Using 3-D Virtual Learning Environments to Improve Listening Skill

Using 3-D Virtual Learning Environments to Improve Listening Skill

Ramazan Zengin (Istanbul University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8499-7.ch012
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The recent developments in educational technologies have given opportunity to the use of various Internet-based resources, apps and Interactive Multimedia Software. This variety has provided freedom for foreign language learners to reach multiple sources of technology. The immersive nature of 3-D virtual learning environments such as the Second Life may provide many new opportunities for authentic communication, cooperative creation of content, and multiple modes of information processing in the context of foreign language learning. This chapter will discuss how these new technologies can be used in language classrooms to improve students' listening skill which is important for effective communication. In the digital age, new technologies are repositioning listening as an important ‘new' literacy where new resources can be used to provide a better learning-teaching context. Today's young people known as “digital natives” are born into a digital world, and they spend hours in front of their digital devices.
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Until the digital age, written language was very important because printed books and printed documents were permanent, transportable, viewable and recordable whereas this was not possible with oral language. With new technologies, it is now possible to capture, record and transform oral language, which was previously impossible. In communication, listening entails complex interpretive processes. Successful listening entails neurological, linguistic, semantic, cognitive, social and pragmatic processes.

In the new media age, new technologies are repositioning listening as an important ‘new’ literacy. Today’s young people, “who are digitally-fluent and competitive” (Türel, 2014, p. 178), and thus known as “digital natives” (Türel, 2013, p. 483; Duncan-Howell, 2012; Prensky, 2001), have never known a world without computers, digital media, or the Internet, and spend many hours daily using technology based-media. Technology can be used to improve students’ basic language skills. Listening skills are important for effective communication; it is essential to give students opportunities to develop and improve their listening skills not only in the classroom but outside the classroom as well. By using Internet-based resources, students can study independently, choosing from a wide range of different resources that are available. Learners can use information and communication technology (ICT) in developing and improving their language skills, in particular their listening comprehension.

There are thousands of web tools, applications and Internet-based resources for listening skills such as audio books, podcasts, vidcasts and virtual learning environments (VLEs). Some popular applications are Voxopop, Podomatic, Dvolver Moviemaker, Auditory Workout, Comprehension TherAppy, etc.

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