EVALUATING THE USE OF WEBQUESTS FOR LEARNING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE
Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica de Minas Gerais (BRAZIL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This study aims to verify whether a WebQuest (DODGE & MARCH, 1995, 2007), used as a tool for teaching and learning English as a second language, promotes a consistent learning as it is advocated by the new paradigm of the Sociocultural Theory (LANTOLF, 2000; LANTOLF & THORNE, 2007). A WebQuest is considered a multimodal environment for collaborative learning, which involves groups of students working together in order to develop online projects through links provided by the web. It is an inquiry-oriented model, which aims to search for information, so that the learners can solve a determined situation. The use of this technological artifact for learning English as a second language promotes the development of learners’ critical thinking skills, the co-construction of knowledge, the reflection of what has been learned and the possibility to transfer the acquired knowledge to other areas of their academic studies and personal lives. To achieve the objective of this study, two WebQuests were analyzed. Firstly, it was observed whether they embrace the steps suggested by Dodge and March (2007) in the construction of these WebQuests. Secondly, it was checked whether the pedagogical benefits of online research methodology cited by Dias (2010) could be found in these WebQuests. It was possible to ascertain that these WebQuests are able to enhance the teaching and the learning of foreign languages. Moreover, they encourage collaborative work, technology integration and the development of critical thinking and critical reading, in order to lead the learners to a better understanding of their own process of learning. They also contribute to intellectual autonomy, ethical, political and human development and to the formation of active social individuals in search of the construction of their citizenship.
Keywords: WebQuests, technology, education, learning, English as a second language.