Review ~ ReCALLA worthwhile journal for those interested in the field of CALL and everything in it
The world of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is an area which is growing in momentum at a very quick pace. There are numerous books available to instruct EFL/ ESL teachers in the basics of CALL, but what may be of even greater assistance are journals, especially if you are interested in CALL itself and not just setting tasks for your students to do in word processing! If you are like me and relatively new to the wonders of CALL, then I advise you to look at as many research articles as you can and journals are a great place to find ideas. ReCALL (The Journal of EUROCALL [European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning]) is one of the most well-known and esteemed international CALL journals whose self-stated aim is to include “…the use of technologies for language learning and teaching, including all relevant aspects of research and development”. It is a refereed journal published by Cambridge and it is released three times a year in January, May and September, with the May issue containing papers from the EUROCALL conference.
At first glance ReCALL can be quite daunting, as the articles inside can be quite long and sometimes on topics you might never have heard of, but don’t let that put you off. I found many of the articles relevant to ‘everyday’ readers (not only those in the field) as there are so many great ways to incorporate technology into the classroom in this day and age. For example, there are articles on MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning, so no connection to shopping centres!) This would be a useful way to enhance language learning, as students use their mobile phones everyday and ReCALL introduces studies on how researchers have used them and their successes and pitfalls. This could be a very important time saver, as you can avoid the same mistakes that they did.
If MALL isn’t for you don’t be disheartened as there are numerous articles on other web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, software (Second Life seems to be quite a popular one), online reading exercises, corpora and collocations, DVDs, CDs, and so on. The one point I found a little off-putting is that there are a lot of charts, graphs or scary tables of statistics within articles. I’ll admit I am one to avoid an article if there is a bunch of numbers in it as my brain does not make friends with statistics. However, I found it possible to just skip over the figures and go back to them if absolutely necessary. You will also find book and software reviews.
What I found really appealing about ReCALL is that not all articles are related to EFL/ESL. There are also articles in the field of SLA (Second Language Acquisition) in general. For example, I found interesting ones on “learning the Japanese hiragana system using an interactive CD”, translation into Spanish using different corpora, and even a “multidialectical TTS application for Irish”.
What I didn’t find appealing were the subscription options. In 2010 you could purchase the three issues for 52 pounds (individual- direct from publisher if for personal use) or 127 pounds (for institutions). You could also purchase each part separately for ₤45 plus postage. On the bright side you can receive a discount if you are an AILA, BAAL, TESOL or IATEFL member, but I still found the price a little high myself. If you are a EUROCALL member you can receive one issue of the journal with individual membership.
If you have the same doubts as me about the price you can look online at some past issues, which I highly recommend doing. If you don’t want to purchase the journal yourself you could ask your workplace to subscribe. I am happy mine does, as it is a really useful resource to have access to in the CALL world.