LRC560 Bib Page
What is "the potential role of Internet resources
as a means for beginning-level students of Spanish as a foreign language to
gain a sense of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world as part of their
undergraduate language learning experience"(72)?
The subjects were thirteen college students of Basic Spanish. All
were computer literate except one.
The students had to complete "five Spanish language activities using the
Internet"(72). The assignments were created using two approaches: One,
a topic or theme was selected for each chapter studied in the first semester,
first year Spanish syllabus, and two, students had to complete a task that
was designed to go with each topic; sensitivity to the skills needed to be
successful was accounted for. The textbook was used in conjunction with
the activities. For example, when the textbook chapter emphasized the
Spanish speaking community of Madrid, the students had to plan a family trip
to Madrid which included: One, finding names and costs for hotels and
deciding where to stay, two, searching for restaurants that will satisfy each
of the family members, three, find sites to visit and how to get there, and
four, find the location of a museum, the hours of operation and when it is
free to visit. General searches were made to find appropriate websites
using keywords like the name of the country or the names of sites. The
students worked independently. Each activity was worth 50 points and
points were awarded if the activity was complete rather than if it was right
or wrong. The cultural knowledge that was gained was discussed.
A "post activity assessment questionnaire"(73) was administered after each
activity was completed. The questionnaire had two sections: One
"measured perceived learning outcomes, reaction to the medium and assessment
of the task"(73) using a 6 point Likert-type scale and two, was open-ended
questions measuring attitudes toward technology. Also, another survey
was given after the completion of all 5 activities in order to "provide a
comprehensive view of integrating language and culture through use of the
The outcomes for perceived learning had means of 77% indicating that the
students agreed that their language knowledge had increased, 81% indicating
that they agreed that their cultural knowledge had increased and 88% believed
that their knowledge of the language and culture both increased. Regarding
the attitudes towards technology the students showed means of 69% indicating
websites were easy to access, 71% said the sites were easy to use, 71% said
the information was useful, 32% said they returned to the site after a task
was completed, and 85% enjoyed using the web.
The article considered the pilot study to be very useful and "an excellent
tool for teaching foreign langauge and culture"(76). The researchers
saw this study as having a balanced intergration of textbook, language and
culture, purposeful use of the target language, variety and relevance of task
types and authenticity of Spanish-speaking cultures.
Would activities like these be useful for learning about one's own culture
or language? Are web resources available for lesser known or endangered languages
and cultures? From my own research, I believe there are quite a few
resources on the Web to answer my questions above.