Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) relates to the use of computers for language teaching and learning. CALL offers many advantages for both teachers and students in learning language. First, computers can provide instructions, feed-back, and testing in grammar, vocabulary, writing, pronunciation, and other dimensions of language and culture learning. In this case, the teacher will only be a facilitator. He or she has been much helped by a computer. The teacher can easily control the activities of learning being done by his students. The programs that are installed and connected to the server will be easily controlled by a teacher. Not only that, a computer can also provide reading access to write audio and visual materials relate to the language and culture being studied by students. CALL also offers freedom for users to choose any topics of information available within the package (Hartoyo, 2006:27). If the program which installed in the server in the too big for our server, we can entrusted the datas and program to the commercial web server such as wordpress.com. We just need a blog as a media to activate our program. CALL also has any disadvantage, it is costly enough for the programmers or teachers. A lot of funds have to be provided to buy some equipments, design programs, and for its maintenance. The school with limited budget will find some obstacles in funding the CALL program. To create a program of CALL must have at least forty computers for one class capacity. Of course, lots of money needed for building computer laboratory. The effective and cheap media is blog since it introduces in education, especially in language learning.
There are many advantages, of course, and disadvantages of using blogs in language learning community. When a language teacher introduces blogging activities within the language “reﬂections” in classroom. It is the opportunities for student interaction and the horizons of that “learning space”. Blogs, which is interactive homepages that are easy to set up and manage, enable students to engage in online exchanges, thereby expanding their language study and learning community beyond the physical classroom. Regular blogging also encourages more autonomous learning. When a student’s audience includes his or her classmates, the teacher and potentially anyone with an internet connection, motivation to engage in meaningful written communication appears to increase. At the same time, when a teacher utilizes blogs the result can be an effective means of facilitating greater learner interaction and reﬂection on skills development.
According to Darabi (2006), “The core principles of learning communities focus on integration of curriculum, active learning, student engagement, and student responsibility…” (p. 53). Blogging activities realize these principles. To illustrate, Pinkman (2005) writes that blogging becomes communicative and interactive when participants assume multiple roles in the writing process, as writers who write and post, as readers/reviewers who respond to other writers’ posts, and as writer-readers who, returning to their own posts, react to criticism of their own posts. Dieu (2004) reafﬁrms this by stating that blogging gives a learner the chance to “maximize focused exposure to language in new situations, peer collaboration, and contact with experts” (p. 26). Within the scope of classroom-based blog activities, assignments can require the student blogger to communicate closely with a particular group of student bloggers. Moreover, the exchange can be almost instantaneous (during class time) or at the leisure of the student bloggers. This combination of planned and spontaneous communicative exchanges inside and out of the classroom makes blogging a meaningful and engaging social exercise. It is within this context that Williams and Jacobs (2004) contend that blogging has “the potential to be a transformational technology for teaching and learning” (p. 247).
The remote area where internet access does not provide become a big burden. The students should come in to “warnet” internet rent provider to access it. The students skill in operating computer and internet are other difficulties to language learning trough blog. The most important is the students should have a blog and understanding in managing it. To solve the problems, wisely, a teacher gives a basic in operating computer and how to make a blog.
Managing Blog in Language Learning Communities
A Student should make a blog for the class or their community. It is better to make the blog in wordpress.com. In the blog must add with tags or categorical or group of articles; Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking. The user name and password should give to all classmates to give them a chance to post their works. Each student can post their assignment or articles whenever they want. The teacher should guide for better display of blogs. The user name and password should be changed after the students posted their articles.
The first activity, the teacher gives a writing task and the works post to the writing group individually. It can ease to see the post in certain categories. The teacher, the classmates or public netters can give a comment and correcting the composition in comment box each posts or article. The teacher can give scores through errors analyses and the improved comments given by their classmates and the netters. If it needs long correctness, it can be given in the classroom.
The second activity is reading, teacher post a certain text and the directions and questions for the target of understanding reading. The students can give their answers through filling in the comment box. It is better to give an interactive program and upload it to the blog so students can see his score and it paves the teacher tasks way. The interactive reading program will motivate students learning English. The listening can be uploaded to the blog with the questions as in the reading. The interactive program of listening is more interest than it just gives the material in sound only. And the students responses can be written in the comment box. Both reading and listening did not give the teacher, classmates or other netters comments.
The last activity is speaking; the speaking spent more time to prepare. A teacher should give the students assignment to speak in a certain topic and they should save the recording in sound or movie. It is more interest if they save their speaking in movie then the teacher, classmates or other netters can give comments and scores.
Learning English more interest if we as a teacher can use all media around us to improve students’ language ability. This tips will be useful if we try to apply in the class. I hope so
Hartoyo. (2006). Individual Differences in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Semarang: Universitas Negeri Semarang Press.
Darabi, R. (2006). Basic writing and learning communities. Journal of Basic Writing, 25(1), 53-72
Dieu, B. (2004). Blogs for language learning. Essential Teacher, 26-30.
Pinkman, K. (2005). Using blogs in the foreign language classroom. The JALT CALL Journal, 1(1), 12-24.
Williams, J., & Jacobs, J. (2004). Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(2), 232-247. Retrieved on September 25, 2007, from http://www.jeremywilliams.net/AJETpaper.pdf