CALICO Journal, Vol 21, No 3 (2004)

Teaching Arabic with Technology at BYU: Learning from the Past to Bridge to the Future

Michael D. Bush, Jeremy M. Browne
Issued Date: 7 Aug 2014

Abstract


Reporting in 1971 on research related to computer-based methods for teaching the Arabic writing system, Bunderson and Abboud cited the potential that computers have for language learning, a largely unfulfilled potential even in 2004. After a review of the relevant historical background for the justification of computer-aided language learning (CALL) and pedagogical considerations for instructional materials development, this article describes recent advances in online technologies, justifying the conclusion that the field is poised to make great strides. Given the high costs for materials development, it is essential (a) to not abandon existing materials, (b) to use the most effective techniques possible for new materials, and (c) to conform to existing standards to ensure the widest possible materials delivery. The authors of this article discuss efforts at Brigham Young University to work within these standards in the re-engineering of materials to make them more useful, maintainable, and accessible, describing at the same time important principles for creating materials that are interoperable with existing online delivery platforms. In this project, hundreds of Arabic activities from Apple's HyperCard environment were converted to Unicode-compliant, template-driven, XML-based, Web-deliverable activities. In addition to discussing Unicode, SCORM, and MPEG-7, the authors provide background and justification for important development decisions.

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DOI: 10.1558/cj.v21i3.497-522

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