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NAZAR-TCP RESEARCH-BASED EVIDENCE

Relative Advantage Chen (2011) states that speech recognition technologies offer foreign language students the opportunity to produce the target language under a less stress environment. (p. 61). In many cases, students are afraid to use the language they are learning or have public speaking anxiety to present themselves in front of an audience, even more when they have to use a language different to their own or a language that they have not high command on. Therefore, the technology-based solution I am proposing provides other less threatening options to these students to use the oral language to make presentations without even standing in front of the class. Softa (2011) concludes in her study that students feel more relaxed and less anxious to use another language when they have an environment where technology is utilized as an instructional tool (p. 136).

However, before students are able to utter any word, they need to listen to a range of native speakers target language, not only to their teachers. (Chen, 2011, p. 61) Technologies such as Voki (http://www.voki.com) can provide that input that a foreign language student needs to develop their listening skills and to have models to copy the oral language skills. According to Tsai (2011), computer-assisted language learning that involves authentic uses of the language and interactive multimedia can be easily integrated for learners to practice speaking in the target language. (p.4).

Another technology that I am proposing to address the instructional issue stated is PhotoStory3. PhotoStory 3 does not only assist with the development of the speaking skills in Spanish, but also for the improvement of the oral presentation skills in the students of this class. It provides students with the freedom to change their outcome and adjust their pace according to the difficulty that the project represent for each one (Cylwik, Demenko, Wagner, 2009, p. 457). They can record as many times as they need to without pressure (trial and error).

NAZAR-TCP RESEARCH-BASED EVIDENCE

Speaking skills do not evolved independently. Oral skills are intertwined with the other language skills such as reading, writing, and listening. (As cited in Yang, 2007, p.1). Multimedia presentation programs that allow students to incorporate spoken words and written text and as well as pictures and graphics, promote students fluency, and provides tools to prepare them and support their oral presentations. (Tsai, 2010, p. 1254).

Another benefit of multimedia in the foreign language classroom instruction is that it helps students construct meaning by manipulating different forms of expressions that can be associated to the language they are learning. According to Nelson (2008), with multimedia communication, a language student may reach well beyond his current inventory of linguistics resources, thereby not only making meaning more successful and powerful, but also perhaps activating dormant linguistic resources that might otherwise not be activated (p.79).

It is a fact that most students enjoy the use the technology because technology is a functional aspect of their everyday lives. Even if they do not have access to cell phones, computers, or internet, the media is always selling and everywhere we go is present in our lives. In the conclusion of the research by Wang, Tanimoto and Templeton (2008), the students subject of the study showed interest and motivation towards learning another language (pp. 39-40).

Therefore, it can be concluded that multimedia and voice recording technologies can motivate Students to learn a foreign language. Vocaroo (http://vocaroo.com), for example, provides students with a device to record their voices and listen to themselves. They can practice pronunciation and fluency. It also serves to the teacher of this classroom who told me that it was difficult and time consuming to give students oral tests by using her tape recording. Students are going to take a short test at the end of the unit using Vocaroo (http://vocaroo.com) and they will be able to save it and e-mail to me for assessment.

NAZAR-TCP RESEARCH-BASED EVIDENCE

Literature Review
Introduction This literature review is going to focus on research-based articles compiled on the need and importance to develop and practice speaking and oral presentation skills in foreign language classroom. It will also explore the advantages that different digital multimedia, and online text to speech and voice recorders offer to address the lack of oral practice in class; and how they ultimately help to improve the students presentation skills and their motivation towards learning another language.

The challenge to Develop Foreign Language Speaking Skills The main instructional need identified in the foreign language class subject of my capstone project is the lack of Spanish speaking production by the students. It is important to emphasize that the needs of language learning students are different now that the ones of students twenty forty years ago when foreign and second language learning was based on grammartranslation and repetition. According to Kyei-Blankson and Traore (2011), this approach does not make an emphasis on the student ability to speak (p. 562). Learning a foreign language involves more than learning the structures and grammar. Instead, according to Yang (2007), it involves two important components: Language and communication. (P. 1). The oral language competence is vital for language learners because it is eventually the skill they mostly use. (As cited in Yang, 2007, p.1). Huang, Cunningham and Finn (2010), stated in their research about teachers perceptions of the important skills for second language students, that good listening and speaking skills will naturally lead to the development of writing skills (p. 77). Therefore, a communicative approach is needed to provide students with the authentic oral practice they need. However, to implement a communicative approach of the language

NAZAR-TCP RESEARCH-BASED EVIDENCE

learning represents a challenge due to the limited time of instruction and the lack of opportunities the students have to use the target language outside the classroom (Lee, 2007, p. 635). In his research, Liu (2009) states that fostering English as a foreign language learning faces difficulties such as lack of connection with real life and its tendency to provide knowledge acquisition rather than life skills (p. 515).

The lack of motivation when students develop and give their oral presentations is related to the lack of speaking practice during instruction. It cannot be expected of the students to give at least an acceptable oral presentation in Spanish when they are not getting any oral training or oral practice of the language. They should practice oral fluency, accuracy and appropriateness through construction of meaning and scaffolding. (As cited in Lee, 2007, p 635). According to Tsai (2010), the effectiveness of a presentation in the target language is one of the issues of EFL students in Taiwan. (P. 1246). Their difficulty comes from the fact that they did not know how to apply what they have learned effectively in the linguistic contexts (Tsai, 2010, p. 1246). Students need to have a meaningful connection to what they are learning. Liu states that the recitation of words, explanation of syntax and reading papers cannot enhance students learning motivation (p. 515).

Technology Options for Foreign Language Learning Speaking skills evolvement requires two major elements in order to be maximally realized: comprehensible input and social interaction (As cited in Yang, 2007, p. 1). This poses a challenge for foreign language instructors and learner as I explored above. For example authentic interaction difficult to achieve in the confinement of a classroom. Fortunately, with

NAZAR-TCP RESEARCH-BASED EVIDENCE

the development of computers, Internet and media technologies, language teaching has found ways to overcome that challenge.

The groups of students I am working with have not been provided the opportunity to develop and then practice their oral skills in any way. For my project I intend to provide the input and initial practice to pave the way for them to develop the language they need to interact with native speakers through computer-mediated communication to foster more authentic input. (Lee, 2007, p. 636).

Web 2.0 technologies like Voki (http://www.voki.com) on one hand can provide the input by listening to different Spanish accents and dialects. Vocaroo (http://vocaroo.com), on another hand, can also provide oral practice by recording their voices. Finally, the students will create a multimedia project presentation that includes images, text and voice. (Chen, 2011, p. 61).

Most students are afraid or have anxiety to orally use the target language in front of an audience. Multimedia presents a less threatening to use the oral language to make presentations. In her study, Softa (2011) arrives to the conclusion that students feel more relaxed and less anxious to use another language when they use technology in class (p. 136). The less stress students are during the instruction, the more confident and motivated they can be. Learning a language is a continuous process that involves using the language in a highly supportive, non-stressful environment (As cited in Kyei-Blankson and Traore, 2011, p. 562).

The multimedia helps students construct and associate meaning to their process of learning.

NAZAR-TCP RESEARCH-BASED EVIDENCE

Tsai (2010) in his study about integration of multimedia courseware to improve oral presentation skills, he affirms that no matter what the source of the problem is, language fluency and being well trained are the dual foci of learners concerns, both of which can be facilitated and improved by multimedia courseware. (p. 1246). Therefore, it is not just the use of multimedia but a well planned instruction. According to Tsai (2010), the courseware design is essential to the effective use of multimedia and educational technology so that the interaction between the meaning and media can be conducted in the learning process. (p. 1246).

Literature Review Conclusion The different research-based articles that I found to support my problem and technology-based solution gave me more confidence about the validity of my Capstone Project.

I was concerned about providing my students with appropriate practice since my project does not involved interaction. To acquire communicative competence in the target language, students need authentic speaking interaction that fosters negotiation (As cited in Lee, 2007, p.635). However, the students subject of my project have not received any training at all in the classroom. Besides, the issue of my project is to provide the students with skills that help them improve their oral presentation skills.

In any case, language acquisition is a gradual process (As cited in Kyei-Blankson and Traore, 2011, p.562). According to Kyei-Blankson and Traore (2011), the teacher is responsible for providing the understandable language which is the comprehensible input that students

NAZAR-TCP RESEARCH-BASED EVIDENCE

need to start building up the language skills. The technology, in this case, will provide the medium for them to be creative and to present their ideas supported by images and text. Images and text also assist them when making oral presentations by providing a context and associations to remember language ideas and concepts.

To close I would like to quote from a student subject of a research conducted by KasapogluAkyol (2010), about the use of technology to improve language and communication skills: You can record your voice on the computer too.You can record your voiceWhen I do that, I listen later and try to learn correct pronunciation of the word.(p. 236).

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