Digital games and negotiated interaction : integrating Club Penguin Island into two ESL grade 6 classes

Authors: Couture Matte, Robin
Advisor: Parks, Susan
Abstract: The objective of the present study was to explore negotiated interaction involving young children (age 11-12) who carried out communicative tasks supported by Club Penguin Island, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Unlike previous studies involving MMORPGs, the present study assessed the use of Club Penguin Island in the context of face-to-face interaction. More specifically, the research questions were three-fold: assess the presence focus-on-form episodes (FFEs) during tasks carried out with Club Penguin Island and identify their characteristics; evaluate the impact of task type on the presence of FFEs; and survey the attitudes of participants. The research project was carried out with 20 Grade 6 intensive English as a second language (ESL) students in the province of Quebec. The participants carried out one information-gap task and two reasoning-gap tasks including one with a writing component. The tasks were carriedout in dyads, and recordings were transcribed and analyzed to identify the presence of FFEs and their characteristics. A statistical analysis was used to assess the impact of task type on the presence of FFEs, and a questionnaire was administered to assess the attitudes of participants following the completion of all tasks. Findings revealed that carrying out tasks with the MMORPG triggered FFEs, that participants were able to successfully negotiate interaction without the help of the instructor, and that most FFEs were focused on the meaning of vocabulary found in the tasks and game. The statistical analysis showed the influence of task type since more FFEs were produced during the information-gap task than one of the reasoning-gap tasks. The attitude questionnaire revealed positive attitudes, which was in line with previous researchon digital games for language learning. Pedagogical implications point to the impact of MMORPGs for language learning and add to the scarce literature on negotiated interaction with young learners.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 12 July 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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