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WeChat and the facilitation of collaborative learning, teacher-support and student-reflection: the NZCEL EAP scenario


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WeChat and the facilitation of collaborative learning, teacher-support and student-reflection: the NZCEL EAP scenario In the last couple of decades, the increased use of technology in the education sector has led to smartphone use becoming more prevalent in supporting students’ learning. Apart from apps specifically designed for educational purposes, there are also other messaging applications that are not specifically designed for education purposes, but that could be really useful in supporting learners, including the messaging apps Whatsapp and Wechat. For the purposes of this project, Wechat was used as the messaging app, partly because of the prevalence of use with the cohort of language learning students chosen for the project.
Research into the use of Wechat as an educational support tool has largely focused on usage in China and some studies such as that conducted by Jian and Li (2018) on linking up learners of Chinese in Australia with native Chinese speakers. However, there does not appear to be any research on the use of Wechat to establish a supportive and collaborative environment for English Language Learners in an English as another language environment.
This presentation reports on the initial findings of a pilot study which aimed to evaluate the use of WeChat as a tool to facilitate collaborative, supportive and reflective learning for students in a New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL), Level 4 Academic course, within an EAP tertiary environment. The findings focus on the participants’ views of the app as a tool for peer-support, teacher-support, students sharing knowledge (collaboration) and reflection. Data was gathered through an online survey, semi-structured interviews and an analysis of the Wechat posts. Analysis of the Wechat posts and comments made by students during the interviews suggest that the tool formed a vital link between them, their classmates and teachers, at times serving as a social platform underlying the key educational purposes. This research aims to offer new insights into the use of a socio-cultural theoretical approach, incorporating a smartphone app. such as WeChat as a supporting tool for language learning, student collaboration, reflection and support.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: Phone app, EAP, Collaboration, reflection, WeChat
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Languages
Depositing User: Anthea Fester
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2020 01:12
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 08:43

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