CALL and the development of reading skills: Bridging the gap between theory and practice
In the midst of the increased availability of computers in South African schools and the publication of a White Paper on e-Education, (language) teachers are facing the new and exciting challenge of successfully integrating ICT in their teaching. In the light of these developments, it becomes imperative to develop guidelines for the effective integration of computers in language and other areas of teaching. Unlike most overseas countries, Computer-assisted Language Learning in South Africa is still in its infancy. Therefore, it becomes necessary to draw on international best practices and findings of the most recent research on CALL. The focal point of this article is the value of computers for developing reading skills, with reference to the use of text reconstruction activities, multimedia CD-ROMs and the World Wide Web. Emanating from this extensive literature survey are critical success factors for the integration of computer-based and conventional reading activities. These factors include the goal of the lesson, the time available, learners’ level of language proficiency and learners’ level of computer literacy.
Keywords: Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL), ICT, e-Education; text reconstruction, multimedia CD-ROMs, World Wide Web, reading skills