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Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students

Description: Today's global culture makes communication through writing in a foreign language a most desirable tool to expand personal and professional relations. However, teaching writing is a complex, time-consuming endeavor in any language. Foreign language teachers at every level struggle to fit writing into an already full curriculum and need the most effective methods and tools with which to teach. Technology may provide a viable scaffold to support writing instruction for teachers and students. The purpose of this research was to determine any benefits of weekly/structured, in-class, computer-assisted grammar drill and practice on the composition quality and quantity of intermediate university Spanish learners. A related purpose was to determine whether students who participated in such practice would access a computer-based writing assistant differently during writing than students without the treatment. The research design was a nonequivalent groups pretest-posttest design. Fifty-two subjects' compositions were graded with both holistic and analytic criteria to analyze composition quality and quantity, and statistical analyses assessed interactions of treatment and effects. The computer-based Atajo writing assistant, which could be accessed during composition, had a logging feature which provided unobtrusive observation of specific databases accessed by each student. There were no statistically significant differences found between the two groups in overall composition scores or in subscale scores. Improvements across time were observed in composition performance for both the experimental and control groups. The implementation of computer-based grammar and vocabulary practice did show a small to moderate positive effect; that is to say, students who received weekly, structured computer grammar and vocabulary practice had higher scores for composition quality and quantity on the posttest measure and accessed the databases less than the control group. The consistent positive trends in the composition data results intimate that over a more extended period of time, computer-based grammar instruction might enhance the quality ...
Date: December 2004
Creator: Oxford, Raquel Malia Nitta
Partner: UNT Libraries