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Towards a pedagogic framework for task design in video web communication and virtual worlds

Towards a pedagogic framework for task design in video web communication and virtual worlds
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    EUROCALL 2009 Conference    New trends in CALL: Working together Gandia Campus Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain) 9-12 September 2009   Towards a pedagogical framework for task design in video-web communication and virtual worlds Kristi Jauregi, Rick de Graaff, Silvia Canto and Ton Koenraad* Utrecht University, Trans 8, 3512 JK Utrecht, The Netherlands Abstract Within the NIFLAR project 2  two environments are being used in which language students can communicate synchronously with native speakers: video web communication (VWC) and virtual worlds (VW). In this paper we  present and discuss a set of design principles of interaction tasks which have been developed and tested within the  NIFLAR project We will present the analysis and assessment of some tasks that have been developed for and applied in the virtual world Second Life(SL).  We finally present the results of a pilot conducted recently in SL.   © 2013 EUROCALL All rights reserved Key words: task development,, video-web communication, Second Life, Niflar 1.   Task effectiveness In current teaching practice, second language (SL) learning tasks are used to engage learners in different types of learning and communication processes. Design principles for the tasks take into account communicative and intercultural competence (IC) in L2 acquisition within the context of VWC and VW. Following the literature in SLA on tasks for communicative competence  (Doughty & Long, 2003 Ellis, 2003, Ware & O'Dowd 2008, Westhoff, 2004, Willis 1996), for  IC competence  (Byram 1997; Müller Jacquier 2000), and for exploiting the challenges of a virtually supported distant communication setting (Deutschmann and Panichi, 2009) the following grid was used for task development and evaluation in the study: * Kristi Jauregi. Tel.: +0-31-30-5236215.  E-mail address : 2   For more information about the Niflar project see Jauregi, Kriz & Bergh in this volume and the sites and  2  EUROCALL 2009  –   New Trends in CALL: Working Together The task exposes the learners to rich   TL input. Does the task:     provide input that is authentic/unmodified, relevant/challenging and multimodal?    enhance interactional modification or negotiation of meaning?    elicit the use of authentic resources both before and during performance?    elicit the use of both predefined resources and resources provided by the interlocutors themselves? The task elicits meaningful   TL use  Meaningfulness : Do the learners:    use the language pragmatically and communicatively?    use the language to engage in activities involving real-world processes of L use?    have the choice how to use the language, that is, no linguistic forms are prescribed in advance? Use:  Does the task:    involve some kind of gap (information, reasoning, culture)?    have the right balance between language-demanding and content-demanding processing?     promote learning by doing (processing and interaction)     promote collaborative learning? The task requires de learners to focus on form Does the task:    create a “semantic space” in order to elicit processing specific L forms?       promote the detection and use of relevant chunks?    elicit feedback on form by the native speaker (NS) on language of the learner?    Provide opportunities to focus on form when learner need arises (negotiation, elaboration, recasts etc.)? The task has a clearly defined communicative outcome    Does the task:    have a clearly defined purpose that is relevant for all interlocutors?    have a clearly defined communicative end product?    elicit following a logical, relevant and challenging procedure?     provide instructions that meet the needs of all interlocutors?    aim at subjective, personal information exchange, related to objective, factual resources?    Is the task both open (not fixed, prescribed) and determined (goal-oriented)? The task enhances strategic   awareness on language learning and use Does the task:    elicit planning, feedback and reflection o   on language use o   on communication o   on intercultural issues The task enhances focus on intercultural   linguistic competence  Does the task:    require learners to focus on intercultural topics, beliefs, contrasts?    elicit focus on everyday, implicit cultural habits, and beliefs?   Jauregi, Graaff, Canto & Koenraad / A framework for task design in video-web communication and virtual worlds 3      create intercultural awareness, but providing topics that contrast students’ own beliefs? and habits with that of their interlocutors?    elicit awareness and reflection not only on target culture, but on own cultural habits and beliefs as well? General:    Are clear stages in task sequencing provided? The task takes the communicative and intercultural competence level   of all interlocutors into account Does the task align with proficiency level on oral interaction and intercultural awareness:    with respect to task goal?    with respect to task topic?    with respect to task procedure? The task makes effective use of the challenges and opportunities VWC or VW    VWC:    Is nonverbal communication (gestures etc) supported?    Are there no additional task demands caused by dislocated communication?    Are there no additional task demands caused by fixed location (limited by webcam view)?    Is the use of both shared and separated resources provided? VW:    Is the virtual context sufficiently culture-specific/-focusing/-contrasting?    Is the virtual context sufficiently relevant and attractive for the task goal?    Is the virtual context sufficiently prototypical, without being caricatural?    Is the virtual context used in a socially, cognitively, affectively, creatively and spatially effective and challenging way?    Does the virtual context provide a safe environment (e.g., no other listeners/interlocutors are present at lower levels)?    Is the number of interlocutors relevant for the communicative goals, topic and procedure?    Is sufficient familiarization provided with environment and technical aspects of virtual communication?    Does the task trigger oral communication, that is, is intensive oral communication needed for successful task completion Table 1 : grid for ICC task design and evaluation in VWC and VW. 2.   Pilot SL Spanish In June and July 2009 a pilot was conducted with SL , using interaction tasks for NS-NNS conversations according to the task design principles outlined above . The participants were two FL learners of Spanish at B1 proficiency level ( CEFR ) from Utrecht University and two native pre-service teachers of Spanish from the Universities of Valencia and Granada. All students volunteered to participate in the pilot and had been involved in a previous  project using VWC tools. The pilot aimed at studying the following issues: (1) to analyse the kind of interaction the tasks elicited in the VW,  by means of the task evaluation grid; (2) to explore the possibilities of existing SL worlds for enhancing interaction; (3) to study whether and how the conditions anonymity versus familiarity may play a role in modeling interaction; and (4) to compare student experiences on interactions conducted through VWC versus SL.  Four tasks were developed: (1) reflecting upon and discussing intercultural similarities and differences according to a virtual questionnaire, (2) exploring Hispanic locations in SL  and interacting with other avatars there (3) sharing experiences and tour together and (4) evaluating the learning experience in SL . 3.   Results During the project three sources of data were gathered: interaction recordings, questionnaires and interviews.  4  EUROCALL 2009  –   New Trends in CALL: Working Together Recordings When analyzing the recordings a clear difference was found in terms of verbal engagement and interaction  behavior depending on task goals. Action oriented tasks elicited much action and a lot of movement, but interactions displayed large episodes of silence, while communication tasks, which focused mainly in information and opinion exchange, were characterized by a dynamic verbal turn-taking exchange among participants, with almost no space for silences and with little action. Questionnaires Questionnaires were administered to the participants at the end of the pilot and had open and closed items. For the closed items a five point scale was used: 1 indicating negative or low values and 5 indicating positive or high ones. Researchers were particularly interested in (1) the adequacy of tasks, (2) the learning experience, (3) adequacy of   SL  for learning purposes and (4) comparison between VWC and SL.  As we can see in table 2 tasks were in general terms positively rated and SL  was unanimously selected as the most adequate environment for enriching learning possibilities, although NNS seemed to feel more comfortable using VWC than SL (items 51, 52). Tasks’ interest    NS1 NS2 NNS1 NNS2 Task 1 5 4 2 4 Task 2   4 2 4 2 Task 3 4 4 4 4 Task 4 3 3 4 4 SL v. VWC 48. I would like SL to be part of my courses. 5 2 4 4 51. How comfortable did you feel when using SL? 5 4 2 3 52. How comfortable did you feel when using VWC? 4 3 3 4 59. In your opinion, which environment offers more possibilities to enrich your learning language experience? (a. SL b. VWC) a a a a Table 2: Evaluation responses about tasks and environment adequacy. As for the learning experiences, FL learners reported to have learned particularly to talk more fluently and with more confidence in the TL (table 3). 3. What have you learned during the sessions? NNS1 NNS2 a.   To be aware of cultural contrasts and similarities 2 3  b.   To talk more fluently 3 4 c.   To become confident talking in the TL 5 4 d.    New words 3 3 e.   To use grammar more accurately 3 3 Table 3 : Evaluation responses about learning experiences of FL learners 4.   Conclusions A key issue in FL education concerns the development and use of adequate interaction tasks which contribute to enhancing effective Intercultural Communicative Competence while respecting learners’ specific needs. In this  paper criteria for elaboration of interaction tasks to be carried out in synchronous e-learning environments (VWC   Jauregi, Graaff, Canto & Koenraad / A framework for task design in video-web communication and virtual worlds 5   and VW) have been presented and successfully applied in a pilot conducted in SL  which aimed at exploiting the specific affordances of the virtual environment in interaction processes. 5.   References Byram, M. (1997): T eaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence.  Multilingual Matters. Deutschmann, M., & Panichi, L. (2009). Instructional design, teacher practice and learner autonomy. In J. Molka-Danielsen and M. Deutschmann (Eds.),  Learning and teaching in the virtual world of second life : Trondheim: Tapir Academic Press Doughty, C., & Long. M. (2003). Optimal psycholinguistic environments for distance foreign language learning.  Language Learning and Technology (7) 3, pp. 50-75. Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching  . Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Müller-Jacquier, B. (2000): Linguistic awareness of cultures. In Bolten, J. (ed.) (2000): Studien zur internationalen Unternehmenskommunikation. Leipzig: Popp, 20-49 Ware, P., & O'Dowd, R. (2008). Peer feedback on language form in telecollaboration.  Language Learning and Technology (12) 1, pp. 43-63. Westhoff, G. (2004). The art of playing a pinball machine. Characteristics of effective SLA-tasks.  Babylonia, 12 (3), 58-62. Willis, J. (1996).  A framework for task-based learning  . Harlow, UK: Longman.
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