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Volume 16 Number 3
Abstract

Eye Tracking as a Measure of Noticing: A Study of Explicit Recasts in SCMC
Bryan Smith, Arizona State University

This study investigated whether eye-tracking technology could be employed as a measure of noticing of corrective feedback (in the form of explicit recasts) during NS-NNS task-based synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC). Pairs of university-level learners of English (n = 18) engaged in a short chat interaction task with a native speaker, who provided intensive and explicit corrective recasts. Participants’ eye gaze record was compared to that from a stimulated recall. Noticing events (increased visual attention) were compiled and compared from each technique to determine whether these two techniques yielded similar data. Noticing events from each technique were also compared to results of immediate and delayed post tests of the targeted items. Results confirm the strength of both measures as methods for measuring what learners notice in the corrective feedback during SCMC. Further, the eye tracking and stimulated recall data also suggest that although learners engage in similar amounts of viewing activity across recasts targeting various linguistic categories, they are able to notice semantic and syntactic targets more easily than morphological targets. Results are discussed in terms of eye tracking as a potentially valuable tool in exploring the nature of noticing in instructed SLA and also in terms of argued benefits of CMC for language learning.

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