“What a run, fantastic job so well done, many thanks, John.” — John, Feb 2, 2013

“Just a brief note to say thank you so very much for everything, and I’m so sorry to hear that Tapped In is being shut down. I’d like to especially thank everybody from the help desk. Thank you all very, very much.” — Susan, from Iran, Feb 3, 2013

“To all of you — Jeff, BJB, Dave, and all — my heart is broken! I wish I were rich enough to support TappedIn by myself. You have all done a spectacular job and I will miss you… I’ll have to look elsewhere for what you have provided so beautifully over the years. Thank you, and I wish you all the best in wherever your journey takes you.” — Wendy, March 1, 2013

I have come across these short notes when I tried to log in to Tapped In (http://tappedin.org/), an online platform in which I collected the data for my MA Thesis and on which I had presentations at conferences. In addition to the dozens of presentations on Tapped In, I have also a proceeding titled as “Tapped In: A meeting place for language teachers”. I learned a lot in this platform. We discussed about my MA thesis proposal and I changed the topic upon the suggestions of BjB, Vance, JeffC, David Weskler at least 7-8 years ago. I also met Margaret Doty here and she helped me throughout my studies in both MA and PhD programs. Now, this platform is closed and only seven screenshots remained on the page. If you like, you can visit the page to see how it looked like. In time, they may also disappear.

Of course, Tapped In was very special for me; however, then, I remembered some tools I used for my classes and introduced at seminars enthusiastically. For example, I remember when I found Yackpack. The tool was great and I showed that tool to my colleagues and I also remember asking why we didn’t hold department meetings in this place. I liked that tool that much. I didn’t write an article or proceeding about Yackpack; but I mentioned that tool in a proceeding about PBwiki.

Then, I remembered that PBwiki has changed its name as PBworks (http://www.pbworks.com). They changed their name but I cannot change the title of my presentations entitled “Collaborative Writing through PBwiki” which I presented with Arif hocam at WIAOC in 2007. If someone wants to look through my CV, he might come across many tools which are not available now.

Actually, this is the risky part of studying on computer assisted language learning. You collect data and write an article or proceeding; but, if the tool disappears in time, it might be very confusing for the readers. For example, I collected data in Tapped In for my MA thesis and I shared many links in the appendix of my MA thesis; but they are not available now and most of the links are broken now.

Actually, these changes doesn’t mean that my studies are all junk from now on. Because, science is cumulative and these should be studied as well. For example, there are many studies about using audio cassettes in language teaching during the time when Audio-Lingual Method was popular. Nowadays, the new generation does not have any idea about cassettes; but they were very useful for further research. I may think so. They are only the steps for further research and researchers benefit from the findings of these studies.

However, these changes made me to think I should change my perspective in terms of research in CALL. I should concentrate on more theoretical issues rather than practical Web 2.0 tools. I would like to concentrate on professional development, online teacher education and distance education instead of concentrating on a specific tool. Instead, I am planning to suggest some features of tools. For example, the tools should help the learners to work in collaboration, there should be an interaction in your online classroom, etc. If the audience or the readers ask for a tool, I may give a list of tools that they can use.

Finally, I am talking about CALL from the beginning of this post; but it also changed in some contexts. People prefer to use the acronym SMALL – social media assisted language learning – instead of CALL. I am teaching CALL course and the name of the course is also out-of-date for some people. What a pity!

What do you think about this? Do you also think that I should change the perspectives of my studies?

Dr. Sedat Akayoglu