Task Based Learning with Technology

Topics: Blended learning, Second language acquisition, Language education Pages: 11 (3228 words) Published: April 9, 2011
This study investigates designing and implementing a speaking course in which face-to-face instruction informed by the principles of Task-Based Learning is blended with the use of technology, the video, for the first-year student teachers of English in Turkish higher education. The study consisted of three hours of task-based classroom instruction, complemented with one hour of additional class time, which was devoted to viewing and evaluating students’ video recorded speaking tasks, assigned as homework. A mixed research method was used to collect data from multiple sources: recordings of a pre-and post-course speaking task, analysis of the video-recordings of students’ speaking tasks, informal interviews with the students, and a written end-of-year course evaluation survey. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data revealed that students made noticeable improvement in their oral communication skills, and they were positive in their perceptions of integrating technology in the lesson. The study also indicated that the use of video camera, as a technological tool, had a positive impact on students’ viewing and critically evaluating their speaking tasks. Attention is drawn to a number of potential advantages of integrating technology into face-to-face instruction, and it is suggested that video cameras represent a language learning resource worthy of further investigation.

Keywords: blended learning, speaking skills, student teachers of English, mixed research method, task-based speaking course (TBSC), video camera

In the last decade, second language (L2) courses that combine face-to-face learning and applications of technology, in particular computer assisted language learning (CALL), have been the subject of numerous studies (Bonk & Graham, 2006; Dewar & Whittington, 2004; MacDonald, 2006; Neumeier, 2005; Stracke, 2007). These courses usually require students to attend traditional face-to-face classes and to work independently with a synchronous and/or asynchronous communication tool. As existing studies have shown, this blended approach has become the most popular model of CALL use in L2 learning, particularly in language programmes where CALL components can provide face-to-face instruction with an “efficient use of human and material resources” (Salaberry, 2001, p. 51).

L2 courses that incorporate technology in combination with face-to-face instruction have been found to promote L2 learning effectively as they can give students the flexibility to work independently, at their own pace, promoting language acquisition (Felix, 2003; Collentine, 2000; Singh, 2003). In a study, Ayres (2002) reported that a vast majority of the L2 English and Japanese learners felt that computer enhanced instruction was motivating and appropriate to students’ learning needs. In addition, those participants believed that online activities promoted learning, and they expressed the need for the inclusion of more web-based activities in their instruction (see also Beauvois, 1994, 1998; Warschauer, 1996). In a similar study, Felix (2003) found that the incorporation of technology into face-to-face instruction helped L2 learners of Italian, Japanese and English feel more comfortable with technology and the learning of L2. About two thirds of participants in Felix’s study believed that web-based activities facilitated learning. The students with more positive attitudes were those who had been exposed to activities with clear goals, organized tasks, and immediate feedback.

As a growing number of L2 learners now experience technology in combination with face-to-face instruction, it is important to examine the value of this technology integrated learning on L2 learners’ speaking and their perceptions of technological tools to ensure their success in the learning process. This study seeks to broaden the existing body of research by examining L2 Turkish learners’ perceptions towards the use of video cameras as a...
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