Volume 20 Number 2

The Role of Technology in SLA Research
Dorothy M. Chun, University of California, Santa

In this review article for the 20th Anniversary Issue, I look back at research from the last two decades on the role of computer technology in understanding and facilitating second language acquisition (SLA) and forward to what future research might investigate. To be discussed are both how technology has been used to conduct research on SLA processes and what the impacts of technology have been as a mediator of those processes. As we progress into the 21st century, I suggest that technology in SLA research will assume an increasingly greater role, approaching Bax’s (2003, 2011) notion of normalization for the field of computer-assisted language learning, namely that technology is gradually being fully integrated into second language teaching, learning, and research. In addition, I propose that SLA research investigate not only the traditional aspects of linguistic and communicative competence but newer types of symbolic competence (e.g., Kramsch, 2011) and intercultural communicative competence (e.g., Byram, 1997), which include integral technological components, and which are a part of general digital literacies or multiliteracies.

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