Expanding the Repertory of CALL Exercise Types: the Potential of
Brett, University of Sassari,
is one of the most intuitive forms of human-computer interaction as a result of
its strong parallels with the manipulation of objects in the physical world,
which in turn is a reflection of cognitive processes. As such it is a mainstay
of the graphic user interfaces
(GUIs) of all the major operating systems. The extent to which this function has
been incorporated into the creation of CALL materials is negligible in
comparison to its potential.
majority of CALL materials currently available, drag’n’drop exercises entail
matching text with text, or at the very most, text to images. The possibility of
exploiting the function to take advantage of the non-linear nature of digital
sound has yet to be extensively explored, even though such material can be
created with several authoring tools currently available.
is of particular relevance to the creation of task based language teaching (TBLT)
materials where other forms of input, such as gap-filling, are generally less
effective. For instance, its application to listening exercises dealing with
street directions, in which symbols and/or text are to be placed on a map, is
particularly suitable. A tactic that can be adopted to increase the authenticity
of the task is that of dividing input and interaction, i.e. learners cannot
listen and interact contemporarily. Consequently, the learner is forced to store
input in the short term memory before being able to complete the task.
presentation will illustrate the following drag'n'drop exercise types created
using Macromedia Flash MX 2004, all of which incorporate sound:
dragging objects into two/three groups
matching objects by dragging dots that create curvy lines
re-ordering: items shuffle as they are dragged (“jigsaw listening”)
dragging images onto a background image (e.g. a map).
the energy and technical knowledge needed to create these exercises from scratch
are far from negligible, an
authoring tool that is currently being developed at the University of Sassari,
Italy, renders this process extremely swift and user-friendly: authoring is
conducted in a WYSIWYG modality, sidestepping completely the need to edit code.