Exploring the Benefits of ACMC for Speaking Development

  • Nicolás Pino James

Abstract

Currently, language educators experience difficulties in facilitating
oral practice effectively in the foreign language classroom. Regularly,
they face introverted and passive learners who fail to embrace
speaking opportunities (Poza, 2011), or simply do not find the time to
promote speaking practice in the classroom (Meddings & Thornbury,
2009). In this light, many asynchronous computer mediated
communication (ACMC) technologies have emerged to confront this
situation. However, central research studies do not seem to
acknowledge ACMC as viable in accommodating oral development but,
rather, frequently attribute this merit to synchronous CMC (Levy &
Stockwell, 2006; Kervin & Derewianka, 2011). By employing a mixedmethods
approach, this small-scale case study examines, firstly, the
extent to which ACMC speaking practices are suitable for language
learners’ speaking development. Secondly, and by extension, it
investigates the salient characteristics of the ACMC tool
myBrainshark, that makes it appropriate for fostering linguistic
growth. The data is obtained from post-beginner Spanish language
learners by means of an online questionnaire and an online structured
stimulated recall. The findings show, on the one hand, that ACMC oral
practices can be beneficial in developing speaking aspects in lowerproficiency
language learners and, on the other hand, that
myBrainshark has characteristics that can potentially promote
linguistic development. Finally, this paper calls for experimental
research on the improvement of oral competency in post-beginner and
higher-proficiency learners.

Published
2013-04-15