Network-Based Language Teaching

  • Richard Kern
  • Paige Ware
  • Mark Warschauer
Reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Language and Education book series (ELE)


Whereas early studies in network-based language teaching (NBLT) tended to test the technology to see what effects it might have on language use, later studies gradually shifted toward testing theories of second language acquisition within the context of computer-mediated communication. This chapter describes two trends in research on NBLT: one that emphasizes interactionist SLA models and another informed by sociocultural and sociocognitive theories. Most interactionist SLA studies fall into one of three categories: negotiation of meaning studies, transfer studies, or feedback studies. Socioculturally oriented research, on the other hand, has tended to emphasize two main areas: genre differentiation and culture learning in networked classrooms. However, the goals, content, and structure of NBLT are changing rapidly. In contrast to the primarily task- and product-oriented online interactions that characterized early research in NBLT, recent work examines online learning in two new areas: nonclassroom contexts (in which learners’ uses of digital technologies are often more varied and more sophisticated than those they encounter at school) and multimodality (the exploration of semiotic modes beyond text in blogs, wikis, podcasting, mobile phones, bimodal chat rooms, and videoconferencing). As NBLT expands its focus to include cultural, communicative, and social aspects of online teaching and learning, a number of problematic areas arise, such as differences in medium, style, and levels of engagement, technocentrism, and methodological and ethical issues. After describing how researchers are grappling with these issues, the chapter concludes with some thoughts about future directions in NBLT research.


Technology Computer-mediated communication Second language acquisition Culture Multimodality 


  1. Abrams, Z. I. (2003). The effect of synchronous and asynchronous CMC on oral performance in German. Modern Language Journal, 87(2), 157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold, N., Ducate, L., & Kost, C. (2012). Collaboration or cooperation? Analyzing group dynamics and revision processes in wikis. CALICO Journal, 29(3), 431–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Belz, J. A. (2003). Linguistic perspectives on the development of intercultural competence in telecollaboration. Language Learning & Technology, 7(2), 68–99.Google Scholar
  4. Black, R. W. (2008). Adolescents and online fan fiction. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  5. Blake, R. (2005). Bimodal CMC: The glue of language learning at a distance. CALICO Journal, 22(3), 497–511.Google Scholar
  6. Bower, J., & Kawaguchi, S. (2011). Negotiation of meaning and corrective feedback in Japanese/English eTandem. Language Learning & Technology, 15(1), 41–71.Google Scholar
  7. Ess, C. (2005). Moral imperatives for life in an intercultural global village. In R. J. Cavalier (Ed.), The impact of the internet on our moral lives (pp. 161–193). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  8. Furstenberg, G., & Levet, S. (2014). Cultura: From then to now: Its origins, key features, and how it has evolved. Reflections on the past and musings on the future. In D. Chun (Ed.), Cultura-inspired intercultural exchanges: Focus on Asian and Pacific languages (pp. 1–31). Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i National Foreign Language Resource Center.Google Scholar
  9. Gebhard, M., Shin, D.-S., & Seger, W. (2011). Blogging and emergent L2 literacy development in an urban elementary school: A functional perspective. CALICO Journal, 28(2), 278–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hanna, B. E., & de Nooy, J. (2009). Learning language and culture via public internet discussion forums. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Helm, F., Guth, S., & Farrah, M. (2012). Promoting dialogue or hegemonic practice? Power issues in telecollaboration. Language Learning & Technology, 16(2), 103–127.Google Scholar
  12. Herring, S. C. (2001). Computer-mediated discourse. In D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen, & H. E. Hamilton (Eds.), The handbook of discourse analysis (pp. 612–634). Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. In The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation reports on digital media and learning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kern, R. (1995). Restructuring classroom interaction with networked computers: Effects on quantity and quality of language production. Modern Language Journal, 79(4), 457–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kern, R., & Warschauer, M. (2000). Theory and practice of network-based language teaching. In M. Warschauer & R. Kern (Eds.), Network-based language teaching: Concepts and practice (pp. 1–19). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kern, R., Ware, P. D., & Warschauer, M. (2004). Crossing frontiers: New directions in online pedagogy and research. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24, 243–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kötter, M. (2003). Negotiation of meaning and codeswitching in online tandems. Language Learning & Technology, 7(2), 145–172.Google Scholar
  18. Lam, W. S. E. (2000). L2 literacy and the design of the self: A case study of a teenager writing on the Internet. TESOL Quarterly, 34(3), 457–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lam, W. S. E. (2004). Second language socialization in a bilingual chat room: Global and local considerations. Language Learning & Technology, 8(3), 44–65.Google Scholar
  20. Lam, W. S. E. (2009). Multiliteracies on instant messaging in negotiating local, translocal, and transnational affiliations: A case of an adolescent immigrant. Reading Research Quarterly, 44(4), 377–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lamy, M.-N., & Goodfellow, R. (2010). Telecollaboration 2.0: A critical appraisal. In F. Helm & S. Guth (Eds.), Telecollaboration 2.0 for language and intercultural learning (pp. 107–138). Bern: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  22. Lee, L. (2011). Focus on form through peer feedback in a Spanish-American telecollaborative exchange. Language Awareness, 20(4), 343–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Malinowski, D. (2014). Drawing bodies and spaces in telecollaboration: a view of research potential in synaesthesia and multimodality, from the outside. Pedagogies, 9(1), 63–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mendelson, A. (2014). Write to speak revisited: An ecological investigation of transfer between chatting and speaking in foreign languages. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  25. Nelson, M. E. (2006). Mode, meaning and synaesthesia in multimedia L2 writing. Language Learning & Technology, 10(2), 56–76.Google Scholar
  26. O’Dowd, R. (2010). Issues in the assessment of online interaction and exchange. In S. Guth & F. Helm (Eds.), Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, literacies and intercultural learning in the 21st century (pp. 337–360). Bern: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  27. O’Dowd, R., & Ritter, M. (2006). Understanding and working with “failed communication” in telecollaborative exchanges. CALICO Journal, 23(3), 623–642.Google Scholar
  28. Ortega, L. (1997). Processes and outcomes in networked classroom interaction: Defining the research agenda for L2 CACD. Language Learning & Technology, 1(1), 82–93.Google Scholar
  29. Pasfield-Neofitou, S. (2011). Online domains of language use: Second language learners’ experiences of virtual community and foreignness. Language Learning & Technology, 15(2), 92–108.Google Scholar
  30. Payne, J. S., & Whitney, P. J. (2002). Developing L2 oral proficiency through synchronous CMC: Output, working memory, and interlanguage development. CALICO Journal, 20(1), 7–32.Google Scholar
  31. Reeder, K., Macfadyen, L. P., Roche, J., & Chase, M. (2004). Negotiating cultures in cyberspace: Participation patterns and problematics. Language Learning & Technology, 8(2), 88–105.Google Scholar
  32. Thorne, S. L. (2003). Artifacts and cultures-of-use in intercultural communication. Language Learning & Technology, 7(2), 38–67.Google Scholar
  33. Thorne, S. L., & Payne, J. S. (2005). Evolutionary trajectories, Internet-mediated expression, and language education. CALICO Journal, 22(3), 371–397.Google Scholar
  34. Thorne, S. L., Black, R. W., & Sykes, J. M. (2009). Second language use, socialization, and learning in internet interest communities and online gaming. Modern Language Journal, 93, 802–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Towndrow, P. A., Nelson, M. E., & Yusuf, W. F. B. M. (2013). Squaring literacy assessment with multimodal design: An analytic case for semiotic awareness. Journal of Literacy Research, 45(4), 327–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ware, P. D. (2005). “Missed” communication in online communication: Tensions in a German-American telecollaboration. Language Learning & Technology, 9(2), 64–89.Google Scholar
  37. Ware, P. D., & Kramsch, C. (2005). Toward an intercultural stance: Teaching German and English through telecollaboration. Modern Language Journal, 89(2), 190–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ware, P., & Warschauer, M. (2006). Electronic feedback and second language writing. In K. Hyland & F. Hyland (Eds.), Feedback in second language writing: Contexts and issues (pp. 105–122). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Warner, C. N. (2004). It’s just a game, right? Types of play in foreign language CMC. Language Learning & Technology, 8(2), 69–87.Google Scholar
  40. Warschauer, M. (1997). Computer-mediated collaborative learning: Theory and practice. Modern Language Journal, 81(4), 470–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Warschauer, M. (2003). Technology and social inclusion: Rethinking the digital divide. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.French DepartmentUC BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationSouthern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations