Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effect of Length of Exposure to CALL Technology on Young Iranian EFL Learners' Grammar Gain

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effect of Length of Exposure to CALL Technology on Young Iranian EFL Learners' Grammar Gain

Article excerpt

Abstract

In the twenty-first century, integration of technology into education is a force worthy of contemplation. Among all the possible technological tools that can be integrated into EFL classes, computers seem to have achieved a more dominant position. One of the outstanding features of computers is their potential to present educational games and to add fun to grammar learning. This study investigated the possible effects of the integration of CALL technology on young Iranian elementary EFL learners' grammar gain. Moreover, it examined the role of length of exposure to find an optimum balance for the proper amount of CALL integration to language activities. One control and two experimental groups, each consisted of 15 participants, were engaged. One of the experimental groups used CALL technology for twice as long as the other group. 'Family and Friends 2' with its accompanying MultiRom was utilized in the experimental groups. This software presented computer-based grammar activities. All the participants tried their answers in separate immediate as well as delayed post-tests. The results of one way ANO VA demonstrated significant differences between control and experimental groups in the immediate post-test. The findings of the delayed post-test showed that a significant difference did exist between the control group and the second experimental group. Furthermore, the length of exposure was found to be influential. The results of this study provide some insights for teachers and administrators to review their curricula, approaches, and educational tools, and to consider the possibility of incorporating CALL technology into their teaching environments.

Keywords: computer-assisted language learning, computer-based activities, length of exposure, grammar teaching, grammar games

1. Introduction

1.1 The Importance of Technology and Computer Integration into Education

Apparently, technology has continued to have a remarkable status in the twenty-first century. It has established its supremacy over almost all aspects of human beings' life and hence it has redefined their living. The great changes in the way of living, communicating with each other, observing the world, and learning are all demonstrative of such a fact. Hence, it is not an exaggerated statement to claim that human beings are living in a world which is driven by technology. The recognition of technology as an unavoidable trend has led to the recent zeal for its integration in all fields of life, especially in education. Paulsen (2001) believes that since technology dictates its obligatory presence as a reality in modern life, it is no longer a question of whether to take advantage of it or not: the point is about how to harness it and guide learners in its use. Hence, asserting the realities about technology in this modern world is not the same as identifying how to benefit from it in the teaching contexts. Moreover, introducing new technologies without careful examination of their efficacy may cause some kinds of problems, one of which is cost (Warschauer, 1996). Consequently, it is worth evaluating whether it is sensible to invest money and energy in this area or not.

When someone mentions technology in the language classrooms, the first impulse is to think about computer technology, mostly because computers have so pervaded human beings' home and workplace contexts. The accessibility to individuals and their practical potentials have encouraged a shift in emphasis from computer technology itself to their application. As a response to this recognition, the notion of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) was introduced in the educational environments. Needless to say, in the recent years, computers have been regarded as the integral part of technology and they have played their crucial role in promoting effective instruction. The important role of computers in education is referred to in Bush's (1997, p. 301) statements:

It is effective for delivering instruction; it has unique pedagogical value; it enables teachers to better address students ' need for individualization; it will help students better relate to life in the information age; it can potentially inform the foreign language education profession about the nature of language and how it is learned. …

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