The Internet TESL Journal

Quick Tips for the CALL Laboratory

Brian Cullen and John Morris
brian [at]
Nagoya Institute of Technology (Nagoya, Japan)

In this article, we would like to share some quick tips for the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Laboratory. If you are a beginner, these tips will help you to get started more quickly. Even if you have been using CALL for some time, you may find some useful suggestions.

Choose the Best Browser

The Internet is the single most powerful resource available for the CALL lab. And for most people, the Internet browser is the most important piece of software. Many teachers use no other software at all. We recommend using Netscape Communicator as your browser. It has several built-in functions that make life easier. Using Netscape Communicator allows students to learn just one interface and saves a lot of time in lessons.

Use Composer to Make Web pages

Manage Student Assignments

Teachers have the experience of keeping track of student assignments in a regular classroom.But without a well-thought out system for the CALL lab, you could end up spending hours and hours trying to track down student assignments. After trying out various systems, we settled on the following.

Use Computers--Don't Be Used by Computers

When we started using the CALL laboratory, we tried to use the computers all the time. However, is is good to remember that computers are just one of many learning resources.

Save Time

Use Free Online Learning Materials

Language learning software is often expensive and difficult to use. Before you make the investment in money and time, try out the wonderful materials that are available free of charge on the Internet. Here are two of the best.

Use Free Online Resources

Create Your Own Activities

Creating effective materials for the CALL lab is easier if you make use of free Internet resources.


The CALL lab is a wonderful resource for helping your students to learn more effectively. Initially, you need to spend time learning new technologies and techniques that work well for you. In the coming years, it will become increasingly necessary for teachers to understand these technologies and to be able to use them. However, we must always keep in mind that it is learning and not the use of technology that is the true goal.

Appendix 1

Sample Student Portfolio

Name:Tanaka Tomomi
Student Number: 12345697
Class:Tuesday Morning, Media English
Teacher: Cullen
Date:October 23, 2001 (Homework)
Hello, my name is Tanaka Tomomi . I'm a student of NIT and 20 years old. I'm from Seki-city in Gifu. My hobby is reading books, shopping and watching movie. My favorite movie is "sound of music", "Senjou no Merry X'mass". I like Sakamoto Ryuuichi. His music of the movie"Senjou no Merry X'mass" is wonderful!
Date:October 29, 2001
Assignment: Reading 2
1.It was first discovered in japan.

2.It is produced by the Ajinomoto company.

3.It strengthens the flavour of other foods by making neuron cells in the mouth "over-react" to flavours. This excites the neuron cells too much and they soon die.

4.About 35 % of people are affected by MSG.

5. Young children, elderly and people with health problems are at greatest risk.

6.It causes dizziness and headaches. MSG reactions can also be as severe as asthma, heart attack or even death.

Date:October 29, 2001
Assignment: Ethics
1.Even if the chocolate bar doesn't taste the same, I product it without carcinogenic ingredients. Or I make new products without it.

2.I tell the possible danger of GM food in my country and I ask the Minister of Health in the United States to stop production the GM foods.
And to avoid the major trade war, we increase imports of other safety foods instead of GM food.

Date:October 30, 2001 (Homework)
Assignment:Dangerous Foods 100 words
Dangerous Foods
The allergy and cancer of children increase very fast at a present. It is said that one of these causes is additives. If the motherwho is with child eat carcinogenic food or substance that doesn't be produced in nature, her baby would be cancer andallergic. The doubtful additives of carcinogens are opp, hydrogen peroxide, BHA, saccharin, artificial coloring. Some of them is prohibited of use but these are often seem generally. For the body of us and our baby in the future, weshouldn't have these dangerous foods if possible. In other words, we don't depend on artificial food and pay attention toagricultural chemicals of vegetables and fruits.
Date:November 11, 2001
Treasure Hunt
1.It is 20.0ª-C
2.It is 1587.2mm
3.It is 9.3ª-C
4.It is 105.0mm
5.It is 19.5ª-C
6.It is 12.7 ª-C

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 2, February 2002