Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-8tfrx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-27T18:06:13.782Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Videoconferencing and the networked provision of language programs in regional and rural schools

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 September 2018

Yvette Slaughter
University of Melbourne, Australia (
Wally Smith
University of Melbourne, Australia (
John Hajek
University of Melbourne, Australia (


The use of videoconferencing technology to support the delivery of language programs shows great potential in regional and rural settings where a lack of access to specialist teachers limits equitable access to education. In this article, we investigate the establishment of two regional and rural primary school networks in Australia for videoconferenced language learning. Adopting a perspective taken from the discipline of information systems called structuration theory, we examine how the technology they use both changes and is changed by its use in language learning, and how schools and teachers take control of technology and adapt their educational approaches. Case studies were carried out on the two networks using multiple data sources, including interviews and observation of language classes. The findings reveal that even with the same conceptual foundations and aims, divergent models of practice emerge as sustainable adaptations to localised factors. These differences are shaped by, among other things, an interplay between the quality of infrastructure, prior knowledge, and the “material properties” of the technology, including its functions, limits, and deployment in physical space. A closer look at these practices illustrates limitations and possibilities specifically for language education, but also more broadly illustrates how the success of these videoconferencing initiatives are influenced by a nuanced combination of social, educational, and technological factors.

Regular papers
© European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Anastasiades, P. S., Filippousis, G., Karvunis, L., Siakas, S., Tomazinakis, A., Giza, P. Mastoraki, H. (2010) Interactive videoconferencing for collaborative learning at a distance in the school of 21st century: A case study in elementary schools in Greece. Computers & Education 54(2), 321339. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Austin, N., Hampel, R. Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2017) Video conferencing and multimodal expression of voice: Children’s conversations using Skype for second language development in a telecollaborative setting. System 64, 87103. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Codreanu, T. Celik, C. C. (2013) Effects of webcams on multimodal interactive learning. ReCALL 25(1), 3047. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Comber, C. Lawson, T. (2013) Sustaining technological innovation: The example of videoconferencing in English Schools. Education and Information Technologies 18(4), 641659. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (2014) School policy and advisory guide: Internet services. Google Scholar
DeSanctis, G. Poole, M. S. (1994) Capturing the complexity in advanced technology use: Adaptive structuration theory. Organization Science 5(2), 121147. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Garrett, N. (2009) Computer-assisted language learning trends and issues revisited: Integrating innovation. The Modern Language Journal 93(Suppl. 1), 719740. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guichon, N. Cohen, C. (2014) The impact of the webcam on an online L2 interaction. The Canadian Modern Language Review 70(3), 331354. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hampel, R. Stickler, U. (2012) The use of videoconferencing to support multimodal interaction in an online language classroom. ReCALL 24(2), 116137. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kleinhenz, E., Wilkinson, J., Gearon, M., Fernandez, S. Ingvarson, L. (2007) The review of teacher education for languages teachers: Final report. Canberra: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.Google Scholar
Kling, R. (1980) Social analyses of computing: Theoretical perspectives in recent empirical research. Computing Surveys, 12(1), 61110. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leonardi, P. M. Barley, S. R. (2010) What’s under construction here? Social action, materiality, and power in constructivist studies of technology and organizing. The Academy of Management Annals 4(1), 151. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leonardi, P. M., Nardi, B. A. Kallinikos, J. (eds.) (2012) Materiality and organizing: Social interaction in a technological world. Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lombard, M. Ditton, T. (1997) At the heart of it all: The concept of presence. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication 3(2). Google Scholar
Luoto, I. (2007) Evaluation of the MustLearnIT project: Using ICT for special subject distance learning in multigrade schools. Jyväskylä: The University of Jyväskylä. Google Scholar
Macrory, G., Chrétien, L. Ortega-Martín, J. L. (2012) Technologically enhanced language learning in primary schools in England, France and Spain: Developing linguistic competence in a technologically enhanced classroom environment. Education 3-13 40(4), 433444. Google Scholar
Moore, M. G. (1993) Theory of transactional distance. In Keegan D (ed.), Theoretical principles of distance education. New York: Routledge, 2238.Google Scholar
Norris, L. Coutas, P. (2014) Cinderella’s coach or just another pumpkin? Information communication technologies and the continuing marginalisation of languages in Australian schools. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 37(1), 4361. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O’Dowd, R. (2015) The competences of the telecollaborative teacher. The Language Learning Journal 43(2), 194207. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007) Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization Studies 28(9), 14351448. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Örnberg Berglund, T. (2009) Multimodal student interaction online: An ecological perspective. ReCALL 21(2), 186205. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pritchard, A., Hunt, M. Barnes, A. (2010) Case study investigation of a videoconferencing experiment in primary schools, teaching modern foreign languages. The Language Learning Journal 38(2), 209220. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Satar, H. M. (2013) Multimodal language learner interactions via desktop videoconferencing within a framework of social presence: Gaze. ReCALL 25(1), 122142. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thomas, H. (2010) Learning spaces, learning environments and the dis‘ placement’ of learning. British Journal of Educational Technology 41(3), 502511. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van den Hoonaard, W. C. (1997) Working with sensitizing concepts: Analytical field research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
Wang, Y. (2004) Supporting synchronous distance language learning with desktop videoconferencing. Language Learning & Technology 8(3), 90121.Google Scholar
Whyte, S. (2011) Learning to teach with videoconferencing in primary foreign language classrooms. ReCALL 23(3), 271293. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yin, R. K. (2010) Qualitative research from start to finish. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Zbar, V. Jane, G. (2012) Innovative Language Provision in Clusters (ILPIC) initiative evaluation. Melbourne: Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.Google Scholar