CALL Interest Section Academic Session

Constructing Meaning with Computers

TESOL 2003, March 26, Baltimore

In this session, authors of articles in the TESOL Journal 2003 Special Issue shared a broad range of perspectives on constructivist teaching and learning. Their insights on using computers to help students create meaning in ESL and EFL language classrooms and teacher training programs should be of interest to anyone who uses computers in education.

Outline of the session

Introduction of the panel by the CALL-IS Associate Chair, Greg Kessler
Brief overview of constructivism and the Autumn 2002 Special Issue of TESOL Journal, "Constructing Meaning with Computers" (Deborah Healey)
See the related site at
Africa Online: A Web- and Content-based English Language Teaching Course (Leslie Opp-Beckman)
In this course, English language educators from across sub-Saharan Africa built a collegial network while developing computer skills and teaching resources.
A Project-Based Approach to Interactive Website Design (Lia Kamhi-Stein)
A collaborative video project allowed MA TESOL students to discover firsthand how computer technology can aid classroom learning. See related websites at and
Constructivist and Collaborative Learning in a Wireless Environment (Susana Sotillo)
Using a network of wireless laptops to facilitate flexible meeting times and locations, applied linguistics students collaborated on academic writing assignments from outside the classroom.
Constructing Meaning with Virtual Reality (Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou)
The simulated environment of a MOO provides ESL/EFL students with creative opportunities to develop and practice real-life communication skills in authentic, meaningful ways.
Making the Most of Discussion Boards in the ESL Classroom (Greg Kessler)
Teachers and learners alike benefit from the highly versatile, accessible, and interactive nature of electronic discussion forums.
Integrating Online Discussion in an Australian Intensive English Language Course (Wendy Sutherland-Smith)
Computer-mediated discussion provided autonomous, egalitarian models of learning that motivated and empowered students in this course.
Internet Chat: Collaborating and Learning via E-Conversations (Mark Freiermuth)
Directed discussions in a chat environment serve as a useful complement to face-to-face encounters by promoting greater interaction and wider participation among language learners.
Question and answer session

Contact information for presenters

Mark Freiermuth,
University of Aizu
Aizuwakamatsu City, Japan
Deborah Healey, Email Deborah
ELI, Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon, USA
Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou,

University of Nottingham
Nottingham, UK
Lia Kamhi-Stein,
California State University, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California, USA
Greg Kessler,
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio, USA
Leslie Opp-Beckman,
University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon, USA
Susana Sotillo,
Montclair State University
Montclair, New Jersey, USA
Wendy Sutherland-Smith,
Monash University
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 

Selected Resources about Constructivism
Last updated 21 March 2003 by Deborah Healey. Email Deborah