Digital Innovations and Research In Language Learning (Abstracts)

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On 3 February 2020, our new Research book, ‘Digital Innovations and Research in Language Learning’ was published. This publication is available to purchase from Amazon. It is also available to our current members and can be downloaded for free. More information about the book has already been shared on a permanent page on this site which can be accessed here or via the menu bar above.

This is part one of two posts sharing the chapter abstracts, with the remaining abstracts to be shared next week. An online research conference with some of the authors presenting their chapters is planned for Friday 15 May and will be open to members and non-members.

MEMBERS ONLY. In order to download the .pdf you need to go to the main IATEFL website, log in with your username and it can be accessed via the SIG resources section. However, If you are using a mobile device and want either the .epub version or .mobi version to use on an e-reader, such as Kindle, then watch the following video below about how you can do this.

Digital Innovations and Research in Language Learning

A Project of IATEFL’s Learning Technologies Special Interest Group

Edited by Sophia Mavridi and Vicky Saumell

Preface by Gordon Lewis – published below in full:

Design of a gamified Twitter environment: Investigation of how students’ personality and attitude in language learning affect their participation by Bryan Kilvinski, Angelos Konstantinidis and Ivan Lombardi

Abstract: How learners’ attitudes and personality traits influence the language learning process has received significant attention among the educational community for over half a century. This study discusses the design of a Twitter game based on the principles of gamification, and explores how students’ personality and attitudes affected their participation in the game. Thirty-six Thai university students, enrolled in a blended learning English programme, took part in the study. The gamified Twitter intervention lasted six weeks and all students demonstrated active participation throughout its duration. Students’ personality traits were measured through the Big-Five Inventory and their attitudes through the Attitude/Motivation Test Battery. It was shown that both personality and attitudes influenced students’ participation in the game, though the relationships were found to be of medium impact at best. Based on students’ participation, the game design was deemed quite effective, yet it failed to generate interaction among students.

Exploiting methodological affinities between CLIL and ICT-mediated TBLT by Antonio Lopes

Abstract: Several researchers (Ahmadian & García-Mayo, 2017; García-Mayo, 2015; Scott & Beadle, 2014) have been discussing the ways in which Content and Language-Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) are not only methodologically related to each other, but also can be combined in order to tap into the pedagogical potential of each other, and to circumvent issues arising from inadequate implementation. One particular study by Tardieu and Dolitsky (2012), for example, showed that one of the difficulties in implementing CLIL has been the chasm between the actual language proficiency of some of the learners and the minimum level required in the content class. ICT-mediated TBLT could help to overcome some of these difficulties by turning the work carried out in the content class into a series of tasks where the learners are engaged in practical, real-life activities involving technology they are already acquainted with, relieving them from the pressure of having to prove that they have succeeded in assimilating either content or language. However, there is also the opposite risk, where tasks can be so demanding that they end up jeopardising the learning of content. Meyer, Halbach and Coyle (2015) maintain that the tasks in a CLIL class must be appropriate to the learners’ ability to internalise conceptual knowledge. In order to understand how CLIL and TBLT can build on each other’s strengths and help overcome each other’s limitations, a framework for designing content-oriented tasks is proposed, based on the work carried out within the scope of the European-funded project PETALL (Pan-European Tasks Activities in Language Learning. In the first part, the integration of TBLT and CLIL is discussed, and in the second part a template developed to help the teachers to design a task for the CLIL classroom is presented.

Production of motivational videos in tertiary education as a way of student empowerment by Eleni Nikiforou

Abstract: The field of Learning Technologies (LT) is gaining progressively more attention in recent years both from researchers and practitioners. This chapter focuses on the use and production of online motivational videos in a language course in tertiary education which aimed at improving the students’ language, academic, transferrable, and lifelong learning skills. Motivational speeches are purposely employed in the course as they afford student empowerment.  Specifically, the students complete an authentic task which requires them to create their own videos of motivational speeches. The use of motivational speech videos in class seems to allow the students to discuss a variety of topics, step outside their comfort zone, consider other cultures, think critically, and eventually discover their own passion and voice through the creation of the artifact. Currently, there is no research conducted in ELT regarding the use of motivational speech videos with ELT students. Through this empirical research, practical suggestions are offered on how language teachers of all levels can apply such a task in their lessons to enable the students to develop transferable lifelong learning skills while at the same time improving their language skills in all four areas: listening, speaking, writing, and reading.

An action research intervention for academic reading skills online by Dr Vasiliki Celia Antoniou

Abstract: This chapter explores how Moodle can support L2 students in becoming successful autonomous academic readers, and how teachers could develop appropriate scaffolding features online to support this process. An action research intervention was employed to inform the design of an online pedagogic unit for L2 students. The intervention involved two phases (of a 4-week duration each): the first one focused on observing classroom activity and planning a teaching cycle that was implemented with the same students. The participants were 13 L2 EAP learners studying at a postgraduate level at an English-speaking University. The evaluation cycle comprised of a mixed methods approach to data collection and analysis to gather introspective and empirically based information about the students’ evaluation of: a) the Moodle scaffolding features of the reading exercises, and b) the features’ support in developing specific reading skills. The results are indicative of the actions, tasks and support that tutors can offer to students online to facilitate their training.

Comics for inclusive, technology-enhanced language learning by Chryssa Themelis and Julie-Ann Sime

Abstract: The visual language of comics is widely understood and comics are now used for teaching and learning, for raising awareness and for dissemination. Comics offer a creative alternative for teaching that motivates and engages struggling and reluctant readers. How can foreign language teachers of English be supported to create inclusive, technology-enhanced teaching and learning with comics?  This chapter synthesises literature from cognitive psychology, neuroscience of storytelling and education to better explain why comics are effective and can address the challenges of learners with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia who may have a range of issues associated with reading, writing, memory, attention and motivation. Current teaching practices, including methods and resources, are reviewed to understand how teachers can be supported.  A new perspective highlights the importance of narrative and emotions in comics and how multimodal and transmedia approaches, using web-comics, can be used to support inclusive foreign language teaching.

Uncovering the possibilities of virtual high schooling for EFL by Susana Galante

Abstract: This chapter explores the potential of virtual schooling to engage high-school students of English in active learning and collaboration. A computer-supported collaborative learning environment was designed for a pilot program and action-based research was conducted. The research looked into the adoption of a new culture of learning and teaching and focused on the four students who completed the program. Other students served as points of reference. Special attention was paid to the perceived benefits of the virtual learning environment and the features that contribute to this. The findings revealed virtual schooling can be beneficial for EFL provided the necessary conditions are met. The recruitment of suitable schools and students can play a determining factor for its sustainability.

We will share the remaining six abstracts in part two on 6 March.


The second set of six abstracts were shared in this post published on 5 March.

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