Tweeting the Words Away: Rethinking theUse of Twitter in Vocabulary LearningMELTA International Conference 2013Mr. Chuah K...
Page  2Vocabulary LearningScholarly Citation Extensive repertoire ofvocabulary is capable ofexpanding learners’ language...
Page  3Vocabulary LearningScholarly Citation Vocabulary teaching in the context of highereducation is not preferred – du...
Page  4Background: TwitterScholarly CitationWhat is Twitter?"Twitter is a micro-bloggingplatform that allows people tosha...
Page  5Why Twitter?Scholarly Citation Largely text-based and allows concise usage ofwords. There are about 340 million ...
Page  6Theoretical FoundationsScholarly Citation Guided by the principles of Incidental VocabularyLearning. Incidental ...
Page  7The StudyScholarly Citation Aims to answer the following questions:1. How does Twitter allow incidental learning ...
Page  8The StudyScholarly Citation Case study approach is employed. A total of 38 students were selected and a pre-test...
Page  9The StudyScholarly Citation
Page  10The StudyScholarly Citation
Page  11The StudyScholarly CitationExample of conversations onTwitter pertaining to the words.Example of word searchvia H...
Page  12The FindingsScholarly Citation Vocabulary Test Results - PreN Minimum Maximum Mean Std.Deviation2K Level 38 2.00...
Page  13The FindingsScholarly Citation Vocabulary Test Results - PostN Minimum Maximum Mean Std.Deviation2K Level 38 4.0...
Page  14The FindingsScholarly Citation Vocabulary Test (Means Comparisons)N Pre Post2K Level 38 9.63 11.133K Level 38 6....
Page  15The FindingsScholarly Citation The findings revealed minimal improvements inthe students’ vocabulary level. Alt...
Page  16Potentials and DrawbacksScholarly Citation1. Openness – lead to lackof participation (privacyconcerns).2. Overwhe...
Page  17Recommendations Some recommendations for the use of Twitter toencourage vocabulary learning Instructors need to...
Page  18Conclusions Twitter’s roles for pedagogical use especiallyvocabulary learning can be maximised. But educators n...
Thank you.Questions? Feedback?Follow Us@keemanxp kmchuah@cls.unimas.my@looichin chngl026@sarawak.uitm.edu.my
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Tweeting the Words Away: Rethinking the Use of Twitter in Vocabulary Learning

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In the area of second and foreign language studies, researchers have revealed how extensive repertoire of vocabulary is capable of expanding learners’ language competence or mastery. Various computer-based tools have been proposed to improve vocabulary learning among English language learners. One of them is the use of Twitter, an online micro blogging network that allows users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, which is termed as “tweets”. Due to such limitation, previous studies have noted how users tend to use shorter forms of a word or invent their own words in their tweets. Such activities are seen as a threat to vocabulary learning. This paper reports a case study on the use of Twitter in vocabulary learning among first-year university students with low proficiency in English. A total of 38 students were selected and a pre-test was conducted to distinguish their vocabulary level. They received two tweets on vocabulary from the instructor on a daily basis for ten weeks and were told to learn the words through several activities using tweets. At the end of the tenth week, a post-test was carried out. The findings revealed minimal but significant improvements in the students’ vocabulary level. Although the scores from the tests did not show a great increase, the students were able to construct sentences using the vocabulary learned mostly via tweets. This paper also proposes several methodological considerations on the use of Twitter for vocabulary learning particularly as a way to raise awareness.

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Tweeting the Words Away: Rethinking the Use of Twitter in Vocabulary Learning

  1. 1. Tweeting the Words Away: Rethinking theUse of Twitter in Vocabulary LearningMELTA International Conference 2013Mr. Chuah Kee-ManCentre for Language Studies, Universiti Malaysia SarawakMs. Ch’ng Looi-ChinAcademy of Language Studies, Universiti Teknologi Mara (Samarahan Campus)
  2. 2. Page  2Vocabulary LearningScholarly Citation Extensive repertoire ofvocabulary is capable ofexpanding learners’ languagecompetence or mastery(McLaughlin et al., 2010). Whether vocabulary should betaught explicitly at the expenseof communicative competenceremains a heated debate(Nation,2001; Schmitt, 2008).
  3. 3. Page  3Vocabulary LearningScholarly Citation Vocabulary teaching in the context of highereducation is not preferred – due to limitedcontact hours. Language educators at tertiary levels tend tofocus more on content knowledge (Pulido, 2004). There is a need to look at what Web 2.0 (SocialMedia) tools can offer in encouraging vocabularylearning (especially for self-access learning).
  4. 4. Page  4Background: TwitterScholarly CitationWhat is Twitter?"Twitter is a micro-bloggingplatform that allows people toshare posts 140 characters inlength. Each post is known asTweet. And a repost of it iscalled Re-Tweet (RT).”(Sagolla, 2009)
  5. 5. Page  5Why Twitter?Scholarly Citation Largely text-based and allows concise usage ofwords. There are about 340 million tweets every day (anextremely large corpus) – (Twitter.com Stats) The increasing population of active Twitter usersin Malaysia (#TwitterJaya) (Ranked third, afterFacebook and YouTube) Widely used as a mobile application, allowingeasy access to user posts (Tweets)
  6. 6. Page  6Theoretical FoundationsScholarly Citation Guided by the principles of Incidental VocabularyLearning. Incidental vocabulary learning can, therefore, bedefined as “learning without an intent to learn”(Laufer & Hulstijn, 2001, p. 10) Schmidt (1994) - the learning of vocabulary whenthe learner’s primary objective is to do somethingelse. Online user-generated contents and web resourcesare providing a great opportunity for incidentallearning (Wong & Looi, 2010)
  7. 7. Page  7The StudyScholarly Citation Aims to answer the following questions:1. How does Twitter allow incidental learning ofvocabulary among low proficiencystudents?2. What are the potential and drawbacks ofTwitter in vocabulary learning?
  8. 8. Page  8The StudyScholarly Citation Case study approach is employed. A total of 38 students were selected and a pre-testwas conducted to distinguish their vocabularylevel (test on 90 words on various levels asgrouped by Nation, 2001). They received two tweets on vocabulary (withhashtag) from the instructor on a daily basis for10 weeks. At the end of the tenth week, a post-test wascarried out (similar to pre-test but in differentorder).
  9. 9. Page  9The StudyScholarly Citation
  10. 10. Page  10The StudyScholarly Citation
  11. 11. Page  11The StudyScholarly CitationExample of conversations onTwitter pertaining to the words.Example of word searchvia Hashtag.
  12. 12. Page  12The FindingsScholarly Citation Vocabulary Test Results - PreN Minimum Maximum Mean Std.Deviation2K Level 38 2.00 15.00 9.63 4.313K Level 38 2.00 11.00 6.34 3.605K Level 38 1.00 9.00 4.18 3.3810K Level 38 0.00 5.00 2.53 1.94University Words 38 1.00 7.00 3.68 2.12
  13. 13. Page  13The FindingsScholarly Citation Vocabulary Test Results - PostN Minimum Maximum Mean Std.Deviation2K Level 38 4.00 17.00 11.13 3.383K Level 38 3.00 14.00 7.89 3.545K Level 38 2.00 9.00 5.87 1.7010K Level 38 1.00 6.00 2.13 2.13University Words 38 1.00 8.00 3.26 2.23
  14. 14. Page  14The FindingsScholarly Citation Vocabulary Test (Means Comparisons)N Pre Post2K Level 38 9.63 11.133K Level 38 6.34 7.895K Level 38 4.18 5.8710K Level 38 2.53 2.13University Words 38 3.68 3.26
  15. 15. Page  15The FindingsScholarly Citation The findings revealed minimal improvements inthe students’ vocabulary level. Although the scores from the tests did not showa great increase, the students were able toconstruct sentences using the vocabulary. Participants generally appreciate the extra inputof vocabulary obtained through instructor’sTweets. Incidental learning was noted through students’use of #hashtags
  16. 16. Page  16Potentials and DrawbacksScholarly Citation1. Openness – lead to lackof participation (privacyconcerns).2. Overwhelming to bothteacher and learners3. Lack of control – mightlearn the word wrongly.1. Rapid sharing –especially via ReTweet2. Concise usage of words(140 characters)3. Access to large corpus(millions of tweets)4. Learn while socialising(e.g. learn with friends)DrawbacksPotentials
  17. 17. Page  17Recommendations Some recommendations for the use of Twitter toencourage vocabulary learning Instructors need to be rather active to replystudents (teaching presence) Educate students on net-ethics. Use hashtags for the vocabulary (e.g.#profound) or the activity (#WOTD) to allow easytracking. Ensure students make their Twitter profile“protected” – cannot be viewed by the public.
  18. 18. Page  18Conclusions Twitter’s roles for pedagogical use especiallyvocabulary learning can be maximised. But educators need to formulate a clear guidancein how to use it. Rethinking its drawbacks and potentials arenecessary before jumping into the bandwagon.
  19. 19. Thank you.Questions? Feedback?Follow Us@keemanxp kmchuah@cls.unimas.my@looichin chngl026@sarawak.uitm.edu.my

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