In response to the pandemic, language teachers around the globe are transforming their face-to-face courses into online courses and developing technology-mediated online activities has become one of the pressing tasks. While the body of research on online teaching addressing current day issues is rapidly growing (e.g., Foreign Language Annals. 2020; 53), research exploring students’ reactions to technology-mediated online activities in the COVID-19 Era is still limited. The goals of this paper are to (1) present a technology-mediated collaborative language exchange activity which connected collegiate language learners internationally using VoiceThread (an Internet-based interactive collaboration tool), and (2) report learners’ experiences and reactions to this activity along with changes in their motivation and perception of language learning. Five learners of English at a Japanese university and ten learners of Japanese at an American university participated in this study. They were students of a course at each institution in 2020. Learners participated in two asynchronous activities in which they exchanged video comments using VoiceThread. In the first activity, everyone spoke in Japanese, and in the second, English. Then, questionnaires containing multiple-choice and short-answer questions were distributed and analyzed quantitatively (descriptive statistics) and qualitatively. Preliminary results suggest that most learners had positive experiences in these exchanges, perceived benefits for language learning, increased motivation, and felt connected with students overseas. Proficiency level appears to be a factor influencing individual differences. The findings of this study lend support to the claim (e.g., Gonzalez-Lloert, 2020) that technology-mediated online collaborative activities facilitate language learning and community building.
Mizuki Mazzotta, Emory University, United States
Yutaka Yamauchi, Soka University, Japan
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
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