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Instant messaging and the facilitation of collaborative, student-led learning and teaching-support: The NZCEL EAP scenario


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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 applications (apps) specifically designed for language educational purposes, such as Duolingo, there are also instant messaging apps that are not specifically designed for education purposes, but that can be useful in supporting learners. These include instant messaging apps such as, WhatsApp and WeChat. Instead of relegating phone app use to merely a source of entertainment and distraction, teachers increasingly use them as a vital form of communication to enhance education, including language learning. Apps have thus shifted from a tangential position to the forefront of the learning space. For the purposes of this research project, WeChat was used as the messaging app. This article focuses on the initial findings of a pilot study and concentrates on the perceived purposes for the participants’ posts as they relate to the use of the app as a tool for collaboration, peer-support, and knowledge sharing. Data was gathered through an online survey, semi-structured interviews, and an analysis of the WeChat posts. Analysis of the posts and comments made by students during the interviews suggest that the tool formed a vital link between them, their classmates and teachers, and, at times, served as a social platform underlying the key educational purposes of the programme.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: instant messaging, English for Academic Purposes, collaboration, supportive environment, reflection
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Languages
Depositing User: Anthea Fester
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2021 00:47
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 09:13

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