Co-Curricular Technology Engagement and its Effects on Arabic Language Learner Motivation, Autonomy, and Language Proficiency
AdvisorPanferov Reese, Suzanne
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 07/28/2023
AbstractNumerous research studies have been conducted in the area of technology integration in second language learning and its effects on learner motivation and learner autonomy, the studies have been mainly Eurocentric with a focus on English (Carr, Crocco, Ezring, & Galego, 2011; Ducate, & Lomicka, 2008; Loucky, 2005; Warschauer, 1996; Aust et al.,1993; Laufer & Levitsky-Aviad, 2006; Sougari & Hovhannisyan, 2016). Very little research has been conducted about other less commonly taught languages such as Arabic. Moreover, most of the research focused on the affective aspect of technology integration and not on the potential language gains that learners can get from this integration. Keeping this in mind, and given that Arabic occupies the eighth place in the top fifteen foreign languages taught in the United States institutions of higher education, more research is warranted to investigate aspects related to teaching Arabic, especially the effects of technology integration on improving language proficiency, learner motivation, and learner autonomy. This study has contributed to the literature by examining technology integration effects on the Arabic language learner motivation, autonomy, and language gains. Findings from this study seem to support findings from other studies that technology integration increased learner motivation and improved attitude (Aust et al.,1993; Laufer & Levitsky-Aviad, 2006, Sougari & Hovhannisyan, 2016). However, this study found that the correlation between technology use and motivation is not automatic and is only true when: 1) Technology use has a tangible impact on language abilities, 2) Technology use provides resources and tools that support learning and make it more accessible, 3) Technology use makes learning easier and less time consuming, and 4) Technology presents diverse tools to learn or practice different language skills. The study also examined how technology use changes learner engagement in autonomous out-of-class learning activities. Findings suggest that learners have a positive attitude on the versatility and affordances of technology. Moreover, the participants are not only aware of the affordances of technology, more importantly, they seem to have built a clear vision of themselves beyond the classroom and how to achieve that vision. This is a clear indication of an autonomous learner who is able to set their own goals, and the means to achieve them. The findings also indicate that technology can provide tools that motivate learners to take control of their learning and extend it outside the conventional learning setting. It can personalize the learning experience and help develop a sense of ownership. These findings line up with findings from other studies which indicate that technology promotes ownership and personalized learning (Guth, 2009), supports independence and out-of-class engagement (Pinkman, 2005), and encourages self-directed learning activities (Luke, 2006). The last part of the study focused on the effect of the general use of technology on language proficiency, specifically, fluency and accuracy in the writing skill. Fluency was defined as increased number of words produced in a timed writing session, and accuracy was defined as the number of two types of errors (the noun/adjective agreement errors and the subject/verb concordance errors) committed in these writings. Findings from this part of the study show that there is a correlation between technology use and improved writing skill; however, the findings were not statistically significant due to different factors such as the small number of participants. The study has wider implications for different stakeholders in the educational system including Arabic language teachers, foreign language teachers, Arabic language learners, and educational institutions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching