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purpose of the study is to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of ESL college students at the University of Sharjah about integrating technology in their grammar classes. It needs to be asserted that the success of integrating technology in a language classes depends heavily on the attitudes of teachers and students involved. Therefore, for this study a quantitative and qualitative data gathered by a questionnaire, interviews, pre-and post tests will be analyzed to reveal the students’ perceptions and attitudes towards using technology in their classroom and its effectiveness. Literature Review Computers 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 in education. Although the notion of face to face traditional instruction is still prevalent in language classes, there seems to be an increasing enthusiasm for incorporating technology in educational settings (Kung and Chuo, 2002). Computer technology is regarded as an educational tool that supports teaching and learning. One of the recent educational technologies in the field of language teaching and learning is Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Language instruction that combines technology has become popular and has had tremendous effect on language education. Numerous ESL/ESL studies suggest that integration of technology can improve academic performance, enhance motivation, and promote learning (Smart and Cappel, 2006). In recent years, many countries including the UAE are using CALL to help learners develop their language skills. The effect of using technology has been investigated by many researchers in different contexts and settings. Many of these studies concluded the positive effect of technology in education (AlJarf, 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 learning styles and proficiency levels (Al-Jarf, 2005). The positive effect of integrating technology has convinced many countries including the United Arab Emirates to integrate technology into its education system. Al- Jarf asserts that technical advances in technology have a great impact on English language learning. Furthermore, using technology boosts students’ motivation towards language learning. E-learning has received much emphasis recently due to incorporating and integrating technology in traditional face-to-face instruction. Smart and Cappel (2006) define e-learning as instruction delivered electronically using internet, Intranet, and other multimedia platforms such as CD-Rom or DVD. Since many learners today have access to the World Wide Web, e-learning is often related 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 this approach 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-learning affects the development of the language skills of the learners. It has been continually emphasized that the use of Internet, word processor, multimedia, hypermedia, and practice programs can engage students in the learning process as it becomes more individualized(Nutta, 1998). Nutta argues that the teaching context often determines the role of e-learning in the ESL context. She stresses that communicative computer based activities often supplement and augment traditional classroom instruction by providing games and word processing applications for compositions. In the last few years, many studies examined different approaches to teaching grammar. These studies concluded that incorporating computer based grammar instruction offers many potential benefits for the learners in general. Nutta (1998) stresses that computer based instruction allow teachers 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. Such studies have asserted many different and effective means of teaching grammar to ESL/EFL learners such as direct teaching, group work, and individual study with a course book. Yet, the use of computers to teach grammar to ESL learners has not received much investigation. Results of 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 that focuses on expressing meaning and using appropriate grammatical structures to express that meaning. 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 post secondary international students at multiple levels enrolled in an Intensive English Program in a major university in Florida (24 females and 29 males).The primary research question in Nutta’s study 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 who used blended learning. The students were divided into two groups, one was exposed to teacher direct instruction and the other was exposed to computer-based instruction. The purpose of dividing the participants into two groups was to examine the acquisition of certain structures at different levels of proficiency to 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 get more 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 no significant difference in terms of students’ performance on the tests and acquisition of
grammatical points. The data emerged from the interviews and questionnaires revealed that students were more satisfied with the computer-based instruction and expressed a desire to spend more time per day using it. The students also indicated that the web-based activities allowed them 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 no significant difference between the two groups on multiple choice and fill in the blank tests. In addition, the results of the questionnaire showed that student were more satisfied when web based activities were 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 face teaching and as a standalone course. Felix ‘s study reported on a large scale study carried out in four setting- two universities in New York, and two universities in Melbourne. Data were collected 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 evaluation of the web-based resources and preferences. The results showed that students were in general positive to using web-based materials as add on to face to face instruction. Some of the advantages that were reported by the students were time flexibility, reinforced learning, and wealth of information. On the other hand, the disadvantages that 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 interviews showed 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 that concluded that students involved in web-based learning not only have high levels of enjoyment and comfort but these levels increase over time. In addition, the perceptions of advantages outnumber the drawback significantly. Finally, Felix stresses that even with the best web –based learning practices; it is unlikely to replace traditional face to face instruction. Felix reiterates that that further studies that examine the effect of using technology on students’ achievement levels need to be examined. To examine how technology supports teaching and learning, Al-Jarf (2005) conducted a study on the 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-class instruction 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
course as s supplement to face-to-face instruction and those using face-to-face instruction only in their achievement level measured by the post test? Does the frequency of using the online course correlate with the students’ achievement level? Does online and face-to-face (blended learning) have any positive effects on students/ attitudes? To answer these questions 238 female Arab Saudi freshmen students enrolled in their first grammar course. All the students were majoring in translation at the college of Languages and Translations, King Saud University, KSA. The participants were divided into two groups. These results suggested that achievement in the experimental group improved as a result of blending online and in-class instruction. Al-Jarj affirmed that the use of online instruction as a supplement to in-class instruction proved to have a strong effect on improving students’ mastery of English grammar. This study also indicated that active participants made higher gains than passive participants who made higher gains than unregistered students (control group). The findings of Al-Jarf study are consistent with the findings of Nutta’s study (1998) who concluded that computer based instruction can be an effective method of teaching L2 grammar. Al-Jarf reiterated that the findings of her study should not be generalized because of the special context in which this study took place as King Saud University adopts a segregation policy where students study in a segregated environment, where all of the teachers and students were females and hence the findings of the present study could be generalized to male freshmen student s. AlJarf recommended that blended learning should be extended to other course to achieve optimum effect. She also stated that the effect of grammar instruction delivered fully online is still open for further investigation. The above mentioned studies echoed similar conclusion and that is when web-based grammar activities or instructions were incorporated, students had significantly better attitudes towards their instruction than the students in traditional grammar classroom. In addition, these studies also concluded that there were no significant difference in the test scores of the web-based group and the direct teacher instruction group (Torlakovic and Duego, 2004). Realizing the potentials of computer technology, educators have become more interested in its use in L2 learning. As has been mentioned, studies that investigated students’ perceptions on the use of technology have indicated positive outcomes as indicated by the students’ comments. Yet, we need to be aware of the fact that integrating web-based activities does not necessarily lead to better performance when compared with traditional instruction. It leads to improvement of the students’ perception of their learning environment. Some other researchers investigated how the use of technology might affect language learning. Along the same line, the results of Son’s study confirmed other similar studies about the positive effect of technology in the ESL learning and teaching context. Son (2008) examined ESL learners’ perceptions and attitudes towards incorporating technology in teaching English. Son (2008)investigated ESL attitudes towards using pre-prepared web based activities as well as task based activities in an English language intensive course for overseas students. Twelve students
from different countries and from different levels participated in the study (lower intermediate, intermediate, and upper intermediate). Son used multiple data sources and triangulation of data collection methodology to enrich the study and to cross check students’ responses. The researchers used pre-questionnaire, post -questionnaire, observation forms, and interviews instruments for this study. The pre-questionnaire asked students about their previous experience in language learning, age, first language, computer and internet usage and degree of confidence and comfort. The aim of the post questionnaire was to gauge students’ attitudes towards web-based activities such as level of enjoyment, comfort in visiting the web for learning, and its usefulness and interest to them. The observation forms intended to record information on how students use their time during the lab session whether they were on task or off task during. Finally, interviews were conducted to cross check and examine students’ responses on the post questionnaire and to get more insights about their attitudes and perceptions. Son used two types of web based activities in his study: pre-prepared web based activities and task-based activities. Students had to work individually, in pairs, or in groups to complete the tasks. The study was conducted over a period of four weeks (two- one hour lab sessions per week). Students were introduced to a variety of English language activities such as grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing. The results of the study were positive in general. The students’ responses to the post questionnaire showed that they viewed the web as a tool to practice language skills. Students enjoyed the selected activities. Yet, one third of the students indicated that they did not enjoy such experience. For this result, Son asserted other similar results and confirmed the above reviewed articles and stressed that web material should be highly relative to the students’ course content and in accordance with the students needs and interests. In terms of students’ behavior through observation, Son pointed out that very few off-task and off-line actions were observed. This indicates that students’ engagement had been maintained during the sessions. The study reported that most students found that web-based activities ere useful. Nevertheless, as many other studies indicated, the weakness of web-based learning was lack of interaction, lack of the ability to deal with individual differences. Therefore, Son stresses the importance of the teacher presence to facilitate the learning process. The main limitation of Son’s study was that he did not measure the effectiveness of using blended learning through pre and post tests to provide an overall picture of the effectiveness of using technology in language teaching and learning. Needless to say, Son was aware of the limitation of his study and suggested that further studies need to be conducted to measure students’ performance after being exposed to blended learning. In brief, grammar teaching in the area of second language learning has received a lot of attention in the literature. Many studies have attempted to access the impact of integrating technology in
ESL context. These studies have either focused on the achievement of linguistic skills such as speaking, writing, reading, and grammar or on motivation and enthusiasm. Concerning grammar, the results of studies are not conclusive and to some extent contradictory. The above mentioned studies stressed the positive effect that technology brings to the learning experience. Yet, the majority of the studies did not find a considerable effect in terms of language acquisition when using blended learning, except for Nutta and Al-Jarf’s studies. As has been reported earlier, Nutta and Al-Jarf’s studies showed that blended learning helped student to achieved better results than teacher-based instruction. This result has lead the researchers to suggest that computer based instruction is as effective as traditional teaching methods of L2 grammar. Other studies that have investigated students’ attitudes and perceptions towards integrating technology (blended learning) in their courses concluded that there were significant better attitudes and perceptions toward their learning experience than students who used text books only. Based on the above mentioned studies as well as many others, Chenu et al. (2007) concluded the literature does not provide significant difference in students’ achievement level between technology based and conventional teaching methods. Yet, they argue that incorporating web-based material is an asset to the language classroom and the learning experience. This study focuses on students’ views and perceptions about incorporating web-based activities in their traditional grammar classes. In addition, the study examines the effectiveness of incorporating web-based activities in teacher-directed classroom. The study is going to use both qualitative and quantitative instruments to get a better understanding of how incorporating technology is perceived among ESL college students and its effectiveness. In conclusion, a brief review of the above mentioned literature reveals that the issue of integrating technology into English language classes has been investigated in different contexts and at different levels. However, there are few studies based on consistent longitudinal data collection that describe the efficiency and implementation of different grammar teaching and learning using technology (Kung and Chuo, 2002). Furthermore, there are very few studies in the area of integrating technology in L2 grammar classes in the United Arab Emirates, and the University of Sharjah in particular. The present study replicates many other studies in the field of teaching grammar to ESL learners. The purpose of this research is to examine the effectiveness of incorporating technology to traditional grammar instruction. In addition, it will investigate students’ perceptions towards using particular web-based grammar activities. It is necessary to point out that this study is different from the previously mentioned studies as it focuses on Arab students’ attitudes and perceptions towards incorporating technology in learning English grammar in the Intensive English Program at Sharjah University. Furthermore, it investigates the effectiveness of using pre-prepared grammar web-based activities. The study is designed to use computer as a tool to integrate teaching material through the use of pre-prepared web activities to motivate students to learn English grammar more effectively. Based on the reviewed literature, it is hypothesized that ESL learners will show improvement in acquiring grammatical concepts as well as will lead to
positive attitude towards learning grammar in general. The sample of the study will consist of 50 female lower intermediate students enrolled in level one in the Intensive English Program. Multiple instruments will be employed to collect data for this study: pre-test, post-test, post questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews. The aim of using multiple sources to collect data is to cross check students’ responses and to compare the effectives of using blended learning to traditional classroom teaching to learn grammar and hence take necessary actions accordingly in terms. Statement of the problem Communication suffers a considerable breakdown in the absence of correct use of grammar. Teachers at the University of Sharjah are aware of the fact that ESL Arab students are heavily exposed to grammar during their study in government schools but they face serious problem in using grammar correctly for conducting different academic tasks at the college level. Therefore, one of the possible ways that have been thought of to help learners learn grammar more effectively is to incorporate technology into their grammar classes. Incorporating an IT component in the teaching method of grammar and investigating students’ views might be helpful for teachers to offer necessary help for students to acquire and produce grammatically correct texts. For that reason, it is crucial to investigate students’ perceptions and attitudes towards incorporating web-based activities in their grammar classes. In addition, as teachers we need to examine the effectiveness of using blended learning in teaching ESL grammar. The importance of the study The use of CALL in the UAE needs more research, especially at the college level. Studies about incorporating technology in the UAE are very few if any. There are no studies about the effect of incorporating CALL activities in the grammar classes to ESL Arab students at the college level at the University of Sharjah. It is anticipated that this study will shed light on the benefits of using computes when teaching grammar to ESL learners if students’ attitudes and perception are to be taken into consideration. Therefore, the findings of this study may be beneficial for teachers, students, educational institutions, and curriculum developers. In addition, this study may encourage other researchers to conduct further studies on the same topic which in turn will enrich the literature in this area. Furthermore, in the context of the UAE, studies involving technology integration and teaching are minimal. This study aims to bridge the gap in literature in this field and leads to better understanding and using technology in ESL college contexts. Research questions Educational technology can increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning by providing selfpaced speed, convenience, confidentiality, and a range of projects, activities for ESL learners (Smart and Cappel, 2006). Many Intensive English Programs in different universities incorporate technology in teaching different English language skills. The demand for incorporating technology based instructions and traditional teacher based instruction is growing
especially in the field of ESL teaching and learning (Son, 2008). Therefore, blended learningcourses that combine face to face instruction with online instructions- are increasing every year because they create more effective learning experience than face to face instruction alone (Son, 2008). Son (2008) emphasizes the necessity to consider the idea of blended learning and incorporate it with the notion web-based language learning activities to increase learners’ motivation, and engage them in authentic and highly interactive language experiences. Webbased language learning (WBLL) is language learning that involves the use of the web and uses web materials, resources, and tools. Research highlights the importance for teachers to use welldesigned and well-thought of WBLL activities to maximize language learning opportunities. Considering the scale of benefits of incorporating technology in a language classroom that has been briefly reviewed, it is hypothesized that using blended learning (web-based activities and traditional teacher instruction) will be as effective as traditional instruction alone. In addition, it is vital to examine students’ perceptions towards using blended learning in the ESL classroom to be able to make effective and sound educational decisions in the Intensive English Program at Sharjah University. The present study links questions about integrating technology in ESL grammar classes to students’ perceptions and attitudes. To study this relationship, three specifically related research questions are addressed: 1- Are there any statistically significant differences between students’ achievement mean scores in the post tests due to method of instruction? 2- What are the students’ attitudes and perceived benefits of integrating web learning with traditional grammar classroom instruction? 3- Is there any change in attitudes and perceived benefits after one semester instruction? 4- Are there any relationships between attitudes and perceived benefits on the one hand and the linguistic outcomes on the other hand? Answers to these questions will be used to uncover a general research inquiry: Can pre-prepare web based activities help ESL Arab learners master specific English grammar topics? To answer these questions, two groups of ESL students will participate in the study: one group is taught grammar using traditional face to face instruction depending only on the course book, and the other group is taught using blended learning consisting of face to face instruction as well as preprepared web based activities. The impact of traditional instruction and traditional grammar instruction on ESL Arab students will be based on the quantitative analysis of pre and post tests. The impact of blended learning will be based on the qualitative analysis of students’ responses to post questionnaire and interview questions.
Methodology Setting and Participants The study will take place in the Intensive English Program at the University of Sharjah. The participants of this study are 90 female Arab students enrolled in the Intensive English Program (IEP) at Sharjah University- UAE. The subjects are Arab students and are all native speakers of Arabic. Their ages range from 17-20 years. All the students are enrolled in Level 1 Grammar and are studying the same text book. Students in the IEP have to attend and had face to face instruction for 25 hours a week. They have to study reading, listening, grammar, and TOEFL. The IEP program is structured into four levels. Students at each level have to take the TOEFL exam as an entry requirement to differentiate their proficiency level and place them in appropriate levels accordingly (general preparation, level 1, level 2, and level 3). The proficiency of level 1 students correlates to TOEFL score 360-400 and they need 500 on TOEFL to exit the program and enroll in their majors. Students enrolled at the IEP are graduates of government schools and all had over 10 years of English instruction in schools prior to their admission at the IEP. They are studying in the IEP in a segregated context, but the instructions are both males and females from different nationalities. Therefore, the findings of the study could not be generalized Students who receive traditional face to face grammar instruction comprise the control group, and those who receive blended learning constitute the experimental group. Both groups are exposed to the same grammar text book and paper –based activities. In addition to face to face instruction, the experimental group is exposed to online instruction (blended learning). The experimental group has to do online grammar exercises in the computer lab at the university once a week. The web-based activities are interactive and offer immediate feedback. Course and Instructional material The study will be carried out in the classrooms and labs in the language center at the University of Sharjah. The classrooms are equipped with whiteboard, computers and projectors. The labs are equipped with twenty computers, a projector and a whiteboard. Students studying at the language program at the university are mainly Arab students. The program offers TOEFL preparation courses to enable students to join their majors (entry: any score and exit 500. Classes generally range in size from 15-20 students per class. A variety of specialized ESL texts are used for each level. The experimental and control group are exposed to the same traditional in class instruction. The topics covered in class are: simple past, past simple, past progressive, used to and future tense. The control group and the experimental group study the same text book Focus on Grammar by Fuchs et. al. (3rd Edition), complete the same exercises and grammatical topics in that book. The grammar course will be completed in the fall semester of 2011 and will take 16 weeks. While doing the exercises the teacher will act as a facilitator and will monitor students’ work and provide help and guidance when needed.
In addition to the traditional in-class teaching, every week, grammar pre-prepared web based activities related to the topics covered in class are introduced to students. The web activities contained explanations, examples, interactive exercises, quizzes, matching/ordering, crossword, and other fun interactive online grammar activities. Throughout the semester, during the lab session, the teacher will act as a facilitator. The teacher will provide technical support on using different activities and will respond to individual students’ needs, comments, and requests. Each student is directed to complete her web-based activity either individually, in pairs or in groups shuffled by the teacher with the intention of pairing or grouping students with different students in each session. The ESL websites that will be used are: Activities for ESL students (http://a4esl.org) Interesting Things for ESL Students (http://www.manythings.org) Dave’s ESL Café’ (http://www.eslcafe.com/) ESL Teacher Handouts, Grammar Worksheets & Printable: (http://www.usingenglish.com/handouts/) English Club.Com: (http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/) English for you: (http://www.english-4u.de/grammar1.htm) Procedure Research instrument A combination of qualitative and quantitative measures will be used in this study. Pre-post tests, a questionnaire, and focused group interviews will be used to collect the relevant data. The aim of employing these instruments is to triangulate the data and obtain validity. A pre-post test is used to measure the subjects’ knowledge of in the assigned grammar topics and to find out if there are any significant differences between the groups before and after the instruction. The test is designed by the researcher/ teacher. The grammar test comprises of 40 questions and has to be completed in thirty minutes under exam conditions in the regular classrooms (see Appendix D). The test has two sections: section one has twenty multiple choice questions with four alternatives, and section two has twenty questions in which students have to identify the grammatical error. Each question is worth of one point. The students’ prior knowledge will be assessed by the pre-test that will be administered to both groups (control and experimental) before the study starts. The objective of the pre-test is to assess the students’ background knowledge of particular grammar topics. The same pre-test will be used at the end of the study as a post-test to assess students’ achievement on certain grammar topics. The objective of the post test is to assess the effect of both methods of teaching (traditional and blended learning).
Students are familiar with the grammar points that are covered in the pre and post test as they are same grammar topics that have been studied at schools. In addition, the same grammar topics are taught in Level 1 grammar course with much more emphasis on the communicative aspect of the language. This aspect is totally ignored in government schools and that is why students find it hard to develop correct texts- spoken or written. The test is administered to both groups: controlled and experimental. The pre-post tests of both groups will be blindly graded as students will write their ID. The teacher/researcher will grade the papers using an answer key. Students will be asked to complete pre- and post self report questionnaire (see Appendix A and C) together with a consent form (see Appendix E) before their first blended learning class starts. The questionnaire will be carried out anonymously to reduce uncomfortable feelings among the participants. The aim of the pre-questionnaire is to examine students’ computer skills and some personal information about their attitudes towards using computer in general. The students’ attitudes and perceptions towards integrating Web-based activities in their traditional grammar classes as well as their opinions on the usefulness of these sites are conducted by using a self-report post-questionnaire. The questionnaire includes items driven from similar earlier studies. The questions mainly focus on the benefits and problems of integrating technology. Data collected from the post questionnaire including open-ended questions will be transcribed and analyzed. The post questionnaire will use five point Likert Scale ranging from 5 (strongly agree) to 1 (strongly disagree). The questionnaire is adapted from other similar studies. For the purpose of attaining a mean response for each question, the responses will be tolerated and averaged. Standard deviation will be obtained for the purpose of examining statistically significant differences between students’ perceptions. The questionnaire will also be analyzed to using Spearman’s correlation to determine correlations between response and significant factors underlying their response. Students’ comments will be used to investigate their attitudes toward the project. The third instrument that will be used in this study is the semi-structured interview (see Appendix B). It has a conversational style that involves open-ended questions to encourage the participants to express their ideas about their Internet experience. The interviews are carried out at the teacher/ researcher’s office at time that suits the students. The interviews will be audio taped and transcribed. After each interview, the participants will be given a transcript of the interview through e-mail. The aim of the interview is to cross-check students’ responses to the post questionnaire. Validity and Reliability The grammar test content will be validated by a team of experienced teachers at the Intensive English Program at the University of Sharjah. The team will be asked to validate the content of the test in terms of clarity of instructions, relevance of questions to the content, it suitability to
the research goals and objectives, the number and arrangement of questions, and the suitability of the time allocated to the test. The necessary changes will be made accordingly before administering the test. The post test is believed to be content valid as it aims to assess students’ achievement in grammar. The tasks in the post test are based on the topics that students have to cover during the course. In addition, the instructions are clear and students have received training on such tasks. The papers are scored using optical reading machine. The machine is run twice to ensure the correctness of scores given. The content of the pre-prepared web based activities will be validated by the instructional technologist and the academic and curriculum coordinator in the Intensive English Program. The committee members will assess the websites in terms of appropriateness the students’ proficiency level, clarity of instructions, interactivity, wealth and correctness of information, and ease of use. To establish the validity of the questionnaire, it will be referred to a panel of university professors of English and statistics. The questionnaire will be modified based on the panel’s comments and suggestions. The interview questions will be reviewed and refereed by a number of faculty members at the Intensive English Program to check that they matched the theme of the questionnaire and whether they could produce supportive data. All questions will be reviewed and modified in accordance with the referees’ comments and suggestions. Data Collection/ Data analysis At the beginning of 2011-1012academic year, the students are randomly divided into two groups- control group received tradition grammar instruction and experimental group- received traditional instruction along with pre-prepared web-based grammar activities. Each group has 45 students. The two groups are taught by the same teacher/researcher. Both groups receive one hour of grammar instruction for five days a week. The experimental group receives one hour of lab session instead of traditional in class grammar instruction every week. This lab session is compensated with regular in class grammar practice for the control group every week. A systematic procedure will be used for collecting and administering the data. At the beginning of the fall semester (2011-2012), the experimental and control groups are given a pre-test. The groups take the same pre-test that consisted of questions covering the grammar topics that were covered in school and will be emphasized during the course. At the end of the course, the two groups will take the same test. At the end of the semester (two weeks before its end) the questionnaire and the semi-structured interviews will be conducted with the experimental group. This study employs qualitative and quantitative analysis of data gathered. In this study, semistructured interview method is used as a qualitative instrument. A set of structured and preprepared questions are to be used during the interviews. This method allows student to extend
their reaction towards using technology in the classroom. In addition, it allows the researcher a kind of flexibility to cross check the results of the questionnaire and confirm them with the interview results. For this study, the independent variables will be method of teaching (traditional or blended learning), whereas the dependent variable will be the achievement of the subjects in the grammar test. The SPSS program will be used to obtain different types of descriptive statistics. Means scores and standard deviations of the students’ scores on the pre-and post tests will be calculated. One-way Anova analysis for the pre-test will be used to find differences between the control group and the experimental group. To find out whether each group have made any progress as a result of instruction, a within group paired T-test will be computed for each group using the pre-post test mean scores for each group. A framework will be developed to categorize students’ responses to the interview questions to facilitate the analysis process. The responses will be cumulatively analyzed for commonalities. Differences will also be highlighted and discussed. The interpretation of the qualitative Likert questionnaire data will be supported by the qualitative data obtained during the semi-structured interview. To find out whether there is a significant difference in the ability between the experimental and the control groups, the pre- and post tests raw scores are converted into percentages. The mean, standard deviation, standard error and range are calculated for both tests. Limitations of the study The primary limitation of the study is that the researcher is the only teacher who taught the two groups and thus it is possible that the teacher might over report the effectiveness of using blended learning in teaching grammar. Yet, the triangulation instrument that the researcher would use could minimize subjectivity in reporting the data. Another limitation is the study is conducted over a short period of time with female participants only may limit the extent to which the results could be generalized. To overcome this situation, it is suggested that the data need to be drawn over a longer period of time and the study could extent to male participants as well. In addition, it is necessary to include other teachers who are teaching different levels to be able to draw valid and reliable results. Furthermore, the study is restricted to one aspect of language skills- grammar. In order to get more valid and reliable data, it is suggested that this study is extended to other language skills taught in the IEP at Sharjah University.
Appendix A Sample of Pre-questionnaire Questions Basic information Please circle the appropriate choice. 1- What is the average number of times you go on line every week? o Less than 1 hour o 1-2 hours o 2-3 hours o More than 3 hours 2- Do you have a computer at home that can connect to the Internet? o Yes o No 3- Where do you most frequently go on line? o Home o Library o Computer center o Classroom 4- How would you describe your computer skills? o Excellent o Good o Not good o Poor 5- How important is grammar practice for you in language learning? o Of very great importance o Of great importance o Of some importance o Of no importance 6- Do you practice grammar independently? o Yes o No 7- Before the teacher introduce you to the pre-prepared web sites, have you ever visited such sites? o Yes o No (Adapted from Nutta, J. (1998))
Appendix B Sample of Interview Questions 1- Did you enjoy using the web for learning? If yes, what did you enjoy about it? If no, why did not you enjoy it? 2- Out of all the web activities, which were the most useful? Why? Which were not useful? Why? 3- Did you find group work, pair work or individual work helpful? Which type of work did you like? Why? 4- Did you do anything related to the web-based activities outside the classroom during the course? 5- Would you like web-based activities to be part of your regular grammar class (once or twice a week)? If yes, how often? If no, why do not you like them? 6- In what way do you think web-based activities are good or bad? 7- Do you have any other comment to make about your experience in blended learning? (Adapted from Kung, S., & Chuo, T. (2002)
Appendix C Sample of Post Questionnaire Questions 1- Please think about your experience in integrating technology in learning English grammar and tick (√) the answers that apply to you. Strongly agree 1 Agree Uncertain Disagree 2 3 4 Strongly disagree 5
Statements 1. I am satisfied with the web-based activities. 2. I enjoyed the pre-created web activities. 3. I learned a lot from the web based activities. 4. Questions asked in the online activities were easy. 5. The experiences in web-based language learning mad this course more interesting. 6. The web activities were valuable for learning English. 7. The web based activities were an appropriate supplement to in-class instruction. 8. I gained confidence in my ability to use the web for learning purposes. 9. I was comfortable using the web during the web activities 10. I am now comfortable using the web for language learning. 11. I feel that the web is a useful learning tool. 12. I would like to access web activities myself outside class time.
13. The web activities used had clear instructions to all the activities. 2- Did you experience any difficulties while using the online activities? If yes, specify. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 3- Which of the materials did you find most useful for practicing grammar? o Grammar text book o The online websites and activities o Both 4- Give reasons for your choice. _____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________
Thank you for finding the time to complete this survey.
(Adapted from Felix, U. (2001))
University of Sharjah ELC: Intensive English Program Level: 1/ [Fall - 2011] Time: 30 minutes Skill: Grammar ID Number: Section:
Choose the letter that best completes the sentence.
1. When he was younger, he _____ go to school in Al Ain. A. use to B. used to C. was using D. was used 2. What time _____ dinner tonight? A. are they going to have B. they are going to have C. they will have D. are having them 3. X: Who _____ you _____ last night? Y: Ismail called me. A. B. C. D. Ø …… called did …… called did …… call called …… Ø
4. Rashid is travelling _____ to Malaysia. A. himself B. by him C. with himself D. by himself 5. _____ you open the door for me, please? A. Are B. May C. Would D. Do 6. Where did he _____ to live before you moved here? A. use B. used
C. using D. uses 7. X: What would you like to eat after the soup? Y: I’m not sure. I think I _____ pasta. A. B. C. D. have will have having had
8. I didn’t _____ much, but I swim every week these days. A. used to swim B. use to swim C. use for swimming D. used for swimming
9. What _____ next Thursday? Shall we go to the cinema? A. you doing B. you’re doing C. are you doing D. do you do 10. Why _____ his uncle when he went to Abu Dhabi? A. visited him B. he visited C. he didn’t visit D. didn’t he visit 11. When _____ this evening? A. will start the film B. starts the film C. does the film start D. is starting the film 12. Lubna and Iman usually meet _____ every week. A. themselves B. herself C. ourselves D. each other
13. How many people _____ the match last night? A. did you see B. saw C. did it see D. saw it
14. _____ I switch on the AC, please? It’s hot here. A. Do B. Would C. May D. Am 15. What _____ at the restaurant last night? A. did he eat B. does he eat C. he ate D. ate him 16. We went to the shop and bought _____ some ice-cream. It was delicious! A. ourselves B. us C. myself D. our 17. X: Could I sit next to you? Y: Yes, you _____. A. B. C. D. could can would might
18. Leila’s brother is getting too angry. He should control _____. A. herself B. him C. himself D. them
19. What time should Kamal _____ to your office? A. coming B. come C. came D. comes 20. See you tomorrow. Take care of _____. A. ourselves B. myself C. himself D. yourselves
21. _____ you please drive more carefully? A. Would B. Had better C. Ought D. Do you mind 22. Do you mind if Jasmin _____ with us? A. coming B. comes C. come D. she comes
Choose the letter of the underlined error
23. X: Do you think I should do it now or could I wait until next week? A B Y: I think you’d better do it now, or the boss will very angry! C D
24. You look very tired. You ought to go to bed. In fact, I think you should to go to bed right now. A B C D
25. X: May I use your computer, and do you mind if I keep it overnight? A B Y: OK, but look after itself. You’d better not damage it. C D
26. X: I ought to finish this work now. I’m meeting the boss at 8:00 tomorrow. A B Y: You shouldn’t worry so much! Leave the work. Let’s go out and enjoy ourself. C D
27. He’s going to finish the report. Then, he’ll send it to everyone. Tomorrow, we’ll having a meeting, A B C meeting, and we’ll discuss his report. D 28. Where are you flying to tomorrow? Does the plane leave early? Who is driving you to the airport? A B C You know you ought get there two hours before the flight. D 29. X: I’m getting some cold juice for myself. Would you like some? A Y: Yes, please, but may I have it without ice? I use to drink iced drinks, but not since my doctor B C
told me I shouldn’t. D 30. X: Are you going out tonight? Who will do the work? A B Y: Would you mind do it for me this time? I’ll do it next time, I promise. C D
31. Just look at yourself! You’re so dirty! I’ve told yourself before not to play football there. A B You’d better not do it again, or you’ll be in trouble! C D
32. I heard the phone ring. Who called? Yahya? We’ve known ourselves for ages. If he calls again, A B could you take his number. I think I ought to call him back. C D
33. X: We having presentations tomorrow. Will you finish preparing yours today? A B Y: I can’t do it by myself. Would you help me? C D
34. X: I used to be very fat, but last year I lost 10 kilos. A Y: did you used to eat much junk food? How much did you eat before? B C X: A lot! However, I promised myself that I would be healthier. Now, I feel great! D 35. X: May I to sit here? A Y: Yes, you can. B X: Do you mind if I smoke? C
Y: Yes, I do. I hate smoking. D 36. X: I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you. Could you repeat that, please? A Y: Sorry. What did you say? B X: I think we didn’t hear each other well. I think we better speak more loudly. C D 37. X: Dad, do you mind if I going out this evening? Will you give me some money for the cinema? A B Y: Who is going with you? What film are you going to see? C D 38. When Sameera was a child, she used to play with dolls. She always played by herself. A B She didn’t use to play with her sister, Afra because they didn’t like themselves very much. C D 39. Will you mind lending me fifty dirhams? Can I pay you back next week when I get my salary? A B C D 40. The detective said, “I must ask you a few questions: Where did you go? Who saw you? A B What did you? What time did you return home?” C D
1- B 2- A 3- D 4- D 5- C 6- A 7- B 8- B 9- C 10- D
11- C 12- D 13- B 14- C 15- A 16- A 17- B 18- C 19- B 20- D
21- A 22- B 23- D 24- D 25- C 26- D 27- C 28- D 29- C 30- C
31- B 32- B 33- A 34- B 35- A 36- D 37- A 38- D 39- A 40- C
CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN A RESEARCH STUDY University of Sharjah
Students’ attitudes towards incorporating blended learning in ESL grammar classroom and its effectiveness Neivne Kamal Office phone: 3249
I have been asked to participate in a research study conducted by Nevine Kamal.
Below is a description of the research procedures and an explanation of my rights as a research participant. In accordance with the policies of University of Sharjah, I have been asked to read this information carefully. If I agree to participate, I will sign in the space provided to indicate that I have read and understand the information furnished on this consent form, I am entitled to and will receive a signed copy of the form.
The purpose of this research study is to examine students’ attitudes towards integrating technology in teaching grammar to Arab students at the University of Shajah. My participation in this study will last for approximately a semester (Fall 2011) and will take place at ELC labs and in classroom.
During this study, I will attend regular classes and lab sessions in the English Language Center at Sharjah University. I understand that because I will not be providing any clues to my identity, the data I provide will be anonymous.
Participation is voluntary and I may refuse to participate without penalty or loss of benefits. I may discontinue my participation at any time without penalty or loss of benefits.
I AGREE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS RESEARCH PROJECT AND I WILL RECEIVE A COPY OF THIS CONSENT FORM: PARTICIPANT'S SIGNATURE__________ DATE RESEARCHER'S SIGNATURE__________ DATE
References Al-Jarf, R. (2005). The effects of online grammar instruction on low proficiency EFL college students’ achievement. Asian EFL Journal, 7(4) Retrieved January3, 2011, from http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/December_05_rsaj.php Chenu, F. et al. (2007). Is computer assisted language learning (CALL) efficient for grammar learning? An experimental study in French as a second language. The JALT CALL Journal, 3 (3), 85-93. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from http://jaltcall.org/journal/articles/3_3_Chenu.pdf Felix, U. (2001). A multivariate analysis of students’ experiences of web-based learning. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 17 (1), 21-36. Retrieved February 9, 2011, from http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet17/felix.html Kung, S., & Chuo, T. (2002). Students’ perceptions of English learning through ESL/EFL websites. TESL-EJ, 6(1). Retrieved January 10, 2011, from http://writing.berkeley.edu/TESLEJ/ej21/a2.html Nutta, J. (1998). Is computer-based grammar instruction as effective as teacher directed grammar instruction for teaching L2 structures? CALICO Jouranl, 16(1), 49-62. Smart, K, & Cappel, J. (2006). Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning: A Comparative Study. Journal of Information Technology Education, 5, 202-219. Retrieved February 6, 2011, from http://jite.org/documents/Vol5/v5p201-219Smart54.pdf Son, J. (2007). Learner experiences in web –based language learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 20 (1), 21-36. Retrieved January 28, 2011, from http://eprints.usq.edu.au/2046/1/Son_2007.pdf Son, J. (2008). Using web-based language learning activities in the ESL classroom. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 4(4), 43-43. Retrieved January 28, 2011, from http://www.apacall.org/ijpl/v4n4/IJPLv4n4_article3.pdf Torlakovic, E, Duego, D. (2004). Application of a CALL system in the acquisition of adverbs in English. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 17 (2), 203-225.
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