Second Language Teaching in Elementary School with a Multimedia Gloss

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  • Topic: Language, Multimedia, Second language acquisition
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  • Published : May 27, 2012
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Second Language Teaching in Elementary School with a Multimedia Gloss

Marilena Zoi 1, Ioanna Bellou 1 and Tassos A. Mikropoulos 1
1 The Educational Approaches to Virtual Reality Technologies Lab, The University of Ioannina, Greece

Abstract. This work investigates the effects of a special designed multimedia gloss on learning outcomes concerning vocabulary learning in German as a second language in elementary school pupils. The gloss involves annotations of unknown words in three different representations: text translation from German into Greek, presentation of the word in German and its translation pronounced in Greek, and word interpretation by using a picture. Thirty one pupils of ages 10-11 years interacted with the multimedia gloss and participated in computer-based learning activities. The outcomes on vocabulary learning were positive, with the majority of pupils to prefer the aural annotations of the unknown words. The attitude of all pupils towards use of the multimedia gloss and activities was also positive. Our findings support Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning in the field of language learning.

Keywords: L2, multimedia gloss, elementary school

1. Introduction

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are considered to be the most powerful tool for the support of teaching and learning processes. Their main contribution comes from their technological characteristics, the ways they record, represent, manage and transfer information. These characteristics concern the management of high volume of data and information in a short time, information presentation through dynamic interactive and multiple representations, as well as communication and motives they provide. The main contribution of ICT to the learning process comes indirectly, through their pedagogical exploitation and certain attributes that arise from the technological characteristics. This mainly involves processes and tasks for the active participation of students and teachers, action and feedback through interactive activities, as well as processes that support the creation of mental models [1]. Dynamic interactive and multiple representations by using multimedia elements redefine the conventional text and are exploited in teaching and language learning, especially of a second language (L2), usually in the form of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Mayer has proposed the generative or cognitive theory of multimedia learning, where “meaningful learning occurs when learners engage in appropriate verbal and visuospatial thinking”. The simultaneous presentation of corresponding words and pictures in working memory, “enable the learner to construct mental connections between them” and engage students in cognitive processing and deeper understanding [2]. In second language teaching, the cognitive theory of multimedia learning can be implemented by various ways. This work proposes the application of Mayer’s theory by the use of electronic glossing. Electronic or digital glosses are mainly vocabulary annotations in multimedia or hypertext that present information about a specific word in the text and appear on the same screen as the text. The annotations of electronic glosses are not permanently visible on the text, but can be activated by the student at their will through buttons [3]. Mayer’s model on multimedia learning and electronic glossing seem to be a powerful approach to L2 teaching and learning. The aim of the present work is to investigate if a special designed multimedia gloss is positively accepted and brings out positive learning outcomes in learning German as L2 in elementary school pupils.

2. Electronic Glossing in L2

Multimedia glossing seems to promote vocabulary learning and a deeper level of text comprehension. Lomicka has reported that annotations followed by definitions, translation, pictures and pronunciation brought better results comparing with both a traditional...
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