Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Exercis 2.1 Penderson's (1987) article

I'd like to begin my personal response by saying that according to Penderson's (1987) article, we can assume that we still don't have enough knowledge (obtained via research) to make any firm assertions toward the impact of CALL. However, Penderson does call for more research (Basic CALL and Evaluative research, rather than Comparative research) to answer the very general question of how CALL (in all its forms) can affect learning (cognitive/metacognitive, psycholinguistic)? The research data so far accumulated, seems to point to the idea that there are no real learning advantages associated with the specific medium. Rather, it is the way that the medium is delivered through the specific software that has the capability of affecting learning outcomes. Computers are just the machines that enable different software to run, and with the applications of more sophisticated software, we can start noticing differences in not only outcomes in learning performance, but attitudes toward the learning medium. As Penderson suggests, the design of software, not the medium, leads to adjustments in cognitive processing. One can design straightforward behavioral type programs that respond in a very linear way, or one can be more open ended and communicative, allowing Ss to search for multiple answers in a negotiated response. Of course the development of the medium, in this case the computer, will enable greater access (speed: CPU and Internet), but it is the design of the program that would ultimately determine the successful achievement of learning goals and positive attitudes toward the learning task. This by no means is only related to computer learning tasks. Even in class, paper worksheets (the medium) can be designed to facilitate learning. One can have a study guide (to a book) that elicits answers on comprehension alone, or have worksheets that have a number of different sections that guide the learner through the task (schema building, vocabulary, extension)...and promote interaction and negotiation.
So I believe that within any medium there is infinite choice in design. The medium provides the canvas, but the software is likened to the artists tools (brushes, paints) that allow the user to express themselves in limitless ways. Steven (sorry for the mixed metaphor)

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