Autonomous Technology-Assisted Language Learning/Introduction to Rich Internet Applications for ATALL

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According to the Wikipedia entry "Rich Internet Application,"

Rich Internet Applications (RIA) are a cross between
web applications and traditional desktop applications,
transferring some of the processing to the client end.

Macromedia, the software company which makes, among other programs, Flash and Dreamweaver, is credited with introducing the term in a 2002 whitepaper.

In the context of ATALL, RIAs represent a set of technologies that materials designers (be they practicing classroom teachers, resesarchers, or learners) can use to create ATALL-enabling on-line environments. This section of the ATALL Wikibook will present a specific set of technologies which may be used to support solitary and collaborative ATALL and research into ATALL.

Technologies[edit | edit source]

Flash MX 2004[edit | edit source]

Flash MX 2004 (hereafter, "Flash") is an authoring program which allows users to create graphical user interfaces (GUI). It features drawing tools (e.g. lines, boxes, ovals, shading, paint brushes), an animation timeline, and a programming language, ActionScript (version 2.0), which is based on the proposed standard for version 1.5 of Javascript.

GUI resources include...

  • text fields (both plain text and HTML)
  • buttons
  • movie clips
  • audio and video display and capture objects
  • custom mouse pointers
  • pull-down menus

Example GUI Designs[edit | edit source]

Text Chat: A collaborative application (see discussion of Flash Communication Server) may be easily authored using a multi-line text field (for display of the transcript), a single-line text field (for entry of messages), and a button (for sending a new message entered in the single-line text field).

Total Physical Response (TPR) Tasks: A solitary activity might use a collection of so-called "drag-and-drop" movie clips as items to be manipulated in response to text and/or audio prompts. Feedback would be provided when each item is moved to the proper location. For example, a learner might hear "Place the table to the left of the chair." Placing the table anywhere except to the left of the chair would result in the application informing the user that the table had been misplaced.

Asynchronous Audio/Video Electronic mail: Flash's audio and/or video capturing functions make it possible for learners to save their speech for later listening and viewing by a partner.