Volume 22 Number 3, October 2018

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    Pre-task planning in L2 text-chat: Examining learners’ process and performance
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2018-10-01) Ziegler, Nicole
    Research suggests that pre-task planning time provides learners with opportunities to formulate, organize, and mentally store content, thereby freeing up attentional resources during tasks (Skehan, Xiaoyue, Qian, & Wang, 2012). However, relatively few studies to date have investigated pre-task planning in a synchronous computer-mediated communication setting (e.g., Lai, Fei, & Roots, 2008; Hsu, 2012, 2015). In addition to a scarcity of computer-assisted language learning research, relatively little is known about what learners do when they plan or how they use their plans during tasks. The goals of the current study were twofold: (a) to examine the relationship between pre-task planning and learners’ production and (b) to explore the affordances offered by computer-mediated contexts to further investigate how and what learners may (or may not) be planning during pre-task and within-task planning time. Results suggest that three minutes of planning time resulted in increases in lexical complexity (but not phrasal or syntactic), although no significant findings were identified for accuracy or fluency. In addition, findings indicate that technology offers researchers a number of unique methodological affordances, such as the ability to see what learners produce, regardless of whether they transmit this information to their interlocutor, thereby providing evidence of L2 knowledge that would otherwise be unobservable.
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    Child-to-child interaction and corrective feedback during eTandem ESL–FSL chat exchanges
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2018-10-01) Giguère, Christine ; Parks, Susan
    This study examined the role of corrective feedback in the context of an English as a second language (ESL) and French as a second language (FSL) eTandem chat exchange involving Grade 6 students. The students were enrolled in intensive programs in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario and had an elementary to low- intermediate level of language proficiency. Tasks were completed on a weekly basis over a 9-week period. Six tasks completed by 13 pairs were retained for analysis. The analysis showed that the ESL and FSL students provided three types of feedback: explicit feedback, recasts, and negotiation of form. Unlike the study by Morris (2005), which involved Grade 5 second language (L2) Spanish students, the preference in this study was for explicit feedback. This difference was attributed to the tandem approach which emphasizes training in how to give feedback as well as school culture. Differences between the amount of feedback provided during the ESL and FSL exchanges were also observed. Here, too, the influence of school culture appears to have been a factor. The ESL students appeared to be more positively oriented to L2 learning, reflected in a higher appreciation of the tandem learning exchange. Implications for teaching and the need of future research are discussed.
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    Activate space rats! Fluency development in a mobile game-assisted environment
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2018-10-01) Grimshaw, Jennica ; Cardoso, Walcir
    Activities that promote fluency development or the automatization of speech are often ignored in second language classes because they do not teach new things; instead, they focus on speeding up language use (Nation & Newton, 2008). Anxiety also decreases chances for fluency development, as learners are less willing to produce output (Gregersen & MacIntyre, 2014), consequently hindering language development (Swain, 2000). One way of minimizing the impact of these limitations is to motivate students to speak intelligibly and fluently, preferably beyond the constraints of the language classroom. In this study, we investigated the pedagogical use of Spaceteam ESL, a mobile game that requires intelligible and fluent computer-mediated oral exchanges among players. Participants (N = 20) were low-intermediate English as a second language (ESL) students divided into two groups: the treatment group, which played Spaceteam ESL as a 15-minute warm-up activity for six weeks, and the control group, which engaged in comparable non-gaming activities. Pre-tests, post-tests, and delayed post-tests measured changes in oral fluency (i.e., syllables produced per minute and judges’ ratings) and interviews addressed factors related to anxiety and willingness to communicate (WTC). Findings indicated that learners who played Spaceteam ESL outperformed the control group in judges’ ratings for oral fluency and that the gameplay might positively influence anxiety and WTC.
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    Exploring relationships between automated and human evaluations of L2 texts
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2018-10-01) Matthews, Joshua ; Wijeyewardene, Ingrid
    Despite the current potential to use computers to automatically generate a large range of text-based indices, many issues remain unresolved about how to apply these data in established language teaching and assessment contexts. One way to resolve these issues is to explore the degree to which automatically generated indices, which are reflective of key measures of text quality, align with parallel measures derived from locally relevant, human evaluations of texts. This study describes the automated evaluation of 104 English as a second language texts through use of the computational tool Coh-Metrix, which was used to generate indices reflecting text cohesion, lexical characteristics, and syntactic complexity. The same texts were then independently evaluated by two experienced human assessors through use of an analytic scoring rubric. The interrelationships between the computer and human generated evaluations of the texts are presented in this paper with a particular focus on the automatically generated indices that were most strongly linked to the human generated measures. A synthesis of these findings is then used to discuss the role that such automated evaluation may have in the teaching and assessment of second language writing.
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    Vocabulary learning from watching YouTube videos and reading blog posts
    (University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2018-10-01) Arndt, Henriette L. ; Woore, Robert
    This study compared second language vocabulary acquisition from engagement with two different online media: written blog posts and video blogs. It also explored whether there were differences between which aspects of vocabulary knowledge (i.e., orthography, semantics, and grammatical function) were best learned from these media. The results showed that incidental vocabulary learning occurred in approximately equal amounts from reading blog posts and watching video blogs. There were some indications that different types of vocabulary knowledge were gained from the two types of media. The written blog entries promoted greater gains in orthographic knowledge than the videos. There was also tentative evidence that the videos promoted greater recall of the target words’ grammatical functions and greater recognition and recall of their meanings.