The TESL/AL research laboratory, a state-of-the-art multimedia computer laboratory, provides faculty and TESL/AL students at Iowa State University with indispensable resources necessary for research, teaching, and materials development.
While MA and Ph.D. students and faculty use the facility to conduct research in all areas of applied linguistics, a focus currently lies on research in the area of computer-assisted language learning. Empirical investigations into student-computer interaction are facilitated by the possibility of video-taping students while working on tasks and are complemented by the use of screen capturing software to investigate actual student interaction with computer-delivered materials.
The TESL/AL laboratory is also used in the TESL/AL graduate courses, allowing students to become familiar with cutting edge technologies as well as with bread-and-butter applications necessary for future researchers, teachers, and administrators. Computer applications students are exposed to and develop expertise in include the following:
- Web page design and development ( Adobe Creative Suite)
- Corpus linguistics (Monoconc, AntConc, WordSmith, various corpora)
- Natural Language Processing (Python, Stanford Core NLP, Perl, Prolog, etc)
- Statistical analysis (SPSS, MS Excel, JMP, FACETS, IRT PRO, AMOS)
- Qualitative Analysis (NVivo, Transana)
- Speech recognition (Dragon Naturally Speaking, IBM Via Voice)
- Video editing (FinalCut, iMovie, Windows Movie Maker)
- Screen capturing (Techsmith, Camtasia)
- Eye Tracking (Gazepoint eye tracker & analysis software)
A third way in which the TESL/AL laboratory supports the professional development of future teachers lies in its excellent resources available for materials development. In addition to 16 multimedia computers with software necessary to develop tasks necessary for empirical research into various aspects of computer-assisted language learning and to implement web-based instruction, this lab features a scanner, laser printer, and an interactive whiteboard. Additional equipment available for students includes digital video and still cameras and digital recording devices.