I first used the Internet in fall 1993, as a Fulbright Scholar at Charles University in Prague. I immediately recognized that the Internet would radically transform second language teaching and learning, and within a year had written my first book on the topic, E-Mail for English Teaching. The book galvanized a wave of growing interest in the relationship of the Internet to language learning, and was soon followed by many more books on the topic by applied linguists or educators. This volume, though, represents one of the first that specifically analyzes the relationship of new technologies to the teaching of languages for specific purposes (LSP), and, in doing so, makes an important contribution. The overall impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on second language learning can be summarized in two ways, both of which have special significance for teaching LSP. First, ICT has transformed the context of language learning. The stunning growth of the Internet-resulting in 24 trillion email messages sent in 2005, and more than 600 billion Web pages and 50 million blogs online in the same year-has helped make possible the development of English as the world's first global language.
Work in the field of Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) has also been transformed by technology. This volume offers an overview of a variety of applications of IT in the field of LSP. It is addressed to a wide audience that includes LSP teachers and researchers, although the contents may also be relevant to applied linguists working in other fields. This book contains research studies as well as educational experiences and proposals, presented from different perspectives and backgrounds (both geographical and cultural), all of which are theoretically grounded and with a clear and sound rationale. Readers will find a variety of educational projects and research studies situated in specific educational contexts and in particular geographical locations. Although not intended for generalization, we believe they are valuable technology-based educational solutions that can offer new insight and reflections that may help readers create their own tools and carry out further research. The chapters cover the main areas of research and practice in the field.
The editors of the volume have ample experience teaching LSP at Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya. They have been involved in materials writing, in educational projects and in research related to LSP and, more specifically, to the impact of IT on LSP. English for Academic Purposes: Learning English through the Web (2001) and A Reading Course for Computing (2001) are among the most recent textbooks developed by the authors of the volume proposed here. The authors are currently developing an IT-based project funded by Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (2000), which consists in creating a virtual environment with learning resources for technical students of English. They received an award for an innovative teaching experience which involves the use of IT in LSP in 2001. In addition, the authors have also published several articles directly related to the scope of the volume.