Stephan Bax argues that, "Our aim should be to attain a state of `normalisation' in which the technology is invisible and truly integrated"
In consideration of understanding the extent to which CALL is truly merged or being adapted into classrooms, or any institution or even into teachers’ practices, we can draw usefully on research into the diffusion of innovations, trying to look at how innovations come to be accepted and efficient in its new fields. According to Bax’s view, the obvious way to define the goal of CALL is through the concept of ‘normalization’. The term normalization indicates to any type of technological innovation and also refers to the level or to the time when the innovation happens to be unseen or invisible and inserted in everyday use. Bax introduced some exmples to support his point of view, such as a pen, wristwatch, shoes, and writhing. He said that all these are considered technologies which happened to be normalized to the limit that we barely even notice them as technologies.
Therefore, he suggested that the term or the word ‘normalization’ that is the stage or the level when a technology is invisible and unrecognized as a technology by tirelessly using it in everyday life. And according to Stephan Bax, CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) has not reached this stage yet—not as PALL (Pen Assisted Language Learning) or BALL (Book Assisted Language Learning)--because it hasn’t been merged fully into educational institutions, it hasn’t reached that level of normalization—in simple words, it hasn’t been normalized yet. So he proposed that one decisive factor of CALL’s successful integration into language learning is to exist as a separate field of discussion.
He suggested that CALL will be normalized or will reach this stage when computers are used daily by language students and teachers as an essential part of every lesson regularly like a pen or a book. He said that also Teachers and students will need to use them without any fear of possession and they will not be the core of any lesson, but they will play a considerable part in any lesson. Also, they will be totally merged into all other aspects or features of classroom life, along with course books, teachers and even notepads.
The most important thing according to Bax is that CALL will be normalized when computers are regular used lesser to learning itself. Computers will be used to serve the learners’ needs. He have tried to discuss in specific details what this means for CALL and the teaching of grammar, vocabulary, language skills. Currently, these aspects are not generally observed and based on his words; it actually may take many years for these practices to be defined as a routine. However, he said it’s possible and suggested to plan for this normalized position and then moves towards it. Thus, Bax proposed three steps. The first step is to identify the criterial factors which normalization requires. The second is to review the practice of each teaching perspective in view of these criteria and the final step is to adjust our current practice in each aspect in order to encourage normalization. After following these steps or this procedure, it will provide each institution and each teacher a clear outline within which to check growth, and within which any barberries to integration and normalization can be recognized and can be dealt with.
Stephan Bax summarized the possible growth of CALL towards normalization to fit our purposes and contexts as the following:
Stages of normalization in CALL:
i. Early Adopters; teachers and educational institutions need to adopt the technology out of curiosity—and that would be one of the initiative steps towards normalization.
iii. Try once; people would try it at first but reject it because or early problems. They can’t its value.
iv. Try again; someone would tell them that it really works so they’ll try it again. And they would see its relative advantage.
v. Fear/awe; more people start to use it but still there is fear along with exaggerated expectations.
vi. Normalizing; gradually it will be seen as something normal and usual.
vii. Normalization; the technology will be so integrated into our daily lives to the degree that it becomes unseen—normalized.
The situation is not far from different here in Saudi Arabia. Computers are barley used here in Saudi Arabian educational institutions. They use computers only in computer classes that are only taken for twice a week. Reason of that, some institutions think it’s too complicated to be normalized, some don’t know or didn’t notice it’s real value or it’s real advantage yet, and some think that it might confuse the learning process. Generally speaking, we need to use technology on a daily basis; use it in our daily life. To change this current situation, the application of Bax normalization could be applied. Teachers and students should use computers throughout the lesson, as he said , it will not play a central part but definitely it would be considerable as so CALL will be normalized or reached the stage of normalization and students/teachers would hardly recognize it—and they will see it as a basic routine. Also, teachers would use it while introducing or presenting their lesson and students would use it to register for their required courses. And by following his suggestions, computers will not be used as the core of the lesson but it will be used in conjunction with the learning process—technology enhances learning.
Also, CALL could be normalized by applying Bax’s stages, and these stages could be done or could be applied as the following:
i. Teachers and mainly elementary schools would adopt technology—any kind of technology—to fulfill the students’ curiosity.
ii. Teachers as well as students should be encouraged to try it once. Perhaps they will refuse at first because of its complications and early difficulties. But they will be encouraged to try it again—over and over again. Because a lot of teachers specifically don’t recognize its actual worth until they use it regularly and explore it multi-functions.
iii. More teachers and educational institutions start to use it but they are still afraid along with overstated expectations.
iv. After that, gradually it will be seen as something normal, something usual. They will use it more often and use it to enhance learning. They can comprehend it value and that would be the process of normalizing.
v. Eventually, technology become more and so involved into the students’ learning as well as the teachers’ classrooms to the point that happens to be invisible, in other words, normalized, and that lead us to the definition of ‘normalization’.