Improving Student’s Language Performance

Abstract

Our growing dependence on technological innovations in our daily lives is unstoppable. Technology has had a positive impact on the education system. In phase one of this project, the teaching and learning problems were identified and presented. Additionally, a brief narrative of the district, instructional profile, and student population involved in the study were also presented. The instructor introduced a technology-based solution to the education system, the target group, the rationale behind the chosen solution, and the relative advantage for selecting the proposed technology. Through appropriate use, having technology incorporated into the curriculum of school systems allows children to develop their intellect to a higher level and in the process enabling them to become well-rounded individuals (Meskill, 2002). Multimedia programs offer a natural combination of the benefits that facilitate foreign language education. According to research findings, computer technology has helped in improving students’ comprehension and memory in learning Spanish vocabulary (Moore, 1996). Students can have a good understanding of foreign languages through the use of technology.

Introduction

The current teaching curriculum seems very complex and therefore many students find it difficult to cope with it. Things become even more complicated when students are supposed to grasp completely strange information. The current curriculum changes make it difficult for students to remember what they are taught in class. Teaching a foreign language is very challenging for teachers because students take a lot of time to comprehend the class materials. Teachers are forced to spend large amounts of instructional time reviewing materials while students struggle to keep up with the speed of the class.

This project entirely focused on the need to develop relevant educational tools that can enable students to comprehensively learn and master the Spanish vocabulary. In an attempt to test the recommended solution, teachers were required to master the lesson plan and how to use multimedia technology before introducing any new vocabulary to the students. Only one day was given for every vocabulary lesson that the students were supposed to learn. The one-day timeline was supposed to stop time-wasting in the continuous review of materials in previous lessons.

Student and School Information

This research was done in one of the middle school’s parts of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools. The Department of Defense Education Activity is a government agency that that is charged with the responsibility of managing the academic affairs of schools in all the U.S military bases (Carmona, 2007). The agency has both local and overseas districts and strictly admits students of military service members. Schools within (DoDEA) have programs running from prekindergarten up to the 12th grade. Students are tested in each of the subjects they undertake at the end of every grade level. The DoDEA agency is divided into three major areas namely Guam, Europe, and Cuba. The approximated number of students in these schools is 86,000 with 87,000 teachers on board (Carmona, 2007). Language and culture studies are emphasized in these schools with the students being introduced to the language and culture of their host nation right away from the elementary level. Advanced language courses are taught in high school.

The department’s website provides all the relevant information about its progress as well as the description of its educational enrolment and staff. Schools within (DoDEA) offer kindergarten, middle school, and high school education (Carmona, 2007). The information about student enrolment and staff is well presented in detail. The statistical information about the (DoDEA) schools helps us have an overview of student enrolment and staff information of all the schools that are within the Department of Defense Education Activity. The curriculum, systems, and operations of the DoDEA schools are fully regulated by the U.S government. Approximately 8,700 educators serve 86,000 Department of Defense Activity students (O’Neil, 2003). The demographics of the Department of Defense Education Activity schools highlight the nature of students and the expected challenges in both teaching and learning.

White students form the majority of the student population with approximately 46.7 % composition (O’Neil, 2003). The other bulk of students consist of both African American and Multiracial students. The staff members in these schools are predominantly White forming 75% of the total teaching and support staff members. The majority of the students’ parents serve in the Army and the Air force. This project focused on one of the DoDEA institutions located in Germany. In this study, a Spanish language class was selected for testing the multi-media technology in teaching and learning the Spanish language (Carmona, 2007).

Classroom and Participants

The Spanish classroom had the following resources available: 10 desktop computers with SPAM and filtering software, antivirus, Microsoft office suite, Ethernet ports with Internet capabilities, retractable overhead projector screen, LCD projector, headphones & microphones, class sets (20), and wireless laserjet printer. Also, the foreign language department had access to a mobile lab that contains 25 laptops with wireless access.

The participants involved in the study include a certified Spanish teacher and an eighth-grade Spanish class. The teacher who participated in the study had over 15 years of experience teaching Spanish and allowed me to utilize my project in her classroom. Also, I received the Middle School Principal’s authorization to conduct this project.

The Spanish class was made up of students who were learning the Spanish language and were a mixed group of students. Some students were considered on a higher Spanish proficiency grade level. In this Spanish class, students’ learning styles, prior knowledge, and abilities were not the same.

Instructional Profile

The (DoDEA) institution that we are focusing on in this paper is a middle school that is part of the Department of Defense Dependent Schools In Europe. The institution is located in Germany and is one of the five school districts. The institution’s enrolment is approximately 516 students in grades six through eight. Many of the students joined the school as a result of their parent’s relocation due to military orders (Carmona, 2007). Other students had to start school in the middle of a semester due to diverse reasons. According to the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Annual School Report Card 2011, the composition of gender in this middle school included 52% males while the female students constituted 48% of the total student population (Carmona, 2007). The demographics of the school were as follows: 50% White, 20% African Americans, 15%Hispanic or Latino, and 9% Multi-racial (O’Neil, 2003).

Teaching/Learning Problem

Many scholars such as Bicanich and Mechling viewed the introduction of computers as a step forward towards speeding up the process of teaching and learning. It is therefore of great importance to use various teaching aids such as visuals aids in improving a student’s interest in whatever subject they may be studying. A student’s interest in the learning process makes the cognitive process to be fast and more efficient.

In the course of this project, quite a several problems were identified in the Spanish classroom after several observations had been made. To begin with, the students struggled a lot in practicing their pronunciations as well as remembering learned vocabulary. Through the instructor’s traditional teaching methods and experience coupled with the experience of this section, it was observed that many students experienced a lot of difficulties with the incorrect pronunciation of Spanish vocabulary. Past written and oral test scores demonstrated that students did not understand the materials taught to them which caused them to score very low in their Spanish oral tests. The average student scored a C+ and 10% of the students scored a B+. This problem was attributed to the students’ lack of technological resources that would help them in practicing their pronunciations both inside and outside the classroom. Although most of the Spanish vocabulary had been taught in previous lessons, it was observed that the instructor had to revisit these lessons quite several times to refresh the students’ memories. Many students were unable to advance to the next lesson, understand learned vocabulary, comprehend conversations without the assistance of written material, and feel confident in their learning ability. Also, the instructor found it very difficult to identify the students in need of help because many students felt too embarrassed to ask questions and participate in class.

Rationale

At the end of the project, it was found out that some of the traditional educators did not fully support the use of technology in teaching foreign language classes. Traditional educators were of the view that some foolish ideas about technology were simply being oversold. They argued that online education is a very important field and should not be discredited by some foolish ideas. They were also of the view that the use of technology in teaching foreign languages was not being approached with legitimate pedagogical objectives. Other educators were supportive of the ideas of using technology in teaching. Pro-technology educators believe that technology is an important tool in education (Meskill, 2002). The rationale of this problem was identified around oral Spanish vocabulary comprehension. It was identified through the observation of the student’s performance and attitude. The instructor observed frustrations, loss of interest, confidence, and motivation.

Also, a decrease in-class participation and several incomplete assignments were observed. Furthermore, the results from several assessments: diagnostic, formative, and summative confirmed the problem. The usage of diverse technology tools increased test scores and students’ interest in learning new vocabulary (Meskill, 2002).

Approval

Approval of this timeline and Capstone Project was granted by the content teacher, foreign language department, and the administrator of the institution.

Technology-based Solution

The proposed solution is designed to help students to practice their learned vocabulary, enhance their comprehension, increase class participation, and reinforce lessons involved the utilization of computer-assisted language learning technology (Meskill, 2002). This form of communication technology needs an overhead projector and some computer software programs to provide grammatical practice. Multimedia simulation software has given language teaching and learning a very cognitive approach. The computer can facilitate the functions of both the teacher and the students and making learning to be a bit quicker. Students can have a first-hand experience of the new language courtesy of the multimedia simulation software (Korsvold, 1997). Online discussions can be utilized by students through networked computer labs. Multimedia technology has become a very useful tool for facilitating the process of learning foreign languages. Foreign language students can encode information about new words in a dual way (Moore, 1996). Multimedia technology depends on both visual and verbal information which has made learning foreign languages much simpler. This technology uses computers and has been gaining popularity in recent years (Moore, 1996).

Different studies have shown that the use of multimedia technologies and annotations is the most effective way of learning foreign languages. Two web-based programs named Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards were utilized in this project (Moore, 1996). These programs present the learner with vocabulary items that are supposed to be repeated by the learner for long term retention. These programs have helped help learners to remember new vocabulary on a long-term basis. Both programs provided students with the extra support of practice and remembering learned Spanish vocabulary. Voki allowed students to record their voice and practice their vocabulary on their own compared to their teacher’s pronunciation (Meskill, 2002). Using real speech allows students to hear correct pronunciation; students can stop, pause, and rewind at any time. A Voki can speak using the creator’s voice, an uploaded file, or by reading a typed-in message. Voki had the flexibility to allow students to practice their new language by creating short stories, poems, or content information pieces. Also, the teacher utilized an instructional video to support instruction and engage students.

The Digital Dialect flashcard program allowed students to have visual, audio, and oral practice in presented vocabulary. This program benefited student’s learning regardless of their learning style (Meskill, 2002). By utilizing these programs students were able to process information by hearing and discussing the information. Other learners processed the information through visual aids,» Visual aids, in this case, play a crucial role in helping to construct meaning” (Lin, 1998, p.1). Construction of meaning is very vital in learning a foreign language and visual aids help in facilitating this important function (Korsvold, 1997). Students with a kinesthetic learning style processed the learned Spanish vocabulary by muscle movements and experiences that were hands-on by clicking the diverse options presented on each screen. The flexibility and functionality of these programs provided a huge impact on students’ education (Korsvold, 1997).

Relative Advantage

Multimedia programs such as animations have helped in the learning and remembering of foreign languages. The animation program is a very critical tool in learning foreign languages because of its interactive nature. Animations are known to have the ability to address the majority of a student’s senses, “As a tool, an animation makes students more focused on the words because it is interactive and addresses almost all senses as well” (Kayaoglu, DagAkbas, and Ozture, 2011, p. 24).

This program contributed immensely in reducing the amount of time spent on un-productive pronunciation exercises (Moore, 1996). Through this program, students had more time to understand, comprehend, and learn to speak learned Spanish vocabulary. This mode of learning is very essential in eliminating all psychological and linguistic barriers. The learning environment is very important because it must make the students feel comfortable and eager to learn new concepts. Yang (1998) stated, “This more pleasing learning environment can quickly reduce or even eliminate learners’ initial linguistic and psychological barriers” (p. 1).

Psychological barriers could be a huge obstacle to learning foreign languages. The use of Voki and flashcard software helped middle school students to feel confident in their learning aptitude. The performance of students studying Spanish had improved significantly after an assessment was done (Meskill, 2002). The performance improvement was attributed to the use of Voki and flashcard programs. Multimedia materials coupled with innovative methods of learning have been proven to provide the required support and motivation needed to learn a foreign language. The multimedia technology makes the learning environment to be more colorful for learning a new language “With the help of innovative methods and materials that multimedia provides, language learning environments can be more colorful, motivating and at the same time more supportive for students in the learning process” (Kayaoglu, DagAkbas, and Ozture, 2011, p. 5).

The challenges of using technology had also brought the need to seek formal or informal education on how to employ new technology in the best way possible. Teachers must seek diverse and innovative tools that support a student’s education. Teachers who can appreciate and understand the critical role played by technology in improving learning are the most needed. The teachers should fully take advantage of all the benefits brought about by technology while recognizing its shortcomings as well. In an increasingly technological society, teachers must become technologically savvy. Roblyer (2006) stated, “We need teachers who understand the role technology plays in society and in education, which are prepared to take advantage of its powers, and who recognize its limitations” (p 56).

Allowing students to use multimedia programs as a learning tool gives teachers the ability to cover topics in-depth and practice conversational Spanish.

The use of Voki and flashcard programs had positively changed the student’s perception of how to learn foreign languages. Instructional communication technology has been instrumental in helping students with both learning problems to significantly improve their overall class performance. Instructional communication technology addresses attention problems and at the same time accommodates varying cognitive skills (Meskill, 2002). Students deemed to be at risk of failing to learn and understand foreign languages are greatly helped by this type of technology.

The main goal of this project was to help students that are time-constrained to effectively prepare for an oral Spanish exam and help them to remember learned vocabulary. Any advantage that a student can gain by using multi-media programs such as Voki and flashcards was a bonus and should be utilized in foreign language classes (Meskill, 2002). These technological solutions had many possibilities of supporting and reinforcing students’ learning in the Spanish classroom. There were no limitations to what a student could learn regardless of their educational background, learning abilities, and both social and economic status.

Although the computer has been seen as a threat to the teacher’s roles, the use of technology in teaching foreign languages has a lot of advantages compared to its limitations. The ever-changing goals of language education make it impossible to use technology in both teaching and learning foreign languages. The need to introduce language students to new discourse communities can only be facilitated by technology. Computer technology is useful in facilitating meaningful interaction (Meskill, 2002), solving learning problems, the majority of them have been able to experience an improvement in their students’ performance due to the use of technology. The computer has got a lot of features such as the animation feature which is a very useful visual aid in teaching foreign languages.

Behavioral Learning Objectives

Instructional Issue: Students have problems with memorizing new Spanish vocabulary and pronouncing new Spanish words.

Technology-Based: Multimedia software is going to be used for helping students remember new vocabulary and practice pronunciation.

Major Outcome: Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards will help students remember new words using constant repeating those and practical exercises based on listening and repeating will help students memorize how new words should be pronounced (Moore 1996).

Objectives

ABCD Objective 1: After using multimedia software (Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards), students will be able to match new Spanish words with cards on the screen with 100% accuracy.

ABCD Objective 2: Having used multimedia software, students were able to increase participation up to 100% and reinforced lessons, which involve the use of computer technologies at least twice a week.

ABCD Objective 3: After completing practice exercises using multimedia software, students will be able to pronounce new Spanish words correctly with 100% accuracy.

Assessment

Assessment of objective 1 (Appendix A): The main idea of this assessment was to check how well students have remembered 15 new words from a new vocabulary after having used Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards.

Assessment of objective2 (Appendix B): Students used the computer for completing this task. Students were notified that the task must be completed in two computer sessions a week after the new vocabulary was learned.

The student read the short and simple job description and another student matched it with the available profession listed on the right –put the appropriate letter [lowercase] in the box.

Assessment of objective 3 (Appendix C): Students used the Voki program with a microphone; students pronounced each profession and allowed a system to record it. Each student had only one attempt to complete one vocabulary unit (professions). Thus, at the end of the week, a teacher had a list of students who had completed the task and the results of their pronunciation skills.

Appendix A

Student’s Name: _______________________

ID: A

Multiple Choice: Identify the letter of the choice that best completes the statement.

  1. In most places, the ___________ is a cold season.
    1. Dulces
    2. Manzana
    3. Casa
    4. Invierno
  2. The ______________ is a dangerous animal that lives in the forest..
    1. Rojo
    2. Amarillo
    3. Lobo
    4. Negro
  3. I have a new _________________ in my classroom.
    1. Amigo
    2. Hermanos
    3. Carros
    4. Mesas
  4. Hello! My name is ________________, I am the star of this short story!
    1. Animal
    2. Belinda
    3. Lucia
    4. Silla
  5. Children should eat healthy _______________ in order to growth well.
    1. Comida
    2. Lunes
    3. Diez
    4. Cuaderno

Circle a choice. Tell whether the Spanish sentence is true or false based on the story.

  1. Erase uncrudodia de invierno.
    1. True
    2. False
  2. La muchachasalio a darunpaseo
    1. True
    2. False
  3. Belinda es el nombre de la muchacha en estecuento.
    1. True
    2. False

Appendix B and Appendix C (Voki)

Spanish test: professions and their descriptions

What does a bookkeeper or a soldier do? Read the short and simple job descriptions and match them with the professions listed to the right – put the appropriate letter [lowercase!] in the box and record the answer in Voki.

Provide this sheet and the URL of your Voki to the teacher at the end of the exam.

1. Instala el agua en la casa. a el mecánico
2. Enseñaciencias, artes o lenguas. b el pintor
3. Ayuda al médico. c el médico
4. Cura a los enfermos. d el enfermero
5. Estudia en unaescuela. e el obrero
6. Trabaja en un restaurante. f el escritor
7. Creanovelas, cuentos, dramas o poemas. g el profesor
8. Tieneunaempresa. h el soldado
9. Pintapinturasbonitas (o feas). i el electricista
10. Trabaja con la electricidad. j el fontanero
11. Trabajafísicamente, no en la oficina. k el camarero
12. Usasuma y resta en sutrabajo. l el director
13. Repara los coches y lasmáquinas. m el actor
14. Lucha contra el enemigo. n el contable
15. Presenta personas diferentes en el cine. o el estudiante

Developing an Implementation Plan

It is difficult to imagine a modern world without innovative technologies and their implementation in various spheres of human life. Education is one of the specific fields where innovative technologies play a crucial role in teaching students. Considering the problems of multilingual communities around the world and the necessity to teach students other languages, different from native ones, specific learning strategies and programs have been created to help teachers integrate innovative technologies into the learning process and assist middle school students to be successful in learning. A teacher was responsible for implementing DoDEA’s (Department of Defense Education Activity) five specific goals stated by the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning which comprise the following issues, communication skills, knowledge of other cultures, connections with other disciplines, and insight into language and culture through comparisons and participate in multi-lingual communities both at home and around the world. The Digital Dialect flashcards and Voki programs were used to meet those goals and help students develop their literacy skills and practice new Spanish vocabulary. The main idea of this phase was to describe in detail the timeline for a program, state some particular stages, and dwell upon the activities necessary for implementing instructions and behavioral objectives. The whole working process was divided into two particular stages; work in class and individual practice.

Preparation

The preparation stage is a guarantee of a successful lesson. To reach the desired objectives and make the learning process smooth, a teacher had to work hard on this stage. The first step was devoted to obtaining the Voki and Dialect D Flashcard software. The second step required the agreement of the technology coordinator to install the required software on a school laptop. Once an agreement was received and the software was installed, a teacher turns to the third step of the preparation stage, software testing. It was important to make sure that the software worked appropriately. The next step for preparing for the lesson was information gathering. A teacher paid much attention to the material which was planned to be introduced to students. Thus, once the material was gathered, the software and computers were tested, the lesson could begin.

Instructional integration strategies

Before getting down to implementing the lesson strategies, a teacher had to explain to students specific instructions they were to follow. The most important information was duplicated on the blackboard to make sure that students remembered and understood everything clearly. First of all, the software features were described in the class. It was important to highlight several crucial windows necessary for the lesson. A teacher underlined and drew on the blackboard the procedure of login into Voki, creation a Voki, and the peculiarities of recording. To make sure that students understood the principles of Voki utilization, the instructor showed the steps on how to access the main menu, select a character and accessories. The teacher allowed students to try to access Voki and make sure that all the steps were understood. Those who had questions or could not get the necessary tab could ask questions and apply for the teacher’s help.

The whole lesson was based on training to use the software. The previous lecture was devoted to this information; therefore, students could refer to their notes. Additionally, students were offered to watch a YouTube video devoted to the steps which helped access software, create and record a Voki. The next time students were to complete usually for them tasks like a multiple-choice, true/false answer selection; match a simple job description with the available profession, still, the teacher explained what should be done. Furthermore, students were asked to record a Voki with additional instructions on how it should be done.

Accommodations

To make sure that all the needs of the diverse learners were met, a teacher applied to different learning styles, auditory, kinesthetic, and visual. Auditory skills are represented via YouTube video use and listening to Spanish words as a part of the Voki learning strategy. Using the Internet, accessing different pages there, and following links and tab were considered as kinesthetic learning strategies used by the teacher. Visual learners were allowed to use flashcards, YouTube, the Internet, etc. to make sure that their desires are met.

The teacher’s assistance was really important, especially during the first class when students received only instructions about what would happen to them. During the second class, students were also offered the teacher’s help if they experienced problems with making a record. Moreover, students were allowed to check the teacher’s display in case they had problems and could not understand whether they completed the task appropriately or not. The instructor also used visual and verbal cues to keep students on task when she delivered the lesson. The students in need of special seating had the first choice of seating. While all IEP accommodations were made by the instructor on an individual basis

Timeline

Activities Lead by
Week 1
Preparation
  1. Ensure Blackboard is properly working (24 Oct.)
  2. Install the software on teacher laptop (24 Oct.)
  3. Test & troubleshoot software (24 Oct.)
  4. Gather additional laptops & have additional battery cords on hand for the lesson (24 Oct.)
  5. Upload YouTube video to the class website (28 Oct.)
  6. Create & copy the assessments (28 Oct.)
  7. Ensure each computer has a bookmark for the Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards websites(28 Oct.)
Lead by teacher and Media Specialist
Week 2
Lesson, Practice & Assessment
  1. Orientation: introduce software to students (31 Oct.)
  2. Presentation: teacher provides direct instruction by using Digital Dialect flashcards and Voki programs. (31 Oct.)
  3. Structured practice: class practices using Voki by recording their learned vocabulary(31 Oct.)
  4. Guided practice: students access YouTube videos to reinforce the lesson (31 Oct.)
  5. Independent practice: Students practice individually by using Voki after school(4 Nov.)
Lead by teacher

Lead by teacher

Lead by teacher

Lead by teacher

Lead by teacher

Lead by teacher and students

Week 3
Analysis & Reflection
  1. Assessment (7 Nov.)
  2. Grade assessments and analyze results from exams and Voki
  3. Report finding to department (11 Nov.)
Lead by teacher

Lead by teacher and Project Student

The timetable presented above describes briefly the stages which were completed by the teacher. Here is a snapped overview of this timetable. The lessons began on the 24th of October 2011, lasted for 3 weeks with the frequency of two times a week. Therefore, 6 classes with a duration of 1 hour each were devoted to Voki software and its implementation for learning new Spanish vocabulary.

The preparation stage consisted of many steps that were completed within two working hours. During the first working hour, the instructor completed a part of the preparation tasks. First of all, the software was bought, then, a teacher ensured that a blackboard was working properly. Then, the software was installed on the teacher’s laptop and she tested it to make sure that everything was installed correctly. It was important to gather additional laptops and to have additional battery cords on hand for the lesson in case some troubles happened with stationary computers. During the second attendance of the lab during the first week, a teacher uploaded a YouTube video to the class website, created and copied the assessments, ensured that each computer had a bookmark for the Voki website. Therefore, the preparation stage was completed.

During the second stage, teachers and students met two times in class, and students were allowed to record their voices individually for the teacher’s assessment. The first class was led on October 31, 2011. The following stages were completed, orientation, and presentation. During the second class which took place on November 4, 2011, the structured and guided practices were implemented. After this class students were allowed to visit a lad after classes and provide independent practice.

The final week of the classes (7 and 11 November 2011) was devoted to assessment. A teacher was present at school and graded the students’ practice. Each student had an opportunity to check the results and get the teacher’s instruction devoted to what should be trained.

Supporting research

Additional research has been conducted with the purpose to support the strategies used above for achieving the following objective, to use multimedia software with the purpose to train new Spanish vocabulary, memorize the words and be able to remember those. Using innovative technologies in the modern educational system teachers make students interested and increase their intelligence, still, using traditional tests and direct strategies teachers meet students’ requirements for efficient learning (Roblyer, &Doering, 2010). The teacher in this research applied both traditional and innovative methods for assessment.

Supporting the accommodation issues, Shapiro, Mentch, &Kubit (2007) state that students should be offered quality support while learning how to implement some specific tasks. The teacher offered students a video with how-to to create a Voki. Boster, Meyer, Roberto, Inge, & Strom (2006) also proved that the use of innovative technologies improved learning performance.

Dwelling upon the school and home learning, it should be stated some scholars believe that at-home students learn only with the active support of teachers (YouTube video in this case) or parental assistance (Siraj-Blatchford, 2010). Generally speaking, the very idea of implementing computer technologies for learning the second language is great as students are allowed to complete the tasks both at home and in class (Kawaguchi, & Di Biase, 2009).

Preparing the Environment

Teaching has significantly developed since several decades ago. Now it is not only conveying knowledge to students through personal experience and primitive means, also it is about using hi-tech devices along with new knowledge acquisition. Therefore, contemporary teachers have to convey their knowledge and acquire accompanying skills on modern technology to stay on track with teaching devices. There are several conditions required for creating a perfect learning environment in schools of the twenty-first century.

This is Phase IV of the project were describing the resources used is essential. It depicts the learning environment explaining how studies and instruction are supported with the arrangement of the classroom. This phase elaborates on the devices necessary to implement technology-based classes and all possible troubleshooting together with tracing conditions to consider while learning. It gives a detailed description of the learning process with technology and evaluates risks if anything goes wrong during the class. This phase discusses the accommodations made by the teacher to make sure everybody has got everything they needed. Moreover, the privacy and safety of students remain one of the most important features of the study (Roblyer, 2006).

Technology Resource Description

Among the devices, the instructor used was an IBM laptop with Windows Vista on it to deliver information to students. It was an Intel Dual Core processor that laptop contained and 512 MB of RAM, the sound card with speakers, integrated wireless network card, microphone, and printer that enabled a better understanding of the material by the group of tested students. Firstly, permission to install the Voki presentation was obtained, and only after the permission was received it was installed together with Digital Dialect Flashcard. The versions were all the trial ones and got from the department chair to teach the students how to use the programs to learn Spanish vocabulary and pronunciation through Voki recording. This makes the subject not only educative and memorable for students; also it evoked the interest of contemporary youth familiar with all possible technological tendencies, hence, learning vocabulary on a long-term basis went effectively. There was another way of conveying information to students through social networks – the most effective and appealing means for students. The instructor used Jing (having acquired permission for installation first) to create a video tutorial to explain the way Voki and works. Afterward, the students could follow the video link on YouTube from Facebook and schoolnotes.com. This ensured the utmost availability of the resource and the probability that students would click on the link and watch the video.

Planning and Preparation

The school teacher must be familiar with the software and hardware he/she will be using, therefore, the instructor was accompanied by a schools media specialist to get familiarized with the Voki and Dialect Digital Flashcard software; otherwise, the instructor could have had difficulties explaining or answering any students’ questions in case something went wrong. No wonder it is important to understand the technology is implemented to learn all possible features and understand the process from the inside. Moreover, “Initially, authors need to learn the mechanics of the programs they plan to use and develop their understanding of the concepts…no one can develop a quality product without first being reasonably comfortable with the tools” (Roblyer, 2010). As part of the planning preparations, the teacher and media specialist reviewed the practical usage of the software, ways to upload to YouTube, Jing usage, and correct URL posting on social websites.

The entire planning and arrangement process was thoroughly thought through because the instructor worked with a professional in the sphere of mass media and communication technologies. It was established that such a social approach along with hi-tech devices in class could ensure students’ better understanding and devotion to class studies (Meskill, 2002). In addition to the usage of technology in this project and appeal to contemporary students, the teacher ensured to have a back-up plan. As MacGregor-Mendoza noted (2009), “technologies, stressed the importance of having a backup plan, make sure you have more traditional means of delivering necessary information, whether it be paper copies, transparencies, CDs, etc. as you work to resolve the issues” ( p. 22). The occurrences that might have upset the plans could be the following: bad Internet connection, power breakdowns, computer breakage. Therefore, the instructor stocked up batteries and obtained three additional computers, burnt ten DVDs, and printed out the Voki worksheet. The latter was made to ensure students could do their home task no matter what.

Access and Logistics Plan

Every teacher has to present the information gradually and cohesively so that every student’s personal ability to acquire knowledge is adhered to. This makes instructors make up various kinds of unique plans for students to get information in parts or all together depending on the rates of memorizing and comprehension in class. Moreover, the need to instruct students as quickly as possible complicates the process of instructions unless technology devices are implemented. Thus, the technologies not only make everything go faster but also make instructions more efficient and acquired easier (Carmona, 2007). The video prepared by the instructor and media specialist enabled students to understand the program’s sets and goals faster than if it was only explained in theory. This saved time and useless efforts to adjust to every student’s mindset. The teacher did not make drastic modifications to the classroom set up. The familiar learning environment made it easier to convey the instructions directly to students because the common surroundings excluded unnecessary distractions that a new environment could have caused.

Besides, the accommodations required for students met the Individualized Educational Plans. Namely, students with visual impairments were introduced to special seating arrangements. Also, the behavior modification plans were adhered to by seating the students around so that they do not have an opportunity to chat with each other. The instructor did everything he had on his side including a clear view from every seat without any obstructions. Not only were the seats arranged correctly. The instructor provided a laptop to every student to deliver eh lesson explicitly. To avoid any breakups during the lesson, the instructor checked the working ability of every laptop and had power cords and adapters if problems occur. It has to be mentioned that the instructor carried out a substantial and all-rounded research and preparation process – diverse learners got the way of explanations they liked best. To be more exact, there were auditory, kinesthetic, and visual aids. Significantly, disregarding the way students learned, all of them kept engaged and interested throughout the entire period. Students with disabilities had a great time and stayed on track with the events due to the history window. This enabled the instructor to create a very prolific learning experience and provide instructions fluently without making extra pauses. Not only the students could see every guideline on screens, rather those were guiding cues of an instructor along with the video images.

Effects of Implementation

Implementation was carried out at the highest level. Every student was satisfied with the information seen. The foremost goal was teaching pronunciation, though with tech support. The latter was just the means of interpreting information, namely recording the homework, and that was made professionally.

Furthermore, aside from the tech resources there were printed out copies of tasks for students’ assessments. These assessments were used to collect data.

During the first part of the second week of instruction, the students worked on Activity A. Appendix A was the assessment part that estimated different groups’ performance. The main idea of this assessment was to check how well students have remembered 15 new words from a new vocabulary after having used Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards. The assessment procedure was conducted with the use of the following steps.

  1. A teacher prepared a short text (about 200 words) that contains new words. The teacher reads it to the audience for the first time by pointing at the pictures which define the learned vocabulary. Students just listen without making notes.
  2. When a text was read, a teacher asked general questions about the context of the text trying to use new words for students to hear them.
  3. A teacher read the text for the second time without pictures. Students were allowed to make notes to make sure that they remember everything.
  4. Students were offered two types of tasks, Multiple Choice and True/False (Anonymous, n.d.). The tasks were organized in such a way that students used all 15 new words they had already learned.

There was only one technical difficulty during the first instructional lesson. One computer would not connect to the internet, the practical solution was to replace the laptop and the student was able to continue his work.

The second part of the implementation went smoother than the first; students were able to proceed to continue working on the second activity. Appendix B presupposed using a computer in two weeks to complete two tasks- computer sessions after the new vocabulary was learned.

The student read the short and simple job description and another student matched it with the available profession listed on the right –put the appropriate letter [lowercase] in the box. They demonstrated enthusiasm for this activity and aided some of their classmates that had difficulty remember a profession. Overall, students completed their work with little teacher prompting

Appendix C was the most prolific because students recorded their vocabulary using the microphone for the teacher’s further check of pronunciation. A few students were challenged by this activity because they did not remember all the names of the professions. The teacher provided support by utilizing the Flashcards to review learned vocabulary. After that quick review, students were able to continue the assignment.

Students used the Voki program with a microphone; students pronounced each profession and allowed a system to record it. Each student had only one attempt to complete one vocabulary unit (professions). Thus, at the end of the week, a teacher had a list of students who had completed the task and the results of their pronunciation skills.

Additionally, privacy and students’ safety measures were followed strictly. The instructor omitted the names of participants, the name of the institution, and the classroom teacher’s name, too. It was ensured that all the students adhere to classroom rules and policies. The instructor worked out a very good scheme of a learning environment so that no outside source could concern about safety in class. The instructor paid precise attention to all of the details of addressing students’ concerns about the understanding of the subject. It is crucial to understand that nowadays computers play a great role in the development of all possible spheres of life. Therefore, learning could not miss its opportunity to facilitate the study process by implementing tech devices.

For Phase IV of this assignment, it is important to understand that a great research and preparation process was carried out to observe all students’ needs and requirements of the school. The learning process is highly productive when the students are involved in it eagerly. Therefore, the tech devices were successfully used and the actual methodology was thought through profoundly beforehand. It is essential to understand that the great role in creating the learning environment plays a thorough preparation rather than the actual idea to implement social networks, DVD, or YouTube. This presupposes considering weak eyesight, seat organization, behavior organization, and troubleshooting as per technical resources. All of these categories were cohesively adhered to and this enabled all students to understand the material disregarding their way of perception of knowledge. As such, having an adverse class of students meant adjusting to every single need of theirs. However, the presentation prepared was carried out so well that the rate of comprehension reached its utmost. In the end, the students were sure they could do the required task at home on their own, which was the ultimate goal. The instructor did amazing work with troubleshooting and overall tech devices’ back up plans.

Documenting Project Outcomes, Recommending Revisions, and Dissemination of Results

After the project implementation, the results of the completed work should be considered, analyzed, and evaluated with the purpose to determine the outcomes of the study and assess the effectiveness of the software. Student data were summarized using a box plot with the written interpretation of the results. The data consideration and analysis helped a teacher to draw conclusions directed at the possibility of the software to meet the class objectives and make some particular recommendations. Thus, the results helped provide a piece of advice directed at the revisions to the used strategies during the lessons at those who wanted to adopt this strategy, and at the possibilities for the future research which might be conducted based on the results of this project.

Multiple Choice Professions and Descriptions Students Voki Professions and Description Assessment
Students in class Students Prior Assessment Grades Students Current Assessment Grades Student Prior Assessment Grades Students Current Assessment Grades Assessment Grade
Student 1 90 100 80 100 100
Student 2 80 90 80 90 90
Student 3 70 90 70 90 90
Student 4 90 90 70 90 90
Student 5 80 100 80 100 100
Student 6 90 100 90 100 100
Student 7 80 90 80 90 90
Student 8 80 90 75 90 90
Student 9 80 80 80 80 80
Student 10 90 90 90 90 90
Student 11 100 100 100 100 100
Student 12 80 100 80 100 100
Student 13 100 100 100 100 90
Student 14 85 100 85 100 85
Student 15 90 100 85 100 100
Student 16 70 80 70 80 80
Student 17 80 100 70 100 100
Student 18 90 90 90 90 90
Student 19 90 100 85 100 100
Student 20 100 100 100 100 100
Student 21 100 100 85 100 100
Student 22 90 100 85 100 100
Student 23 90 90 90 90 90
Student 24 80 100 80 100 100
Student 25 80 90 80 90 90
Student 26 75 100 75 100 80
Average 85,76923077 95 82,88461538 95 93,26923077
Multiple Choice Assessment.
Figure 1: Multiple Choice Assessment.
Professions and Description Assessment.
Figure 2: Professions and Description Assessment.
Voki Assessment.
Figure 3: Voki Assessment.
Average assessment results of prior and current knowledge including Voki profession and descriptions assessment.
Figure 4: Average assessment results of prior and current knowledge including Voki profession and descriptions assessment.

Data Interpretation

Tables and graphs in the previous section perfectly show the results of the lessons conducted using Voki software. The sections of results and their interpretation are important as according to Williamson, Parker, and Kendrick (1989) various visual data analyses involve much statistical data which helps overview the situation clearly from first sight. A teacher used a box plot to summarize results and to provide the audience with substantial information. The box plot covers all the results obtained while research. Using such visual data analysis techniques as graphs, a teacher wanted to allow the audience to check each activity in detail.

Figure 1 shows the results of the multiple-choice test. Looking at the data, it is possible to say that after the use of Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards students’ knowledge increased. Comparing the average mean of students’ knowledge, it may be said that it increased by about 9.23%. One of the main conclusions which may be drawn based on the results is that the upper and lower grades have reduced with the tendency of shifting from the worse grades to the better ones. Thus, the lower activity in students’ prior assessment grades is 70, the lower current assessment grade of students is 80. It is possible to consider the following tendency.

Using Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards for multiple-choice tasks, A level students had an opportunity to train and to consolidate their knowledge. Those who knew the language in B grade had an opportunity to improve their knowledge and get A. The most important goals which teachers tried to gain were the possibility to give failing students an opportunity to pass this test in case Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards were used. Thus, the results of the prior and after Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards utilization of multiple task choice showed that the implementation of this innovative software helped students improve their knowledge and pass the tests. The professions and description prior and current assessment grades also impressed with the differences. Thus, the average means after the use of Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards increased by 12% that shows the effectiveness of the software in comparison with the reference to traditional methods of teaching.

Before implementing the task, the teacher set three goals that were almost achieved by the students. The first objective was aimed at increasing students’ accuracy in matching Spanish words after watching the video up to 100%. Average 95% was a good outcome in comparison with the previous one which was about 85%. The second objective of the utilization of the Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards was to increase students’ reinforcement and participation in lessons. Students had an opportunity to complete the task individually; the teacher’s assistance was necessary only at the primary stages. The increase in knowledge showed that students were interested in the strategy and would attend classes to have practice as some of the students did not have an opportunity to access the Internet at home and have training. Thus, the inability to use the program at home encourages students to attend classes. The third objective of using Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards was to teach students to pronounce Spanish words with 100% accuracy. Students were able to record their pronunciation and improve it using noticing their mistakes. The final results of the Students Voki Professions and Description Assessment were impressive, with a 93% average mean with the highest 100 points and the lowest 80. It should be mentioned that most students have graded 100 and 90 points, while there were two students with lower grades, 80 and 85.

Recommendations for Revisions to the Used Strategies

Making the recommendations for revisions to the strategies used while implementation the Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards software, much attention should be paid to assessment. The teacher used two types of assessment when dealing with the tests, before the study and after the implementation of the particular learning theories and concepts into practice. Thus, at the end of the study, the results were compared to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the particular software. It was important to compare and contrast those results as they were the main indicators of the successful use of the particular strategy.

Looking at the results of the study, it is possible to make a piece of advice connected with the use of the Internet. Thus, students should have an opportunity to ask questions about the availability of the Internet at home with the purpose to train. Moreover, the understanding of the steps and procedures of the study were also important. A teacher should pay more attention to the preliminary research and assessment of students’ capabilities, their opportunity to catch the procedure, and the ability to follow the instructions without difficulties. The teacher should implement more strategies directed at understanding the main idea of the task as the use of the computer may be difficult for some students. Thus, the assessment of the students’ level of computer use should be one of the main activities teachers should use before applying other strategies. Finally, it is important to make a strategy for providing instructional routine in the future (Lapp, Fisher, & Jacobson, 2008). This will help avoid misunderstanding in the future and create firm instructions, perfectly structured, reassessed, and ready for implementation in the classroom.

Recommendations for How to Get Others to Adopt the Innovation

Many teachers got used to implementing traditional means of teaching, such as textbooks for reading and audio for listening. However, the development of innovative technologies and the accessibility of those make it possible to adopt the latter and implement it in teaching. Relying on the received results, it is possible to say that the use of innovative technologies in teaching increases the general profitability and effectiveness of studying in general. The raise of students’ knowledge at about 10% is a good activity which should be used as the main argument while helping others adopt the strategy in teaching new Spanish words.

One of the main recommendations which should be offered for having others adopt innovative technology in teaching is to consider the existing experience. The reference for the results is important. At the same time, two ways of adopting innovative technologies in teaching are defined, comprehensive innovation, when the whole process is covered and islands of innovation which is usually limited to certain groups or lessons, activities (Avidov-Ungar, 2010). Those teachers who doubt whether to implement innovations or not should start with consideration of the innovation adoption technique. Education and research are two notions that go together. The implementation of innovative technologies in teaching may reduce time on teaching and increase its effectiveness.

Others should be aware of the fact that globalization, innovation, and competition have become the central issues in the life of each person, why should education stand apart? The effectiveness of Internet use, various online forums, and other particular issues should be considered as the main arguments for those who doubt whether the use of innovative technologies deserves a try in education or not (Salleh, Jack, Bohari, &Jusoff, 2011). Teachers may interview students with the purpose to understand which strategies they would like to use in learning. The implementation of innovative technologies might be the most popular answer. Therefore, it may be stated that to help others implement innovative technologies in teaching they should be informed about the advantages of the possibility and they should be shown some particular results of the implementation of this innovation. Students were enthusiastic about the use of multimedia in their learning and 100% of students agreed “having access to a video to remind me how to solve the problems is important”. One student stated, “My most favorite was the video because it helped me remember the steps when I had to do my Voki.”

Recommendations for Future Research

One of the main outcomes of the use of Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards in teaching students new Spanish vocabulary is the identification of the effectiveness of the strategy and increase of students’ knowledge. However, the strategies used and the methods applied for making Voki and Digital Dialect flashcards affordable and understood for students still require additional research. First of all, it is important to conduct an interview among students and assess their level of Internet access they have. It is important to be aware of the students’ opportunities. Then, it is possible to conduct comparative research and assess the differences in class performance between those who have an opportunity to practice at home, those who attend computer labs, and those who do not have any additional training (Akpan, 2010).

It is obvious that the implementation of innovative technologies requires changes to be made in classroom organization and plans development. The need for new organizational patterns and plans should be considered (Sangrà& Gonzalez-Sanmamed, 2010). Additionally, dwelling upon the implementation of innovative technologies in the educational process it is possible to research the sphere of the link between teaching, research, and innovations. The results of this research may help us understand the level of the necessity of applying innovative technologies into the classroom (Laurillard, 2008). The outcomes of future research may be based on achieved outcomes of the use of Voki software. The development of the strategies based on this concrete example may be useful in the future for creating similar strategies. Teachers will just need to reconsider the program, change the purposes and steps for implementation, but the scheme for innovative technology implementation in the learning process may be used as a pattern.

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Images and Video

Adams’ Computer lab [Photograph]. (2011). Web.

Aictec logo website [Photograph]. (2009). Web.

Child evaluating website [Photograph]. Web.

Compued Octoter Lab [Photograph]. (2009). Web.

Laptop Diagram [Photograph]. (2010). Web.

MsBPasek (2011). A quick how-to on making a voki [Video file]. Web.

Teachers Helping each other [Photograph]. (2010). Web.

SpanishGames Digital Dialect Flashcards [Photograph]. (2010). Web.

UMUC logo [photograph]. (2010). Web.

[Untitled photograph of blue eyes technology]. Web.

[Untitled photograph of laptop typing]. Web.

[Untitled photograph of students in front of computer]. Web.

[Untitled photograph of student study with headphones in front of computer]. Web.

[Untitled photograph of students working in front of a laptop]. Web.

[Untitled photograph of students in classroom]. Web.

[Untitled photograph of students in classroom front view]. Web.

Voki Home page [Photograph]. (2010). Web.

Z-megs_classroom [Pthotograh]. (2009). Web.