CyberL@b: Technology Enriched English Language Learning in Costa Rica

A.G. Quesada P. (Costa Rica) and R.J. Aust (USA)

Keywords

digital platform, computerassisted language learning, webbased language learning, user interface, authenticity, technologyenriched language learning

Abstract

This paper covers design, development and evaluation of a site of technology resources called CyberL@b and the affiliated English language learning instruction for 7-9th grades at six high schools in diverse urban and rural settings in Costa Rica. CyberL@b uses interactive media resources designed to engage student learning within authentic contexts. The project is designed to create an environment that is unique in fostering the integration of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) through social interactions that are critical in language learning. An initial needs analysis of the schools indicated that students considered the following to be important contributors to language learning: conversations with tourists, computer programs and video games, movies, and email of class notes. The initial implementation of CyberL@b indicates that when students engage in authentic activities relevant to their needs, they become more autonomous and self-directed in their learning. Teachers also adopt more learner-centered methods in their language teaching. On the basis of ongoing development and evaluation, a variety of approaches and technical strategies have been considered to allow students to engage in real-time authentic language learning activities worldwide.

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