Mobile Instant Messaging: Whatsapp and its Potential to Develop Oral Skills

Andújar-Vaca, Alberto and Cruz-Martínez, Maria-Soledad Mobile Instant Messaging: Whatsapp and its Potential to Develop Oral Skills. Comunicar, 2017, vol. 25, n. 50, pp. 43-52. [Journal article (Paginated)]

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English abstract

This study investigates the benefits of Mobile Mediated Communication (MMC) to develop oral skills in second-language learners. A total of 80 Spanish students taking a B1 English course at the University of Almería were studied in this research. According to treatment type, subjects were divided in two groups, experimental and control. A “Whatsapp” group was created where 40 of these students participated in a daily interaction during six months. The samples collected in the application as well as a speaking were used to measure the students’ degree of oral development and the type and triggers of the language related episodes (LRE) given rise to mobile chat-based oral interaction. This study focuses on such interaction and seeks to measure the students’ degree of oral development through a mixed analysis approach. A temporal axis is used to measure the differences between the groups studied. Significant improvements in term of oral proficiency were observed in the experimental group and negotiations were the LRE most common throughout the activity. It is worth mention that Mobile learning offers an environment where learners can ubiquitously negotiate meaning, reflect and evaluate on their own performance through authentic interaction and feedback, constituting a powerful tool for developing second language proficiency.

Spanish abstract

La presente investigación analiza los beneficios de la comunicación mediante teléfonos móviles para desarrollar las destrezas orales de los estudiantes en la segunda lengua. Un total de 80 estudiantes españoles que realizaban un curso de inglés nivel B1 en la Universidad de Almería participaron en el estudio. De acuerdo con el tipo de tratamiento, los sujetos fueron divididos en dos grupos, experimental y control. Mediante la creación de un grupo de «Whatsapp», 40 de dichos sujetos participaron en una interacción oral diaria durante 6 meses. Las muestras recogidas en la aplicación, así como un examen oral, fueron utilizados para analizar el grado en que los estudiantes desarrollan la destreza oral y los tipos y desencadenantes que dan lugar a episodios relacionados con el lenguaje en los chats orales. Este estudio se centra en la interacción utilizando un análisis mixto y un eje temporal con el fin de medir las diferencias entre los grupos analizados. Los resultados demuestran mejoras significativas en cuanto a la competencia oral en los alumnos del grupo en el que se implementó la actividad, siendo las negociaciones de significado el episodio relacionado con el lenguaje más común durante la interacción. Cabe destacar la accesibilidad que la mensajería móvil confiere a los alumnos, pues son capaces de negociar el significado, reflexionar y evaluar sus propias actuaciones mediante interacción real y feed-back.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Mobile-mediated communication; BYOD; mobile chat; interaction; educational technology; Whatsapp; mobile learning; virtual environments; virtual learning; Comunicación móvil; BYOD; chat; interacción; tecnología educativa; Whatsapp; aprendizaje móvil; entornos virtuales; aprendizaje virtual
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BJ. Communication
G. Industry, profession and education.
G. Industry, profession and education. > GH. Education.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 10 Jan 2017 20:47
Last modified: 10 Jan 2017 20:47


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