Computer Assisted Language Learning 2001, Vol. 14, No. 3-4, pp. 305±319
0958-8221/01/1403-4±305$16.00 # Swets & Zeitlinger
Language Acquisition in the Classroom: The Role of Digital Video Erwin Tschirner
University of Leipzig, Germany
This paper looks at the potential of using DVDÐdigital versatile discÐfor language learning. Seven hypotheses are presented on how oral pro®ciency may be developed within multimedia classroom environments. These hypotheses are culled from several areas of SLA research. They focus on how language acquisition may be accomplished within a FL teaching situation, i.e., in the home country of the language learner with little or no face-to-face access to native speakers of the target language. It is argued that multimedia applications, particularly digital video, provide language teachers and learners with effective means to make language acquisition in the classroom viable in a way that has not been possible before the advent of powerful multimedia computers. Consequently, foreign language classrooms need to be equipped with multimedia computers and projectors so that digital video may be used for presentation and practice as well as the acquisition of listening and speaking pro®ciency. Through digital videoÐand through other features of digital media such as easy communication around the worldÐteaching and learning conditions in FL classrooms may become similar to conditions that apply when living in the target culture. It is important that teachers have access to these new media so that they can integrate them in classroom activities. In this paper, I will focus primarily on the acquisition of listening and speaking pro®ciency because these skills often play only a minor role in FL classrooms despite the fact that they often ®gure prominently in curricular guidelines and statements of objectives. However, many of the remarks I will make may be equally applicable to teaching reading and writing (cf. Plass, 1999 for reading and Tschirner, 1999 for writing). In conclusion, it will be argued that FL learning is as much a social process as it is a psychological one. Learners need to be part of a community of speakers and they have to be able to plunge into and participate in the world of native speakers. The digital classroom meets these requirements in a learner friendly way and it marks an important step towards making language acquisition possible in the classroom.
È Correspondence: Prof. Dr. Erwin Tschirner, University of Leipzig, Philologische Fakultat, Herder-Institut, Lumumbastraûe z, 04105 Leipzig, Germany. E-mail: erwin.tschirner@t-online. de
1. INTRODUCTION This essay presents seven hypotheses on how oral pro®ciency may be developed within multimedia classroom environments. These hypotheses are culled from several areas of SLA research. They focus on how language acquisition may be accomplished within a FL teaching situation, i.e., in the home country of the language learner with little or no face-to-face access to native speakers of the target language. It is argued that multimedia applications, particularly digital video, provide language teachers and learners with effective means to make language acquisition in the classroom viable in a way that has not been possible before the advent of powerful multimedia computers. Multimedia applications help learners to gain broad access to oral communication both visually and auditory. Authentic target language video materials provide rich input environments. Learners' control over these materials provides them with comprehensible input and allows them to focus both on meaning and form. With the use of multimedia applications, differences between FL learning (in the native language environment of the learner) and SLA (in the target culture) are likely to become less signi®cant. The use of new media in education, however, does not necessarily result in better learning or teaching practices as the early...
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THE ROLE OF DIGITAL VIDEO
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