Collaborative enquiry through the tabletop for second/foreign language learners

Lin, Mei, Preston, Anne, Kharrufa, Ahmed and Kong, Zhouran (2014) Collaborative enquiry through the tabletop for second/foreign language learners. In: EUROCALL 2014 : CALL Design : Principles and Practice; 20-23 Aug 2014, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Abstract. Interactional communicative competence and higher-order thinking have been well documented as two of the biggest challenges for second/foreign language learners (EFL learners). This paper evaluates the use of digital tabletops as tools for problem-solving tasks in groups. The evaluation is based on a preliminary study of an application of the use of Digital Mysteries task with EFL learners in a Higher Education institution. It focuses more specifically on the extent to which collaborative learning platforms provided by interactive tabletops can promote and support the application of both thinking and linguistic skills for EFL learners. Based on an interdisciplinary perspective which draws from instructed second language learning and human-computer interaction fields, the evaluation considers momentto- moment multimodal interaction of three groups of Chinese English language learners with and around the completion of the Digital Mysteries task. It seeks to identify what specific affordances in the design might benefit EFL learners in terms of thinking skills, interactional competence and linguistic performance, and by the same token, what might not. This paper concludes with a number of suggestions about how technologies designed for collaborative enquiry might be repurposed for higher-order thinking and language learning.

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