USING VOICETHREAD TO GENERATE L2 SPEECH IN THE SPANISH CLASSROOM: STUDENTS' PERCEPTIONS
The Pennsylvania State University (UNITED STATES)
VoiceThread is a Web 2.0 tool like Audacity which can be used to record students’ voices in a language classroom. Voicethread has some advantages over Audacity in that it supports voice, visuals and text. According to Houston, et al. (2008) VoiceThread has the most potential for aiding classroom conversation and speech in L2 classrooms because it has visual and textual clues. Another study by B. Crane (2009) found that VoiceThread had the following features which made it an excellent tool in the language classroom: 1. It is simple to use 2. It can be embedded in blogs and web sites 3. It can include images, text and videos from various sources, 4. It can be used as a collaborative tool 5. It can be used to provide feedback to students 6. It allows for various levels of viewing and participation. In this study, students were asked to use VoiceThread in a first year Spanish as a Second language (L2) classroom.
This study analyzed students' perceptions on the following categories which involved using VoiceThread: 1. Planning assignments, 2. Collaborating with peers 3. Constructing content 4. Speaking and recording their voices 5. Evaluating the sound quality 6. Assessing the need for Images 7. Determining the technical difficulties using VoiceThread 8. Recommending VoiceThread in general. Questionnaires were evaluated to determine students' perceptions on the value of using VoiceThread as a form of developing linguistic accuracy in a Second Language classroom. In general, the study found that almost 80% of the students agreed that, although they had never used VoiceThread before, they found it was easy to use. 62% recommended using VoiceThread in the language classroom because they felt that their pronunciation had improved. 59% felt they enjoyed using their own images to support their speech, and 55% enjoyed planning what they had to tape on VoiceThread. It was interesting to observe that it didn’t seem to enhance collaboration since only 34% said it helped them to collaborate with their peers. Perhaps, this could be enhanced by adding activities in which students have to comment on each other’s ideas instead of just enunciating or proposing their own.