In the February 2012 issue of Language Learning and Technology, ELI lecturer Keith Barrs published an article titled, Fostering computer-mediated L2 interaction beyond the classroom.
In language learning contexts a primary concern is how to maximise target language interaction both inside and outside of the classroom. With the development of digital technologies, the proliferation of language learning applications, and an increased awareness of how technology can assist in language education, educators are being presented with new opportunities to engage learners in innovative ways. This article reports on how technology was used to deal with the issue of an identified lack of English language interactional opportunities outside of the classroom at the author’s university in Japan. An Action Research (AR) project was initiated with a Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) programme being implemented during an eight-week summer vacation period, in order to provide a platform for students to interact in the target language outside of class. The article reports on the action research methodology undertaken and the results of the CMC programme interactions. It shows that a CMC programme can offer students a convenient and useful platform on which to continue to communicate in the target language while outside of their classes, but that the construction of the platform needs input from both teachers and students.