Learning Vocabulary through Blackboard Chat: Learning Spanish Vocabulary through Technology Tools

By Luisa Perez-Sotelo.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether chat room sessions can enhance vocabulary acquisition while learning the Spanish language. This quasi-experimental study took place in a Modern Languages department in a small university in mid-west U.S.A. Subjects included two identical classes of fourth semester Spanish. One class was the control group where no chat room sessions were used, while the experimental group used a chat session once a week. Both groups of students studied Spanish three days a week and they had the same instructor. Chat room sessions consisted of conversation on a previous topic selected by the instructor. The latter gave students in the experimental group reading selections on the topic a week before chat, so students could read and get prepared to chat a week later. The control group had the same reading selections, but instead of going to a computer, they chatted in the classroom.
Instructor video-taped these conversations for later transcription and analysis.
Chat logs from the experimental group were printed for later analysis as well.
Conversation topics included: the environment, health, the city, jobs,Spanish literature, Spanish singers,and marriage.
Results showed a significant difference in vocabulary acquisition and enhancement in the experimental group versus the control group. Accordingly,
the author concluded that students in the experimental group used a larger amount, and a higher variety of words during chat sessions. According to students' surveys, positive results in the experimental group were probably due to the freedom and spontaneity of the technological tool.

Keywords: Vocabulary, Chat, Traditional, Spanish, Learning

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.41-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 839.611KB).

Dr. Luisa Perez-Sotelo

Associate Professor of Methods and Spanish, Modern Languages and Literatures, Emporia State University, USA

I was born in Lima-Peru, where I obtained my bachelor's degree in Foreign Language Education. Then, I pursued my graduate studies at the University of Kansas, obtaining my Master's degree in 1990 and my Ph.D in 1994. In that same year I got a job at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky as the Coordinator of the Spanish Department. Then, in 1996 I was hired by the University of Kansas in lawrence, Kansas as the Coordinator of first year Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Then, I 1998, I was hired as Assistant Professor by Emporia State University, where I obtained tenure and promotion in 2004. During my sabbatical leave in 2006, I travelled to Paris, France, where I studied French at the Sorbonne University. I find myself writing a book on how to aid American teachers communicate with Hispanic students, who don't speak English.

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