This study explored the potential benefits and barriers of using quick response (QR) codes as a means by which to provide audio materials to middle-school students learning Spanish as a foreign language.
Eleven teachers of Spanish to middle-school students created transmedia materials containing QR codes linking to audio resources. Students accessed the audio tracks by scanning the QR code with an application on a smartphone while completing a homework task. The teachers assigned two tasks in a systems approach model: first a formative, and then a revised summative trial. After each attempt, the Spanish teachers shared their experiences of creating and using the transmedia materials by participating in interviews.
Data was collected by means of a needs analysis survey, recordings and transcription of the two interviews, and by obtaining copies of the transmedia materials. The data analysis included a content analysis of the coded interviews, the results of which were triangulated with the responses collected in the needs analysis survey and an examination of the teacher-created materials.
Several benefits to using audio QR codes were identified as a result of the analyses. These include the minimal amount of time and expertise required for teachers to create the transmedia materials, an increased student exposure to audio-only materials to aid listening comprehension, and the way in which the use of this technique allowed for transformative learning activities and a conservation of instructional minutes in the classroom. Some barriers were also noted, the largest being that device ownership and Internet access were not universal among students. Additionally, parental restrictions on smartphone use and some school administration polices regarding personal devices made the practice of using mobile technology for homework tasks difficult in certain cases.
Implications include the possibility that training pre-service and in-service teachers in the use of transmedia materials that link to audio-only content may help decrease students’ cognitive load and lead to an increase in foreign language learners’ listening comprehension skills. Further study in the use of transmedia materials and mobile technology to support foreign language learning is recommended.
|13 March 2017
|Vigil, Kathleen Murray
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