For the first cycle of the research, I used several ways to collect data that included research journal, collection of student work, questionnaires, and comparisons of the student's first quarter grades with their first quarter grades in 2003.
As the teacher and researcher, I have been keeping a reflective journal focusing on my own intentions and on how the students are responding to the environments and lessons I create and facilitate. Revisions, actions taken and responses are also noted. My action research journal can be accessed at xkarp.blogspot.com .
Sample Student Work:
1. Tapped-In is an online virtual room for students to collaborate on learning and practicing Chinese. The first time when I introduced TI to Chinese III and Chinese IV classes, I observed that all students were excited about this virtual classroom where they could talk in Chinese. Several students shouted in Chinese that they liked TI, and other students said that TI was really fun. From student's TI sessions I saw the benefits of TI. TI has kept students active doing meaningful activities. Students are able to use the strengths of other students, and learn from others. In TI, students construct their own knowledge rather than accepting that given by me, and they control their own learning process. As they interact with each other, they are developing their new knowledge and skills. I observed that since we started TI, some of the students improved their speaking ability because they had practiced dialogues in the virtual room before they had a face-to-face talk. The following sample is extracted from a transcript recorded automatically by the system during a dialogue among a group of the Chinese IV students. The students were required to make a dialogue in a Chinese library. One student role played the librarian, and two students role played the patrons.
BosiSt contributed 57 messages during 30 minutes.
2004.10.17 19:20:24 Login Room: TBSCh4_Grp
BosiSt joined the room.
FanXueLiSt joined the room.
BosiSt: ni3 hao3!
FanXueLiSt: ni3 hao3
BosiSt: ni3 de xing1 xi1 ri4 sen3 me yang4?
FanXueLiSt: ke3 yi
FanXueLiSt: ni3 de?
LiyuSt joined the room.
BosiSt: hui4 hao3
BosiSt: ni3 hao3
LiyuSt: ni3hao3 ni3men
FanXueLiSt: ni3 hao3 liyu
BosiSt: huang2 lan2 ye3 lai2 ma?
LiyuSt whats the topic again?
FanXueLiSt: wo3 bu4 zhi1dao4
LiyuSt: huang2 lan2 ye3 lai2
BosiSt: you are in china studying chinese. You go to the library to borrow books, but you dont know how to check out a book
FanXueLiSt the topic? ummm... dont know
FanXueLiSt oh got it
BosiSt: you ask the librarian for help. you would lilke to know how many books you can check out each time
LiyuSt that cant be it, hold on i'm gonna go get my book
BosiSt: how long you can keep the books, and what identification you need for checking out books
BosiSt: zai4 jian4
LiyuSt: xie4xie4 ni3men
BosiSt: ming2 r jian4!
FanXueLiSt: ming4 tian1 jian4
FanXueLiSt left the room (signed off).
BosiSt left the room (signed off).
2004.10.17 19:50:32 Signoff
2. Chinese III and Chinese IV students have used blogger.com to write Chinese passages, comment on other students' writings, and reflect on what they have learned. The followings are comments extracted from Chinese IV students' blogs.
At 8:59 PM , FanXueLi said…
Look at you two sentences for grammar point #4. You are supposed to use the structure for "resultative complements. "What this structure basically means is that right after the verb yu have a word that explains the result of that action. Take the sentence in the book as an example. "ni zhao wo cuo qian le." Here the verb is "zhao" and the noun is "qian." The action is "to give change." The word "cuo" describes the result of this action, specifically that it is the wrong change. The sentence 'wo zuo wan gong ke" explains that you are finished the action of doing homework. Look at these two examples and then try responding again.
At 4:44 PM , FanXueLi said...
In this section LuoBin said "I like to drink beer, but I most like to drink water." It did not say "I like to drink wine, but I dont like to drink water."
At 12:40 PM , Natalie said...
" ??????????,??? "
You don't need"??? " or the"?" in the sentence.
3. Chinese III and Chinese IV students have undertaken the project learning during the first quarter. From student's self reflections, I have learned that the students not only collaborated on learning with their teammates, but also helped other groups. Here is a sample project that a group of Chinese IV students completed at the end of the first quarter. Please click here to view the Powerpoint Project .
The followings are some student's reflections on the project learning:
I really enjoyed working on this project. I thought that it was a good way of incorporating technology into our learning. Using PowerPoint made our presentations more interesting while still allowing us to present our information in an organized and effective way. I really enjoyed working with my classmates on my project because we all contributed our own ideas to the project. Together, we were able to combine our individual ideas and create one single presentation. … Therefore, we were able to express a greater knowledge and understanding in these areas. There was a lot of work involved in this project, and I do not think anyone could have done nearly as good of a job without their collaboration with their teammates.
In this Chinese project, I learned a lot from collaborating with my group. I think that we accomplished more working together and we had better ideas than I would have come up with on my own. I especially learned a great amount about the Chinese culture and their ways of eating. It's fascinating how different our cultures are. …I not only learned a lot from researching, but I also learned a lot from my group members. …This project not only helped me understand the Chinese culture, but also helped me realize how creative we can be when we put our minds together.
I really enjoyed this project because it helped me remember and understand the different sentence structures more and more as I kept using them over and over and I even remember the vocabulary much easier because I kept using the words and it helped to “plan” them into my memory… I look forward to doing more of these in the future to assist us with our learning of the grammar and the vocabulary. These projects along with the blogspots will make this year very productive as well as enjoyable.
At the end of the first quarter (October 29, 2004), I administered a survey to Chinese III and Chinese IV students. All of them participated in the survey.
Here are the questions and survey results:
Question 1: Do you think Tapped-In (online synchronous chat) activities have helped you practice Chinese more efficiently? Why or Why not?
- Yes, practicing Chinese in a virtual chat room without pressure (77 %).
- Yes, understanding new vocabulary and sentence structure deeply (100%).
- Yes, receiving feedback from peers immediately (55 %).
- Yes, feeling like in a Chinese language environment in the chat-room (88 %).
- Yes, chatting improved communication skill effectively (100%).
Question 2: Do you think blog activities have helped you practice Chinese reading, writing, and typing effectively and efficiently? Why or Why not?
- Yes, reading other people's blogs helped me form my thoughts (55%).
- Yes, reading other people's blogs helped me gain insight of the learning materials (33%).
- Yes, reading other people's blogs helped me improve my reading (88%).
- Yes, reading other people's comments helped me receive feedback from my peers quickly and easily (66%).
- Yes, reading other people's comments on my blogs helped me refine knowledge (55%).
- Yes, writing and translating blog messages helped me improve my writing and translation skills (88%).
Question 3: How do you like the Chinese class this year?
I like it a lot. There is a lot more work, but I feel that I have learned a lot more. It is more interactive and the varied activities keep the class interesting.
I like it a lot. I think that the interactive Chinese on the computer is a good new step and it has helped a lot.
Chinese is a great class this year. It is one of my favorites.
I like the methods of teaching this year more than just memorizing for the quizzes each day (that we did last year).
Fun and good for leaning.
Yes because I think the way of learning Chinese is more efficient and enjoyable.
I really like Chinese this year because I feel I am learning better. It's fun.
I like it. It is fun and I like our small class.
Question 4: Do you think the new teaching methods have worked for you? Why or Why not?
Yes. Not only have I learned more, but I have learned it better. I am not just memorizing vocab and following structure patterns to make sentences, but Iam actively gaining an understanding of the language.
Yes. I feel that I learn better when I am interacting with my classrooms about schoolwork. It makes it more enjoyable and I remember more.
I think it has worked. I have better understanding of material.
Yes, instead of just learning words, we learn how to use them in a real dialogue.
Yes because I can constantly using words and structures.
Yes... I am doing well in the class.
Yes, it has, because it is better than just the books, and more interesting.
Because I review the material more.
Data Comparison and Analysis:
The above sample student's work and reflections, sample TI transcript, sample blog messages, and the survey results all show that the integration of the interactive technologies with language pedagogy supports student's learning. However, how do I prove if the use of the technologies really has a positive impact on student learning? I turned to student's grades for answers. I believe if the students have really learned better, their improvement of the learning should reflect on their grades. I compared Chinese IV student's first quarter grades with the same student's first quarter grades a year ago. Here is the graph.
Chinese IV class's average grade for the first quarter this year is 94.5, and the same class's first quarter average a year ago was 90.6, an increase of 4.3%. Comparing Chinese IV class average grade this year, 94.5 with Chinese IV class average grade last year, 82.4, there is an increase of 14.7% this year.
Comparing the students' last year learning experience with the same students' learning experience this year, we see Chinese IV students' improvement. On the other hand, from the comparison of Chinese IV student's average grade this year with the average grade of last year's Chinese IV students who learned the same materials, we also see an improvement.