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Exploring the human element of computer-assisted language learning: an Iranian context

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Based on various theories of human agency (Ajzen, I. (2005). Attitudes, personality and behavior (2nd ed.). London: Open University Press; Davis, F.D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 13, 319–340; Rogers, E.M. (1983). Diffusion of innovations (3rd ed.). New York: The Free Press), it is essential to know users' attitudes and abilities before implementing widespread use of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) techniques in schools. This study takes a two-tiered approach. On the one hand, it aims to explore the current computer-related attitudes and abilities of Iranian high school language teachers and students, before the actual diffusion of computers into the education system. On the other hand, this study compares the attitudes of language teachers and students towards CALL, cultural perceptions of the role of computers in education, computer competence, and computer access. Toward this aim, a multi-section survey in the Persian language was administered to high school language teachers and students. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and the results indicated that the majority of the participants have positive attitudes towards CALL and find it relevant to the cultural context of Iran. Teachers have moderate computer competence, while students have limited competence. Language teachers and students have daily access to computers mostly at home. The study further shows the difference between language teachers and students in that although teachers are presumed to be ambivalent about computer-related issues, in comparison with their students, teachers rank significantly higher on the CALL attitude and computer competence scales. From the positive CALL attitudes of both groups, it may be inferred that they will use computers in language education once computers become available, accompanied by adequate training.
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Keywords: attitude; computer competence; computer-assisted language learning (CALL); cultural perception; information technology (IT)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of English, Faculty of Letters and Humanities,Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

Publication date: 2013-04-01

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