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CALL, commercialism and culture: inherent software design conflicts and their results

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 April 2004

Washington and Jefferson College, 60 South Lincoln St., Washington, PA 15301,
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This article investigates commercial software design practices as they specifically relate to foreign language education. Commercial educational software companies currently produce the majority of language learning software available on the market. Commercial ventures producing CALL software share many design practices that call into question their educational validity. The design practices of commercial CALL software companies are incongruent with the goals of foreign language education. The problems associated with commercial CALL ventures can be seen in the cultural aspects of the programs, particularly when dealing with issues of cultural authenticity and representation. Practices that create these cultural problems are investigated and outlined in this article. The results of these problems are also highlighted to allow for better identification of problematic design practices. The identification of these problems is associated with educational software evaluation theory. A brief outline of educational software evaluation theory is given, as well as a proposal for a new framework for CALL software evaluation that incorporates issues of representation to better address the inaccuracies found in many commercial CALL software products.

© 2003 Cambridge University Press