Computer assisted language learning (CALL) is an emerging branch of applied linguistics which devotes at improving language acquisition for English language learners (ELLs) through different computer applications (Levy, 1997). Among abundant achievements CALL has achieved, visual programming language (VPL) as an essential component of computer science (CS) and an efficient procedure to cultivate K-12 students' computational thinking (CT), which refers to students' problem-solving ability, has attracted people's attention. This conceptual paper reviews literature on CALL, CT, second language acquisition (SLA), and then goes to illustrate the principles that can facilitate bridging SLA with CT in the realm of CALL under the constructionism theoretical framework. A case study on nine Hong Kong primary school students from the Maker Space is presented in this paper to serve as the example of employing VPL as an empowering tool to enhance SLA and CT for K-12 students.
Bibliographical noteThe work in the essay has been partially subsidised by the Innovation and Technology Fund (GHP/022/17GD), the Internship Programme (InP/015/18) from the Innovation and Technology Commission of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Research Grants Council (RGC) in Hong Kong under the General Research Fund (Ref: 18615216). This article is based on part of Xiaojing Weng’s Master thesis, which was submitted to The University of Hong Kong in 2017.
- Computational thinking
- Computer assisted language learning
- Second language acquisition
- Visual programming language