Web 2.0 and Authentic Foreign Language Learning at Higher Education Level

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Abstract

Web 2.0 has afforded a number of opportunities for foreign language learning due to its open, participatory and social nature. A crucial aspect is authenticity – both situational and interactional – since students become involved in meaningful tasks, interacting in the target language with an authentic audience. In this paper we will reflect upon the potential of Web 2.0 tools, namely social networks, wikis and podcasts in enhancing foreign language learning opportunities at higher education level under the Bologna process. An action research project was carried out with undergraduate tourism students from Portugal. During two semesters, interactional tasks using Web 2.0 applications and involving the construction of collaborative outputs were designed and implemented, with the main goal of promoting and developing interactive communication skills in English amongst students with low levels of motivation and prior learning. Data was collected at different stages of the project aided by different data collection tools, namely questionnaires, focus group interviews, individual interviews, written reflections and corpus analyses, and a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches was used. Results point towards impacts on students' language awareness, which has contributed to the creation of opportunities for language self-development, enhancing autonomous learning. In addition, it increased motivation for language learning by providing more opportunities for authentic input, social interaction and collaboration through the target language. Finally, the development of meta-competences such as metacognition and meta-learning can be highlighted.

Keywords: authenticity, collaborative learning, English as a foreign language, web 2.0.

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Correia Martins, Maria de Lurdes; Moreira, Gillian; Moreira, António. (2012). Web 2.0 and Authentic Foreign Language Learning at Higher Education Level. In Linda Bradley, Sylvie Thouësny (Eds), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 64-69). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2012.000028

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doi:10.14705/rpnet.2013.000140