Technology integration for teaching and learning Spanish in elementary schools: Voices of designers, teachers and students
Eduardo Garcia Villada, Iowa State University, United States
Iowa State University . Awarded
A critical review of the literature on computer-assisted language learning (CALL) research between 1980 and 2005 indicates that no one in the field of foreign language at the elementary school (FLES) has identified what principles might be useful for practice-oriented CALL that is relevant for young learners, and that very little research had been published in the area. To fill this gap, a theoretical framework is proposed to design, evaluate, and use CALL materials for FLES, and the framework is tested in two studies.
The first was a phenomenological investigation of K-6 teachers' projects from a teachers' professional development program on CALL integration with Spanish and content from other subject areas. The projects were analyzed by an expert team of teachers and teacher educators, and the components of the interpretivist CALL evaluation framework were used to judge the projects. A total of 106 K-6 teachers developed 64 CALL thematic projects, but few had strong potential for teaching Spanish language and culture, and most were teacher-centered rather than student-centered. Teachers and experts voices were found to be valuable in CALL evaluation.
A second survey study provided children with a voice in CALL evaluation. Children's use of technology to learn Spanish was described along with their attitudes towards these innovations. The variation of individual differences and attitude were analyzed. A survey with two versions (K-2 and grades 3-8) was developed and 2,220 children were surveyed to discover insights into their attitudes. The survey's content validity and reliability were established, and a factor analysis revealed four subscales. Results indicated the curriculum tasks in which children have positive attitudes toward the use of technology-enhanced activities in learning the Spanish language and suggested that students' individual attitudes vary significantly.
This dissertation supports the view that the most appropriate perspective for CALL evaluation is an interpretivist view with multiple voices including teachers and students. Recommendations for future research include application of the framework and research instruments, more attention to be paid to the complex realities and contexts of language interactions by teachers and students in the K-8 classrooms, and research on related teacher professional development.
Garcia Villada, E. Technology integration for teaching and learning Spanish in elementary schools: Voices of designers, teachers and students. Ph.D. thesis, Iowa State University.
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