Technology-Enhanced Vocabulary Development through Semantic Network Development Model vs. Syntactic Structure Development Model

Technology-Enhanced Vocabulary Development through Semantic Network Development Model vs. Syntactic Structure Development Model

Javad Kia Heirati (University of Mazandaran, Iran), Mehdi Azadsarv (Imam Khomeini University of Naval Sciences, Iran) and Arash Golzari (Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Iran)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1882-2.ch012
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This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of integrating technology-enhanced instruction with semantic network and syntactic structure development models on EFL learners' improvement in vocabulary learning. Therefore, 75 Iranian EFL learners received VKS, a pre-test and a post-test to measure their current vocabulary knowledge and development. The findings showed that both models and technology were significantly effective in improving the development of vocabulary. Moreover, those learners who received their instruction based on semantic network development and syntactic structure development models incorporated in CALL out-performed significantly those who were exposed solely to the two models of vocabulary instruction (i.e. semantic network development model and syntactic structure development model). The results suggest that teachers can consciously benefit from the mixture of technology-enhanced instruction and the models (and other successful teaching techniques) to improve the learners' vocabulary learning as well as other language skills and sub-skills in general.
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Vocabulary Instruction

Learning new vocabularies seems to be a complicated process involving a variety of sub-processes and tasks demanding more elaboration to be internalized (Vermeer, 2000). Before a word becomes a part of one’s automatic linguistic competence, it has to be recognized as a word, its syntactic and semantic properties should be learned, and it has to be integrated into one’s mental lexicon so that it can be retrieved automatically when needed (Carroll, 2008). The thing that needs to be attended is how vocabulary should be taught to assist the learners to get mastery over syntactic and semantic properties of the word.

Much research conducted in the area of second language vocabulary acquisition has been concerned with vocabulary instruction (Quian, 2004; Zimmerman, 1997) to reveal the significance of vocabulary learning and teaching and paving the way for learners and teachers to acquire the best knowledge of vocabulary acquisition and pedagogy. To date, a few studies have been carried out in terms of syntactic development in vocabulary learning (Helms-Park, 2001) as well semantically-developed vocabulary acquisition (Jiang, 2004). There might be no research that has looked into the comparison of the effectiveness of syntactic and semantic network development models in both learning and retention of vocabulary items in a foreign language context.

Technology-Enhanced Instruction

It is also believed that using technology and computer-assisted language learning (CALL) methods (such as PCs, laptops, interactive smart board, overhead projector, internet, mobile, etc.) can facilitate learning and teaching process (Corbeil, 2007). As Ommen (2012) pointed, learners have positive attitude toward using power point presentations (PPT) for learning grammatical points in their lessons. There are a number of studies that have asserted the significant effect of CALL especially PPTs on language learning (e.g. Pirasteh, 2014; Nutta, 2013), and strongly urged much research to benefit from technology in teaching language skills.

CALL is also known and productive in teaching sub-skills (e.g. grammar or vocabulary). There is substantial evidence that using technology as an instructional tool improves the learners’ accuracy in speaking and writing skills. Some researchers have attempted to discover the effect of textual enhancement (TE) with power point presentations (PPTs) to attract the learners’ attention of the target forms, while the focus is primarily on meaning not structure (Macis,2011; Carbeil, 2007). It was found that PPTs were as effective as a traditional method of teaching grammar on the one hand, and the data were collected by questionnaire outlined students’ preference for using PPTs as a more effective grammar learning tool on the other. Most of studies in this field were carried out for university students (e.g. Nutta, 2013; Pirasteh, 2014; Tafazoli, Nosratzadeh, & Hosseini, 2013) to highlight the impact of technology devices on teaching grammar and vocabulary, revealing the positive application of CALL in assisting both teachers as well as the learners to enjoy interaction caused by overhead projectors and PPTs.

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