Staking out the territory of technology-mediated TBLT

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In this chapter we survey areas of current interest in the use of technology for taskbased language teaching (TBLT) purposes and identify promising directions for pedagogy and research. We begin by reviewing the two vibrant topics of interaction and cognitive task complexity. We conclude that online interactions broadly promote the same processes that are known to facilitate second language (L2) learning in face-to-face interactions, albeit with interesting differences, whereas what constitutes cognitive task complexity online and how it may affect L2 learning remains ill understood. We then offer several exemplary illustrations of task-based investigations that have successfully leveraged the affordances of technology in non-trivial, creative ways. This is followed by a theoretical discussion of design principles for what we call technology-mediated TBLT. Finally, we examine two central benefits often boasted of tasks and technology: authenticity and motivation. We argue new technologies transform what counts as real-world within a traditional TBLT perspective and demand new understandings of “digital authenticity”; and we suggest theoretically principled ways must be found in the future to study motivational flows when experiencing specific tasks as well as complex motivational dynamics when adopting, integrating, or resisting any technology in general. Our hope is to help widen the scope of current discussions about the roles of technological innovation in TBLT and promote critical thinking about the harnessing of new technologies in task-based language education.


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