analysis. Following the data analyses, several design suggestions were made regarding social learning and feedback, one of which proposed including feedback loops in the design to sustain new users’ activities.

In Chapter 5, ‘Profiles in social networking sites for language learning- Livemocha revisited’, Richard Harrison aims to determine the role of user profile in SNS, focusing on how it affects the interactions between learners and peer experts. In this regard, he revisits a previous study conducted by Harrison and Thomas (2009) that discussed how user profiles and identities affected language learning and points out that in Livemocha, because of the lack of users that could help others, the users were in search of ‘experts’ to help them. The participants of the study included seven students in postgraduate applied linguistics, which deals with the use of technology in language teaching and learning. The study benefited from an enthomethodological approach and focused on how users interacted in Livemoacha. The data were collected from classroom observations, discussions, and presentations. The results showed that user profiles were at the very heart of interactions as they reinforced initial relationships that fostered learning.

Chapter 6, ‘It’s not just the tool: Pedagogy for promoting collaboration and community in social networking in CMC’, brings a different perspective to the use of technological tools in collaboration. The authors, Carolin Fuchs and Bill Synder, use the SNS Google Wave in their study, whose participants include pre-service language teachers in the USA and in Taiwan; they propose that how learners use the tool beyond pedagogical tasks matters more than which tool they use. Based on action research, the study focused on the participants’ collaborative exchanges, and the data were collected from the questionnaire where the participants were asked to reflect on the tools they used and on their exchanges. According to the results obtained, the participants highly valued Google Wave as it provided them with immediate communication and the opportunity to discuss projects; however, the results revealed limited evidence of social networking, leading to the conclusion that including a SN tool into the curriculum or a course did not ensure social networking.

Part III, under the theme of ‘Learning Benefits and Challenges’, opens with Chapter 7, ‘A study of the use of social network sites for language learning by university ESL students’, which focuses on examining the online communities Busuu, Livemocha, and English Café. The authors, Min Liu, Matthew K. Evans, Elianie Horwitz, Sunjung Lee, Monica McCrory, Jeong-Bin Park and Claire Meadows Parrish, investigate how university ESL students use these SNS for language learning and their perceptions regarding their experiences. The participants included twenty-one ESL university students from 11 countries that attended an Intensive English program in a southwestern University. The data were collected from the three ESL courses in which the participants used the aforementioned sites over six weeks to perform structured learning activities in class as well as outside. The findings demonstrated that all three sites allowed the participants to communicate with others, to make friends, and to collaborate with other users. However, the participants said that the main aim of using these sites was to practice language skills, rather than only socialize.

In Chapter 8, ‘Online and offsite: Student-driven development of the Taiwan-France telecollaborative project beyond these walls’, the authors, Meei-Ling Liaw and Kathryn English, examine how groups of students in two different countries construct meaning, present themselves, and develop their relationships with each other. The participants included forty-eight English majors in Taiwan and eighteen students of engineering or management in France. These two groups of students aimed to develop their intercultural communication skills in addition to learning through text-, audio-, and video-based exchanges. The data collected included the texts published by both groups on the official website of the project and the Facebook site created by the students. The results of the study revealed distinctive differences in the two sites, the official website, and the Facebook site, regarding the participants’ attitudes. On the official website, the interaction was mostly unidirectional since the participants only posted the tasks assigned by the instructor and focused on the assignments. However, on the Facebook site, initiated by the students, the exchanges were informal and more interactive.

Chapter 9, ‘Formative assessment within social network sites for language learning’, moves the discussion to how formative assessment is conducted on SNS. The authors, Paul Gruba and Cameron Clark, reflect on their own experiences as learners in Busuu, Livemocha, and Babbel and discuss how they go through three areas “placement”, “progress”, and “interaction”. The participants included the authors as beginner learners of Spanish. The results indicated that the participants considered peer assessment unsatisfactory and unrewarding, and the assessments on these sites were rather short and were provided in a model answer. Moreover, the responses provided as feedback by other users lacked consistency.

In Part IV, under ‘Overview’, Chapter 10, ‘Social media-based language learning: Insights from research and practice’, reviews all the previous contributions of the book in terms of research (types of research, themes explored, and data collection issues) and design and pedagogy (mediation, types of networking and community building, forms of interaction, genres, formal and informal learning). The authors, Marie-Noёlle Lamy and François Mangenot, reconsider all the contributions in the aforementioned perspectives and suggest different ways to make use of social networks, such as class-based exploitation of informal practices from the social web, small-group collaborative projects, and the introduction of learners to sites that include verbal productions and genres as models.


This collection is a useful textbook for postgraduate courses in foreign/second language learning as well as researchers in the field of language teaching and learning willing to analyze learner exchanges as well as learning experiences on online platforms, SNS.

The major strength of this book lies in the empirical investigations into learner experiences on SNS. We have a variety of books recently published on the use of technology in language learning and teaching (just to name a few, Thomas, 2009; Stockwell, 2012; Thomas, Reinders, & Warschauer, 2012; and very recently, Toetenela, 2014). This book builds on and extends the knowledge collected through these books and articles through data-based investigations using a variety of methods.

Each chapter in the book provides an effective overview of the issue being investigated with summaries of the points in key readings; this is followed by the study described in detailed. The studies discussed in each chapter are either researcher manipulated or naturally occurring. Moreover, the issues discussed include a variety of disciplinary resources such as sociology and educational technology, following qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

Another strength of the book is the fact that the studies presented use a variety of research methodologies. For example, Chapter 9, entitled ‘‘Formative assessment within social network sites for language learning’, benefits from an autoethnographic survey of the researchers’ own experiences on some of the SNS, which will give some researchers the courage to conduct studies using this approach as most have difficulty accessing subjects. In this regard, the book also provides ‘food for thought’ for those interested in the application of a variety of research methodologies in their current and/or future studies on the use of technology in language learning and teaching.

Regarding improvements for the future editions of the book, I suggest that the effect of SNS on learner motivation be addressed. The editors, in the introduction part, explained that they did not receive any contributions, although the call for chapters also asked potential contributors to address this issue. Another suggestion is the inclusion of a glossary at the end of the book, including the terms that are specialized or newly-introduced.

Overall, this collection is an invaluable source of empirical studies for researchers, teachers, and graduate students interested in using social networking tools in language learning and teaching. Thus, the book will be of utmost value for those in search not only of studies that will inform them about recent literature but also of empirical investigations that can be used as a model for future studies.


Stockwell, G. (Ed.). (2012). Computer assisted language learning: Diversity in research and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thomas, M. (Ed.). (2009). Handbook of research on Web 2.0 and second language learning. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Thomas, M., Reinders, H., & Warschauer, M. (Eds.). (2012). Contemporary computer assisted language learning. New York, NY: Continuum.

Toetenela, L. (2014). Social networking: A collaborative open educational resource. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27(2), 149-162.

This review appeared originally in the LINGUIST List at http://linguistlist.org/issues/25/25-4901.html


The work of Dr. Marc Prensky is quite interesting in that it dwells on the main reason of the decline in education system, results of which most educators are compelled to face with, even without suspecting or realizing it. He asserts that it is the generation gap separating today’s students from their teachers and summarizes the main reason by stating that “Our students have changed dramatically. Today’s students are no longer the people our education system was designed to teach.”

He mentions that today’s students have not just altered their dressing style, slang or appearance, but a lot more has been changed, and  he exemplifies this change by a striking example of the amount of time spent on using technological devices compared to the time spent on reading books. He also  states that “ a big discontinuity has taken place” which he names as “singularity”, and it led to a new thinking pattern in which he means they think and process information differently from their predecessors including thinking fast, parallel thinking and multi-tasking. Furthermore, he even states that today’ generation’s brains are likely to be physically different because of the tremendous input they received while growing up. He calls this generation “Digital Natives”, a term used for people born in the digital era, and “Digital Immigrants” referring to those born and grew up in pre-computer era, and throughout the article he mentions the differences lying between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, and its consequences. 

Associating the situation with cultural migration, he asserts that it very unlikely that Digital Natives will go backwards in which the traditional educators feel comfortable and are talented at teaching; therefore, he advocates that we need to get used to the new thinking pattern and reconsider our teaching style by adapting our “methodology and content”. He suggests that teachers are compelled to communicate in the language and style of their students. However, it does not mean changing the meaning of what is important, but it means changing the way you teach accordingly. The second issue dealt with is content – “legacy content” and “future content”. The former includes reading, writing, arithmetic, logical thinking etc. On the other hand, the latter one includes software, hardware, robotics, genomics etc. and it also includes  ethics, politics, sociology, language, and other things that go with them which catch attention of today’s generation. When he mentions the former one, he dwells on that these skills are still quite important; however, some of them will vanish in time, and he underlines that it is the latter one calling today’s generation’s attention. At this point, he poses the critical question: how many Digital Immigrants are prepared to teach it?

Having stated that the year the writer wrote the article can be no coincidence, I definitely agree with Dr. Prensky that worldviews of “Digital Immigrants” and “Digital Natives” represents are so different. Additionally, it has consequences educators have to deal with, and it is the educators that need to bridge the gap between “them” and “us”. Hence, it is crucial to adapt not only the methodology but also the content accordingly to reach Digital Natives without changing the meaning of what is important.

Reviewed Article:

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.


Brown identifies four themes in his article published in TESOL Quarterly in 1991 examining the current trends or state of art and providing an insightful map of the developments in teaching English to speakers of other languages. These could be outlined as;

a)      Learners

In this first theme, Brown tries to analyze some learner-related issues and answer questions such as “Why are our students learning English? What are their ultimate goals? What can knowledge of the English language do for them?” Therefore, learner motivation and empowerment get their share in Brown’s analysis. In the case of motivation, Brown prefers intrinsic vs. extrinsic dichotomy for pedagogical reasons instead of adopting Gardner’s integrative vs. instrumental dichotomy, and pays attention to the superiority of intrinsic motivation in the success of a language learner.

Empowerment, which refers to increasing the economic, political, social, educational, gender, or spiritual strength of individuals and communities according to Wikipedia, is the another case Brown looks at in this theme. Brown suggests that language teachers should work against the powerlessness of students and get them involved in the process of learning so that they could gain control over their lives.

b)     Sociopolitical and geographical issues

In this part, Brown illustrates the importance of English as an international language or which might be now called as Lingua Franca. As English becomes more dominant in every aspect of our lives especially in nonnative-English-speaking countries, the recognition of varieties of English gets much more important. Thus, including these varieties in the curriculum might cater to the immediate needs of learners. Brown also takes the expanding international range of language policy issues into account.

c)      Subject matter

Brown states that content-centered education presents both opportunities and challenges. In terms of opportunities, an increase in intrinsic motivation and empowerment could be observed in students. As for the challenges, they range from appropriate course books to other curricular activities. In addition, Brown suggests that task-based curricula could be helpful to organize content. Furthermore, he believes peace and environmental education might focus students on some human survival issues and empower them with consciousness. Hence, teachers should also play a different role as “transformative intellectuals”, helping learners to become aware about many earthly issues.

d)     Method

In this last but not least theme, Brown describes the change in the pedagogy, reminding the past, and highlights cooperative, learner-centered teaching. He sees learner strategy as an important factor in the ultimate attainment of language learning and urges teachers to help learners “to learn how to learn” so that they could easily adopt their own strategies.

Though Brown talked about these issues twenty three years ago, sounding like a really long time, these issues still hold their positions in TESOL at present time.

As English becomes the Lingua Franca around the world (Seidlhofer, 2005), English teaching profession becomes more than a necessity together with creating a huge market for both teachers and publishers. In the case of publishers, they claim to have books that are all based on authentic materials for students to help them get grasp of English easily. However, what is authenticity? Authenticity, a catchy word among English Language Teaching practitioners though it has some problems, is described as “the use of conversations or written texts which have been produced for purposes other than to teach language” (Nunan, 1988). Throughout the history of ELT, authenticity is taken as being synonymous with genuineness, realness, truthfulness, validity, reliability,  undisputed  credibility,  and legitimacy  of materials  or practices (Tatsuki,  2006). And when it is put that way, it seems impossible to claim anything against it.

However, Kramsch and Sullivan (1996) attract attention to the discussion of the appropriate pedagogy by stating that the interpretation of authenticity in this way could be fine for ELT in the UK or USA, but the moment English texts are used in real-life contexts other than those of their original producers, authenticity of language use becomes problematic, that is what is authentic in London might not be authentic in Hanoi.They suggest that instead of authentic language, an ‘appropriate’ pedagogy that takes into account both the global and local needs of learners of English might be better.

As the they put it, appropriate pedagogy must be a pedagogy of appropriation and it should prepare learners for both local and global contexts. The English language will enable students of English to do business with native and non-native speakers of English in the global world market and for that they need to master the grammar and vocabulary of standard English. But they also need to retain control of its use. Appropriate pedagogy considers the way to prepare learners to be both global and local speakers of English and to feel at home in both international and national cultures

For them, such a view of an appropriate pedagogy is in keeping with the political motto “think globally, act locally”, which translated into a language pedagogy might be “global thinking, local teaching”, which may be by far the best interpretation of culture-sensitive pedagogy. They use the metaphor of a market place. They state that “Marketplaces fulfill several functions. They can be places where economic wars are waged, stocks and bonds are exchanged, companies boom or bust, or entrepreneurs invest and make a profit. They can also be places that bring people together to talk and exchange life experiences. … the potential of market places may lie not only in industry but also in the discovery of potentialities in the self that have been brought to light through encounters with the other. There is a complete emphasis on the local market, local needs and therefore local methodology.



Kramsch, C., & Sullivan, P. (1996). “Appropriate pedagogy”. ELT Journal 50 (3), 199-212.

Nunan, D. (1988). The learner-centered curriculum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Seidlhofer, B. (2005). “English as a lingua franca”. ELT Journal 59 (4), 339-341.

Tatsuki, D. (2006). “What is  authenticity?” The Language Teacher, 16(5), 17–21.


In English, there is a cliche saying “It is easier said than done”.  This is what Peter Medgyes is talking about in his article “Queries from a communicative teacher”, criticizing the proponents of Communicate Approach from different perspectives they tend to ignore.

The theory behind the Communicative Approach sounds great when a newbie teacher first meets with it; it talks about how a communicative teacher should be, about the importance of taking into account the needs of the group but also the learner himself at the same time in addition to how teachers should pay attention to meaning and form simultaneously, how their role should be in relation to their students and the use of text book. CA places a heavy burden on teachers and expects them to meet all the requirements of the approach while also dealing with the everyday problems of their job routine such as preparing lessons plans, finding suitable materials for the appropriate level and so forth.

But there is a big difference between the theory and the practice because the reality in a classroom is completely different from what the proponents of the approach may have dreamed of, though it may be true for the some selected few with fewer lessons, brighter students, and smaller groups. Medgyes even makes a comparison of this situation when he is describing a communicative teacher as “Wizard of Oz like superperson yet of flesh and blood”. As the author mentions, being a Communicative teacher requires to have “super-powers”; they must cope with a plethora of things, and also with their own deficiency as a non-native language teacher. This leads me to think that the proponents of CA may have read so many comic books in their free time from either DC Comics or Marvel, thus having some confusions in their theory and mixing the teachers with the invincible characters with superpowers in Ultimate Avengers or X-Men .

I definitely agree with the author in all the aspects he mentions. It is easy to theorize about something while sipping your coffee in the comfort of your house and office room if you are not in a real classroom and not coping with the difficult situations real teachers struggle everyday. Of course every newly graduated teacher would aspire to be Communicative teacher, but, in real life, only the selected few could actually teach by following a Communicative Methodology.

The Schizophrenic Teacher by Peter Medyges

Posted: April 1, 2014 by ozgurefl in Uncategorized

The first thing that caught my attention in this article was the author’s choice of title: The Schizophrenic Teacher. According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, a schizophrenic issomeone suffering from a major mental disorder of unknown cause typically characterized by a separation between the thought processes and the emotions, a distortion of reality accompanied by delusions and hallucinations. And in the same dictionary, a teacher is defined as “a person whose job is to teach students about certain subjects”. How come did these two words come together and what was the author trying to communicate? These were the two questions that intrigued my mind while reading the article.

In the article, the author shares some of his own experiences as a Non-native speaking English teacher (NNSET) and states that most NNSETs feel unsafe about using the language they have to teach and therefore they might tend to have either a deeply pessimistic or an aggressive attitude to ELT. The author states that by being both teacher and learner simultaneously, NNSETs are driven into “schizophrenia”. He also points out that sooner or later NNSETs might tend to regret having chosen this career because there are not many options apart from having a nervous breakdown. One of the options is total resignation, and another is restricting the language to those rules which he or she has learned or mislearned. He argues that NNSETs should admit that they are students of English too. This would be the best way to take a more confident stance in the classroom.

He also claims that NNSETs are more commonly grammar centered teachers believing the language to be equal to knowing its grammar. However, sometimes they might ignore a rule or might have learned it incorrectly when they were students and then they might make errors which could be afterwards transmitted to their students.

In the article, NNSETs are said to be indifferent to pronunciation or vocabulary. He points out that NNSETs avoid using alternative teaching sources to teach pronunciation such as radio, video, cassette recorder, etc. The reason might be that they try to hide their inadequacies, such as their foreign accent, from their students. Pronunciation is not their only Achilles’ heel: their lexicon is another burden. According to the estimate by the Global Language Monitor on January 1, 2014, the number of words in the English Language is 1,025,109.8 and there is a new word created every 98 minutes or about 14.7 words per day. This is of course something neither NSETs nor NNSETs could fully master; nevertheless, this is one of the areas where NNSETs feel uncomfortable when it comes to teaching vocabulary as NSETs have an intrinsic tool called “Language Feeling” that can often help them to know if a word used by a student is right or not.

Overall, though Medyges is a NNSET himself, he accepts the psychological defeat of being an NNSET.

Reviewed Article:

Medgyes, P. (1983). The schizophrenic teacher. ELT Journal, 37(1), 2-6

EDITOR: Michael Thomas
EDITOR: Hayo Reinders
EDITOR: Mark Warschauer
TITLE: Contemporary Computer-Assisted Language Learning
SERIES TITLE: Contemporary Studies in Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Publishing (formerly The Continuum International Publishing Group)
YEAR: 2012

REVIEWER: Ferit Kilickaya, Mehmet Akif Ersoy University


This book, edited by Michael Thomas, Hayo Reinders, and Mark Warschauer, explores the parameters of contemporary Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), focusing on different areas of CALL, how these different areas shape CALL, as well as how the latest research approaches help explore different areas. The book of composed of three parts and 19 chapters in total. Readers are provided the opportunity to read chapters independently of the other chapters as the structure of the book is organized thematically, with the parts entitled ‘The CALL Context’, ‘CALL Learning Environments’, and ‘CALL in Language Education’. 

Chapter 1, by the editors, is entitled ‘Contemporary computer-assisted language learning: The role of digital media and incremental change’, and serves as the introduction to the book, touching briefly upon the main themes of CALL, aspects of contemporary CALL, and how digital media and social CALL have evolved. This chapter supplies the foundation for the next chapters by providing a brief and effective introduction to CALL. 

In Chapter 2, ‘Historical perspectives on CALL’, the authors, Graham Davies, Sue E. K. Otto, and Bernd Rüschoff, provide a rich overview of developments in CALL and how these developments have shaped CALL during the last three decades. The authors also take into consideration the technologies available, second language acquisition, and theories of language education. In this perspective, the authors not only discuss the origin of the term ‘CALL’ with a detailed history from the 1980s to the present but also enable readers to reconsider technology and second language learning by portraying past and recent developments. 

In Chapter 3, entitled ‘Researching language learning in the age of social media’, the authors, Carla Meskill and Joy Quah, highlight the varied perspectives and approaches in CALL research used in online and social environments, focusing on the online environment and its specifications, online social and affective dimensions, as well as pedagogical processes. While presenting this review of perspectives and approaches, the authors provide a solid discussion of the current methodological approaches and techniques. 

Chapter 4, ‘Second language teacher education for CALL: An alignment of practice and theory’, deals with how teacher education for CALL can be aligned to sociocultural theory and argues that CALL training should be geared more towards an educational perspective. The authors, Gary Motteram, Diane Slaouti, and Zeynep Onat-Stelma, provide a concise review of the field of teacher education, and highlight how sociocultural theory can contribute to teacher education for CALL through a study that explores the practices of adult teachers of languages using technology in General English, TOEFL, and TOEIC exam classes. 

In Chapter 5, ‘Research on computers in language testing: Past, present and future’, the author, James Dean Brown, focuses on the role of computers in language testing. He examines the developments in computer-based language testing, considering trends, developments and directions in both the past and the future, with particular emphasis on current practices such as testing vocabulary, speaking or oral skills, writing, listening and reading. 

Chapter 6, entitled ‘Materials design in CALL: Social presence in online environments’, discusses how material design and the choice of tasks can affect social presence in online environments integrated into CALL, CMC-based teacher education, and learner participation in online interaction. The authors, Mirjam Hauck and Sylvia Warnecke, examine the findings of a study involving a tutor training class in teaching English for Academic Purposes, making use of the Community Indicators Framework by Galley et al. (2011), which includes four broad aspects related to participants’ online presence: participation, cohesion, identity, and creative capability. 

In Part II, under the theme of ‘CALL Learning Environments’, Chapter 7, ‘Telecollaboration and CALL’, examines online communication tools that bring students of different countries together overcoming geographical restrictions. The author, Robert O’Dowd, provides a critical review of the models and configurations of online communication and exchange in foreign language classrooms. He suggests that we should reconsider the role of telecollaboration in formal education and current classroom practices with respect to several factors such as observable and assessable student activity, tasks that can be integrated into classroom interaction, as well as the advantages of telecollaborative activity. 

In Chapter 8, ‘Distance CALL online’, Marie-Noëlle Lamy discusses the diverse nature of distance CALL and highlights the fact that it can be delivered in various forms such as online and in a blended approach. Taking the flexibility of distance CALL into consideration and building around a learning design approach, the author provides an integrated model of distance language learning. 

In Chapter 9, ‘Language learning in virtual worlds: Research and practice’, Randall Sadler and Melinda Dooly bring a different perspective to social presence (cf. Chapter 6) and discuss the opportunities that virtual worlds provide to language learners. The authors provide an overview of the research on and development of virtual worlds followed by a discussion of language and content learning. They draw on their research projects on the use of virtual worlds that provide children the opportunity to observe, interact, and explore by using a virtual art gallery. 

In Chapter 10, ‘Digital games and language learning’, Chun Lai, Ruhui Ni, and Yong Zhao move the discussion to a very interesting and attractive perspective in CALL: digital games. The authors review current developments in digital games, examine pedagogical issues in several commercial games, and discuss what the future holds for digital game-based language learning. They focus on the balance between playing games and maximizing learning through these games. 

In Chapter 11, ‘Mobile-assisted language learning’, Glenn Stockwell discusses the role of mobile technologies in language learning. It is widely acknowledged that distance language learning and CALL have taken one step further with innovations such as mobile devices. In this chapter, the author reviews how mobile devices affect language learning, advantages of using mobile devices, and issues of concern that need to be taken into consideration while utilizing mobile devices such as MP3 players, PDAs, and mobile phones. 

Dafne Gonzalez and Rubena St. Louis deal with an important issue in CALL in Chapter 12, ‘CALL in low-tech contexts’: technology-limited contexts and how to overcome these limitations. The authors enrich the discussion on low-tech environments through the findings of a survey conducted in several countries where technology is not widely available, reflecting their use of CALL in their own contexts. The findings indicate that slow internet access proves to be an obstacle that can be overcome by doing activities that do not require fast internet access such as creating blogs and sending emails, and by helping teachers in technology-limited contexts to gain experience through online communities and special interest groups. 

Part III is ‘CALL in language education’. Chapter 13, ‘Intelligent CALL’, is engaged with the contribution of artificial intelligence to CALL, focusing on resources for both language learning and researchers. The authors, Mathias Schulze and Trude Heift, frame their discussion on Intelligent CALL within second language acquisition, taking interaction and noticing (that is, consciously registering the input) into consideration. The authors also enrich their discussion by providing resources for researchers, focusing on learner and reference corpora. 

In Chapter 14, ‘Technology-enhanced reading environments’, Youngmin Park, Binbin Zheng, Joshua Lawrence, and Mark Warschauer present an overview of reading supported by digital media such as visual-syntactic text formatting and blogging. The first part of the discussion is allocated to major components of reading such as word decoding and language comprehension, leading to a summary of research on computer-assisted reading in each component, while the second part focuses on the use of digital materials/technologies that enrich second language reading. 

Chapter 15, ‘The role of technology in teaching and researching writing’, deals with writing and the available technological tools. The authors, Volker Hegelheimer and Jooyoung Lee, summarize various technological developments and tools such as automated essay evaluation and online environments for collaborative writing that inform teaching second language writing, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these technological tools. 

In Chapter 16, ‘CALL and less commonly taught languages’, Richard M. Robin examines the impact of the latest technologies, particularly web-based tools, on the less commonly taught languages. He considers specific features of these languages and the tools available in the Web 2.0 environment such as Google translator, Google as a corpus and concordance, as well as the courses available in distance and hybrid environments. 

Chapter 17, entitled ‘CALL and digital feedback’, looks at the issue of providing feedback in the language classroom. The authors, Paige Ware and Greg Kessler, examine the feedback provided in synchronous and asynchronous environments and critically analyze the three dimensions of digital feedback, namely, modes of feedback delivery, focus of feedback provided, and strategies for delivering feedback on the skills of writing and speaking. 

In Chapter 18, ‘Task-based language teaching and CALL’, Michael Thomas provides a brief overview of the relationship between CALL and task-based language teaching and how they inform each other, reporting on the results of a case study that was conducted with Japanese learners of English. The author questions previous research findings indicating that Asian English language learners are found to be resistant to interactive learning environments and draws attention to the importance of proficiency in activities within a task-based approach. 

Chapter 19, ‘CALL and learner autonomy: Affordances and constraints’, is concerned with the importance of the role of learner autonomy in language learning and teaching. The authors, Hayo Reinders and Philip Hubbard, provide a quick but efficient review of their topic, analyze the potential limitations of technology on the development of learner autonomy, and discuss possible ways to overcome these limitations: providing appropriate training, selecting appropriate materials, encouraging peer interaction and collaborations, and enhancing learners’ cognitive, social, and affective strategies. 


The major strength of the book lies in the state-of-the-art discussions on important issues in CALL. These discussions not only remind us of past developments but also link these developments to current practices in the CALL world, providing a good sense of the relationship of CALL to second language learning teaching and learning. The chapters introduce a literature review of previous studies as well as current trends, combining theory and practice, which will be beneficial as supplementary reading to graduate students as well as to scholars interested in any aspect of CALL research. The references provided at the end of each chapter also provide the readers with the opportunity to further their knowledge. 

The chapters are organized thematically, starting by setting the context for CALL research and its history and then moving to more advanced issues such as telecollaboration and CALL, and CALL and learner autonomy. Almost all chapters consider current research practices in both low- and high-tech environments around the world, and will lead researchers in this field to reconsider their perspectives on issues such as providing digital feedback and learner autonomy. The only thing that might be suggested would be the inclusion of a chapter at the end of the book, outlining and combining what has been explored and suggested in previous chapters. 

Overall, the book proves to be invaluable reading for anyone interested in keeping up with current developments in the field of CALL. Although the title of the volume does not include the word “handbook” or imply that it is a handbook, I would claim that the volume serves the role and aim of similar handbooks which are available. Thus, the book will be of utmost value for researchers and graduate students alike to figure out how technology and specific techniques and strategies should be employed to best serve students’ needs in language learning. The volume is surely one of the most important and useful books available on the market.

This review appeared originally in the LINGUIST List at http://linguistlist.org/issues/25/25-940.html