Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘second language and technology’

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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How is ICT used to integrate content and language in specialized language teaching and learning?

Gaballo, V. (2010). Integrating content and language in specialized language teaching and learning with the help of ICT. ICT for Language Learning Conference Proceeedings (pp. 29-24).

In recent times globalization has had a significant impact on content-teaching methodologies. Mobility in Europe is also a major issue that stimulated the implementation of such practice. David Marsh and Peeter Mehisto have pointed out that many governments have adopted some form of second-language-medium instruction. But reading in a second language per se does not make an example of language teaching, as the focus is primarily on content, not language. The instrumental use of a vehicular language generally a second or foreign language to learners does not imply analyzing and practicing the communicative structures of the vehicular language itself. Conversely, as Andy Kirkpatrick argued, all good language teaching needs to be based on content that engages the learner, but this is meant to provide useful contexts of use which will enhance the learning experience. Integration of content and language can only be achieved through the combination of professional expertise and linguistic competence provided by subject teachers and language teachers. Yet, although team teaching would seem to be the ideal solution, this is very difficult to achieve in practice for a number of reasons. Drawing on the successful experience of Canadian immersion programmes, where teachers are trained to teach French, and the subject through French, we believe that a second-language medium of instruction should ideally use teachers trained in both language and content pedagogy. ICT plays a fundamental role in achieving this dual goal as the case study presented in this paper proves. By analyzing a scenario of content and language integrated learning based on the use of e-learning technologies, the paper points out the relevance of involving students in ICT-based activities which give them a combination of professional expertise and linguistic competence.

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