H. Obari1, S. Yamawaki2

1Aoyama Gakuin University (JAPAN)
2Castalia (JAPAN)
The goal of this presentation is to illustrate what is presently known about the integration of emerging new technologies into language classrooms. Several types of new technologies have emerged in the field of language education. However, few recent studies have reported on how the integration has actually been implemented in classrooms.

First, we will briefly review some of the benefits of blended learning.
(1) Blended learning (BL) prevents learner isolation and reduces the number of dropouts.
(2) Stanford University has reported success in raising students’ self-paced course completion rate from a little over 50 % to 94 % by incorporating elements of BL, by scheduling live events, facilitating interaction with instructors and peers, and by providing mentoring experiences (Singh & Reed, 2005).
(3) “In a blended learning best practice survey conducted by the eLearning Guild (2003), 73.6 % of respondents reported blended learning to be more effective than non-blended approaches” (Wilson & Smilanich, 2005, p.15).

Despite advances in technological tools for learning, we also recognize the value of face-to-face learning. Having a consistent time and place for learning where classmates can socialize and receive inspiration/advice from a knowledgeable teacher is often necessary for increasing morale and motivation. According to social constructionism, people create new knowledge and learn most effectively through social interaction and exchanging information for the benefit of others.

Secondly, we will briefly examine and discuss how social learning is one of the best ways to acquire educational contents. Social learning makes it possible to share insights and connect the knowledge of all learners. OCW can be a fuel for social learning. The social learning platform “iUniv" has created a worldwide learning community by connecting learners and allowing them to share their insights on OCW contents. We also offer "Schooly", a social learning platform for a secured community which enables schools and colleges to fulfill their needs to share cutting- edge knowledge between limited members.

The presenter will report on the empirical results of a study utilizing the advantage of a cyber community which includes the Cyber Campus System (CCS), e-learning and m-learning (mobile learning), the on-line Computerized Assessment System for English Communication (CASEC), the CaLabo EX computer-assisted language learning system (CALL), iUniv, and English pronunciation training software to teach EFL.

The study was carried out from April 2009 to January 2010. Thirty eight students used English pronunciation training software for roughly 20 to 30 minutes. The rest of the 90-minute lesson was devoted to studying World Heritage within a blended learning environment, as students practiced their presentations using digital storytelling. At the same time, a mobile phone was used to study key words and phrases related to the textbook. The CASEC was administered to assess the overall English proficiency as a pretest in April 2009 and as a posttest in January 2010. Our study revealed that the average CASEC score significantly improved from 520 (SD=81) in April 2009 to 602 (SD=54) in January 2010. The difference in scores indicated that the use of the integration of m-learning and e-learning helped the students to improve their overall English proficiency.

In the near future, as social learning becomes popular, it will require further development within a theoretical framework. Monitoring and engagement, both key functions for the growth of social learning, will also be explained.