Sessions / Paper
This study uses post-game survey data from six gaming sessions of the English language smartphone edition of Klaus Teuber’s The Settlers of Catan conducted throughout one academic semester in a Business English course at a private Japanese university to analyze how smartphone gaming can be used as a pedagogical tool to teach enrolled students (n=4) how to develop effective business strategies in dynamic systems. Instruction on the development of effective business strategies for dynamic systems comprised of unpredictable variables including environmental contexts and multiple agents influencing the system may benefit from more active pedagogical approaches that utilize interaction with business simulations (e.g. game-based learning) instead of simply relying on passive instruction (e.g. textbook explanations) in order to allow students to discover for themselves the most effective strategy to cope with such dynamic systems. The simulated trading environment provided in The Settlers of Catan has shown itself to be an effective pedagogical approach to simulating dynamic systems and providing students with opportunities to develop their own effective strategies to cope with dynamic systems such as supply and demand, resource management, and trade while using the target language. The results from the post-game surveys used to identify and track how the students’ game strategies and language use changed throughout the study period suggest that utilizing the pedagogical approach outlined in this study not only promotes intellectual engagement with the concepts of supply and demand, resource management, and effective trading strategies but also encourages linguistic development of business-oriented English.
Participating in digital environments via artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to facilitate English learning and enhance student motivation. Recently, AI technologies can be experienced efficiently and enhance the construction of broader learning environments and viewpoints (Kepuska & Bohouta, 2018), as well as promote the personalization and contextualization of the second language (L2) learning experience, resulting in a more integrated approach to language learning. The main goal of this presentation is to introduce two case studies carried out to ascertain the effectiveness of using AI smart speakers to improve the English proficiency of native Japanese studying at a private university in Tokyo. The participants were required to study English with the assistance of AI speakers. At the conclusion of the training, students delivered presentations of their impressions of the training with the results indicating it had an overall positive effect on improving their English language skills. Both pretest and post-test evaluations were conducted to examine the overall effectiveness using the AI smart speakers, indicating the training helped the students in improving their English communication skills. Post-training surveys revealed a majority of the students were impressed by the use of the AI speakers in improving their English skills, although some students expressed apprehension about using the technology and reported negative outcomes. The presentation concludes with some practical suggestions about how AI smart speakers can be used to improve English education at the tertiary level in Japan.
Synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) is a topic of great interest in CALL literature where research has investigated the effectiveness of SCMC compared to traditional face-to-face instruction. However, there are few studies that investigate the intrinsic differences in SCMC modes. At the JALT CALL 2018 conference, we introduced research which assessed the anxiety-reducing affordances of three SCMC modes. This year we present results of a follow-up study which focused on the effect of SCMC modality on learners’ speaking performance.
30 participants (15 pairs) completed a spot-the-difference task within three different SCMC modes: voice, video and Virtual Reality (VR). Using the complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF) model, participants’ oral complexity, accuracy and fluency were analyzed. Results showed that the voice mode promoted the highest structural complexity, however, the VR mode promoted the highest lexical complexity. Modality did not have a significant effect on accuracy. Finally, participants produced the most fluent output when completing tasks in the video mode. The results suggest that different modes of communication can be used to focus on different skill development. Practitioners must also consider how each modality affects learner anxiety and choose the most appropriate system for their students.
This presentation introduces the VR system, a detailed analysis of results, pedagogical implications, and future research directions.
Methodological and technological considerations in flipped language learning interventions: A systematic review #19
Flipped learning has become an important area of investigation in the second language field. We located 56 flipped learning interventions through a systematic search on databases including Scopus and Proquest. Analysis of methodological and design features of these reports showed that almost half of them did not check the reliability of their outcome variables, that about 30% failed to include an empirical pre-test, and that no report conducted an a priori power analysis. We offer guidance on how to address these methodological and design issues after identifying them. Our results also showed that all reports relied on technology to flip their classrooms. Most of these interventions (75%) used videos and under half (41%) employed an interactive platform where students interacted with and/or through the technology. Using examples from the report pool, we then highlight how interactive and multimodal flipped applications might be most effective in light of recent theory, especially the drive to develop 21st century skills (van Laar et al., 2020). Finally, we make suggestions for future research based on gaps in our report pool, such as more research on certain language outcomes, on languages other than English, and on younger learners.
Corpus-derived word lists are increasingly being used in the production of language learning materials. This is in an effort to focus vocabulary study on high-frequency items in the belief that these will be the most helpful for learners. However, these lists are generally compiled without considering word sense or part-of-speech, as many large corpora consist mainly of raw text without labels to provide semantic information. Additionally, these word lists have generally not been subjected to detailed semantic analysis even after being compiled. Absent this semantic information, researchers often assume that words can be represented by a single canonical sense and that learners who know the canonical sense can be assumed to know all other senses of a word. How many word senses does this assumption really entail knowing? This talk will provide an introduction to WordNet, a freely available and machine-readable lexical database of English, and show how it can be used with a small amount of programming to provide a preliminary analysis of the semantic ambiguity present in a commonly used word list for language learners. This talk will be of interest to anyone concerned with vocabulary acquisition or computational approaches to language learning materials development.
Japanese university students have two long vacations in a year: spring vacation; and summer vacation. Both exceed 40 days. This research explores the following issues related to English learning during vacations: 1) How does the English language ability of students change after a long vacation: does it stay the same, improve, or decline? 2) Face-to-face teaching is unlikely to be available during vacations, so will e-learning, especially of mobile learning, play a role in maintaining or even improving the English ability of students? In 2018 and 2019, before the summer vacation started, we surveyed 344 students, in total, by asking them if they had an English-learning plan for the coming summer vacation. In addition, we recruited 77 volunteer students - 30 in 2018 and 47 in 2019 - to follow several free online learning English programs – all compatible with mobile phones, so that they were able to continue to study English during their summer vocation. After the summer vacation, we administered a TOEIC test not only to verify the changes to the English level of the students during the long vacation but also of the efficacy of mobile learning. By analyzing the data from TOEIC tests taken before and after the summer vacations, coupled with the questionnaires, the questions above were answered: most students do not study English during long vacations and accordingly their English ability declines. Fortunately, however, mobile learning is effective in stopping the decline and it maintains, even improves, the English language level of students. (This research is partly supported by Kaken B Project, No. 17H02363 led by Prof. Aoki Nobuyuki, Hiroshima City University)
With increasing cuts to the funding of direct EAP teaching at tertiary level, Data-driven Learning (DDL) as a vehicle for tertiary writing support has become an economic necessity. A key problem has been generating a streamlined concordancer that exclusively targets the learner-writer, with the sacrifices in complexity that entails. In this paper, we report on LegalEasy, a 26m. word single-genre database of judicial case reports. We follow in the footsteps of Crosthwaite (2019a, 2019b) and Frankenberg-Garcia (2019) in seeking to integrate concordancing and lexicography within the student writing process and produce resources that are transparent and intuitive for learner-writers. Therefore, LegalEasy search results feature linear concordanced displays of lexico-grammatical frequency patterns in the corpora. A key feature is that concordanced results are displayed in descending frequency, with one example per pattern found. Users are offered an initial focal choice between lexical POS combinations: a permutation of verb, noun and adjective [rarely adverbs]. Lexical searches tend to be over 90% nominal [e.g. legal concepts], so users will be offered three display options: Adj + N, N + N, or Vb + N; reasons for these decisions will be given. We then describe how we handle students’ writing and how LegalEasy fits into that process; the long-term aim is for students to become autonomous users of LegalEasy during the rest of their legal studies. Finally, we offer results of our analysis of student usage and of student evaluation of the online writing support offered by the LegalEasy program.
Promoting cultural understanding within second language learners is typically desired alongside improving language skills in second language learning contexts. Although real cultural understanding can be a difficult target, cultural appreciation can be achieved if adequate contact with other cultures can be obtained. However, students in EFL classrooms within monocultural countries such as Japan, have the same cultural background and thus achieving appreciation of other cultures is often difficult as an international setting is lacking. Virtual Exchanges (VE) have been trialed to give students the opportunity to use English and become more culturally acclimatized. Though there are many benefits, joining such exchanges has been difficult for teachers. This presentation introduces the IVEProject which was created to allow university students to use the language learned in class, to interact with students from other countries. With almost 14,000 students and 220 teachers from 15 countries and 50 different institutions over the last 3 years, students interact online in various classroom settings (eg. communication, intercultural communication) using English as a lingua franca on a Moodle platform over an 8-week period. The IVEProject, sponsored by a Japanese government grant-in-aid for scientific research, is free for participants and easy to join. Tools addressing ease of use, connectivity for students and assessment will be outlined in this presentation along with pre- and post-questionnaires result showing improvement in students' understanding of their own culture and appreciation of other cultures. The presentation will end with an open invitation for interested teachers to join the exchange from 2020.
One key factor that is often overlooked when designing writing tasks is the composition medium. Precursor research has suggested that Japanese EFL students write significantly less when composing on smartphones as opposed to on paper (p < .001, d = .54). The current study sought to follow up on those findings by investigating the hypothesis that input speed/proficiency was a possible factor in the lower production rate on mobile devices. Paper- and smartphone-based transcription speeds of either Japanese or English text were analyzed for N = 144 Japanese university students. Results indicated that when transcribing in their L1, participants showed some variation but were generally faster on smartphone (n = 74, p < .001, d = .66). However, when transcribing English, 100% of participants were slower on their phones than on paper, with group means significantly different to a very large effect size (n = 70, p < .001, d = 2.4). Many participants were also observed physically and verbally indicating exhaustion after transcribing the L2 on their phones. It appears that smartphone input in English required a higher level of exertion/cognitive resources than handwriting does, though this did not seem to be a factor in the participants’ native language. This study contributes the first known empirical analysis of writing vs. tapping speed among language learners to the field of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). Attendees will hear discussion of pedagogical implications, as well as strategies and apps which may be useful in increasing students’ tapping acuity.
Intercultural perceptions and peer-feedback in China and Japan in transnational video podcasting #35
This presentation will describe the preliminary results of an ongoing podcasting project between Japan and China. It will describe how podcasting can be integrated as Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) activities into English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses. Learners were second-year university students in the two countries. As part of the project, the students chose a subject, wrote a script, acquired copyright free photographs or video material, produced a video podcast, narrated a script, added background music, swapped the video podcasts with students from the other country, received peer feedback, edited their projects and the submitted their final projects as part of their English course. The project integrated computer skills, podcast production and video editing, and cultural perceptions between the two countries via podcasting. The research method that was used employed online surveys regarding learner perceptions of improved computer skills and perceptions of culture. Results suggested that podcasting and contact with the other country made the course more enjoyable, but that intercultural understanding is a fluid notion requiring deeper investigation. Learners also suggested that peer feedback is a useful tool for classroom interaction, second language development and in improving their podcasts. Transnational video podcasting projects can be unitized to enhance learning and integrate meaningful CALL activities into EFL courses.
Smartphones have recently gained sufficient features and capacity to compete with computers with the advantage of convenient size and mobility and have already become a vital part of our lives, as an ideal platform for users’ daily activities. Gaming is one of such an activity. For game developers, smartphones present a fruitful market through which to launch their products. In this context, teachers have an opportunity to adopt mobile gaming in their English courses to enrich the students’ experiences, both in the classroom and out. For the current presentation, with an emphasis on reading, the context of Japan has been chosen due to the historic focus on reading input activities, such as grammar-translation activities; Japan is also the country of origin of the visual novel genre. What distinguishes visual novels from other game types is their generally minimal active gameplay, and a heavy focus on text-based information, along with graphics and sound. The majority of visual novels present multiple storylines that rely on the choices of the player to further the story’s development. This presentation will demonstrate how mobile visual novels affect students’ attitudes, comprehension and motivation levels by comparing data before and after activities utilizing visual novels. Data was collected through surveys and interviews and during the in-class reading activities of the high-level English university students that will also be described. In addition, several teachers’ attitudes towards the use of visual novels will be presented.
Teaching with tech, if works appropriately, will facilitate teachers in their instruction. Teaching with tech may appear in different forms, with the majority of teachers using technologies directly in their classrooms. However, preparing for the class and evaluating students’ performance with proper technologies can also be part of teaching with tech, as they indirectly facilitate teachers to plan, organize, and evaluate their instructional practice and student performance. In our presentation, we introduced Readizy, a reading diagnosis technology, to facilitate teachers with their reading instruction. Readizy is an artificial intelligence technology through facial expression recognition techniques to help EFL teachers evaluate the reading text and assess students’ reading proficiency. In response to how this technology facilitates teaching, we present our rationale in two aspects: Readizy helps teachers screen and select text materials that are fit to their students’ actual reading proficiency levels; it also helps teachers diagnose their students’ comprehension of the reading text through their emotions, including excitement, joy, anxiety, and boredom. In our actual presentation, we also report how this tech has worked in our sampled reading classes and provide attendees with a demo on how it works to help our reading instruction.
What can be learned about online courses from Hong Kong in the 2019-2020 academic year? Face-to-face classes were interrupted by the sudden closure of schools for 3 weeks due to protests in the Fall term and for 11 weeks due to the coronavirus in the Spring term. In both terms, courses were suddenly converted to an online mode. This has meant that lecturers - many with little experience with technology - have had to quickly make decisions about developing an online course to achieve course intended learning outcomes, selecting tools, assessing students, and encouraging student engagement. This has also meant that students have had no choice about their mode of learning and no preparation. This has resulted in a wide range of successes and failures. For example, in a recent online academic writing class delivered in a mandatory 3-hour session, the presenter found that students were "attending" with mixed success and engagement while shopping, working, traveling in public transportation, and sharing space at home with family members. Many students were limited to mobile phones; many reported no access to printers and free wifi. While this kind of disrupted education is unique, lessons can be learned in regards to how lecturers can adapt courses for online delivery and for addressing students' online needs. In this session, the presenter will share the following: feedback from students, feedback from colleagues, local education news, and personal reflections. The presenter will end with some general thoughts on adaptability in teaching and best practices for moving courses online.
Developments in technology—such as mobile devices that afford connection and social interaction anytime and anywhere, social networking offline and online, horizontal patterns of connectivity that allow users to create natural bonds based on shared interests—all offer possibilities for user-driven, self- and group- initiated practices that redraw models of production, distribution, and reuse of knowledge. This evolution is perceptible, for instance in recent sociotechnical developments such as crowdsourcing, digital activism and citizenship science and the creative practices of online user communities (including fan communities), all of which invite us to redefine the nature of out-of-class language learning. The term digital wilds (Thorne, Sauro, & Smith, 2015, Sauro & Zourou, 2019) has been adopted to refer to “non-instructionally oriented contexts” (Thorne & al., 2015, p. 225) that support social activity, are less controllable or organized than a classroom, “but which present interesting, and perhaps even compelling, opportunities for intercultural exchange, agentive action, and meaning making” (Thorne, 2010, p. 144). Key in understanding this concept is the desire to include student experience and agency and supporting and amplifying opportunities for language learners. Research on this type of environments and their potential for Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is growing, although still in its infancy. This paper contributes by means of a critical appraisal of the potential for L2 use occurring in online communities formed around the fight against COVID-19. Due to the disruption to education that has occurred worldwide, possibilities for social action have multiplied. In this contribution we examine the potential of several possibilities for digital activism in the framework of the pandemic and its connection to L2 use. Sociocultural theory is used to frame the current study, for its emphasis on social interaction as a catalyst for learning (Bonk & Cunningham, 1998, Lantolf & Thorne, 2006, van Lier, 2004). The agentive and participatory dimensions of digital activism will be explored for their potential in SLA. Beyond enthusiasm for social action driven by spontaneous, user-driven, bottom-up practices, the study will also offer a critical appraisal of advantages and pitfalls of such an approach for language education.
Comparative analysis of learning gains and affective states in face-to-face versus online learning #10
As pointed out by Godwin-Jones (2018), "evidence is accumulating that a major shift is underway in the ways that second language (L2) development is taking place. Increasingly, especially among young people, that process is occurring outside of institutional settings, predominately through the use of online networks and media" (p.8). As this innovation of the web has created unique opportunities allowing individuals to enhance their knowledge on practically any subject from any location, sometimes even cost free, the question on many educators’ minds must be whether or not this new wave of self-learning and self-achievement will eventually have the ability to completely replace traditional modes of learning (Zhang, Zhao, Zhou & Nunamaker, 2004).
The purpose of this study was to assess whether non-formal online context or face-to-face context impacted phrasal verb learning outcomes and affective states for L2 English learners. To investigate this question, a pre-test, post-test, delayed post-test design was implemented in a multiple case study using 4 students. Online students were sent links to a website where they were asked to watch one of 5 instructor-produced videos per day and complete exercises. Face-to-face students were taught in a one-on-one tutoring style before completing exercises. In addition, a questionnaire assessing engagement and satisfaction with each treatment type was administered. Interviews were also conducted to enhance the understanding of variations in scores and of the participants’ experiences in each context. The results indicate that similar learning outcomes can be produced in a shorter period of time in the online environment.
Can an innate quirk of vision help study foreign languages? Binocular rivalry (BR) is a visual phenomenon that occurs when our two eyes simultaneously look at very different things, causing our conscious perception to alternate between the two (Blake and Logothetis, 2002). BR research shows that (1) the frequency of the perceptual alternation can be controlled by several factors and (2) both dominant and suppressed stimuli are perceived at a level of consciousness sufficient to influence decisions, suggesting that BR can be used to access and alter perception. In this study of 26 participants, English and Japanese texts were shown simultaneously to each eye, creating a bistable perceptual experience with one text dominating temporarily over the other. Stimulus strengths of the texts were adjusted via motion to test the possibility of externally controlling the language that dominates participants’ awareness. Results showed a positive correlation between stimulus strength and dominance of awareness. This suggests that language learners could view two different language texts simultaneously, while dynamically controlling which one dominates their conscious perception. With the ever-deepening understanding of the BR mechanism and advancing technology that can be used to produce the experience (such as affordable head-mounted displays (HMDs)), these findings suggest that BR is an area of research of increasing potential in foreign language study. Possible applications of BR such as HMD assisted text glossing and vocabulary flashcards are suggested as enhanced versions of the red/ green plastic anki sheet memorisation tools that remain popular in Japan today.
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This paper reports the results of an evaluation of online applications for vocabulary learning. The investigation followed an argument-based approach (Gruba, Cardenas-Claros, Suvarov, and Rick, 2016). Various online vocabulary systems were investigated. Following a system of evidence gathering and member checks, themes emerged with arguments for how each system best supports the vocabulary learning of Japanese university EFL learners. Methods included interviews with CALL experts, reading extant research, and a micro-level quasi-experimental comparison between two Pre-Intermediate English classes. One group used Tool A and the other used Tool B for the semester. Additionally, individual students were videotaped and interviewed while using both systems. The two groups were tested using the Pearson Progress test at the beginning and end of the semester and matched t-tests were performed to determine whether either system had an effect on Progress test vocabulary sub-scores. The results will include our reflections on the argument-based evaluation system.
Law undergraduates’ understanding and appropriation of arguments in online essay writing tutorials #12
The art of constructing an assertive argument is a crucial lifelong skill for law students to master. The English language teachers at Bennett University Law School introduce the topic of argumentative essay writing to its first-year law undergraduates and teach the basic structure of an argument in a standard five paragraph argumentative essay and then gradually elaborate on with the content. The pedagogy makes use of the online platforms of ‘ilearn’ LMS and ‘Clarity English’ programs (customised English Language teaching softwares) to engage students in essay writing tutorials. The study analyses how the students develop the understanding of framing a strong argument and move towards attaining appropriation in it. This has been done by comparing pre-test and post-test results of the control and experimental groups and by relational content analysis of the transcripts. The target group in the study includes 120 students of BALLB (hons) who are randomly divided into control and experimental groups. The study also tries to figure out the comparative advantage of classroom teaching in physical settings, online group discussions on ‘ilearn’ LMS forums and individual practice sessions involving only one student at a time on ‘Practical Writing’ program offered by Clarity English. This has been done through student survey analysis. The overall data involves pre-test and post-test essay writing transcripts, online discussion forum transcripts on ‘ilearn’, practice result sheets on ‘Practical writing’ and students’ survey. This educational intervention is an attempt to assess and design best teaching practice for teaching argumentative essay writing to law undergraduates.
This presentation concerns the current iteration of a VR system designed to promote speaking skills as participants carry out collaborative tasks. In a former study, a simpler system was used to explore the effect of modality on learners’ foreign language anxiety (FLA) where results suggested that participants anxiety was statistically significantly lower in the VR environment compared to video-chat. However, of three key affordances—presence, interactivity, and autonomy—the previous system only focused on presence. The current system also features an interactive component and was used in a comparative study against the previous (presence-only) system. The research question was: does more-fully utilizing the affordances of VR lower or increase students’ FLA?
In a counterbalanced design, 30 participants (15 pairs) completed a spot-the-difference task in two different VR domains: interactive-VR and non-interactive-VR. Results of a post-experimental questionnaire suggested that there was no difference in participants’ FLA for the two domains. However, a significant difference was found in terms of ease of communication and enjoyment which favoured the interactive-VR mode. Additionally, compared to predictions that the interactive task would be more cognitively demanding, it was considered simpler than the non-interactive task by the participants. This suggests that using more of the affordances of VR by increasing interactivity further may make the embodied experience more life-like and therefore increase opportunities for learning.
This presentation introduces the system, pedagogical implications, and future research directions.
Preparing students for public speaking and/or interviews places greater demands on the teacher in the EFL classroom. “Total communication” consists of verbal (VC) and nonverbal communication (NVC), and in the large EFL class sizes in Japan it is difficult to focus on NVC. Our system, the Virtual Interview and Presentation Assistant, uses the Microsoft Kinect to help evaluate the NVC performance of EFL students. In this report, we focus on the development of our facial expression (FE) component. We simulated a job interview with twelve 19-year old students using questions from local companies. Their responses were recorded by the Kinect sensor and a standard video camera. The Kinect monitored any change in FE: facial movement, gaze, and engagement. After completion, the judge rated their impression of the interviewee’s FE using a 5-point scale at 3-second time intervals. At this stage, users can see a video of the assessment along with real-time scoring. The purpose of this experiment was to create a baseline for future research into differences in FE within L1 and L2 environments. By doing so, our system can provide valuable feedback to users and help them get ready for that important interview for their future.
While digital games are not often integrated into foreign language curricula at schools and universities, a growing body of literature in digital game-based language learning suggests that commercially-produced games can be an effective and highly engaging means of facilitating second-language acquisition (Peterson, 2013; Reinhardt, 2019). Previous empirical studies have focussed on vocabulary acquisition (e.g. Miller & Hegelheimer, 2006) and on the benefits of online interaction between learners and L1 speakers of the target language (e.g. Zheng et al., 2009). However, the potential of digital games to develop learners’ L2 speaking skills still remains largely unexplored. To better understand the learning mechanisms involved, a study was designed in which four groups of young adult Japanese learners of English played the cooperative puzzle game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes over four one-hour gameplay sessions. The game requires learners to cooperate by exchanging information quickly and efficiently in order to solve a series of information gap tasks, leading to the production of much spoken English and thus the potential for peer-based language learning. An initial discourse analysis of learner language elicited through the gameplay activity will be presented. This analysis is informed by a cognitive interactionist SLA framework that posits instances of learners negotiating for meaning as evidence for second language acquisition. Evidence pointing to gains in discourse management, vocabulary, pronunciation accuracy, and oral fluency resulting from game-based interaction between learners will also be discussed.
Today’s technology has brought a revolution in access to world cultures and languages for language learners. Consequently, language teachers are experimenting constantly to make the best use of such technology in the language classroom to teach both language and content classes. This presentation will provide a survey of the CALL-related research literature in Japanese EFL contexts from the previous seven years. The presenter will provide examples of how various technologies from computers to smartphones to video cameras to virtual reality devices are being employed in English classrooms in Japan. Topics to be covered include how mobile devices such as iPods, iPads, tablets, and smartphones are being used in language learning in Japanese universities. The presentation will also explore how social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Line are being incorporated into language lessons. Finally, a review of websites that have been reported on in the literature will be provided. Attendees will have a chance to share their own experiences with using technology in their classes. Attendees will come away with specific examples of how various technologies are being used in English education in Japan, as well as an annotated bibliography of recent CALL and MALL research for their future professional development. This presentation will be done primarily in English, but Japanese explanations are possible.
This presentation highlights several findings related to the learners’ use of digital communication channels during online collaborative activities. The term “digital backchannel” is used to imply that there are two channels of communication operating simultaneously during the collaborative activities. The predominant digital channel is that of the online content management system controlled by the instructor and accessed in the target language, English. The secondary channel of digital communication (or digital backchannel) is that of the outside personal social network systems (SNS) that students employed to interact in their first language, Japanese. The researcher collected qualitative and quantitative data on learner interactions within a yearlong series of collaborative language learning activities through internet logs and interviews. The activities were online discussions and accessible through a range of mobile and non-mobile devices to allow the method the participants found most agreeable. The participants were studying English at a four-year private university in Tokyo, Japan. Students’ language use changed when moving between these primary and secondary communication channels. Commonly used SNS, such as Twitter and Line, were drawn into the collaboration acting as an independent channel to communicate in their private language of Japanese. This appears to have reduced their motivational barriers to the homework by providing support for their public use of English by reducing the potential for embarrassing mistakes. The presentation includes a summary of the findings, quantitative and qualitative supporting data, limitations, and possibilities for furthering the study topic.
Mobile technology such as the ubiquitous cell phone and the increasingly popular wearable technology, keep us up to date with the world around us. The amount of information that is passed through these devices is incredible. As businesses look to leverage such technology, classrooms around the world have made digital literacy an essential component of 21st Century Skills. Despite this, much research has also cautioned against detriments associated with actively cell phone use (Przybylski & Weinstein, 2012). Recently, there has been interest in the impact of cell phone "presence" on cognitive functioning. Have people become so psychologically dependent on cell phones that their mere “presence” can affect how they think and work? To better understand this, 54 Japanese university students participated in a two-week repeated measures experiment. Participants were given modified versions of the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (TONI) under two controlled conditions: tests taken with mobile devices out of sight and tests taken with mobile devices in plain sight (i.e. on participants’ desks). Scores when mobile devices were present were 20% lower with significant decreases on problems requiring higher cognitive processing. These findings support previous research on the negative impact of cell phones on cognitive functioning (Thornton, Faires, Robbins, & Rollins, 2014). It is the hope that a better understanding of how mobile technology affects cognition will allow educators to better leverage technology in the class, capitalizing on the benefits such technology affords, while reducing its detrimental effects.
Promoting teacher-trainee reflection and development through feedback on a lesson study application #34
This paper introduces a Lesson Study Application (LS APP) that has been used for Iwate University teaching practicums in Japan and also Thailand. The purpose of the LS APP is to facilitate student-teacher reflection by giving them a means to receive feedback from those who observe their classes. The Content Management System, WordPress and various plugins were used to develop the application. Before each lesson, the teacher-trainee makes a “Lesson Research Page” on WordPress which consists of their lesson plan and a list of issues they want observers to comment on. The plugin WPDiscuz was used for commenting on lessons. Users write their comments in real time. They can provide keywords for their comments, tag other users, “like” other comments, and submit pictorial or video data to support their observations, which is something not possible through paper-and-pencil observation. The researcher asked teacher-trainees to choose feedback they found useful and explain their choices. He also conducted a questionnaire about using the LS APP. It was found that the feedback student-teachers received helped them improve their instruction and develop teaching concepts that they could use in the future. However, student-teachers have not reflected on how to bridge the gap between the teaching theories studied in the university classroom and their actual practice. Bridging the “Theory-practice Divide” was one of the intended uses of the LS APP. The presenter will discuss how future variations of the commenting form as well as training of student-teachers to use the LS APP might improve this area.
This study attempts to investigate the key factors that contribute to a satisfactory blended learning norm in an English for specific purposes classroom in Taiwan. In achieving the goal, the study utilizes Special Private Online courses (SPOCs) accompanied with in-class instruction and discussion to facilitate the acquisition of the professional Nursing vocabulary and its related reading comprehension. Questionnaires, distributed to 100 students who were enrolled in one semester ESP course, were based on four dimensions: instructor styles, course characteristics, student attitude and technology support. The qualitative and quantitative results highlight the key factors lying in instructor’s voice and expressing styles, the tangible contents, students’ engagement and adaptive technology assistance. The statistical result showed that the higher scores students gained in vocabulary and reading comprehension tests, the much amount of time they had spent in SPOCs. Both high and low achievement students considered blended learning as a beneficial trait in acquiring difficult professional nursing vocabulary and reading than teacher-directed instruction alone. They also approached that adaptive and useful e-learning contents are key to continuously concentrate on online learning.
Drawing on social semiotics theory, this study intends to explore how the teaching of close reading was enhanced through the combinations of verbal and visual resources to achieve specific communicative purposes. In this sense, mash-up is a pedagogical tool, in which language and media can be integrated to make meaning. However, few studies have been conducted to investigate the actual process of applying mash-ups to foreign language teaching. To fill this research gap, the present study aims to understand how English teachers taught close reading through mash-ups as well as to explore how they addressed the challenges or problems encountered. Firstly, five in-service senior high school English teachers were oriented towards a mash-up tool, i.e. book-snap, through which they could annotate reading texts using a photo editing app, PicCollage. Then, they learned to teach reading lessons in which book-snaps were utilized to help their students promote critical thinking and increase affective engagement. Lastly, the teachers reflected on the book-snap activity. Regarding the integration of book-snaps into close reading, data collected through lesson plans, think-aloud sessions, and interviews suggest that while the teachers preferred to annotate key information through doodling functions such as underline and circle, they tended to indicate authors’ attitudes via emojis available on PicCollage. On the other hand, data regarding the difficulties in actual teaching collected through reflective teaching journals, classroom observations, and interviews reveal that the teachers voiced some concerns, one of which involved problems with operating the digital annotation tool.
Over the last decade, the prevalence of online asynchronous courses has increased in educational programs; however, their effectiveness is heavily debated, particularly in the language teaching field, which entails human interaction for communication. Although initial research into online learning options has previously been conducted at the same institution (See Mynard & Murphy, 2012), asynchronous online courses are still uncommon in Japanese tertiary language education curricula. The adoption of such courses could expand current programs to provide equal educational opportunities to non-traditional students, and offer practical alternatives to cancelling classes due to unforeseen circumstances. This study investigates whether, in a language-focused Japanese university context, online versions of core curriculum classes based upon the regular in-class course content, offer comparable value to traditional classroom-based lessons. The presentation includes practical descriptions of how traditional lessons were adapted to be delivered online as well as quantitatively evaluated feedback comparing the students' perceptions of asynchronous learning versus face-to-face lessons. Attendees to this workshop will gain a better understanding of the affordances and challenges of creating online asynchronous course content from the viewpoint of both educators and students.