Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

The Effect of Electronic Dictionaries and Hypermedia Annotations on English Major Students' Reading Compression and Vocabulary Learning

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

The Effect of Electronic Dictionaries and Hypermedia Annotations on English Major Students' Reading Compression and Vocabulary Learning

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study explored the effect of using electronic dictionaries and hypermedia annotations on university students' receptive language skills, specifically reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. The subjects of the study consisted of 43 English major students who registered for the Reading One course at Taibah University in the second semester of the 2012-2013 academic year. The group was divided into two sections: section one was assigned as an experimental group, and section two was assigned as a control group. Data was collected over the course of twelve weeks via a pre/post test designed for an equivalent group. The results of the study indicated that students who were taught using electronic dictionaries and hypermedia annotation applications had better results than those who were taught using traditional methods. The researcher concluded that multimedia could facilitate students' learning of vocabulary and improve receptive language skills since they motivate and involve students in the teaching process. Accordingly, English departments at universities should accompany the main reading comprehension textbooks with instructions on how to utilize multimedia applications that render the teaching process more effective and successful.

Specifically, this study demonstrates the benefits of multimedia instructional technology on students' reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. The results suggest that teachers may want to consider the merits of multimedia as a means of enhancing students' reading comprehension.

Keywords: Multimedia, Electronic bilingual dictionaries, Glosses, Hypermedia annotations, Reading comprehension, Vocabulary acquisition

1. Introduction

In the resent decade, the use of modern technology in the field of teaching second language reading has been on the rise. A variety of studies have shown the importance of using computers in EFL (English as a foreign language) reading. Chun and Plass (1996) investigated how reading comprehension can be enhanced with a multimedia application for language learning. They studied the effects of an advanced dynamic visual organizer on the macro level and the effects of hypermedia annotations for single vocabulary items on the micro level. Furthermore, they investigated the relationship between vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. The results of their study indicated that the advanced visual organizer does aid in overall comprehension and that annotations consisting of both visual and verbal information help more than verbal annotations alone.

During the past ten years, the use of multimedia in FL (foreign language) classes has gained popularity as it contributes to students' experiential learning and language achievement. In several studies, multimedia applications have been found to enrich learners' linguistic skills by strengthening their overall language learning attitudes, self-instruction strategies, and self-confidence. More importantly, there is strong evidence that FL learners can improve their perceptions, attitudes, and motivations towards language acquisition by using multimedia applications (Taylor, 2006).

Multimedia applications have made computers a source of entertainment, communication, and learning. They can imitate a book, an audio CD player, a video game, a telephone, an editing studio, or even a drafting table. The integrated use of computers and online grammar tests can serve as an alternative to printed classroom materials for EFL learners (Lai, C.2006).

There are many merits to using computers as a tool for promoting language education. They are nonthreatening and allow students to actively advance at their own place without being disturbed by time constraints and the impatience that is common in traditional learning environments (Hansen-smith, E2001).

More importantly, using hypermedia annotations to enhance reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition is highly beneficial because it can motivate EFL learners, stimulates their enthusiasm, enrich the educational environment, emphasize the individual's needs, and reduce stress and anxiety. …

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