- Foreign Languages (2010-11)
This action research project explored the use of online interactive speaking activities to expand the scope of homework beyond the traditional written assignment. A class of ninth- and eleventh-grade boys in intermediate Spanish at St. Mark’s School of Texas, a boys’ school in the United States, participated in an intervention to determine if such homework assignments would enhance boys’ engagement and achievement in the study of Spanish. For each unit, several written assignments were replaced with online oral assignments using LingtLanguage and VoiceThread. The asynchronous nature of the assignments allowed boys to listen to the questions and videos as many times as necessary and gave them time to think and plan their oral responses. Though the time commitment and computer access needed to complete this type of assignment seemed to detract from their enjoyment of the project, the students, in general, were willing to put in the extra effort required. The boys’ enthusiasm for assignments that promoted authentic communication suggests that such online speaking tasks may have a place in foreign language classes.