Twenty-five years of digital literacies in CALL

Kern, R., Twenty-five years of digital literacies in CALL. Language Learning & Technology, 25,3 (2021):132-50.

This article offers a comprehensive review of the evolving importance of digital literacies, in the context of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) over the past 25 years. The article also discusses the three major areas in which digital literacies have contributed to CALL, (a) agency, autonomy, and identity; (b) creativity; and (c) new sociality and communities.

Beginning with the early days of the Internet the author describes our early use as being consultative rather than creative, and digital literacy in that context consisted primarily of how to access web sites and follow hyperlinks. With the development Web 2.0 our use of the internet evolved, moving to more and more online social interaction particularly in relation to social media. The impact of these developments provided language learners multiple opportunities to independently access learning resources on the internet, to engage with other learners and speakers of the target language. Language learners also have the means to create content themselves, and many opportunities to practice language skills through gaming and in online communities.

In the face of these exciting independent learning opportunities there are ongoing challenges relating to better understanding the role of the instructor in this new learning environment, in particular its impact on assessment and in supporting learners to productively navigate informal and formal online learning activities. Finally, the authors discuss how language educators can develop and deliver sound digital literacies programming to help language learners acquire and develop these critical skills.

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