Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘language learning’

What kind of language support should we provide our EAL learners?

Coffin, Caroline (2010). Language support in EAL contexts. Why systemic functional linguistics? (Special Issue of NALDIC Quarterly). NALDIC, Reading, UK.

Language can stand between a student and success in school learning. However, questions concerning the kind of language support to provide, the extent and timing of that support and who should provide it are vexed questions. In particular the first question (what kind of language support should be provided) has many implications for curriculum development, departmental strategy, classroom pedagogy, text book design and approaches to assessment. One major issue is how explicitly or implicitly the language support should be, and related to this, what kind of language for talking about language (what kind of meta-language) is needed – both by teachers and by students.

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Are e-devices hindering Chinese children’s reading development?

Tan, L. H., Xu, M., Chang, C. Q., & Siok, W. T. (2013). China’s language input system in the digital age affects children’s reading development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences110(3), 1119-1123.

Written Chinese as a logographic system was developed over 3,000 years ago. Historically, Chinese children have learned to read by learning to associate the visuo-graphic properties of Chinese characters with lexical meaning, typically through handwriting. In recent years, however, many Chinese children have learned to use electronic communication devices based on the pinyin input method, which associates phonemes and English letters with characters. When children use pinyin to key in letters, their spelling no longer depends on reproducing the visuo-graphic properties of characters that are indispensable to Chinese reading, and, thus, typing in pinyin may conflict with the traditional learning processes for written Chinese.  We found that the overall incidence rate of severe reading difficulty appears to be much higher than ever reported on Chinese reading. Crucially, we found that children’s reading scores were significantly negatively correlated with their use of the pinyin input method, suggesting that pinyin typing on e-devices hinders Chinese reading development. The Chinese language has survived the technological challenges of the digital era, but the benefits of communicating digitally may come with a cost in proficient learning of written Chinese.

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How can digital devices be used more effectively for the learning of second language vocabulary?

Jock Boyd (2011) The role of digital devices in vocabulary acquisition, Cambridge ESOL : Research Notes : Issue 44 / May 2011

With the advent of social networks, cloud computing and digital devices, the landscape of learning is changing rapidly. Students are using digital devices, in the form of smart phones and iPads in the classroom but, from my observations, they have been using them as mere reference materials, looking up words and translating them into their own languages. These powerful devices are capable of much more; they can be used as learning tools if they are incorporated into classroom teaching practice. The present action research investigates how students normally use their digital devices for vocabulary acquisition and shows how digital devices could be used more fully and creatively to enhance learning of second language (L2) vocabulary, both general and specialised (discipline-specific).

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Is Twitter Effective for Language Learning?

Kerstin Borau, Carsten Ullrich, Jinjin Feng, and Ruimin Shen (2009) Microblogging for Language Learning: Using Twitter to Train Communicative and Cultural Competence,  Advances in Web Based Learning – ICWL 2009 (2009) Volume: 5686, Issue: 500

Our work analyzes the usefulness of microblogging in second language learning using the example of the social network Twitter. Most learners of English do not require even more passive input in form of texts, lectures or videos, etc. This input is readily available in numerous forms on the Internet. What learners of English need is the chance to actively produce language and the chance to use English as tool of communication. This calls for instructional methods and tools promoting ‘active’ learning that present opportunities for students to express themselves and interact in the target language. In this paper we describe how we used Twitter with students of English at the Distant College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. We analyze the students’ messages and show how the usage of Twitter trained communicative and cultural competence.

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What do ESL students have to say about using blogs for language learning?

Nadzrah ABU BAKAR, Hafizah LATIF & Azizah YA’ACOB (2010) ESL Students feedback on the use of blogs for language learning, 3L The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies (2010) Volume: 16, Issue: 1, Pages: 120-142

The proliferation of the information and communication technology has provided university educators and e-learning practitioners with the technological tools that can be implemented as pedagogical instruments in the classrooms. This paper provides an account of how the blog was integrated as a pedagogical tool in the ESL classrooms and reports on the students’ feedback and perception on the use of this social medium to enhance their L2 learning. Data was collected via a survey questionnaire involving a selected cohort of low proficiency ESL students at tertiary level. Using the proposed framework, the students carried out several stages of the blogging activities embedded in the English for Social Sciences Course that they were taking at the end of which the questionnaire was administered. Analysis of data in the main indicated positive responses from the students regarding the use of blogs in L2 their learning activities. They perceived that the use of blog had generally enhanced their L2 skills such as reading and writing, developed their self-confidence, improved their communication skills and reduced their anxiety when learning and using the language among their peers. The paper ends by highlighting the benefits that can be gained as a result of the implementation of the weblog in language learning classrooms.

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