Many changes have taken place since I first got involved in using ICT for language learning and teaching. In the early days of the microcomputer boom in the 1980s there was not great deal of choice in the range of software available. The first programs that appeared were rather dry text-only multiple-choice and gap-filling exercises, which were nevertheless very popular. Audio and video were not available and many schools could afford to buy only one single computer, which was moved around different classrooms, connected to a large TV screen and used for whole-class teaching. And the Web was just a twinkle in the eye of its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, finally reaching the public at large in 1993.
Now we have some excellent Presentation tools - interactive whiteboards and associated software - and a range of so-called Web 2.0 tools have appeared that are useful for the Production of language by our students, e.g. blogs, wikis, podcasts, animations, etc: see ICT4LT Module 1.5, Section 2.2, headed What is Web 2.0?
This may be misconception on my part, but am I right in thinking that there is a missing link, namely Practice? What has happened to the programs and authoring tools that teachers used to generate practice activities for their students? During the late 1980s and 1990s the range of published programs and authoring tools for generating practice activities - vocab, grammar, all the mundane but essential stuff - got better and better, incorporating audio and video, discrete error analysis and intrinsic feedback: see ICT4LT Module 1.1 Section 7.1 on Interactivity and Section 7.2 on Feedback.
I may be wrong but, judging from most of the blogs, wikis and forums aimed at language teachers, it now seems to be a case of either “Where can I find a PowerPoint presentation on XYZ?” or “Where can I find a Web 2.0 tool that enables my students to write a blog / record a podcast / create a cartoon strip?” Is Practice the missing link?