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Main presenter
Liverpool John Moores University Manchester United Kingdom
Presenter [2]
Presenter [3]
Presenter [4]
Presenter [5]
Presentation details
Presentation title
Two case studies of Language Learning Social Networking Sites as blended tools to learn Spanish as a Foreign Language via Virtual Language Exchange (Short Paper)
Presentation abstract
Research in Language Learning Social Networking Sites (LLSNS) is minimal in Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL). Most of those LLSNSs are dominated by English as a Foreign Language, and only one specialises in SFL. This paper is focused on Busuu and Wespeke, two LLSNSs that never before have been researched in the intersection of blended learning, SFL, and Higher Education. Blended learning became necessary after the Covid19 pandemic when teachers around the globe had to migrate from in-person to online teaching and (re)discovered the language teaching pedagogies underpinned by blended learning (Godwin-Jones, 2020; Harrison, 2021). Two research questions have guided this research: (RQ1) How do LLSNS follow the SLA theories? (RQ2) How do the LLSNS features develop skills to learn SFL? This paper fills in several gaps in the literature review related to the social dimension of LLSNSs (Zourou, 2016). First, an ecological perspective was adopted to investigate the LLSNSs (Álvarez, 2018) and blended learning (Hinkelman, 2018). Second, a complete blended learning SFL course for beginners was developed in a university in the North-West of England. Third, an action research method was used to find evidence to implement changes and improve the educational practice via Virtual Language Exchange (Clark et al., 2020; O’Dowd, 2021). Methodologically speaking, the study had two stages. A mixed-method (QUAL(quan) was used, and there were convenience/purposive samplings in both cases. The same data collection tools were used in both phases: User Experience Questionnaire, Feedback Questionnaire, Logon Sheets, and Focus Groups. The first stage lasted for four weeks; 14 participants between A1 and B1 SFL levels. The average age was 33 years old. The second stage took five weeks. There were 12 participants, all of them SFL beginners. The average age was 26. The preliminary conclusion is that not all LLSNSs follow a socio-constructivist and participative approach for learning languages, but a structuralist approach with repetitive practice exercises, which does not favour the communicative learning of SFL, a process to be guided by teachers. This study’s significance is that the blended learning use of the LLSNSs can be proposed as a paradigm for other MFL courses, suggesting a change from the bottom up in teaching MFL. Furthermore, it aims to enhance research-informed teaching, where blended learning and virtual language exchange could be promoted to stimulate the agency of language learners, generating an interdisciplinary and inclusive dialogue.
Original submission
(1) Virtual exchange with language learning as the focus, (2) Language Learning Social Networking Sites (LLSNS), (3) Blended Learning, (4) Second Language Acquisition (SLA), (5) Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL).
Virtual exchange in traditional educational settings
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Submitted: Tuesday, 20 July 2021, 8:24 PM
Modified: Monday, 6 September 2021, 12:55 PM
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