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Computer Mediated Communication

Graham Davies

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CMC is a hot topic in Modern Languages right now. The last two EUROCALL conferences (2006 and 2007) each had a Virtual Strand that enabled people to participate at a distance. I especially appreciated the 2006 Virtual Strand as I was recovering from major surgery at the time and could not travel to Spain to attend the “real” conference. The archives are still available, complete with streaming videos of the plenaries:

2006 Blog: http://eurocall2006blog.blogspot.com/

2006 Wiki: http://eurocall2006.wikispaces.com/

2007 Virtual Strand: http://vsportal2007.googlepages.com/

At the 2007 EUROCALL conference a CMC SIG was set up. It now has a very active discussion list at:


EUROCALL's CMC SIG will be holding its first regional conference in Padova, Italy, 17-19 April 2008. Further information in the above discussion list.

EUROCALL has also set up a headquarters in Second Life. We aim to use the HQ for informal meetings and, in the future, for training courses and teaching. Here is the SLURL:


Yesterday evening, while I was setting up furniture in the EUROCALL HQ, I noticed that David Richardson was online, so I offered to teleport him to my location and we were able to chat using SL’s recently introduced voice chat facility. Just after he left I was visited by an old friend who had picked up the above SLURL from an email. His voice chat was not active so we came offline and I skyped him, using audio and video comms.

We are really fortunate in having such useful comms tools available to use free of charge. In recent months I have made use of the following comms tools:

- blogs (every day)

- wikis

- podcasts and vodcasts

- Flashmeeting

- Skype with video (my Skype name is groovyguzi)

- Ventrilo audioconferencing

- Second Life text chat and voice chat.

There appears to be a great deal of work being done with such tools in the secondary schools sector in the UK. Take a look, for example, at:

- Joe Dale’s blog entitled “Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom”:


- The MFLE blog, Learning and Teaching Scotland:



- Ewan McIntosh’s blog (Ewan is a key mover and shaker in CMC in the secondary schools sector in Scotland):

http://edu.blogs.com (where I picked up his announcement about TeachMeet08, 11 January 2008, London BETT show: http://www.teachmeet.org.uk)

I can foresee great potential with this new technology, especially in language learning and teaching. All we need is a bit of imagination!

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