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What Is C.A.L.L.: How Educators Are Using Technology in World Language Education

Four ways to implement C.A.L.L., Computer-Assisted Language Learning, in the world language classroomFind out how C.A.L.L. has opened up new avenues of learning languages that blend the boundaries between in-classroom and at-home learning.

What exactly is C.A.L.L.?

As technology advances year after year, educators have been using digital resources to support a more engaging and immersive learning environment in the world language classroom. While C.A.L.L.’s name defines itself — Computer-Assisted Language Learning, the world language education community has watched the definition of C.A.L.L. grow to include the use of apps, blogs, virtual-learning environments, computer-mediated communication programs, as well as the delivery of language instruction through portable devices (also called M.A.L.L., Mobile-Assisted Language Learning).

If done well, C.A.L.L. can amplify what instructors teach, and reinforce what students take away from a lesson. (Check out a podcast recorded with Dr. Rob Thurman, an elementary school principal, on "The Use of Technology in Foreign Language Instruction in Schools." )

A few ways to incorporate C.A.L.L. in world language education:

1. Explore authentic content for immersive learning experiences. Mango linguists are well aware of how important authentic content is for students trying to understand another language. So I love hearing when educators incorporate authentic content in their curriculum — through different world language blogs, music, and podcasts. Students will be even more engaged if they’re allowed to pick the blog topic or musical artist in the language that they're studying.

2. Supplement vocab quizzes and written exams with collaborative projects based on real-world scenarios. Center assessments around using technology in the development of a larger project with real-life applications. For example, in your French class, have students arrange a two-week trip to Paris, planning their flights and activities. Students can practice their language skills by requesting accommodations and other information in French, or by reading local travel blogs and insider lists of things to do — all written in French!

This not only encourages peer interaction, but requires the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills used in real-world scenarios. By teaching mindful internet usage, technology becomes a tool rather than a cheat sheet.

3. Rise above the forgetting curve. Students are much more likely to open their laptops than their textbooks over school breaks. Create a list of relevant movies in the language that students are learning and allow them to pick a movie to watch over the break. When class is back in session, have students give a brief presentation (for more advanced students: in the second language!) on the plot, major themes, and personal highlights from the film.

For beginner learners, make a list of YouTube videos using short clips that are easier for students to digest. Short videos give young learners the opportunity to learn in micro moments throughout the day and work better with captivating short attention spans.

4. Pick a language-learning app and assign take-home lessons or activities from the app. Perhaps the best thing about C.A.L.L. is that it provides the opportunity to expand learning beyond the classroom walls. Educators have begun to take advantage of students’ smartphone obsession by using language-learning apps as actual take-home activities. Providing parents with access to a language-learning app allows families to learn together, broadening students’ support community.

This is especially helpful for heritage learners, who find tangible value in studying things they need at home or in their community. Plus, family learning provides significant value to intergenerational second language learners, as they are now able to connect the language they’re learning in school with their homelife and their community.

Are you an educator blending traditional language instruction with modern technology? We’re asking world language educators of K-12 schools across the U.S. to answer the Ultimate C.A.L.L. by submitting their most creative and innovative one-week lesson plan that integrates Computer-Assisted Language Learning with traditional teaching methods.

Click the button below or go to mangolanguages.com/ultimatecall for official rules and to complete your entry. Join us in inspiring students to love languages and communicate with confidence.


Answer The C.A.L.L.


Have you experienced C.A.L.L. in the world language classroom? Share your experience or other great ideas for implementing C.A.L.L. — the community wants to know!

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Anja Green
Written by Anja Green

Anja is the Content Development Manager at Mango Languages, with an M.A. in Applied Linguistics/Translation from Leipzig University in Germany. With 16 years under her belt as a linguist expert, the last 11 have been spent with Mango Languages, where she leads teams of linguists and subject matter experts in the creation of learning content, development of new tools and features, and administration of new and innovative language instruction modules.

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