Exploring New Frontiers: What Do Computers Contribute to Teaching Foreign Languages in Elementary School?

Authors

  • Joyce W. Nutta,

    1. University of South Florida
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    • 7

      Assistant Professor of Foreign Language Education at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

  • Carine M. Feyten,

    1. University of South Florida
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      Department of Secondary Education and Professor of Foreign Language Education at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

  • Annette L. Norwood,

    1. University of South Florida
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      Research Assistant in Second Language Acquisition at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

  • John N. Meros,

    1. Melrose Center for Communication and Mass Media
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      Foreign Language Curriculum Coordinator for the Melrose Center for Communication and Mass Media, St. Petersburg, Florida.

  • Makoto Yoshii,

    1. Baiko Gakuin University
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      Associate Professor of Modern Communication at Baiko Gakuin University, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi, Japan.

  • Jeannie Ducher

    1. University of South Florida
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      Graduate Teaching Assistant in ESOL Education, College of Education, University of South Florida, Tampa, Forida.


Abstract

ABSTRACT: Two growing trends in foreign language education, the study of foreign languages in the elementary school (FLES) and the use of computer-assisted language learning (CALL), have been well researched independently but rarely in concert. This study compares the use of a print and multimedia program to teach Spanish to second through fifth graders from quantitative and qualitative perspectives. The experimental portion of the study showed that the achievement and proficiency of students using print or multimedia materials did not differ at posttest. However, a small but statistically significant difference in achievement emerged at the delayed test point in favor of the students who used the multimedia materials, although this finding is limited by participant attrition over the 13-month study. The qualitative portion of the study detected differences in language behavior, with the students who used multimedia spending more time to stop, check, and revise their language production, leading to greater precision in pronunciation and the use of larger chunks of language when repeating phrases.

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