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Digital News Stories: Building Language Learners' Content Knowledge and Speaking Skills

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Abstract

The study explored how the use of digital news stories promoted the development of content knowledge and oral language skills. The study involved 15 advanced Spanish students who used VoiceThread, an interactive multimedia tool, to create and exchange digital news regarding current events over the course of one semester. Both quantitative and qualitative data collected from post-surveys, transcribed digital recordings, blog reflections, and final interviews were analyzed. Data showed that digital news empowered students to use their own voices for self-expression and self-reflection and that social interaction helped establish a sense of community in which students supported each other by offering new ideas and feedback on each other's writing. In addition, students gained multi-literacy skills and further improved their speaking fluency. The findings also suggest that well-designed tasks are vital and that the instructor's guidance is needed to facilitate critical reflection.

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