Computer-mediated communication and language learning

Authored by: Richard Kern , Paige Ware , Mark Warschauer

The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415747394
eBook ISBN: 9781315676203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317384472


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The use of computers for communication between individuals goes back to the 1960s, but it was not until the spread of email and the arrival of the World Wide Web in the 1990s that language educators began to make significant use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) as one dimension of the larger effort to explore computer-assisted language learning (CALL). Initially, most CMC projects took place within a single class and used text-based synchronous (i.e. real-time) platforms such as chat and instant messaging. Early research focused on learners’ attitudes and motivation (Beauvois, 1997), comparisons of interactional dynamics in online versus face-to-face environments (Kern, 1995; Warschauer, 1996) and linguistic descriptions of online discourse (Chun, 1994; Kern, 1995; Warschauer, 1996).

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