Graduation Year

2016

Degree

Ed.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

John I. Liontas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Linda Evans, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yiping Lou, Ph.D.

Keywords

Foreign language teaching, Language Learning, Web 2.0 technologies

Abstract

Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, Google Docs, and YouTube have become ubiquitous in today’s world of second and foreign language learning and have been the object of study (Wang & Vásquez, 2012), yet there is still a need to examine quantitatively and qualitatively how these tools impact the proficiency achievement levels of learners who use them. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact that blogs, Google Docs, and YouTube had on the achievement of college learners of Spanish as a foreign language. A mixed methods design was adopted.

The quantitative data were collected from students (N=75) at the end of their intermediate class. The control had used traditional methods to develop the four basic skills, such as writing on paper with pencil, listening to audio files accompanying the text and work books, reading materials designed for language learners, and in class speaking activities, in pair or in group. The control group did not use the three selected technologies (N= 31), the two experimental groups had used the three selected technologies to produce and publish their output for 16 (N= 26) and 32 weeks (N=18). During this time, learners had to interact 1) among themselves through comments via the selected Web 2.0 technologies and 2) with more proficient users of the language in interviews recorded and published on YouTube. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the participants’ scores on the Spanish proficiency (STAMP) exam. Results yielded no significant differences between the control group and the treatment groups in the reading, listening, and speaking skills. However, there was a significant difference in the writing scores. The Post-hoc Sheffe test revealed a statistically significant difference between the control group and the group that used the used the three technologies for 16 weeks, but no significant difference between the control group and the group using the technologies for 32 weeks was found.

Qualitative findings revealed that the participants perceived the three selected technologies impacted their writing, speaking, reading, and listening skills in that order. Writing was reported as the language skill that most benefited from using the three selected technologies. Participants claimed their vocabulary, grammar, writing styles, and fluency increased. Similarly, they reported their speaking fluency improved while their anxiety was lowered due to the use of the three technologies. Additionally, they reported gains in vocabulary and grammar structure from listening to and reading their peers’ contextualized output as well as incremental improvement in their ability to obtain the main idea and comprehend new vocabulary through constant reading and listening activities. Findings also established the value of peer feedback and its role in foreign language learning when using Web 2.0 technologies.

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