‘Facebook Me’ within a Global Community of Learners of English: Technologizing Learner Autonomy
This chapter explores aspects of learner autonomy which could possibly be the results of technological mediation by examining an online exchange project between German and Hong Kong Chinese learners. Whilst the use of technology for foreign language learning autonomy has a long history (see, for example, Schwienhorst 2008 for further discussion), the advancement of the Web 2.0 tools and the general expansion of internet use has changed the pace and requirements for language teacher professional development. Benson and Chik (2011) proposed categorizing the history of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) into five phases: behaviouristic, communicative, integrative, networked, and user-driven. The last two phases are based on the rising prominence of Web 2.0 and mobile technologies, and it is where learning through ‘naturalistic’ CALL is happening. Based on emerging findings from relevant studies in the area of New Literacies Studies (NLS) research, Benson and Chik use ‘naturalistic CALL’ to ‘draw attention to computer-based activities that are carried out on the student’s initiative, outside school, and mainly for the purpose of pursuing some interest through a foreign language, rather than for the direct purpose of learning the language’ (2011: 5). In this chapter, we propose that by understanding the operation of ‘naturalistic’ CALL in different cultural and educational contexts, it is possible to examine the social dimensions of learner autonomy as mediated by technology.
KeywordsLanguage Learning Global Community English Learner Language Teacher Learner Autonomy
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