USING PODCAST TO ENCOURAGE ORAL PRODUCTION
Perhaps one, from the all four skills (speaking, listening, writing and reading), which has made a huge impact on the language classroom settings is the oral one. The influence of communicative language teaching (CTL) and the links between this approach and oral production, has given an important stimulus for changing the way students learn languages nowadays and additionally has produced drastic changes on the teacher performance during the last two centuries (Nunan, 1999). Ur, 2006 argues that classroom activities which develop learners’ oral ability to express themselves are seen as an important component of a language course. A good language producer consequently, is mostly considered a speaker of that language rather than a writer of it. This happens due to the fact that almost all second-foreign language learners are more motivated to speak the language since speech is better considered the means to express ideas.
The impact of the use of computers for teaching languages has created more efficient and interactive Web tools available nowadays. Internet use consequently, has shaped new ways for educators to use and incorporate e-learning into their traditional teaching mechanisms since e-learning has the advantage of allowing learners to choose when, where, and how they study (Evans, 2007). We get then into the use of audio internet and podcasting. The term comes from the original mixture of two words, broadcasting and the popular media player, the IPod. The internet user can upload audio files previously recorded and edited into a web page and create posts by using this files (Evans, 2007). The files then can be downloaded and hear everywhere, especially in media players. Researchers that support the idea of podcast claim it helps the learner to acquire fluency among increasable growth in pronunciation and phonological proficiency due to the self-constructive realization of growth on the speaking field (Ducate and Lomicka 2009).
This project is oriented to explain how the learning process of English undertaken by the use of podcast and scripting can serve as means to increase the level of proficiency in regards to oral production of English for students of 3rd year at a high school level in Los Valles del Tuy, Miranda State, Venezuela and the effect of this Web 2.0 tool to gauge oral language advances on these students. A group of fifteen high-school teenagers are going to be taken at first stage by purposive sampling and encouraged to participate on an e-portfolio on “wetpaint” in which they have to upload their podcasts and see their advances in terms of oral production. The students are first being taught in the use of the two Web 2.0 tools necessary for the project and then being made to create their own podcasting sites on “PodBean”. With this, the researcher tries to change the previous perspective those students have about English and its production with communicative purposes.
• To diagnose the oral proficiency students have.
• To design a Web 2.0 tool (wiki) for a term.
• To develop classes under the communicative framework.
• To apply Podcasting to encourage oral production.
• To observe students’ performance at the end of the term.
MethodologyType of Study
The actual study employs a confirmatory approach since some theoretical models based on theory and previous researches findings have been searched and employed in order gather and analyze field data provided by the students’ samples of podcasts. This data is going to be classified according to an assessment rubric to determine first, the level of proficiency the purposing sample has on oral production and then how the using of podcast can have an effect on the oral students’ performance after several recordings. This project also can be classified first as a Descriptive Research since provides information about the actual conditions that occur to the students in the present. And Correlacional Research because it involves the search for relationships between two variables, the using of podcasts and the influence of it in oral performance. Through the use of various profiles provided by the assessment rubrics, the teacher will estimate what the initial oral performance the students have and later on how the podcasting usage enhances a difference on this performance (Neville, 2005).Participants
The group to participate in the project is made out of fifteen (15) students from UEP “Agustin Aveledo” in Santa Teresa del Tuy, Miranda State, Venezuela. Their ages are between twelve (12) and fifteen (15) years old. Due to the amount of students, the purposing sampling strategy has been chosen since it might represent a problem when trying to assess all participants, so the teacher decided to use a small group and then move forward with a different sample from the same population. They have good commands in the use of computer tools as long as they are explained and utilized for the subject and the classes. In terms of the level of English, we can say they have a beginner’s level or even lower, so the goal of this project is to make the students upgrade the level of English and make it more accurate with the times we are living in the teaching and learning of it.
First, some classes will be devoted to the knowledge and understand of common ICT concepts such as: digital literacy, web 2.0 tools, podcasting and wikis. With this, the project assures to be applicable since the knowledge of such concepts and tool plays an important role in the project development. In second step and in order to diagnose the initial oral proficiency the students have, a set of activities will be held. The first ones will deal with reflections about the previous objectives and speech formulas taught in previous years. For this, assessment rubric will be used. After that, a sample of fifteen (15) students will be selected from those students whose oral proficiency (according to the rubrics) is over basic.
The students will be assigned to get into an already created wiki (http://agustinaveledo.wetpaint.com), ask to be participant and once been accepted, write then about his personal information the same as the teacher did it. In addition, the classes will head to oral production and in agreement with the objectives planned for the level and with the project goal as an aim. Once the students signup in PodBean site and are allowed to write on the wiki, they students will be encourage to podcasting and practice oral production with the use of the software “Audacity”, record and edit different audio files they will need to cover for the objectives during one term. Finally, the students’ performance will be observed at the end of the term or period assigned for the project. By using the same rubrics as in the diagnostic procedure, the teacher will estimate how the use podcasts to develop the oral proficiency enhance a positive impact on the sample of students selected.
To hold this project then, the teacher will work with a wetpaint site that will work as an e-portfolio (http://agustinaveledo.wetpaint.com). This wiki has been designed to fulfill both, the teacher expectation about the e-portfolio and the students’ expectation about the new approach to be used in the subject.
After that, the students will have to download “Audacity” and “Lame” in order to have the necessary software to record, edit audio files and encode those files into mp3 formats. Later on, the will have to ask for permission to write on the wiki and then join PodBean and subscribe to that site, upload audio files and create posts on the different topics assigned.
The assessment of the students’ oral performances will be held by the use of the following instrument. This has been created for the specific purpose of the project, since it would be impossible to assess the sample with the already established criteria from TSE (Test of Spoken English) or The Common European Framework to assess oral production. This is a sample rubric which will be used to accomplish the assessment part. The results will be analyzed by a categorization process of results so as to give the project a qualitative profile and thus obtain real data from the students’ oral proficiency.
· Evans, C. (2007) The Effectiveness of M-learning in the form of Podcast Revision Lectures in Higher Education. ELSEVIER Science Direct. [On line publication] Computers and Education 50, (2008). Available: http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/PLM/MCCDE/curriculum/modules/podcast/m-learning_podcasts.pdf [Resource consulted: 2011, August 7].
· Herrell, A. and Jordan, M. (2009) 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners. Pearson: Merrill Prentice Hall. New Jersey US. 3rd Ed.
· Neville P., T. (2005) Educational Research: Some Basic Concepts and Terminology. [On line Module] Quantitative Research Methods in Educational Planning. UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, Institute of Comparative Education. University of Hamburg, Germany Available: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Cap_Dev_Training/Training_Materials/Quality/Qu_Mod1.pdf [Resource consulted: 2011, August 7].
· Nunan, D. (1999) Second Language Teaching & Learning. Heinle & Heinle Publishers. Boston, US.
· Stanley, G. (2006) Podcasting: Audio on the Internet comes of Age. Teaching English as a second or Foreign Language. [Online publication] 9, 4. Available: http://www.cc.kyoto-su.ac.jp/information/tesl-ej/ej36/int.html [resource consulted: 2011, July 22].
· Ur, P. (2006) A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge U.K.
· Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Podcast. [On line publication]. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast [resource consulted: 2011, July 22].