Marist College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 3057-3064
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Stephen Krashen's input hypothesis for learning a second language emphasizes the importance of comprehending what is read and acquiring new words through context. Thus, materials should be just outside the reach of a learner’s ability. In second language acquisition theory this is often referred to as input +1 (i+1). Using the input hypothesis, many have experimented with the effectiveness of creating electronic glosses for texts, the power of differentiated learning, the importance of personal choice in reading, the need for reading for enjoyment over an extended period of time, and the usefulness of vocabulary review with peers and instructors. In spite of the research, language learning materials for vocabulary acquisition have changed little. Learners are largely introduced to works through vocabulary lists out of context first and then contextualization of vocabulary is attempted afterwards. This learning process goes against the incidental acquisition of vocabulary and ignores a learner’s prior knowledge and personal motivation for learning a language. This paper introduces a Web-based platform for acquiring vocabulary based on the input hypothesis and differentiated learning preferences for the incidental acquisition of vocabulary as well as the use of learning analytics to support learning of vocabulary. The platform, currently in beta, is known as Project TALOS. This software prototype supports differentiated learning as well as common coursework, allowing both readers and "leaders" to contribute and access documents of interest while promoting ease of reading. The reading-support technology provided by TALOS has been designed to assist both individual learners and reading groups organized around a topic. Any “reader” in the system can elect to become a “leader” and assign texts to groups such as classes or other learning groups. Such empowerment of the learner will foster greater collaboration among learners and place more emphasis on individual interest, personal learning, and lifelong learning of another language. Learners can see tagged texts in their “My Texts” section of the website, which lists all texts in their collection. While reading the text they can click on any unknown word and it is immediately defined in the sidebar via multiple translation and contextual definition application programming interfaces (APIs). Leaders can create groups of learners, allowing them to assign texts to those users and track statistics of the learners in their groups. For example, a leader can view statistics for individual learners (e.g., which words they have clicked on) as well as total statistics for a each text. These tasks are easily accomplished through a user-friendly interface and functional back-end for storing and retrieving data that can be accessed through most Web-Browsers. TALOS was developed using a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) server integrated with current Web technologies such as HTML5, JQuery, SCSS, and Javascript. This paper will introduce the TALOS platform and explain the theoretical underpinnings and results of initial beta testing among Spanish language learners. In short, an innovative learner-centered language-learning curriculum will be demonstrated, in which learners choose their own content and acquisition of vocabulary rather than course material solely assigned by a leader.
Learning analytics, computer assisted language learning, vocabulary acquisition.