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Research Proposal

Research Proposal

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Published by NevinKamal
The effect of computer based instruction on the acquisition of ESL grammar
The effect of computer based instruction on the acquisition of ESL grammar

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: NevinKamal on Feb 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Students’ attitudes towards incorporating blended learning in ESL grammar classroomand its effectiveness
 Nevine KamalThe purpose of the study is to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of ESL college students atthe University of Sharjahabout integrating technology in their grammar classes. It needs to beasserted that the success of integrating technology in a language classes depends heavily on theattitudes of teachers and students involved. Therefore, for this study a quantitative andqualitative data gathered by a questionnaire, interviews, pre-and post tests will be analyzed toreveal the students’ perceptions and attitudes towards using technology in their classroom and itseffectiveness.Literature ReviewComputers have been embedded in everyday life. Therefore, it is not surprising to find a similar trend in the academic context. The rapid growth of technology has received much emphasis ineducation. Although the notion of face to face traditional instruction is still prevalent in languageclasses, there seems to be an increasing enthusiasm for incorporating technology in educationalsettings (Kung and Chuo, 2002). Computer technology is regarded as an educational tool thatsupports teaching and learning. One of the recent educational technologies in the field of language teaching and learning is Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Languageinstruction that combines technology has become popular and has had tremendous effect onlanguage education. Numerous ESL/ESL studies suggest that integration of technology canimprove academic performance, enhance motivation, and promote learning (Smart and Cappel,2006). In recent years, many countries including the UAE are using CALL to help learnersdevelop their language skills.Theeffect of using technology has been investigated by many researchers in different contextsand settings. Many of these studies concluded the positive effect of technology in education (Al-Jarf, 2005). Technology integrated learning gives students the opportunity to control their learning, and provides them with access to vast amount of information that suit different learningstyles and proficiency levels (Al-Jarf, 2005). The positive effect of integrating technology hasconvinced many countries includingthe United Arab Emirates to integrate technology into itseducation system. Al-Jarf asserts that technical advances in technology have a great impact onEnglish language learning. Furthermore, using technology boosts students’ motivation towardslanguagelearning.E-learning has received much emphasis recently due to incorporating and integrating technologyin traditional face-to-face instruction. Smart and Cappel (2006) define e-learning as instructiondelivered electronically using internet, Intranet, and other multimedia platforms such as CD-Romor DVD. Since many learners today have access to the World Wide Web, e-learning is oftenrelated to web-based learning (Smart and Cappel, 2006). Many researchers in education often
use the terms e-learning, online learning, and web-based learning interchangeably and thisapproach will be adopted in this paper to refer to web-based learning.A number of studies that have been conducted were concerned about how the use of e-learningaffects the development of thelanguage skills of the learners. It has been continually emphasizedthat the use of Internet, word processor, multimedia, hypermedia, and practice programs canengage students in the learning process as it becomes more individualized(Nutta, 1998). Nuttaargues that the teaching context often determines the role of e-learning in the ESL context. Shestresses that communicative computer based activities often supplement and augment traditionalclassroom instruction by providing games and word processing applications for compositions.In the last few years, many studies examined different approaches to teaching grammar. Thesestudies concluded that incorporating computer based grammar instruction offers many potential benefits for the learners in general. Nutta (1998) stresses that computer based instruction allowteachers to meet the needs of different backgrounds and learning styles in a language classroom.many studies. Many studies have examined different approaches to teaching ESL grammar. Suchstudies have asserted many different and effective means of teaching grammar to ESL/EFLlearners such as direct teaching, group work, and individual study with a course book. Yet, theuse of computers to teach grammar to ESL learners has not received much investigation. Resultsof studies on web-based instruction have been generally positive. Nutta (1998) emphasizes that by using computers for the presentation of grammar points, explanation, and application of grammatical structures, more classroom time would be devoted to real communication thatfocuses on expressing meaning and using appropriate grammatical structures to express thatmeaning.In order to investigate this issue further, Nutta (1998) conducted a study to examine whether computer-based grammar instruction is as effective as teacher direct instruction for 53 postsecondary international students at multiple levels enrolled in an Intensive English Program in amajor university in Florida (24 females and 29 males).The primary research question in Nutta’sstudy was whether there was a difference in the acquisition of specific grammatical points for students taught in a traditional face-to face teacher directed classroom as opposed to those whoused blended learning.The students were divided into two groups, one was exposed to teacher direct instruction and theother was exposed to computer-based instruction. The purpose of dividing the participants intotwo groups was to examine the acquisition of certain structures at different levels of proficiencyto be able to generalize the results. In addition to conducting tests to examine the students’ performance on specific grammatical contents, students were interviewed and surveyed to getmore insights about their views and experiences with computer based and teacher direct learning.The results of this study confirmed other similar studies and indicated that there was nosignificant difference in terms of students’ performance on the tests and acquisition of 
grammatical points. The data emerged from the interviews and questionnaires revealed thatstudents were more satisfied with the computer-based instruction and expressed a desire to spendmore time per day using it. The students also indicated that the web-based activities allowedthem to review the tutorials as many times as they wished, to proceed at their own learning pace,and to get immediate feedback on the exercises. Nutta found that for all levels of English proficiency, the computer based students scored higher on open-ended questions than the direct-teacher instruction students. Yet, there was nosignificant difference between the two groups on multiple choice and fill in the blank tests. Inaddition, the results of the questionnaire showed that student were more satisfied when web based activitieswere incorporated..In the line with the above mentioned study, Felix (2001) investigated students’ experience of web based learning as a medium of language instruction, both to complement face to faceteaching and as a standalone course. Felix ‘s studyreported on a large scale study carried out infour setting-two universities in New York, and two universities in Melbourne. Data werecollected by questionnaires and observational procedures to determine students’ perceptions of the usefulness of web-based learning, their views on its advantages and disadvantages, their  personal comfort when working with the web, their preferred mode of delivery, their evaluationof the web-based resources and preferences.The results showed that students were in general positive to using web-based materials as add onto face to face instruction. Some of the advantages that were reported by the students were timeflexibility, reinforced learning, and wealth of information. On the other hand, the disadvantagesthat were mentioned included distraction, absence of teacher and personal interaction, and lack of speaking practice. On the whole, Felix concluded that the web is a practical environment for language learning. He also pointed out that the results of the questionnaire and the interviewsshowed students preferred the option they are used to rather than considering other new options.Felix concluded that an integrated approach of web-based and face to face instruction is more preferable in teaching L2 grammar. The results of this study correlated with other studies thatconcluded that students involved in web-based learning not only have high levels of enjoymentand comfort but these levels increase over time. In addition, the perceptions of advantagesoutnumber the drawback significantly. Finally, Felix stresses that even with the best web –basedlearning practices; it is unlikely to replace traditional face to face instruction. Felix reiterates thatthat further studies that examine the effect of using technology on students’ achievement levelsneed to be examined.To examine how technology supports teaching and learning, Al-Jarf (2005) conducted a study onthe effect of online grammar instruction on low proficiency Saudi college students. Al-Jarf wanted to investigate the effectiveness of blending online courses as a supplement to in-classinstruction on students’ achievement in grammar. The researcher tried to answer three questions:Is there a significant difference between EFL freshmen students registered in the online grammar 

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