Patterns of peer interaction in multimodal L2 digital social reading

Law, James
Barny, David
Poulin, Rachel
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University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
(co-sponsored by Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning, University of Texas at Austin)
Although L2 reading is traditionally framed as an individual enterprise, digital annotation tools (DATs) have recently been developed allowing groups of readers to collaborate and provide mutual scaffolding through collective annotation of texts (Blyth, 2014; Thoms, Sung, & Poole, 2017). These tools reframe L2 reading as an interactive process where meaning is socially constructed. Digital social reading supports a multiliteracies approach to teaching L2 pragmatics. This study investigates interactional patterns in social reading across multiple groups of learners. In total, 215 students enrolled in 11 sections of a beginning university French course used the DAT eComma to annotate six L2 songs over three months. We performed a mixed-methods analysis of the annotations. Social engagement, as measured by the frequency of questions and replies as well as word count, decreased over time, and the use of linguistic affordances increased in later songs. However, these patterns were highly variable across the sections. Language choice, social engagement and register, among other factors, were influenced by the shared practices of members of each section. Through their interactions, participants co-constructed meaning about the texts themselves as well as broader cultural and pragmatic questions. Instructors reported that engagement in class discussion corresponded to that of the online discussion.
Digital Social Reading, Multiliteracies, Instructional Pragmatics, L2 Reading
Law, J., Barny, D., & Poulin, R. (2020). Patterns of peer interaction in multimodal L2 digital social reading. Language Learning & Technology, 24(2), 70–85.
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