In the forum we are now discussing the use of ICT in ELT. One of the readings we did was especially interesting. The article written by Stephen Bax examines the history of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) and makes some important statements about where we are now in the use of technology in the field of language teaching. According to Bax, there are three approaches in the use of CALL. The first one he terms restricted. The restricted use of CALL entails closed drills and quizzes with predetermined answers to work on grammar or vocabulary. In the restricted mode interaction between students is minimum. The next approach is called open. In this one, we will find simulations, games, and CMC (Computer Mediated Communication). The third approach is integrated CALL. This one is characterized by frequent interaction with others and some interaction with the computer.
The author explains that he does not name these three uses of CALL as historical periods because they are still present. Although a genuine communicative use of CALL is possible nowadays, some teachers, school administrators do not have an open attitude towards its implementation. Besides that, much of the software being produced is still of the restricted type. Concerning where we are now, Bax argues that we are in an open phase of CALL with each institution still exhibiting some restricted and integrated features.
Bax says that true integration of CALL is still a long way to be achieved. To illustrate his point he introduces the idea of normalization. This has to do with the diffusion of innovation. Technological innovations are normalized when we do not recognize them as technologies any longer. An example is the watch which is so integrated/normalized into our lives that we take it for granted. Normalization of CALL will happen when teachers and students use it as they use a pen or a book. Better yet, CALL will be normalized when it is treated as secondary to learn.