Next Steps Plan

Foreign Language Learning: Small World, Broad Horizons

Research Interest

My research interest lies in furthering the investigation into the impact that computer-assisted language learning contributes to the motivation and development of foreign language skills compared to a traditional face-to-face environment.

Overview

Technology manages and influences many aspects of our lives. Its use and purpose has been around for many decades making the world smaller at the same time expanding minds and broadening horizons. Internet resources available for foreign language learning has increased as teachers continually share many aspects of their curriculum including videos and text, assessments and games. In a foreign language classroom-learning environment, the use of technology may prove beneficial allowing students rich and meaningful interaction to some, while others believe that foreign language learning requirements are designed to be taught in a face-to-face environment.

Big Idea #1: I'm On CALL

The world is at the fingertips of inquiring learners and resourceful teachers. Computer-assisted language learning offers students a wide view of the world with access to authentic reading, listening and viewing materials, as well speaking opportunities one-on-one, in groups or simple recordings. Some programs offer immediate feedback in writing and grammar activities. Are you taking notes?

Big Idea #2: Communication and Community

Communication is the key goal in any language forum. Foreign language acquisition requires meaningful interaction between students and instructor, as well as interaction among students with other students creating a community of learners working together. The definition of a community of learners is defined as a “group of individuals who collaboratively engage in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and confirm mutual understanding” (Garrison, 2011 as cited by Dona, Stover and Broughton, 2014). This community is viable in any learning environment provided there is purposeful design and organization; instructor facilitations; open and interpersonal communication; and exploration, integration and application.

Big Idea #3: Implementation

Implementing technology enhances foreign language learning and keeps the learner engaged and motivated (Altun, 2015). It is useful for teachers, as well as students. The interaction with technology in the classroom empowers the students’ learning process and provides them better opportunities of acquiring the language (Altun, 2015). Integration of technology in language learning lessons is determined based on three factors: the teacher’s pedagogical approach, his/her technological expertise, and the students’ language proficiency (Brandl, 2002).

Guiding Thoughts, Ideas and Questions

Students have successfully completed foregin language courses without the aide of computers and technology. Does access to an internet world of resources truly provide the learner a more efficient and better acquistion of a foreign language? Does one take more or less time over the other to learn the same skills?

Where to next?

With research, comes data collection. Some of the purposes for collecting data include, obtaining information, making decisions about important issues and to share information with colleagues or others. Shank (2014) believes that qualitative researchers see the world rich with meaning, they focus on understanding, and also look at difference types of change and different kinds of people, culture, things and actions (pgs. 19-21).

My research topic delves into the meaningfulness, understanding and difference kinds of impacts and effects that computer-assisted language learning contributes to the motivation and development of foreign language skills compared to traditional learning environments. Some of the qualitative data collection approaches that I propose implementing include direct one-on-one interaction with individuals or interaction within a group setting. Other methods will also include, but are not limited to, student and focus group observations, and individual interviews. I will also need to investigate further to get a richer view on previous studies on similar topics.

The Plan

With a stack of ideas on my back, with grace and precision I will lay one idea board in front of the other until I have reached the horizon. This metaphor (and picture) is perfect for how I see the past 350 days: one board, one day at a time. The horizon is near.

Computers and Technology have changed foreign language learning. I find it quite exciting to work with students to discover new ideas and forums in which they can learn, research and present their ideas. As much as technology is favored by many, there are still those who enjoy coloring their posterboards with bright markers to display their artistic talents. It is important to remember to allow them that form of expression.

References:

Altuna, M. (January 2015). The integration of technology into foreign language teaching. International Journal on New Trends in Education and Their Implications. 6(1). Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/480283uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21106020194661


Brandl, K. (September 2002). Integrating internet-based reading materials into the foreign

language curriculum: From teacher-to-student-centered approaches. Language Learning & Technology. 6(3) 87-107. Retrieved from http://www.llt.msu.edu/vol6num3/pdf/vol6num3.pdf#page=95


Dona, E., Stover, S., Broughton, N. (July 2014). Modern languages and distance education:

Thirteen days in the cloud. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education. 15(3) 13 155-170.


Shank, G., Brown, L., & Pringle, J. (2014). Understanding education research: A guide to critical reading. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

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