Language Learning & Technology
Vol.12, No.1, February 2008, p. 1
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FROM THE EDITORS
We want to thank our contributors, reviewers, and readers for making 2007 a very successful year for our journal. The number of subscribers grew from 8,500 in 2006 to 10,600 in 2007. We received a record number of 144 submissions from 31 countries in 2007, up from 105 in the previous year. We are looking forward to 2008 being an even better year.
This issue features three articles and two commentaries in addition to our regular columns. The three articles coincidentally all deal with various issues involved in computer-mediated communication.
"Peer feedback on language form in telecollaboration” by Paige Ware and Robert O’Dowd explores corrective peer feedback on form in asynchronous discussions. Their findings indicate that such feedback occurred only when students were explicitly required to provide it. Pedagogical implications include the need to situate peer feedback on form within current models of telecollaboration and to assist students in finding feedback strategies that do not require a sophisticated understanding of L1 or L2 grammar.
“The role of metalanguage talk in asynchronous computer-mediated communication” by Keiko Kitade examines the benefits of offline dialogue in an asynchronous computer-mediated communication (ACMC) activity. The study suggests that offline dialogue may compensate for lack of instant tailored feedback in ACMC. The author recommends further investigation of the potential of offline interactions for creating a collaborative context, not only among online interlocutors but also among offline peers.
“Methodological hurdles in capturing CMC data: The case of the missing self-repair” by Bryan Smith studies the use of self-repair among learners of German in a task-based CMC environment in order to (1) establish how potential interpretations of CMC data may depend on the method of data collection and evaluation and (2) explicitly examine the nature of CMC self-repair in the task-based foreign language CALL classroom. His results show that the interpretation of the chat interaction is a function of the data collection and evaluation methods employed. The findings also suggest a possible difference in the nature of self-repair across face-to-face and SCMC environments. In view of the results, this paper calls for CALL researchers to abandon the reliance on printed chat log files when attempting to interpret SCMC interactional data.
The commentary "Can free reading take you all the way: A response to Cobb (2007)" by Jeff McQuillan and Stephen Krashen argues that in "Computing the Demands of Vocabulary Acquisition from Reading" (Language Learning & Technology, October, 2007), Cobb underestimated the amount of reading that even a very modest reading habit would afford L2 readers, and therefore underestimated the impact of free reading on L2 vocabulary development. In addition, the authors point out that Cobb’s own data show that free reading is a very powerful tool in L2 vocabulary acquisition.
In his commentary “Response to McQuillan and Krashen (2008)”, Cobb questions the adequacy of free reading for vocabulary development in the typical time frame of instructed L2 acquisition. He suggests that the development of an adequate L2 lexicon results from well-designed L2 instruction that includes, but is not limited to, reading.
The “On the Net” column “You’ve got some GALL: Google-assisted language learning” by guest contributor George Chinnery proposes a number of interesting ways in which the power of Google can be harnessed for pedagogical purposes.
The “Emerging Technologies” column “Of elastic clouds and treebanks: New opportunities for content-based and data-driven language learning” by Robert Godwin-Jones describes a plethora of new technical developments that make it possible to use large data sets for language learning.
Our Reviews column edited by Sigrun Biesenbach-Lucas contains a detailed review of five English learners’ dictionaries on CD ROM by Alfonso Rizo-Rodríguez.
Please take a look at the updated list of PhD dissertations dealing with language learning and technology. We would like to thank Dr. Evelyn Reder Wade of UC Santa Barbara who compiled the original list and provided the current updated one.
Irene Thompson and Dorothy Chun,